Mountain Bike Maintenance: 7 Tips for Keeping Your Bike Rolling
Mountain biking is all the rage these days, and for good reason. It not only provides a fantastic workout and a chance to explore nature, but it’s an adrenaline pumping thrill, no matter what skill level you're at. The key to having a good time mountain biking is having proper equipment, and therefore, keeping your mountain bike in good condition is imperative. So to help keep your mountain bike rolling at top performance, we compiled a list of the 7 best practices for maintaining your mountain bike.
- Keep it Lubricated: Keeping your bike properly lubricated is another critical aspect of mountain bike maintenance. Lubricate the chain, derailleur, and other moving parts with high-quality bike lubricant to prevent rust and corrosion. This also helps your bike run more smoothly, resulting in a better ride.
- Maintain Tire Pressure: Tire pressure is a critical component of mountain bike maintenance. Low tire pressure can make your ride more difficult and even damage your rims, while overinflated tires can reduce your comfort and increase the risk of punctures. Check your tire pressure regularly and adjust it based on the type of terrain you will be riding on.
- Keep it Clean: Cleaning your bike regularly is crucial to keeping it in good condition. To keep gunk, dirt, and sand from drying in your chain and spokes and potentially damaging it when you go for your next ride, it’s critical to thoroughly wash your bike after each ride.
Now, when you’re thinking about the logistics of washing your bike after every ride, there’s a few questions you need to ask yourself.
The first question you need to ponder is - do I want to wash my bike at home, or at the trail? The answer to this question depends on a few factors:
If you care about transporting a dirty bike. If you have a bike rack, you may not care about carrying a muddy and dusty bike home. On the contrary, if you’re transporting it in your truck, van or car, you may not want to drag all the gunk in. So if you’re the latter, you probably want to wash your bike off before transporting it home.
Whether you have access to a hose at home. If you live in an apartment complex, or even a condo, you may not have access to a hose that sprays water with sufficient pressure. If you are waiting to wash your bike off until you get home, a lot of the mud and dirt will be dried and caked on to your bike, so you either need a water source with sufficient pressure to knock if off, or you’ll have to wipe it off with a bucket of water and a sponge.
Whether you have a good way to wash your bike on the go. If you are going to wash your bike on the trail, you’re going to need to bring some method for doing so. You could, of course, bring a bucket and sponge and do it by yourself, or, if you’re savvy, you might bring a portable shower or water sprayer.
A portable shower can make cleaning your bike on the go super easy, if you’ve got the right one. When it comes to dried dirt and mud, you’re gonna need sufficient pressure to really clean it off. Many portable showers, like hand pump or gravity-fed models, will not have strong or consistent enough pressure to knock off that dried dirt and mud. Even if it does have enough pressure, it will be temporary and you will have to constantly repressurize the shower.
Battery-pressurized portable showers have the strongest and most consistent pressure, as the battery powers an automatic pump. This means that the water tank will never lose pressure, even as water is used, so the spray will be just as powerful when there is less water. Other pressurization methods, specifically self-pressurized models, lose pressure as more water is used.
When you’re researching portable showers for your mountain bike, you will also want to consider water capacity, as you will want to have enough water with you to wash off your entire bike. You may also want to consider how portable it is - as in, is it easy to store in your car, and can you use it without it being mounted.
If you’re looking for a portable shower that hits all the checks we’ve discussed - having battery-powered pressure, lots of water capacity, and superior portability, you should strongly consider RinseKit. All RinseKit models are battery-pressurized, providing superior pressure at the press of a button. We have models that boast capacities from 3.5 gallons on up, so they can carry plenty of water for washing your bike off on the go.
RinseKit’s are also super portable - they’re all small and compact so they fit easily in the seat or trunk of your car. It’s also very easy to carry around your RinseKit via the convenient top handle. So you can easily move the RinseKit in and out of your car, move it around your bike or to your campsite.
So you can see that when it comes to cleaning your bike, a portable shower, and a RinseKit in particular, is a great solution to an age-old problem.
4. Keep Your Brakes Functional - Regularly inspect your brake pads for wear and tear, and replace them as needed. Ensure that your brake levers are correctly adjusted and that your brake cables are free of kinks or fraying. Additionally, periodically clean your brake pads and rotors to remove any dirt or debris that may have built up.
5. Keep Nuts and Bolts Tight - Mountain biking can be tough on your bike, and over time, bolts and nuts can become loose. Periodically check your bike for loose bolts and tighten them as necessary. Pay particular attention to the bolts holding your handlebars, stem, and seatpost in place, as they are critical components that can cause serious problems if they come loose while you are riding.
6. Store it properly - Storage is another critical aspect of mountain bike maintenance. When you are not riding your bike, store it in a dry, cool place out of direct sunlight. Consider hanging your bike on a wall-mounted rack to keep it off the ground and away from other objects that could cause damage. If you are storing your bike for an extended period of time, remove the wheels and store them separately to prevent flat spots from forming on the tires.
7. Take it to a Pro - Even with regular maintenance, your bike may need professional attention. Whether it's a significant repair or just a tune-up, taking your bike to a professional bike shop can help ensure that it is in top condition and ready for your next ride. Many bike shops offer maintenance packages that can help you stay on top of your bike's needs, so be sure to inquire about these options.
In conclusion, maintaining your mountain bike is crucial to ensure that it performs at its best and lasts for as long as possible. By following these seven best practices for mountain bike maintenance, you can keep your bike in top condition and enjoy your days on the trail without worrying about your equipment.