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Bike Maintenance Tips

Disc Brake Maintenance

  • Brake rotor maintenance: Keep rotors clean and free of all containments (including soap, chain oil, tubeless tire sealant, hydraulic brake fluid, etc.). Any substance (other than water) can contaminate both rotors and brake pads, causing squealy, inconsistent braking.
  • Disc brake pad bed-in procedure: Disc brake pads need to be bedded-in prior to regular use. Doing so promotes consistent, silent, powerful braking performance. Here is a video from SRAM about the procedure: (note: the bedding-in procedure is the same for all disc brake systems regardless of brand).

Mountain Bike Suspension Maintenance

  • Setting air suspension sag: If your mountain bike has a suspension fork and/or shock, there is a good chance that it works with an air pressure spring. (Note, some suspension systems use a coil spring. Unlike air springs, coil springs must be changed to adjust spring rate). As is the case with tire air pressure, the air pressure in your fork and/or shock air should be checked and maintained regularly. A properly inflated air spring is set at a specific “sag” rate (that rate is typically between 27-33% of available travel). Here is a video from Fox about setting up sag on your air-sprung suspension fork and/or shock: (note: the procedure to set up sag is generally same for air suspension systems regardless of brand).
  • Basic compression and rebound set up for shock/fork: Besides air pressure spring rate (or coil spring rate), many forks and/or shocks have some additional adjustments. These adjustments can help customize your suspension to your preferences.  Here is a video from Global Mountain Bike Network about checking your spokes and wheels:

Back to Repair

Chain Maintenance 

  • Measuring chain wear: Making sure you chain is within its wear life is important in preserving the life of your entire drivetrain. This is especially important for electric assisted bikes and their extra peddling power. Here is a video from Park Tool about measuring chain wear:
  • Clean and lubing your chain: Keeping your chain clean and lubed is also a key component of drivetrain performance. Here is a video from Cycling Weekly about cleaning and lubing your chain:

Tire & Wheel Maintenance

  • Tire pressure check: Properly inflated tires not only protect the lifespan of your rims and tires, it ensures the best ride quality from your bike. Note, that even properly serviceable tires (and tubes) need to be checked and re-inflated regularly. Here is a video from Global Cycling Network about inflating your tires:
    • Nearly all tires have a psi (pounds per square inch) recommendation printed on the tire sidewall.
    • Our recommendation for tire pressure varies based on the type of bike you ride. Narrow, road bike tires often run between 80-120psi. Comfort, BMX, and neighborhood bikes generally run between 35-60psi. Mountain bikes with wider tires typically run between 25-35psi (depending on whether they are set up with tubes or tubeless sealant)

  • Tubeless tire sealant maintenance: Ditching your inner tubes for tubeless tires and tire sealant is one of the most affordable upgrades for your mountain bike. Tubeless tires can run lower air pressure, which means more grip and better rolling resistance in off-road applications. But, it’s important to keep in mind that tubeless sealant does not last forever; it often dries out within 2-7 months of initial application (time periods are typically shorter in warmer weather). This means that you will need to refresh your tubeless tire sealant from time to time. Here is a video from Stan's No Tubes about refreshing your tubeless tire sealant:

  • Spoke tension check: Along with proper tire pressure, checking your spoke tension also extends the lifespan of your rims.Loose or broken spokes can compromise the strength of your rim. Here is a video from Global Mountain Bike Network about checking your spokes and wheels: