Mountain Bike Spring Tune Up | How To Make Your MTB Feel Like New

Mountain Bike Spring Tune Up | How To Make Your MTB Feel Like New


– If your winter riding
is anything like ours here at GMBN, then your
bike’s gonna have to put up with all the abrasion and wear that a wet, muddy winter puts on your drive train and everything else. Give your bike a bit of a spring clean, and it’s gonna be prepped
and primed for summer trails. First up, before we get in the workshop, let’s give the bike a bit of a clean. It is pretty filthy, so you want to make sure
there’s nothing on there that’s in sort of a bad state. Work your way around, make
sure everything’s clean. Give your transmission a bit of a clean. Whilst your doing it, it
gives you the opportunity to make sure there’s no damage
that’s gonna need fixing, like frame cracks, or
slashes in your tires, anything like that on the way around. Give that bike a clean,
and then we’ll see you upstairs in the workshop. With your bike being at least
sort of respectably clean, now you can have a decent look at it, and see what things you
need to refresh on there. Some things are gonna be replaceable, i.e. changing your derailleur cables if they’re a bit sticky. You might also find some damaged parts and components on there. Now, this is an ideal time of year to replace those, so either
you can do that yourself by following one of our
other how-to videos, or if you’re unsure, you can take it to your local bike shop. Now, I like to work from
the front of the bike to the back of the bike. That way, I can be systematic,
and not miss anything. First up, I’m just
gonna inspect the tires, make sure there’s no nicks,
or cuts, or anything in there. These are fairly new tires, so they should be fine. I’ve not lost any
pressure, but in your case, they might have been on there some time, so there’s a good chance
they might have some damage. If you do manage to find some damage to your tire side, would be that slash, or a minor nick in there, we do advise repairing that as soon as possible, or replacing it if it’s
an especially bad one. We did do a video on sewing up the side or slash on a tire. Basically, you stitch this up,
you patch it on the inside, and you vulcanizing
solution on the outside. It does mean that that
tire is suitable for use until the tread does wear out, but it’s not always that easy. If you want to find out
how to repair a tire slash just like the one we’ve just shown you, the link is in the description
below this very video. It’s a really good one,
to know how to do that. It does save you some money,
at least in the short term. As I’m working my way around the wheel, I’m just looking for any sort
of visible damage to the rim. I want to make sure the spokes are all fairly evenly tensioned, nothing
is out of place or loose. I’m also having a look at the disk rotor, making sure it’s not warped, making sure everything runs
nice and freely, and then true. There shouldn’t be any sort
of visible damage to the bike. Want to make sure there’s
no play in your bearings. Don’t forget, this is just a
spring cleaning on the bike. It’s not a full service. You just want to make sure
your bike is in good condition, and everything is working
so you can hit those trails. If you run any sort of tubeless tires and you’ve been doing this
for any length of time, you’ll notice that, over time, the sealant does dry up, so you do need to keep an eye on this, and it will certainly depend on the sealant you use and the
weather conditions you ride in. Here in the UK, I tend
to top up my tire sealant maybe once or twice a year, and it tends to stay pretty good. Something that does tend
to happen quite a lot is, the valve cores get clogged up, so I do recommend making sure you take the valve cores
out, and picking out any bits of rubber that
are clogging them up. It normally happens at
the bottom end here, which is going on the inside. That’s what hampers air
getting into the valve. What tends to happen
as a result of this is, if you have a puncture when
you’re out on the trail, or even if you just want to top up on air, you’ll end up bending your valve core, and it will be the day you
don’t have a spare one with you. When you remove your
pump, the core comes out, you lose all the air out of your tire. You’re forced to set your tire up with a tube on the inside, a
lot of faffing, a lot of mess. If you keep your valve
cores clean and clear, and make sure that they’re not bent, they’re not gonna let you down on a ride. That is exactly one of
those sort of things that you want to be doing to make sure your bike is ready for
the trails this spring. Whilst you have the valve core out of your bike for cleaning, give the wheel a little shake. You notice, on this particular one, I can’t hear any sealant inside, which suggests the sealant
is actually dried up. I’m gonna take the opportunity of the valve core not being there, and put some fresh sealant
in through that empty valve. The best way to do that
is with a basic syringe. There are various ones
available on the market. You can quite simply suck up some sealant, and pour it straight in. I can’t recommend using a syringe for putting fresh sealant in enough because it does mean you don’t have to reseat your tires again. Everything is gonna be perfect as soon as you re-inflate, and you won’t need to use the
compressor to re-inflate it. My valve core is nice and clean. I’ve got some fresh sealant in there. It’s just a case of
putting some fresh air in. Next thing, whilst at
the front of the bike, you want to pay attention to, check out your brake caliper, make sure it’s securely fastened to the bike. You want to make sure the
