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Mountain Bike Maintenance and Bicycle Repair Guide

Mountain bike maintenance and bicycle repair can be daunting for some but easy for others. Servicing your own mountain bike is something that everyone can do. If you start with the basic bike maintenance and servicing tasks, before you know it you will have all the mountain bike tools to do a full maintenance service on your own bike. Maintaining a mountain bike in good running order is cost effective and the best way to get long life out of your components to keep you riding more. To service your bicycle do regular maintenance like bike wash, wiping it down and checking for damage, adjusting the gears, setting the brakes and changing worn components. If you do regular bike services there will be less need to do costly bicycle repairs. However even doing DIY bicycle repair can save you trips to the bike shop and keep you on your bike instead of it lying around a bike repair shop somewhere waiting for a bike mechanic to look at it. Bicycle repairs like changing brake pads, changing a chain or removing cranks are also fairly easy to do with a bit of know how and the right tools. Fixing your own bike can be a very rewarding and useful skill especially if you live far away from a bike workshop or if you compete in long distance mountain bike events where bike maintenance and repair know how is important.

Mountain bike maintenance is something that is easy to learn if you know how. For hands on experience speak to your LBS - local mountain bike shop and ask them if you can spend a couple of hours in their bike workshop. Some of them also offer mountain bike maintenance courses. You can also checkout one of the fine bicycle repair books available like Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance or any other mountain bike maintenance books available.

Or just checkout our mountain bike maintenance and repair guide below.

We will be expanding this section regularly with detailed articles on the the different topics with how to's and tips on keeping your bike in tip top shape. Join our mailing list and we will let you know when we update this section.

 


 

Mountain Bike Maintenance - Step by Step Guide

Maintaining your bike in good working order is as easy as 1-2-3. Follow these easy steps to keep you bike well maintained and avoid breakdowns.

1. Bike wipe & check - after a ride - about every 50km

Front Shock – Wipe stanchions and ensure dust seals are clean and oil free
Rear Shock – Wipe and ensure dust seal is clean
Run chain through dry clean cloth. Wipe old lube off chainrings. Re-lube chain.
A quick check to see that everything is working, best to be done at the end of the day so that any repairs, adjustments can be done before the next day

  • Check wheels (skewers) are tight
  • Check brakes work and are not loose (levers and callipers)
  • Check handlebar is tight and not loose
  • Check gears are working and changing properly
  • Check and adjust tire pressure

2. Bike wash - when your bike looks dirty, before a race or after a muddy ride

Washing a mountain bike can be quick and easy if you have a plan and the right tools. In 5-10 min you can give you bike a wash that will make it look like new. The full bike wash will take a bit longer and is only necessary after a couple of weeks or when you feel like bonding with your bike.

How to wash your mountain bike

Chain cleaning and chain cleaning tools

3. Bike Tools - Get the right tools to do basic DIY maintenance

Maintaining your own bike is not nearly as complicated as it seems. A good way to learn is to start slowly, gain confidence and build up a set of bike tools as you progress. If your bike needs a service, rather spend the money buying a couple of tools and then do it yourself.

Recommended mountain bike tools

4. Bike Gears Setup and Adjusting

Adjusting and setting your mountain bike gears is really quite simple. There are a few basic rules that need to be followed in order to understand what should be setup and what should be adjusted. The difference is that the setup items are done only once and never again unless the part is removed or replaced.

Identifying gear shifting problems
Gear Setup and Adjusting

Chain Service

Roughly every 1000km, or when chain is worn.
Replace Chain.
Remove and grease BB and Crank. Check BB bearings for wear.
Remove rear shock and grease all bushings when replacing. Check swing arm as above.
Check Cassette – replace if necessary (normally only every 4000 to 5000km)
Check Chainrings – replace if necessary (normally every 3rd chain and then only middle chain ring)
Remove fork. Remove headset bearings, clean and re-grease. Re-assemble.
Check hubs, spokes and rims for wear and damage.

Fork and Shock Maintenance.

Every 80 hours of use.
Remove dust seals from fork. Check that oil is still clean and that foam rings are clean and lubed.
Clean inside of dust seals using old sticker backing.
Rear Shock – Remove from bike.
Deflate all air.
Remove air can.
Check all recommended areas, as per manual.
Re-grease according to manual recommendations.
Refit.

Fork and Shock Service

Every 160 hours. According to manual. (haven’t done this myself yet, but will soon!)

 

Mountain Bike Repair Resources

Park Tool Repair Help - from the people who know what they are talking about
Bicycle Repair Maintenance

 

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Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance
bike maintenance books

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