Suspended Service

Gear check, spring edition.

Come springtime, when sun graces the Gallatin Valley for days on end, you’re going to want to break out the mountain bike. But unless you prepared ahead of time—unlike all of us—your rig is likely in need of some love. Now, you probably keep your tire pressure where you like it, and give your steed a good surface-cleaning now and then; but every once in a while, it pays to dig a little deeper. For a full-suspension trail bike, consider the following maintenance items to get your ride ready for the season.

1. Check tire tread.
The more trails that dry out, the more you’re going to need those knobs. Make sure your tread isn’t too run-down, and replace tires as necessary.

2. Replace brake pads.
If you hear a loud whine every time you hit the brakes, your pads could be worn down. Pop your wheels out and give your pads a look, front and back. If they’re rubbed down to the metal, it’s time for new ones. 

3. Change cables and housing.
Often overlooked, the cables that make your bike function—brakes, derailleur, dropper-post—need love, too. If you have fraying cables and compromised housing, replace them.

4. Have suspension serviced.
What makes riding bikes on trails so much fun? In a word: suspension. Keep the good times rolling with a full service.

5. Clean drivetrain. 
The drivetrain keeps you moving forward, and you want that forward motion to be nice and smooth. Keeping your chain clean and oiled is step one, but using a brush and some soapy warm water on the cassette, chainrings, and derailleur is a good idea as well. Once you’re done, make sure to dry all parts thoroughly. 

6. Service bearings. 
Full-suspension bikes have pivot points that allow frames to absorb the impacts that rough trails throw at them. These pivot points get dirty, so it pays to clean them up. Do so by removing the pivot bearings, cleaning them, and then re-greasing them.

If all this sounds a little outside your bike-mechanic comfort zone, head to a local shop for service. There are many in town, and they’ll always have good insights into whatever other questions you have on bike performance.