brakes are working well. Do your brakes pull all
the way to the bars? In this case, they feel absolutely fine. If those are pulling
all the way to the bars, it’s either an indication
they might need bleeding, or perhaps your brake pads are worn. The best way to check that is to simply remove the
wheel from the bike. Of course, if your
brake pads are worn out, you definitely want to be replacing those as soon as possible. Whilst the wheel’s off the bike, you want to inspect the disk rotor, and just look at the braking surfaces. If you can, avoid getting your fingertips on the actual braking surfaces ’cause you have got oil in your fingers that can affect the brake pads
and those braking surfaces. What you’re looking for is
any sort of heavy pitting, or any sort of ridges or scores even in the rotor surfaces
that might’ve happened from worn out brake pads, or if they look glazed or polished over. If that’s the case, with rotors, you can clean them with isopropyl alcohol, and get some fine emery paper on them to restore some of that grain to them, and re-bed your brakes in. As with brakes, because
they’re a safety thing, you heavily rely on your brakes, I recommend doing it
sooner rather than later. Now it’s just a case of
removing those brake pads, and inspecting them to make sure that there’s plenty of life left on them. Depending on the
manufacturer of your brakes, they remove in slightly different ways, but you’ll tend to have a retaining bolt, and then one of these spring
lushes between the pads. As you can see here, there’s plenty of life left on those. What you’re looking for
is plenty of the pad in relation to the backing plate. If your brake pad’s in bad condition, then replace those pads at this stage. Very easy to do. You literally simply pop them back in, and they will be brand new
brake pads ready to go. Of course, you do have to bed them in as per a new set of brake pads. If your brake pads are fine, and your lever is pulling
all the way to the bars, it’s very likely that you’re gonna need to bleed those brakes. There’s a link in the
description below this video of how to bleed this very brakes, which are SRAM Guide brakes with a bleeding edge port on them. There’s also links in that video for Shimano and other Avid or SRAM brakes. Next up at the front of the bike, obviously, you want to make sure that all your controls in your cockpit’s safe, but assuming that is,
you want to make sure your transmission and your
gears are working nicely. I’m just gonna run the
bike through the gears, and my shifter actually
feels really nice and smooth, and indexing is still good on the bike. However, it’s very common,
after a winter’s ride, in that your gear shifting’s
gonna be quite stiff. That’s down to one of two things. Either water and muck has
got into the outer housing, and it’s either corroded the inner cable, which is generally causing
additional friction, or there’s some friction
inside the shifter. In this case, I know that
my gears are working fine, but I’m still gonna put some grease on the inside of the shifter ’cause it helps keep rain from getting into that cable in the first place. Now, I like to use a very
thin spray grease for this, and the reason for that
is, it stays in place, and helps form a really good barrier, but it’s not so thick that it congeals or gets in the way of the
actual shifter action. Depending on your shifter, it’s gonna be slightly different. It’s a three millimeter bolt on the top of this SRAM X01 shifter. You simply take the cover off, and you get access to the
inside of the shifter there. I’m just gonna slacken it off, put a bit of a rag underneath here just to catch any spray that goes where I don’t want it to. Make sure it gets some, just going to where the water can get into
to actual outer housing. Nicely done. Wipe off any excess
that’s gonna help attract dirt, and muck, and grime to your shifter. Then replace that cover. If your shifting does feel stiff, and it’s not the shifter itself, then you’re gonna need to either flush out the outer
housing at the very least, or replace the gear inner cable. More than likely, you’re gonna need to flush out that outer housing and replace the inner
cable, but sometimes, if it’s in that bad of a state, you’re gonna need to replace
the outer housing as well. In this particular case,
it’s working just fine, but if you want to
replace your inner cable, this is how you do it. You simply remove the top of the shifter just like I showed you
to grease the inside. I would still replace some of that grease on the inside there. Then start threading
through the new inner cable so it comes out of the barrel adjuster. Make sure the barrel adjuster is wound in. I would always be inclined
to unwind it one click. Pull it all the way
through, replace the cover on the shifter, and refit it to the bike. Then just flush in some lubricant through the outer housing before threading the cable into that. Following winter is a good time to replace things on your bike because you’ve got a maximum use
in the bad conditions. You want to start the year off with a nice, fresh drive chain so that, if you do need to replace your chain, now’s the time to check it just to see how it is wearing. Use one of these chain checker tools, and you can check the wear on it. In fact, this one’s so new, I can barely get the chain
into the tool itself. I just bought this, a few weeks old, so as I would expect,
it’s not worn at all. It does depend, if your chain is 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12 speed, there’s
always recommendations on the checkers, new chain, between .25 and .5, and replacing at .75. It does vary between
