Planning to take your mountain bike for a ride? You’d hate it if you ended up with a broken chain or a flat tire at the top, right?
Imagine after all those hours of riding to the top only to end up having grease all over your face and clothes because the chain broke.
Or having to put in more effort in pumping a tire just so you can ride back down. Or worse, what if the only thing you could do is carry your bike all the way? (oh, the horror).
Well, it’s me Robert again to your rescue. Here’s how to tune up your mountain bike for a safe and smooth ride each time.
How to Tune Up a Mountain Bike
If you do not want your tire to give you a comfortable and smooth ride and stop quickly every time you brake or during emergencies, the first thing to check is the treading on the tire. Is it peeling off? Then you need new tires but if not, or the wear-and-tear is minimal, you are good to go as tires don’t give in unless the treading is completely worn.
Few other things to keep an eye out for is the threading around the casing and the condition of the sidewall.
Another thing you want to avoid is a flat tire and for that make sure you check the tires beforehand for any tears or thorns stuck into them. Have tubeless tires? Great work, just make sure you top them up with a sealant.
My pick for it is the Muc-Off No Puncture Hassle. Not the cheapest but well for the money (punctured tires, not anymore).
Turn your bike upside and give the wheels 4-5 spins. In case you notice any side wobbles or vertical hops you either need to replace the hub bearings or readjust them. Hubs should neither be too tight or too loose. Squeezing the spokes is a great way of knowing quickly if the bearings are loose or not.
A broken/cracked axle could be another reason for the wobble. You also want to make there aren’t any cracks (even a minute one) around the meeting point of the rim and nipple. In case you notice any fault or are having trouble adjusting the wheels, get help from a professional.
While turning the wheels did you hear any squeaking? Good news, your brakes have passed the first hurdle. But if you do hear any screeching or squeaking sound, the brake calipers need to be readjusted
Also, check that the brake rotors aren’t bent. If it is, don’t worry, the solution is easy peasy, though you will need a wrench or a rotor alignment tool for it.
Lastly, the brake pads should not be worn out if you want the braking to be effective and quick. In case you notice tears, scratches, etc. replace the pads immediately.
Want to ride your bike fast? Well, then running this check on your drivetrain is a must (because you ain’t going anywhere with a poor drivetrain).
To check that the drivetrain is functioning optimally, firstly, shift through the gears and don’t move the shift levers. Was there any popping? Did it miss a level? If not, you should have no trouble on the road.
One thing I hate is the chain coming off while riding and I am sure you do too. So make sure you check the chain for any wear and tear. I use a chain checker for the task and you should too (trust me, makes your life way easier for the money it costs).
Oh, and don’t forget to lubricate the chain and degrease the drivetrain for smooth operation.