7 Ways You're Destroying Your Mountain Bike | MTB Maintenance Tips

– Mountain bikes maywell be tough old things.

They can take a hell of apasting out on the trails, but they're not invincible.

It's entirely possible that you're slowly, or actually in some cases, rapidly, aging your pride and joy.

So let's take a look at those things that really do kill your bike, and more importantly, what you can do about it.

(logo swooshing) (upbeat music) Okay, so let's start with bearings, loose bearings in particular.

Every mountain bike, even one that doesn'thave rear suspension, will still have quite alot of bearings on there.

You've got your rear hub, you've got the free hub body itself, you've got the bottom bracket, you've got the front hub, and you can have the headset.

And then added to that equation, if you have a rear suspension bike, there's going to be shock mounts on there and any pivots that you have on the back, whether they use regularbearing races like these or cartridge bearings, or if they use bushings.

Now, they all wear out andthey all have problems.

Now, if you ride with loose bearings, firstly, you're addingfriction to your ride, so that's firstly not a good thing.

Secondly, in the form of, let's say rear suspension, if you're riding with loose bearings, just say two of them loose, may be the main pivots, that means there's going to be movement, and that movement will translate to additional wear on the other ones.

So really is an essential thing to A, make sure there's nohindrance to the movement of your back end of the bike and that nice suspensionaction you're paying for, but also B, to make sureyou don't prematurely wear all the other bearings on there, because it's all connected together.

Now, bearings, given the nature of how they're used on a bike, they will wear out over time, no bearing is going tobe completely invincible.

So it's down to you tobasically maintain them as best as you can, somebearings we've done videos on, you can basically geta bit more life on them by flipping off the seals andputting some more grease in.

It's not going to improvea badly damaged bearing, but it will help a dried up bearing last that bit longer if need be.

Now, what you're looking foris a bearing that is smooth and a bearing that has no play in it.

You will find a well maintainedbearing or a new bearing has a slight resistance to it.

That's purely from thegrease that's on the inside and from the seals.

Now, if I just tweak thisone past a microphone, you'll hear that it probablydoesn't have much of a sound.

Whereas if I take a knackered old bearing, I think this is off Steve Jones's bike, you'll hear the difference.

(bearing scratching) So what you're hearing there is, in fact, pitted surfaces on the inside, it's all grinding round, and the actual bearingsare basically been dragging on the inside of the shells of that.

So, bit by bit that's falling to bits, and if you continue riding abike with these all over it, A, it's going to feel horrible, B, its back end's goingto be all over the place, you're going to get ghost shifting, generally not good thing, and the long term effect is it can damage your bike.

So make sure you keep aneye on all the bearings on your bike, and you won't be ruining it.

Now, most mountain bikes these days will have a suspension fork on the frame.

Obviously, this is a veryold one, this is a FOX TALAS.

Now, the problem with stanchions on a bike is they're subject to ingesting all the muck and moisture into them.

Now, as you know, a suspension fork is essentially made upof a few key components.

Other than that, they'reall the same, all right? So, the fundamentalbasics are the lower legs with the brace connected, that is known as the slider, the upper legs here areknown as the stanchion tubes, and then you've got thecrown steering unit.

Quite often, the uppertubes, the stanchions, will be one part, and it's known as a CSU.

These essentially slideinto the outer leg, there will be bushingson the inside of that, and then there'll be afoam wiper and a seal.

Now that's all there is to it.

Of course, there's dampers andother systems on the inside.

Now, the key to making yourexpensive suspension fork last is by firstly keeping them clean.

Secondly, keeping them serviced.

Even a basic lower leg service will keep your fork going considerably longerthan not doing anything.

And the last one is making sure they don't look anything like this, and if they do, stopriding them immediately 'cause you're just causingyourself more damage.

So this will have beenridden in poor conditions, probably never serviced.

And due to the telescopicnature of a suspension fork as it's operating, youare slowly pulling in mud and muck into the fork, which grinds up and down, wearing out the bushes that help the fork slide in the first place, and then of course wearingout the more expensive legs, the bushes can be replaced.

They're a consumable part, they're designed to wear out over time.

The legs are not, and as you can see here, this one is in absolutely awful condition.

And effectively, this wasa write-off, this fork, we've actually got thisfrom a suspension machinist.

This guy sent their forksthere to get them serviced and went home with a new pair of forks because these could not be serviced.

And again, if you look at this, these shouldn't make anynoise going down here, but it feels likesandpaper, it's the worst.

If you can ever hear that, oh.

(fork scratching) 10 quid, 20 quid, 30 quid, 40 quid, 50 quid, 60 quid.

Lubricated even can help, if you apply some basic forkoil to these upper legs here just above the seals, compressyours forks a few times, it will ingest some of that in there and it will help basicallykeep them nice and supple.

What you do want to be carefuloff when you are doing this is make sure you don't getany oil near your brakes, make sure that cannot happen.

Preferably do it withthe front wheel removed from your bike, just tobasically safeguard yourself.

