For the most part, bikes are simple machines. Two wheels, a chain, the derailleur, and some brakes are what make up most bikes out there, so understanding how these parts work is key. However, even bikes are becoming more and more high-tech, making it more difficult for bike owners to understand how to best take care of their bikes.
Mountain bikes are no exception.
That being said, most will agree that the best thing an owner can do for their bikes is to perform regular maintenance and cleaning. Here are the top three things you can do today that will help you simplify that maintenance for your mountain bike.
Clean it Regularly
The easiest thing to do to keep your bike in top shape is to clean it regularly. Usually this means a good quick hose down after each ride and a more thorough cleaning at least once a month, but preferably once a week. This is especially true if you tend to ride your mountain bike hard in the trails. It will get dirty and dusty and by cleaning it after every ride, you can keep that dust and grime to a minimum. This will keep your brakes cleaner, your derailleur healthier and free from grinding, and will also help you spot potential trouble on your bike before your out on the trail when something happens.
Replace the Chain Once a Year
The chain is the most worn piece of gear on your mountain bike. It is constantly working and gets stressed as you pound up and down those mountain trails. Even though your chain is made out of metal, the pressure and strain its under will cause it to stretch out over time. The links won’t be as close together as they were when the chain was brand new. This can lead to slipped chains, but more importantly, can wear down your crank, the spiky round things your chain sits on. Instead of being nice and pointy, they will start to wear down and become rounded. This rounding is one of the reasons your chain will slip, which is not a very fun thing when you’re on the trail. Replacing your chain once a year will help prevent this, and a chain is a lot cheaper to replace than the whole crank.
Store it Out of the Elements
When you’re not riding your bike, it’s best to store it in your garage, in your house, in the back shed, or anywhere that will keep it out of the rain, wind, snow, and other elements. Bad weather constantly beating on your bike will cause it to be more prone to rust and other issues. It’s best to keep it dry and clean as much as possible when you’re not riding it.