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Mountain Bike Maintenance Tips

As fun as mountain biking is, dirt is going to get on and in your bike and your job is to keep it off.  By regularly cleaning and lubricating your bike, your rides and expensive equipment will be more enjoyable, safer and last longer. 

I suggest to clean and lube the bike every time before you ride.  This depends on the region you live in, but here in Southern CA like most of the West it's  very dry and dusty which is tough on the bikes. Below are some products and tools I use but many others will do the job. 

(Pass mouse over item to see description) 

Citrus Based Chain Cleaner Pedro's Ice Wax  (Chain Lube) Finish Line Grease Spray Bottle
Finish Line Dry Lube Triflow Lubricant Pedro's, Toothbrush

Cleaning the bike and Chain

Before I cover the individual lubes lets discuss the spray bottle.  You can pick one up for about $2.00 and they work great for cleaning the bike.  Yes the hose does a better job, but leave that for the major cleaning jobs. Spraying water into the hubs and crankshaft breaks down the lubricants that can rust and poor performance.  If it's just dust and some dirt, then use the bottle with a clean towel and wipe off the frame, brake & gear components.  I use the wire brush for cleaning the chain. If you don't have a bike stand,  then just lift up the rear tire and hold the brush against the rear sprocket while turning the pedals. Use the citrus based chain cleaner a couple times a month to get the heavy grease off.  Always lube the chain after cleaning 

The Lubes

Have you ever rode past somebody and it sounds like they were driving a tank?  Well folks it's from a major lack of lube.  Below I will cover some parts of your bike to lube that you can do in just a few minutes. 

  • Pedro's or White Lightning chain lube does a good job on a clean chain.  Just shake the bottle well and drip the lube on each chain link while turning the pedals by hand.  Use a piece of chalk to mark the starting point and don't worry about wiping the excess lube off.

  • Derailleur (front and back) and brake pivots.  Use the Pedro's toothbrush first to remove the dust where the towel can't reach, then use the Finish Line Dry Lube on all the moving parts/pivots.

  • Pedals (Clip-on type) Use the Triflow Spray lubricant on the pedals so your  shoe cleats will snap in and out smoothly.

  • Use the either the drip or spray lube on your brake and gear cables. Just spray or drip a tad of lube under the plastic cable protectors.

  • Check your bikes brochure for lubing the front and rear shocks.

  • Grease can be used to lube the seat post and also in the hubs and bottom brackets. Every year, lube the seat post by cleaning it off and applying a thin coat of grease.

Well that's the basics. I also suggest  waxing the bike a couple of times a year to keep the paint looking good.

For more info,  one suggestion is to  inquire with your local bike shops to see if they offer any classes on the subject.  REI offers excellent workshops if you are a do it yourself type.  The bottom line is if you aren't sure how to maintain your bike, then get professional help so your bike will perform properly and you can keep your eyes on the trail. Here are a couple of great products to try.  White Lightning is an excellent product  if  just the lube is  what your after.