Keep them nice and clean, do a lower leg service, it's a really simple job, people get freaked out by a lower leg service, think it's something crazy.

Essentially all it is is removing two bolts fromthe bottom of the fork, pulling the lowers off, draining out a very small quantity of oil, sometimes as little as 10 CC on there, and basically putting it back on again, it's very, very simple, and that will make yourfolks go on for a long time.

Henry has just made a videoon real time fork servicing, so that is something you'regoing to be able to check out and follow along at home, think of it as a bit of a cooking program.

Nice and simple, and again, no excuses for you lot, it's a nice, easy thing to do, and it will save you afortune in the long run.

(gentle music) A worn chain.

In fact, a worn transmission.

Now, this is somethingthat is a consumable part of the bike, you're going to wear it out.

However, you can make it last a bit longer if youfollow a very simple rule, and that rule reallyis replacing your chain when it's worn, basically.

It's quite simple, ifyou replace your chain just before it's knackered, you're going to be able to makeyour chain rings last longer, and your rear sprockets ona cassette will last longer.

And the reason for that is there's a thing called chain stretch.

Now, your chain doesn't actually stretch.

However, the chain pitchwill get slightly longer.

The components of a chain areyou have these outer plates, you have the inner plates, you have the rollers, basically, they'reeffectively like bushes, and you have the pinsthat go through them.

Now, those rollers get worn.

And in doing so, they enable the chain to actually kind of, the linksto stretch and move around.

As the pitch changes veryslightly as the chain stretches, what's going to mean is that basically it's going to wear on adifferent part of that tooth.

The next thing you'll see isthe teeth will start hooking.

You can see this on really old, knackered cassettes andchains, and on the sprockets.

And the effect of that is your chain will start hooking onto the drive train, it wears them into really fine points, and then suddenly you'vegot to replace everything.

Well, I say suddenly, this is a thing that can happen over time.

Get yourself a chain checker, plenty available on the market, they enable you to check your chain.

And whilst you're at it, also take a good look at your chain as well, and the rear sprocketsand the chain rings, you can actually look at the teeth and you can see damage to them.

What you're looking for, orwhat you're not looking for, is hooked teeth, and they'requite easy to identify.

You can see a really worn out chain ring against a brand new chainring, they look very different.

When you look at your chain, make sure if any parts of the outerplate are stepped out a bit, that's a classic example ofwhere the chain will snap.

And that chain will snap under pressure, which means it's always goingto be in a bad situation, throws your body weightforwards over the handlebars, suddenly using your face as a brake, so it's not a good thing.

So make sure you keepan eye on your chains.

Brake pads.

Obviously you need brakeson a mountain bike, and you'll be ruining theway your mountain bike rides and performs and potentiallysome expensive parts of it if you don't keep aneye on your brake pads.

Now, they pretty much do their own thing until they're either contaminated, in which case they'reusually fit for the bin, or when you wear them out, basically you'll need to replace them.

That is something you're definitely going to have to keep an eye on because no brake pad laststhe same as another one, it completely varies on howmuch you use your brakes, the size of your brakingrotors, and of course, where you ride and theconditions you ride in.

Now, the construction of a brake pad, so you got metal backing plate, then you have your pad material, essentially they're bonded to that plate.

But when they wear out, you can actually end up braking justusing that metal plate.

Now, I shouldn't needto tell you that that's going to be damaging for the rotors, and actually, it can be reallybad for the pistons as well.

So, do take care and make sure you check your brakepads from time to time.

Very important.

When you do inspect brake pads, the best way to do is toremove them from the caliper.

I do recommend puttingsome rubber gloves on, like latex or nitrile gloves, and the reason for thatis you still have oils and stuff in your hands thatcan contaminate the pads.

This one is already contaminated so it doesn't matter thatI'm holding it like this, but do take care and youkeep an eye on those things.

Now, there's one more thing that's actually very importantand often overlooked, is the disc rotors themselves.

Quite often peoplereplace their brake pads when they're worn out and justcarry on on the same rotors.

You usually can, but they'renot going to last forever, because you're using metallicbase pads on a metal rotor, you are going to wear that rotor down, at some point it will fail.

So it's important to check them.

Be careful using your bare hands on there 'cause of the oils in them, you don't want that to go nearthe actual breaking surfaces.

But you want to check for anysort of scoring on that surface.

If there is some, that's a good indication that it's worn out.

The best way is to get yourselfa set of digital calipers or verniers to accuratelymeasure the thickness.

Definitely check your specifics with your brake manufacturer.

For your own safety check it, because the other alternativeis using your face as a brake.

Worn out paint finish on a bike.

Needless to say you willhave spent some money on your mountain bike at some point, and you're going to wantit to stay looking good.

Now, some people are moreprecious about this than others.

But what really counts is the fact that you're riding a mountain bike in an off road environment, you're around nature's grinding paste, that means mud, that means sand, that means grit.

All of that stuff combinedwith the way that you ride and the conditions you ride in ultimately mean you'regoing to prematurely ruin the look of your bike.

