Are you thinking of going on a bike ride through the mountains? Whether you are a beginner or an expert, this is surely one of your major goals as a rider. However, even as an expert, it is necessary to remember that a rider is only as good as their bike. This is why top-tier maintenance and care should be your priority.
Furthermore, checking your bike and gear regularly is also an important part that you should not ignore. Here are some tips to prepare your mountain bike before you hit the trail that you should always keep in mind.
1. Check The Wheels and The Tires
One of the most important things in this list of tips to prepare your mountain bike before you hit the trail is to check and maintain your wheels and your tires.
We know that hitting the trails can be very appealing to all you riders out there but what takes priority is your safety and so checking these components are a must!
First, when checking the tires, you should check how much tread is left and if there are any knobs that are peeling off. Make sure that you have left no thorns stuck on the tire and that it doesn’t have any small tears which can be very dangerous during your ride.
Furthermore, your tire casings may have given out even before you’ve worn out the tread. Hence, checking the sidewall wear is also important. Look for any abrasions and threads that might be sticking out from the casings.
In addition to checking the tires, you should also check the wheels before your departure as well. Give them a little spin and see if they wobble around. After that, you should check if the wheels can spin freely and that the hubs are adjusted in the perfect balance that is neither too tight nor loose.
You can also take your bike to a shop and get the wheels checked including the tension and true. This is very important as even a hairline crack can turn into a major problem during your adventures.
2. Check The Brakes
Remember, that if you aren’t confident checking out the brakes yourself, go to a bike store nearby. Don’t try to save money in the same way as you would think of saving money on groceries. Instead, get the job done the right way since breaks are essential components, and having them checked out is among the tips to prepare your mountain bike before you hit the trail.
If you have some experience with this stuff and are confident that you won’t mess up, then let’s get started. First, let’s hope that you hear nothing when you press your breaks, but if you hear some noise, then this could mean that the disc brake rotors may have some issues that need to be dealt with. Perhaps a repositioning of the brake calipers will fix the issue.
These brake rotors can be bent, so see if you can notice any side-to-side wobbling. An adjustable wrench or rotor alignment tool will be able to gently adjust the rotor. Lastly, see if the disc brake pads have to be replaced due to excessive wear and tear.
3. Check The Suspension and The Cockpit
After you’re done with the tires and the breaks, it’s time to check if your suspension is working properly or not. You should cycle the rear and fork suspension a few times before checking the sag settings and adjusting the air pressure accordingly.
Remember, mountain biking is only for those who love the thrill and your suspension is crucial in keeping up with the rough terrains.
Next, you need to check up on the cockpit where you will find three components, the stem, seat post, and handlebar. You should use grease or carbon paste on the seat post depending on what type of bike you have. Look for signs of over clamping such as deep gouges as these could lead to your demise if left unchecked.
Make sure to keep the stem straight when reinstalling the handlebar and also properly adjust the headset. Position the brakes to your own liking and tighten everything just the right amount.
4. Check The Drivetrain and The Frame
Checking the drivetrain is one of the most important tips to prepare your mountain bike before you hit the trail as you won’t be going anywhere without one. Check that all the gears are not popping or moving from one cog to the other without any movement in the shift levers. After all, dangerous accidents can happen if the gears suddenly shift on their own.
You should thoroughly inspect the chainrings and cassette cogs for signs of broken or bent teeth. These teeth also come in different shapes depending on the components. You can then move on to checking the chain for any damage or wear and tear that might have affected the bike. Lastly, you should degrease your drivetrain and lube your chain.
There are many things other than the ones talked about in this article that you should check up on before hitting the trails with your mountain bike. For instance, you should pay attention to using frame fasteners or prepping with all the gear you will be attaching to your bike.
However, the components we talked about earlier are the most important as these are the main parts of your mountain bike’s body. Without them, the bike will fail to operate properly and may put you in danger.
But now that you have knowledge about the fundamental aspects you need to check, we hope that you will never be unprepared before an adventure! Happy Cycling!