11 to 12 speed chains, but it’s a good recommendation to get one of these. This is a slightly more
expensive chain checker tool, but there’s a more basic
one that’s literally a set of plates you just
chuck into your bike. Cost you about 10 quid or about 10 bucks. Well worth having. If you change the chain in early spring just before your summer season kicks off, you’re gonna have a
nice, fresh drive chain with accurate shifting for
at least most of the season depending on the conditions you ride in, and how often you ride. It’s quite likely that
I’ll be running this chain this time next year. Obviously, the drive train is
nice and clean on the bike. For indexing the gears,
all you’re looking for is just to make sure that one click equates to one gear change. Nice and simple. You can pretty much check this on the first three or four sprockets, just ensuring the chain hops up and down. If the chain doesn’t hop up immediately, if you turn the barrel adjuster on the shifter counterclockwise,
so anticlockwise, quarter or half a turn, keep doing that until it shifts up cleanly. Then repeat for the first
three or four sprockets in both directions, and
you’ll find it should shift all the way to the top. Also at the front of your bike, you want to pay attention
to your suspension forks. Over the time, during the winter, they can ingest a lot of mud and muck, so it is a really good time to consider doing a lower leg service. A lower leg service is
something fairly basic that everyone can do at home. If you’re not comfortable doing this, of course, your local bike
shop can do it for you. If you want to find out more on doing a fork lower leg service yourself, it’s a fairly similar
principle on Rocks forks, or SunTour, most of the
common brands of forks. There’s a link in the description below. You can do a nice visual
inspection in the meantime. Make sure that the seals are very clean, there’s no visible damage to them. The key, ultimately, to
suspension forks working well is them being clean. Of course, doing the major lubrication on the inside of the forks is done with a lower leg service. You can roll back the garter spring, and get some sort of
silicon fork lube spray on the stanchions here, cycle it a bit, and you can help pull out some of that muck that’s
initially under those seals, wipe it off, and replace
that garter spring. That’s a good idea just to
do as routine maintenance, just to make sure that there’s no drying out going on on your fork legs. Of course, the real work is done in a lower leg service. If you have a dropperpost
on your mountain bike, we want to make sure that’s
functioning correctly, goes up and down
correctly as it should do, and it’s not sticky. The first thing is to
check that the shifter, or sort of the remote for
it, is working correctly. This particular one is cable-operated. I notice that the operation on it is nice and smooth, I don’t need to replace this cable. Generally, they’re pretty good, I think. You don’t need to do it too often. If yours is a hydraulic one, like the Rockshox Reverb, there is a chance you might need to do a bleed on the shifter itself. If that’s the case, then there’s a link in the video description below to how to bleed a Rockshox Reverb lever. If yours is like this one, it’s very easy to replace the cables. There’s another bit of
maintenance really worth doing, and it’s very similar to fork seals and making sure your forks
are working correctly. On many a seatpost, you can
actually remove the seal, and clean under this very easy. I’m just gonna check
the operation of this, just sliding it up and down, and it actually is sliding okay, but I’d rather be on the safe side, and make sure it’s working nicely. I’m just gonna undo this dust seal here, and slide this up. I’ll get access to the bush under there. Make sure it’s all nice
and clean around here. If you use a quality suspension lube, or a suspension grease just under here, it can help purge out
any nasty grit and grease that’s found its way into the seal, and make it feel very smooth in operation. Actually, it does feel a
lot smoother straight away, so goes to show that, even one that feels like it’s in good condition can benefit from a bit of grease. Just gonna wipe the surface over ’cause you don’t want too
much to stick to this. You’re good to go. Something else I really like to do, I do this, to be honest,
every time I clean my bike, but it’s a really nice
thing to do in spring just to keep your bike a bit cleaner for a bit longer, is to polish
the frame up a little bit. There’s various different
frame polishes out there. They’re normally silicon-based. You can just bring your
frame up to a bit of a gloss. Just like when you wax your car, it just helps dirt and other muck stop sticking to your bike
in between bike cleans. Especially good for those wet days, when you’re out on a trail, and it’s just muck that’s
just gonna stick to it. There you go. There are the basics for a
spring clean on your bike, and getting it ready for the trails this spring and summer. Hopefully, some of these tips
would’ve been helpful for you. If you want to find out how to do that fork lower leg service, which is applicable to most
suspension forks out there, click down there. It’s a really useful thing to do. You can do it a couple of times a year, and it really does make a difference to how your suspension forks perform. If you want to find out everything about getting your gears indexed, and how to accomplish perfect
shifting, click up there. As always, click on
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