As the owner of a full-suspension bike, we assume you’d already know that your bike needs proper attention and care. The complex design of its frame, as well as its components typically call for attention. Leave it unattended for only a month, and you will see your bike becoming inefficient day by day.
In this article, you will find some very handy tips to keep your full-suspension bike as fresh as new. Additionally, we compiled a simple guide to help you know your bike just a bit better. We hope it helps!
Know Your Full Suspension Bike
Although there are separate front & rear suspension bikes available too, let’s directly dive into all-possible adjustments and functions of a full-suspension bike, since that’s what you own.
Technically, a full-suspension bike offers five kinds of adjustments:
• Damping (Compression & Rebound): The dampers located on the front and rear fork provide a range of compression and rebound upon jumps. You can adjust these according to your riding style.
• Lockout: A lockout allows you to enable or disable the suspension. In high-end models, it even allows you to set to block or enable the suspension to a certain level. It can be a switch or a similar controller, located atop the front fork or on the handlebar.
• Air pressure: Dependent on bodyweight and bike’s model, air pressure is an adjustable value. It has a great impact on the safety of your ride. Excess of it can lead to poor traction, and too little of it can make the suspension almost useless.
• Spring Preload: Fundamentally, spring preload refers to the movement of the coil that determines the compression of shocks. It’s important to adjust because too much of it can make the movement of the bike too rigid, demanding more energy. On the contrary, too little amounts of it can nullify the shocks.
• Sag: Sag brings balance to your suspension. Often confused with preload, this value is a product of custom preload, air pressure, and damping adjustments. To attain a certain percent of it, you have to adjust these values.
How to Maintain it Properly?
Unfortunately, a common misconception persists in the mountain biker’s community where first-time buyers easily mistake premium quality bikes as low-maintenance.
There is a common misconception that expensive bikes don’t need much maintenance. I had one of the best full suspension bikes out there but I maintained it properly to get the perfect riding experience.
An expensive full-suspension mountain bike will deteriorate as quickly as a cheaper one without maintenance. As a serious mountain biker, it is important to be clear about the concept of maintenance being directly proportional to performance. A regularly maintained bike will function much better than its counterpart. Plus, it will comparatively suffer lesser damage and cost little during repairs.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the details of how to maintain a mountain bike!
1. Clean the Bike Regularly
The simplest yet the most effective method is to clean the bike routinely. And, for this, you don’t need to invest in special tool kits or equipment. Begin with the biodegradable cleaner in access and a sponge. You may also use a towel or cloth piece.
Combine these two to cleanse the entire bike structure. Wipe the frame length, chain, pedals, cassette, seat, and even the derailleurs. Do not apply pressure or scrub. Instead, be gentle to avoid damage.
Once done, use a spray gun to wash gently. Regardless of the convenience, restrict usage of buckets and jets as the water pressure can loosen the lubrication.
2. Use A Protective Spray
At times, regardless of how much cleaner you have poured onto them, the stubborn mud stains do not simply go away. Instead, these stains contribute to unhygienic conditions, poor bike performance, and greasier looks. So, what’s the solution? It is none other than protective sprays!
Fundamentally, protective sprays refer to spray-on bike cleaners that have a unique composition with high-oil content. A little spray on the bike components not only eliminates dirt residues but also leaves behind a glistening shine.
However, do not include protective sprays in your daily bike maintenance session. Some products may contain strong chemicals, which can cause the frame color to rust.
3. Replace & Repair the Drivetrain
Drivetrain refers to the part of the bike which is responsible for movement. Simply, it is a collection of bike components that function to move the bike. These components include pedals, derailleur, chain, ring, and rear-wheel cassette.
Neglecting can build up dirt and rust, which will ultimately lead to drivetrain or even bike replacement. To maintain, spin all the parts of the drivetrain. It should be smooth and fine. Next, examine each component individually. Replace any part you find rusted or damaged.
4. Check the Wheels & Tires
A wobbly and unstable wheel can be susceptible to accidents. Hence, check the wheels routinely before use. In case they are not firm, contact a local repairman to fix it. Plus, to ensure good performance and damage prevention, inspect each tire vigilantly. Some aspects to consider during the inspection include:
- Cracks and tears
- Dirt and grime
You might require a tire inflation pump to achieve the desired pressure. And, scrubbing the tires using a dedicated cleaner and cloth can eliminate dirt. However, only repair or replacement can solve the wear and damage problems.
5. Oil the Bike Annually
A deterioration in performance and durability occurs when the drivetrain of a mountain bike does not get lubricated. You see, lubrication coats the parts of the drivetrain and counters friction’s negative effects. Consequently, protecting the bike against wear, rust, and improving performance.
So, remember to add lubrication in your annual bike maintenance session. You can use any available lubricant, most preferably oil. Apply it thoroughly and wipe the excess using a cloth.
Last Pro Tip: Do not Quit Biking
Lastly, do not quit mountain biking. Life can get too busy for passion pursuit, we understand. Maybe at times, you may tend to your mountain bike but do not have enough spare hours to hit the trails. But you know how it goes; when you have a will, you can always make way. So, keep fueling your passion even if it means a practice session of ten minutes. It will not only keep you healthy and happy but will also keep your full-suspension bike from rusting!