A mountain bike is a hardy and rugged vehicle that is designed to stand up to a considerable amount of abuse without breaking down or even skipping a beat. As millions of riders across the United States can attest, a mountain bike is a tough beast that can do seemingly impossible things few people would expect a bike to be capable of. Many people ride their mountain bikes in all kinds of weather and over all kinds of terrain without more than the occasional hiccup, and many more people require only minor repairs from time to time to keep their mountain bikes on the move and in tip top condition. However, no matter how good a mountain bike may be and no matter how hardy it may seem when out on the trail, the truth is that every bike is vulnerable in a few basic places. Sooner or later, whether you spent $500 or upwards of $5000 on your mountain bike, you may find yourself having to either replace certain parts or go out and make repairs to your mountain bike so you can continue to charge the steepest hills and cut through the gnarliest trails with it. This guide will provide you with information on some common parts that may need to be replaced and on some common repairs that may need to be made with your mountain bike so you can keep it in riding shape.
Perhaps the most common repair or part replacement you might have to deal with on your mountain bike involves the changing of the tires and tire tubes on your bike. Bike tires are different from car tires in that they contain an inner tube, which is a tube of rubber that is inflated with air and sits between the wheel and the tire itself. The tire is what comes in contact with the ground, and it retains its shape and structure through the inflated rubber inner tube and the the metal wheel. You are more likely to have to replace or repair the inner tube than you are to repair or replace the tire, as the inner tube is far more fragile than the tire. When you run over most sharp objects, they will be stopped by the tire, although they may erode the tire tread over time. However, some objects will penetrate the tire and puncture the inner tube. In such a case, you will need to either repair or replace the inner tube. It is generally best to replace the tube if you have the option to do so, as there is always the possibility of a patched tube opening up again, although the technology for tube patches has improved to the point where they rarely break down once applied correctly.
Another one of the most common repairs or part replacements you might have to deal with on your mountain bike is realigning or replacing your brakes. Whether you have rim brakes or disk brakes, they will most likely fall out of alignment at some point, whether due to riding over one too many tree trunks or simply due to the bouncing and bumping experienced by the wheels when you are conquering all sorts of terrain out in the woods. When you notice your brakes no longer perform the way they used to, you may either have to get them back into alignment or replace them entirely if they are completely worn down or damaged. You can check the condition of your brakes by loosening the bolts that connect your brake wires to your brakes and applying your brakes at the handlebars and then re-tightening the brake wire while you continue to hold on to the brake lever. If you have disk or rim brakes, you should check periodically to make sure the wheel itself is still true (in alignment). If it is not, you will have to replace it. If you have rim brakes, you should adjust the depth of the brake pad so it is not too far from or close to the wheel. You can purchase new wheels and brakes at your local bike shop or you can go online and find equivalent products for your bike.