The first few days and weeks with your brand new mountain bike can be very exciting, particularly if it is the first mountain bike you have ever owned. The ability to take your bike out into the country and ride up and down over all sorts of trails and through every kind of terrain you can find is an exciting one, and it is quite common for people to spend hours each week exploring the outdoors in ways they had never done previously once they purchase their first mountain bikes. There are certainly many advantages to owning and using a mountain bike, but it is a fact of life that no matter how well you take care of your bike while riding it, at some point it will begin to suffer bits of damage here and there. This is likely to happen more quickly if you take your bike on rougher rides than if you take it on more gentle ones, but regardless of where or how you ride, damage and the need for maintenance is a natural part of mountain bike ownership. The sport of mountain bike riding demands adaptability and a willingness to take care of your gear when it breaks down. However, you don’t need to worry; it is surprisingly easy to maintain your bike in race ready condition as long as you have a few basic tools in your garage and a willingness to do the work when it needs to be done.
The first step to taking proper care of your mountain bike is making sure you have the necessary tools close by. Most simple repairs can be managed on your own if you have a set of pliers, a set of screwdrivers (both philips and flat heads), a spoke wrench, a set of tire levers (aim for at least three), a crank puller, a chain whip, headset wrenches, a tire pump, a flat cone wrench, a chain riveting tool, a cable cutter, and a set of hex wrenches. When you are riding, it is a good idea to have a few extra tools handy for first aid repairs, such as a multi tool, patches for punctured inner tubes, extra inner tubes, hex wrenches, a puncture kit, a pocket knife, and a hand pump. To clean your bike when you finish a hard day’s ride in the woods, you don’t really need much more than warm water, liquid sope, a sponge, WD-40 or a similar kind of degreaser, and cloths that are soft for drying the bike down.
To keep your bike in the same excellent condition that it came with from the bike shop, you will want to perform regular cleaning and maintenance. Getting your bike muddy is obviously a lot of fun, but it is just as important to clean your bike up after a good ride and make sure any needed repairs are addressed. It’s also a good idea to take a quick run through of your bike before you take it out on any major rides. Things you should check include the pressure in your tires, the stability of your handlebars, the shifting of your gears, the attachments of your wheels (particularly if you have quick release mechanisms), and the grip of your brakes. It’s better to find problems before the ride than after.
As you can see, there are a number of different factors you will need to consider if you intend to take proper care of your mountain bike. However, you do not necessarily have to spend a lot of money to make sure your bike remains in race ready condition; what is most important is performing regular and simple maintenance so you can ward off large problems while they are still small ones. There are times when you will probably need to take your mountain bike over to your local bike shop because there are repairs you will not be able to undertake yourself without sophisticated equipment and considerable amounts of experience. However, the majority of small repairs that you are likely to come across are repairs you can handle yourself with a bit of practice and patience, as well as the proper tools to do the job.