How can you service mountain bikes

Bike service - the best care tips for your mountain bike

Congratulation! You survived another grueling winter, but after months of ruthlessness, your everything will in all likelihood need some love. Our ten-point plan will get your bike in top shape for spring.

For many mountain bikers, now is the time to wake up their bike from its long hibernation and give it a full service in preparation for the new season. This service is even overdue for everyone who can also drive during the winter. As the trails dry out, the grip improves more and more and the speeds increase, it also makes sense to adjust your bike precisely to these changed conditions. But preparing for a new season doesn't just mean maintaining your bike. It's also about fueling the anticipation for spring and celebrating the transition to a sunnier season!

1. Wash

Duration: 30 min | Difficulty: super easy

Okay, that may sound obvious now, but when was the last time you cleaned your bike thoroughly? Use a high-quality bike cleaning agent and sensible brushes so that you can get to all those hard-to-reach places. This is how you let your bike shine again! Not only will this restore your pride in your machine, you will also discover signs of wear and tear - which makes further maintenance faster and easier.

Pro tip: With the right cleaner, dirt not only dissolves more easily, the bike also has fewer stains after washing and shines like new.

2. Check bearings, bearing shells and screws

Duration: 60 min | Difficulty: easy to moderate

All of the mud, sweat, and tears of the preseason have likely taken their toll on your bearings, and chances are bolts have loosened too. Therefore, it is crucial for the health of you and your bike to make sure that your bike is safe before doing anything else.

It costs you less than 10 minutes to carry out a simple safety check: Check all screws, ideally with a torque wrench, and pay particular attention to the key points of your damper or rear frame, handlebars and stem.

Tax rate: Turn the handlebars from side to side. If the whole thing feels rough and difficult, try greasing again before replacing the bearing. Now pull the front brake and move the bike back and forth. If you notice play in the headset, tighten the headset's preload screw to get it back taut. Now use a torque wrench to check the stem bolts on both the head tube and handlebars.

Frame storage: Remove your damper from your frame and move the frame through its travel. If there is slack, sideways movement, or feels unsteady and stiff, it is time to check each bearing until you find the culprits. Then replace these bearings before they cause damage.

Bottom bracket: The best way to find out if your bottom bracket's bearings have reached the end of their life: Remove the cranks and turn each bearing by hand. If they're running rough or generally difficult to turn, it's time to replace them. Many bottom bracket bearings can be purchased separately from the housing. Therefore, you may not have to replace the entire unit if you just want to swap the bearings. Your bearings run smoothly, but you can wiggle the crank arms from side to side? And have you already checked that all screws are correctly tightened? Then nothing helps: you have to replace the entire unit.

3. Breathe new life into your brakes

Duration: 90 min | Difficulty: moderate

Ironically, sub-optimal braking will slow you down. The first task is therefore to check the screws on the brake: Braking causes vibrations, which can loosen the components of your brake - with potentially serious consequences. Checks all the screws that secure the brakes to the frame and suspension fork.

Next, bleed your brakes. This removes the air and contaminants from your brake fluid and makes the stoppers feel like new again. Instructions that accompany you step by step through the process can usually be found for each brake on the respective manufacturer's website.

An autumn and winter full of dirt and water creates a paste that quickly wears down brake pads. So if you want to go faster next summer, replace your brake pads. Also check your brake discs: if they look worn or bent, it is a good idea to replace them when you change your pads. In case you haven't tried it yet: You might also want to change the size of the discs at the front and rear to 203 mm in order to achieve even better braking performance.

Pro tip: Installed sintered pads at the rear for maximum heat stability and organic pads at the front for optimum metering.

4. Change the tires

Duration: 20 min | Difficulty: easy to moderate, depending on the rim and tire

If you don't have to change your tires and have been fortunate enough not to have a flat tire all winter, you should still refill your tubeless milk. Over time, the liquid sealant will dry out and leave you with silicone lumps and no puncture protection. This would then increase the likelihood of a flat tire - and that is easy to avoid.

Pro tip: Renewing the milk is a good time to mount a tire insert in the impeller. Check out the model from Rimpact or Nukeproof.

5. New trains

Duration: 15 min | Difficulty: moderate

Do gear changes feel like thumb wrestling with a gorilla? If so, then winter has penetrated the casing and corrosion has increased the friction of the trains. Fortunately, replacing it with a new train including the cover is an uncomplicated task that will bring your circuit back to the crispness of the factory condition. If your bike has internal cables, don't forget to use the old cable to pull the new one through the frame - otherwise the time required can easily triple.

6. Fork and damper service

Self Duration: 1-2 hours | Difficulty: moderate
Submit Duration: 5–10 days | Difficulty: easy

When was the last time you gave your valuable damper a service or some tuning? The chances are good that it was longer than the recommended 60–100 h driving time!
Competent do-it-yourselfers can do a lower-leg fork service themselves, but if you want to get the most out of your suspension elements, a complete service ensures that your chassis will run better than ever. A tuning company can also tailor the fork and damper to your bike, your riding style and your weight. If you tuned your bike for more leisurely and slippery winter conditions, now is the time to adapt it to the relentlessness of spring.

Pro tip: If you are already removing the casting, it may be worthwhile to invest in a new air spring. With RockShox and FOX in particular, the performance of the fork can be significantly increased with a DebonAir or Evol air chamber.

7. Service your seat post

Duration: 20 min | Difficulty: easy to moderate

When was the last time you took out your seat post? The aluminum and steel materials used in seat posts and frames are prone to corrosion if not maintained - which can cause your seat post to weld itself inside your seat tube. Just like your gearshift, your height-adjustable seat post can become more difficult to move after the winter, so change the train when the post is no longer in the frame.

8. Check your chain

Duration: 30 seconds! | Difficulty: easy

Winter destroys chains and old chains destroy drives. Dirt and water combine and are blended into a paste that torments your chain links and withstands even the most thorough cleaning. Viscous chain oils promote this mess of pureed mud, which quickly wears out the chains and increases the friction in your drive with a permanent crunch. So at least give your chain a decent chain bath and get rid of all the dirt before you lubricate it with a high-quality product so that things run smoothly again. Also check for wear with a chain gauge: If the chain has lengthened, it's time for a new one. Replacing cheap chains more often can be more effective than using expensive chains for longer - and changing them regularly means you don't have to replace the expensive cassettes as often.

9. Pimps your pedals

Duration: 60 min | Difficulty: moderate

Your pedals have a difficult life: They are incredibly close to the dirt, they are also exposed to constant rock contact and are generally taken for granted. After a winter of disregard, it is high time for some attention! Grease your pedal axles - some pedals even come with grease nipples that turn them into a 2-minute job. On other pedals, simply loosen the retaining bolts, pull out the axle and press some grease into the pedal body. Click pedal drivers should check their cleats for wear and tear and replace them if they look worn. Riders who ride flat pedals should replace lost pins to keep the pedals as grippy as possible.

10. Bring your frame protection film up to scratch

Duration: 15 min | Difficulty: easy

Does your frame protection film come off after all the cleaning orgies and is it decorated with dirt that is stuck under the edges? Torn frame protection film looks bad and can also cause paint damage as trapped dirt rubs against the frame. Peel off the degrading film and replace it so that your frame is still protected and your bike looks like new.

Pro tip: Depending on the frame, a film with a design can give the bike a completely new look. There is a large selection in the AllMountainStyle shop.

From rocked down back to factory condition - these 10 uncomplicated steps will help you get your bike ready for the new season. Have fun shredding!


Text: Thomas Corfield Photos: Christoph Bayer