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5 Things To Do to Get Your Bike Ready for Spring

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Spring has sprung, and it's finally time to get back on the trails. Maybe your trusty mountain bike has sat the winter out, or pushed through some less than glorious conditions. It will be important to assess the general condition of your bike and perform some general maintenance to service your bike after winter and before hitting the trails.

1. Check Tire Pressure

I like to start my spring cleaning by putting air in my bike tires and, if they’re tubeless tires, checking to make sure I have enough sealant. A good rule of thumb is to top off your sealant every 2-7 months, but you can do a quick check to see if yours is dry by giving your wheel a little shake. If you have adequate liquid sealant inside you’ll hear it sloshing around. Also, if your tires lose pressure after a day or two that's another indicator they need a top up. Heads up, if you live in a drier climate you’ll need to add sealant more often. Air pumps are a great way to make it easy to add air when your bike tires need it.

2. Check Brakes and Brake Pads

Brakes can run down over time, so they benefit from a periodic check-up as well. Brake pads wear out and hydraulic disc brakes need to be “bled” of accumulated air bubbles every so often. Take your mountain bike for a ride around your neighborhood a bit and give your brake levers a squeeze. If they feel extra squishy, noisy, or unresponsive, they might need a service. If you’re up for a bit of YouTube university, brake lines and pads can be changed at home or you can visit your local bike shop and have a professional take a look.

3. Wash Your Bike

A little sudsy water and some soft bristle scrub brushes will get your bicycle in tip-top shape. More than just looking sparkly clean, getting dirt and mud off your bike frame will keep your mountain bike running well for longer. If your drivetrain (cassette, chain and chainring) looks grimy and gummy, we also recommend using a degreaser. Avoid the pressure washer or even a really strong jet from the hose as it can damage sealed bearings. Opt for more gentle scrub and rinse technique while checking for any cracks, scratches or otherwise damaged parts of your mtb frame that might need more attention.

4. Check Your Chain

If you haven’t ridden your mountain bike in a few months, or have ridden it through the wet and the muck, it will certainly appreciate a little chain lube. Run a bead of lube along the top of your bike chain, putting a drop on each link. Shift through all your gears by either riding around the neighborhood or on a workstand, if you have one. Then backpedal to distribute it into the chain links of your bike and remove any excess by wiping the chain down with a rag. If your chain feels or looks really gritty it’s probably time for a deeper clean with a brush or specialized cleaning tool and degreaser. Just be aware that you want to avoid getting these products on your brake rotors.

5. Final Check

You and your mountain bike are almost ready to roll, and hopefully your trails are drying out to that perfectly tacky, tire grabbing texture just in time. Do a quick pressure check on any suspension your mtb has, you’ll need a shock pump to top off air shocks. Make sure your handlebar grips are in decent shape, bike pedals are securely attached, and dropper post is functioning properly, if you have one. Check your mountain bike helmet for any signs of wear or aging and make sure the straps are adjusted correctly. 

Now that you’ve given your bike some love it should be ready to roll. If you find some bigger issues or mechanical problems you can’t solve yourself make a call to your local shop ASAP to schedule a service. And don’t forget to ease back into riding. Your body (and booty) will take a few rides to re-find your groove so take it easy to start your season safely. Happy trails, we’ll see you out there!

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