It's going to get oldand haggard a lot faster if you don't look after itand take some precautions.

The obvious one to do ifyou have a brand new frame is to take care of itbefore you even ride it by getting some sort offrame protection kit.

Something like invisiFRAME, there's various different brands offer asimilar service on the market.

But essentially it's a helitape kit, you cover up all theimportant parts of the bike that are typically exposed to being rubbed and damaged from various different things.

It can just be as simpleas the brake cables or the brake hosesrubbing your paint away, you can protect againstthat using helitape.

The chain stays andseat stays on your bike are often subject to ridingshoes rubbing on them, depending if how you ride, if you have flat pedals for example, you're quite often a bitmore ankles in on the bike for a bit more support, and in which case you'requite likely to rub some of that paint off, so getthem protected nice and soon.

The same goes for yourchain stays on the top.

You probably want a bit ofrubber across the top of there to protect it from the constant slapping of the chain on it, 'cause it takes paint off as well as basically makingit sound quite awful as well, you really want it to be nice and silent.

The other area you want topay attention to of course is the top tube of your bike.

If you ride with any sort of knee pads or any sort of armor on your legs, it's quite likely when you'removing around on the bike, you might not realizethis, but you will actually be rubbing the paint awayslowly on the tops of your bike.

Now, the final one is theunderside of the down tube and underneath the bottom bracket shell, where you're subject to rock strikes and other stuff from flying up.

Now, day to day protection, again, good old helitape, anything like that is goodto cover it cosmetically.

However, if you're doingsomething like a season at somewhere like New Zealandor Whistler or in the Alps, then you're likely going to bedoing chairlift accessed riding, which means you're going tobe riding a lot rockier stuff, and you definitely willhave rocks flying up, they're going to hit your frame, and they can cause a lot more damage.

Now, if this sounds like you, you really do want someheavier duty protection.

I quite often refer to Scotch, 3M Scotch rubber mastic tape.

Now, admittedly it's notthe best stuff in the world, but for this protective purpose, it's actually really, really helpful.

If you want somethinga bit more heavy duty and don't mind somethingdoesn't look quite as nice, use a section of old tire.

I'm seeing this quitea lot with seasonaires, cutting it up and just putting it under their BB shell there and the bottom where you get those worse rock strikes.

Not cleaning your bike.

Cleaning your bike isthe perfect opportunity to get hands on with it andgive it a thorough inspection.

Now, you want to be workingaround your bike systematically, find a system that works for you.

I tend to work front to back.

Everyone has their own way, stick to it so you don't miss any part of the bike.

Now, what I mean by handson is get a grip of it, get a feel of things.

Feel that back wheel, see if there's any play, look at the linkages, seeif there's anything going on that shouldn't be going on, run an Allen key around the bike, make sure all your properbolts, your pivot bolts, all that sort of stuff, makesure it's all torqued up and tight and taught as it should be.

Pay attention to it and clean it.

And hopefully you won'tbe leading yourself to a ruined bike thatcosts you loads of money.

Okay, and the last one is overusing it.

Yeah, you might think me madfor saying something like this, but some people override their bikes and basically classically wear them out long before their time.

Now, whilst it's amazing toride your bike all the time, if you only have onebike, it can be a problem.

Now, plenty of friendshave got a single bike, they commute to work on that bike, they ride them all week in the salt, in the grime on the roads, then they go out on thetrails at the weekend, riding in our typically wet UK conditions, wearing out brake pads, wearing out drive trains, constantly spending money on their bikes.

Sometimes there is a better way.

Having a rat bike is a prettygood way of doing this.

Now, build yourself up something cheap, just get a second hand bike, put some mudguards on it.

Keep that as your rat bike for commuting, all the daily chores and stuff like that.

Popping to the shops, riding to work, riding to college, whereveryou need a daily for.

It doesn't matter ifit's cheap and cheerful, it's not going to get nicked, you don't have to worry about it.

And it's going to keep yourpride and joy nice and clean and in better condition for the weekends.

Now, I'm not suggesting you don't enjoy your bike on a daily basis, but just be aware thatyou could be prematurely wearing your bike out by usingit constantly all the time, and it is a good idea tospend a couple hundred quid and have that second bike if your main bike is anexpensive suspension bike.

Well, there we go, there's seven ways you could be ruining your mountain bike, and hopefully a few tips you can take away and make sure you're notdoing that to your own bikes.

If you've got any ofyour own tips like this, let us know in the comments underneath, we'd love to hear from you.

For a couple more helpful videos, click up here for deepcleaning your drive train.

That's something I recommendreally should do that annually.

Make sure it stays in good condition.

If your riding condition's like ours, you probably want to doquite a lot more frequently.

And click down here ifyou want to turn your bike into a commuter, that isturning your existing bike, not buying a rat bike for that purpose, but a pretty good video nonetheless.

As always, give us a hugethumbs up here at GMBN Tech.

Click that subscribe buttonand hit that notification bell.

Cheers, guys.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *