Riding your mountain bike is really cool but what happens if, you know, trouble follows you wherever you go? A slipped bike chain? Sharp cables? Punctured wheel?
Well, a bike shop can help you with those things, but it would be nice if you could do that stuff by yourself. In this article, we are going to show you some easy bike maintenance tips you can put into practice on the go.
So, without further ado, here are our best five must-learn basic repair techniques.
1. Handlebar Wrapping
You know that the rubbery thingamajig on your handlebars will eventually wear off? Not to worry – redoing the wrapping is a piece of cake once you’ve done it a couple of times. Here’s what you will need to do to fix those handlebars like a pro:
- Pull the hoods off your shifters to reach the old tape.
- Using a straight screwdriver or a tire lever, begin removing the plastic caps from your handlebars.
- Unwrap the old tape with care. You don’t want pieces sticking to your handlebar.
- Inspect the brake and shifter cables. If they are loose, secure them in place with electrical tape.
- Pour some brake cleaner on a clean cloth and remove any old adhesive , grease from the handlebar.
- Take the new roll of tape, unwrap it if it has an adhesive strip.
- Keeping the tape under tension, start wrapping it around the handlebar. You have to make sure that half of your tape goes on top of your previous fold. Continue doing this until you reach the end of the handlebar.
- Tuck in the excess inside the handlebars and put back the plastic caps.
2. Cap Off the Cables
Capping off loose cables is not just for the looks. If you want to work clean and like pro, cap off the ends of the brake or shifter cables. That way, you won’t end up cutting yourself while riding the bike. You can do that using a common pair of pliers.
Once you cut off the sharp end, you can trim them some more using a file. Also, if you really want to do a great job, you might consider putting some small, metallic caps on.
3. Truing the Wheels
Probably the least pleasurable aspect of owning a bike is having to go through the whole rim truing process. Reading about it or seeing someone doing it in your stead might look like neurosurgery, but it’s not all that bad.
Still, it is a meticulous and time-consuming process. Now, truing very much depends on your bike’s wheels.
For instance, MTBs are easier to calibrate compared to city bikes since the design allows for on-the-spot repairs. Check out these cool 26 inch mountain bikes tires reviews to get an idea of what you’re up against when trueing those tires. So, with this in mind, let’s talk shop.
- Turn the bike upside down and start by removing the tubes.
- Using a spoke wrench, check to the spokes to determine which are tight and which are loose.
- Take a ruler or something resembling one and place it underneath the fork.
- Give the wheel a couple of spins.
- If the wheel touches the ruler, use your spoke wrench to tighten the spoke nipples.
- Move on to the brakes and give those wheels another spin. At this point, the wheel’s edges should be equidistant from the brakes. If a wheel hits the brakes on either side tighten the spokes.
Congratulations! You now know how to true your bike’s wheels.
4. Fixing a Puncture in the Bike Tire
What do you do when there’s a puncture in one of the wheels? No, taking the bike to the nearest bike shop doesn’t count as doing it yourself.
To fix a puncture, put your bike upside down and take out the tube. To find out where the puncture is, put some air into the tire and place it under water.
You can also use some soap to see the hole. Once you have identified it, check for sharp objects. If there are none, use regular glue and sand on the damaged spot. After that, apply a wheel kit patch onto it and you are ready to go.
5. Reattaching a Bike Chain
The last item on our list has a bit to do with a mountain biker’s worst nightmare – a slipped bike chain. Fixing it is easy and we are going to show you how to do it.
Turn the bike upside down, push the rear derailleur forward. Take the chain off and put it back on the ring. Lift the rear wheel a bit and start turning the pedals forward. That’s it.
You now have everything you need to repair the most common issues in mountain bikes. As you can see, you really don’t need to spend a fortune on super easy jobs when you can do them all by yourself.