End of Season Bike Maintenance
Summer is done and dusted; the fall season is upon us. Now that the days are getting shorter and colder, many of us start to look for what's coming next. Ski season. Or at least the thought, "this might be my last ride," has crossed your mind. But before you shift to winter ski mode, giving your bike the love and care it deserves is essential.
Throughout the riding season, there's regular maintenance that is necessary to keep your steed running in top-notch condition. However, once you finally do call your bike season, it's time to thoroughly inspect it before you tuck it away from the season.
Regular Season Maintenance
A simple task throughout the season is giving your bike a proper cleaning every few rides depending on the conditions. By a proper clean, we mean hot soapy water, muck-off, brushes, and clothes. Rinsing your bike after the bike park with the garden hose is not enough. To protect your suspension and bearings, keeping as much dirt/dust out, so everything runs smoothly is essential. Creaking and cracking sounds are reasonable indications you have dust in your bearings or bottom bracket.
Braking is a part of mountain biking; just like a car, your brake pads must be replaced throughout regular use. Number one, replacing them before it's too late is crucial. As you feel your brake pads deteriorating, you can feel once you've almost reached the end. Your braking power is limited, and your levers will slowly get closer to the grips.
There are many videos online showing how to install fresh pads. Often you can get away with just changing the pads, but as time goes on, you will need to bleed your brakes. For Sram, brakes can be straightforward with a few handy videos. Shimano brakes are typically more intricate and require a little more knowledge.
Before heading out on a ride, a good practice is to do a once-over on your bike. Make sure you don't have any loose bolts and check brake pads, tire pressure, tighten spokes, and your stem for movement. Doing these checks before your ride can help keep you safe on your next ride.
End of Season
Once you've called your season and are ready to tuck your bike away, make sure you leave it better than at the beginning of the season. Proper and regular maintenance will help extend the life of your riding steed.
Pemberton has varying conditions throughout the season, from wet, tacky dirt in the spring and fall to extremely dry and dusty in the summer months. The dust can do a number on your suspension and bearings. After a long season of riding, your bike can take a lot of abuse. The first thing to service at the end of the season is your fork and shock. Each fork and shock have different recommended service hours. Servicing your fork and shock before the winter season will ensure your suspension is well-lubricated and will help with resell value if you're planning to upgrade.
At the end of the season, your bike might be making some interesting sounds and creaks. Replacing all your bearings will help get your bike running smoother than ever. Keeping your bearings clean and spinning is essential for your bike's functionality. Once bearings start to collect dust, their ball bearings continue to dry out, and they will stop moving to cause more damage to your bike.
You may have noticed your chain slipping while changing gears; this could be a sign you need a new chain. After a big pedal season, you could quickly wear down your chain by the end of the year. While testing your chain, you should also double-check the lifespan of your cassette and chain ring. When replacing your chain, you may need to also replace the drivetrain to ensure you're able to shift properly for the following season.
Not a bad idea to top up the sealant in your tubeless tires before you pack your bike away; it can quickly dry out over the off-season. While you're at it, look at all the nooks and crannies for any cracks in the stress points on the frame.
If you're not the most bike-savvy person, not to worry, there's no shortage of great bike shops in the Sea to Sky area. The Pemberton Bike Co is an excellent one-stop shop to get your bike squared away for the winter season. If you take care of your bike, it'll take care of you. While rolling down a mountain, it's crucial to have complete faith in the bike beneath you. We're incredibly fortunate in Pemberton to ride nearly all year round, but once the snow starts to fall, it's easy to get distracted and ignore the end-of-season maintenance. Trust us, you and your bike will thank you in the spring for thinking ahead in the fall!
Posted: Wednesday, October 05, 2022