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Sanders: Take care of your bike and it will take care of you

Keith Sanders
Mountain Biking with Keith
Courtesy of Keith Sanders
Staff Photo |

I see a lot of bikes out on the trail and in my shop that could be working great if they had a little love on occasion. Often simple maintenance and attention to detail can keep your bike running well and avoid having to miss out on a ride and take it into the shop.

These are a few things that I do to my bike on a regular basis. I’m going to break this up into what you need to do before each ride and what needs to be done routinely.

Before each ride

Check air pressure on your tires. Always use a gauge. If air pressure is too low, you are at risk of getting flats. If it’s too high, the bike will have less traction; in addition, the ride will be rough as the tires tend to bounce off of obstacles in the trail.

“Giving a bit of love to your bike will keep it working well so that you can enjoy every ride.”

Tubeless tires will run at lower pressure than tubed tires. NEVER inflate the tires above the air pressure limits of both the tire and the wheel manufacture. Use the lesser pressure between those two.

Inspect your tires for cuts and wear. The sidewalls of the tires can be cut on rocks and other sharp obstacles.

Spin each wheel to be sure that the brakes are not rubbing and the wheel is true (straight).

Check the quick releases on each wheel to be sure they are snug.

Lube your chain, pedals and derailleurs.

Once a week or so

Go through your bike and check all bolts to be sure that they are tight. It is very easy to over-tighten parts on a bike. They just need to be snug. The tools you will need are a set of metric hex wrenches and torx driver (for the brake rotor bolts).

I start at one end of the bike and work to the other end. I check every bolt. This only takes a few minutes.

Check each spoke to be sure that it is tight. All the spokes should feel the same relative to the other spokes on that side of the wheel.

Check the headset for play. The easiest way to do this hold the front brake and push the bike forward and backwards. There should be no play or rocking in the headset. If there is that means it needs to be adjusted.

Check your wheels to make sure the bearings are not loose. To do this hold the brake and then grab the top of the wheel and push the wheel side to side. It should feel tight. If not have them adjusted.

Check the cleats on your shoes. They often come loose. Be careful as it is very easy to round on the head on the bolt.

If you do find something that needs adjusted take it into your favorite shop if you are not capable of doing the work yourself.

Giving a bit of love to your bike will keep it working well so that you can enjoy every ride. Enjoy your rides! Life’s too short not to have fun!

Looking for more information or want to get involved as a mountain biker? Like Grand Mountain Bike Alliance (GMBA) on Facebook. GMBA is your local mountain bike group. Check out Mountainbikecapitalusa.com. Great site by the Winter Park Chamber!

Keith Sanders is the President of the Grand Mountain Bike Alliance, 3x US National Mountain Bike Champion and owner of Beavers Sports Shop. You can reach him at keith@winterparkskirental.com.


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