Rusty Mountain Bike

BAD MAINTENANCE HABITS THAT ARE RUINING YOUR MOUNTAIN BIKE

Reading the manual is not something that we, as humans are good at. As a result, many of us, myself included, can fall into bad habits when it comes to mountain bike maintenance, which might not be doing your bike any favours. Here are the common mistakes people make when it comes to bicycle maintenance that are actually doing a lot more harm than is readily evident and can ruin your bike.

NOT CLEANING IT PROPERLY AFTER A RIDE

Leaving dirt on your bike to harden will lead to a breakdown in the mechanics and stop your bike performing. After a long ride, dedicate five or ten minutes to spraying your bike down and getting the dirt out of all the nooks and crannies.

Use warm soapy water, or a small spray but avoid pressure washers as the intense pressure can damage the bearings. This is one of the easiest bad habits to change, but still, a surprising amount of people don’t make the effort to wash their bike down after a ride.

NOT WIPING YOUR RIMS DOWN

If you have rim brakes, the cleanliness of your rims and the brake pad is essential for your stopping ability and brake performance. Seeing as this makes the difference between stopping short of a ledge and taking a tumble, before and after every ride you should be wiping down your rips and brake pad to ensure there is no dirt lurking. Not only will it affect your brakes, ruin the rubbers of your brakes but it can also increase the wear on your rims. Smoother rim walls allow for better braking. Dirt and grime eventually cause permanent damage.

STORING YOUR BIKE OUTSIDE

Constant subjection to the elements will greatly increase the wear and tear on your bike and means you will have to replace the components much more frequently. They don’t take up much space in a garage. Invest in a good wall mounted storage rack and you will barely notice any loss of space.

NOT CHECKING THE TYRE PRESSURE

You should be checking your tyre pressure before every ride to prevent your tyres wearing out too quickly. Set your tyre pressure too low, and you will find you are getting a lot more punctures, too high and the ride will be too hard.

Check the required PSI range in the bike manual or on the tyre wall. This is usually given as a range, if you are a heavier rider and the conditions are drier, you should go for the higher end of the scale. Likewise, for lighter riders and wetter conditions, go for the lower end of the scale.

SETTING THE BIKE DOWN ON THE RIGHT SIDE

To keep your bike in the best possible condition, you shouldn’t be laying your bike down at all. Find a tree or something sturdy to prop it up against if you stop for a break. If setting the bike down flat is unavoidable, get into the habit of setting it down on the side which doesn’t house the derailleurs and chain.

HANGING YOUR BIKE UPSIDE DOWN

This one only applies if you have hydraulic brakes. If you have rim brakes this isn’t a problem. But hanging your hydraulic brakes upside down will cause air to enter the calliper and give your brakes a spongy feel. To fix it you will need to bleed your brakes. This is no easy task and you would be better off taking it to a professional to fix.

Break these bad habits today to ensure your bike stays well-maintained and in good shape for many rides to come. If you see your riding mates doing these things, tell them. The sooner these bad habits are eradicated from the mountain-biking community, the better.

 


We’re pretty sure that there are a lot more bad habits when it comes to bike maintenance that many of us are not so aware of. Any experience out there?

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mm
Mike G
mgilles@dinga.com.au

Mike loves to travel on the open road, he's really into vehicles of any kind, especially those with 2 wheels.