Mountain Bike Tune Up Guide

Spring has sprung in Park City and the greater United States. Right now we’re in the interim between full-blown bike season and mud season, and some of us are just beginning to show our skin to the sun. As the snow on the ski slopes melts away, and more and more singletrack begins to emerge, we start to get giddy about riding bikes.

“If your bike went into storage clean, it should come back out pretty clean. But that doesn’t mean it will be ready to ride.”

Winter Wear and Tear

As your skis lay to rest for the summer and the bikes come out, now is the best time to get your bike dialed in for riding. A bike that has been stored in a shed or garage over the winter is probably 99% ready to go, depending on what state it was in when it went into storage. If you put your dirty bike away after its last fall ride without cleaning it – it’s still going to be dirty. If your bike went into storage clean, it should come back out pretty clean. But that doesn’t mean it will be ready to ride.

As the garage door goes up and down, and the car backs in and out, or the Christmas decorations are taken down and put back up, lots of dust tends to get into the air and fall on new surfaces. And who knows what has shifted, fallen, crashed into, or splashed all over your bike(s) over the winter.

Bike shop employee inspects a mountain bike tire and wheel
A thorough inspection is key before riding

Clean & Check Your Bike

A cleaning and visual inspection of your bike before you start riding is important. Start by wiping down the frame and checking for any damage. Then run through each bolt with the correct-sized wrench and make sure it is tight. Tightening bolts and checking bolts are two different things. Make sure the bolt is snug, but don’t overtighten as you could overload and strip-out the threads. When that’s all done, check your suspension since air pressure will leak out over time. Lube your chain, pump up your tires, and take your bike out for spin.Start out riding slowly and check your brakes. Sometimes a fine layer of dust will accumulate on the pads and rotors and will need to be burned off. If you hear a noise when you engage your brakes, try using them a few times to clear out any debris that has gathered over the winter. Next, shift through each gear, making sure your derailleur moves the chain properly and there are no missed shifts. If the bike is missing shifts, tune the cable tension or let a qualified mechanic check it out. Other things like tire sealant and misaligned brakes will need to be checked as well and adjusted.

“Tightening bolts and checking bolts are two different things. Make sure the bolt is snug, but don’t overtighten as you could strip-out the threads.”

Necessary Tools

Below is a short list of tools you’ll need for a proper springtime bike checkup. Things like rags and degreaser can be bought at your local hardware store. We have many of these tools online in our bike shop as well as in our physical stores. If you’re not in Park City, your local bike shop will have them as well.

  • Degreaser – for your chain: something more mild, like watered-down Simple Green, is better for your bike frame
  • Rags – can be made from old shirts/towels or bought at a hardware store
  • Metric allen wrenches (keys)
  • Chain lube – a lighter weight lube is better for wet, spring conditions
  • Bike stand – once you use it, you’ll wonder why you never had one before
  • Tire pump
  • Shock pump

Give Your Bike Some Professional Love

If you have neither the tools, know-how, or desire to clean up and dial in your own bike, that’s no problem! Take your bike to a professional mechanic at your local bike shop and get it tuned up. Usually for less than $70 you can have your bike cleaned, tuned and ready to ride for well into the summer before you will need another service.

Our two bike shops in Park City, Jans and White Pine Touring, offer a range of services from tunes to wheel builds to suspension rebuilds and more. Come on by and we will get your bike running smooth in just a few short days.

 

Paul Boyle, Data and Production Manager, jans.com

%d bloggers like this: