Mountain Bike Fundamentals with Care and Repair How-To
Mountain Bike: The Key Differentiators
Mountain bike components distinguish this form from other types of bikes. I would say the number one factor is tires. The tires on mountain bikes are easy to identify for a couple of reasons. The first is the tread. If you're riding on a real mountain, you're going to need heavy duty tread that can dig into the trail. This kind of treads is also more durable. Hence, sticks, rocks, and anything else that might be poking out of the ground will be no problem. Piggybacking off of that, it's not only tire tread. It's also the tire size. For mountain bikes, there are two popular sizes. Right now there's the 27 and a half inch or the 29 inches. These sizes are particular to mountain bikes. In other words, there's no other bike style that uses those exact sizes. Another factor for mountain bikes is the suspension. On mountain bikes, you have two types of suspensions. You can have mountain bikes without front suspension. Or you can opt for the front suspension. There's also rear suspension. Usually, you only see mountain bikes having a rear suspension. You don't ever see a rear suspension on any other type of bike. That's not to say, not all mountain bikes have a rear suspension. Some don't. It depends on the type of riding you're doing. Downhill, uphill, flat trail, and things of that nature. And it depends on what type of ride you want such as:
- Do you or do you not want shock absorption?
- Are you going for speed?
- Is comfort important to you?
- Are you going over large boulders?
Mountain Bikes: The Suspension Dilemma
If you're going over bigger rocks or branches you need suspension so the wheel can get up and over and down. As a result, you'll see that on mountain bikes. But if you see a rear suspension, that's definitely an indicator that it's a mountain bike. The next factor is the handlebars. Mountain bikes have a pretty straight flat bar that is specific to that type of bike. You generally won't see that across any other category. You'll also notice a particular type of frame shape to a mountain bike. The way it looks includes a beefier midsection. This is especially for men who ride mountain bikes. There are reasons for that. Going down a hill, the bike will take a beating. Hence, you have to make sure that the frame is durable and won't crack.
The Components Of All Mountain Bikes
To recap these are the three biggest components that make a mountain bike different:
- The tires
- The suspension
- And the handlebars
At sixthreezero, we are definitely not experts in mountain bikes, but we can give you a couple of tips. These will help you when looking for or purchasing a mountain bike. Number one is to identify the type of riding you'll be doing. There's a lot of different combinations of mountain bikes out there. This is where you'll see a variance in the type of tire size, tread size, and type of suspension.
The Best Brakes For Mountain Bikes
You could go to your general store and buy any mountain bike. But if it's not conducive to where you'll be riding and how fast you want to ride. You may end up getting hurt. Especially because if you're doing real mountain biking downhill. You will need to have the right type of brakes. I'm sure you knew that there are different types of brakes for mountain bikes. There most popular are:
- Disc brakes
- Hydraulic brakes
- And caliper brakes
If you're going downhill at 50 miles an hour. I would not recommend caliper brakes. In that situation, disc or hydraulic brakes would be more optimal. This is because there stopping power is much greater. Moreover, the process is to identify what type of riding you will be participating in. I say that in regards to mountain biking because it can be a very dangerous activity. For someone who's riding a cruiser bike, and is going down the street at 5 miles an hour. The likelihood of equipment failure resulting in injury is very low. On a mountain bike, it's a different ballgame. If you hop on to, let's say, a Walmart mountain bike, and you're flying down a hill at 90 miles an hour. I would say that's a bad idea.
Talk to an expert to help identify:
- Where you will ride
- The terrain of your riding conditions
- And how fast you expect to be riding
How To Match Mountain Bike Components To Style
Following these steps will ensure you match the components to your riding type. In regards to specifics, I can make a couple of suggestions. If you're encountering rocky terrain, make sure you get a heavy-duty tread. Make sure the tread is something that can withstand a lot of thorns and branches. The other suggestion I would make is going with a tube, on the inside of the tire. There are certain types of tubes you can buy that would be less susceptible to popping or losing air. That's important if you're out in the middle of the woods and you're coming down the hill. You don't want to get a flat tire and end up soaring over the handlebars. The last thing I'll say about mountain biking is to wear a helmet. When you're out riding a mountain bike, a helmet is a must. I've had many friends and acquaintances that have crashed, due to difficult terrain. Above all, you need to make sure you have a helmet on. Now, if you're going to buy a mountain bike and ride it on the street. That's a whole other conversation that we would say that's not the right bike for you.
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Moutain Bike
Tips to get the most out of your mountain bike. Again, I am not the foremost authority in mountain bikes, but I can give you some transcending basic tips. These tips apply to any type of bike. But in this specific case of a mountain bike, the first is maintenance. If you're doing real downhill mountain biking. And we're talking 5-mile downhill or uphill trails in rocky terrain. It's very important to perform some level of maintenance on your bike before and after riding. If a bike is taking that big of a beating, especially going downhill. You can reach speeds of upward, of 20 to 30 miles an hour, there's a lot of dust and dirt flying in the chain. There are things that may have gotten into the tire, a.k.a thorns. In other words, there are all sorts of things that happen. Hence, it's essential you clean that out. If you leave those things sitting your chains will lock up. This has the potential to cause you to soar over the handlebars. As well as, if there's dust in the brake caliper. Or if the equipment is not closing. You might not be able to stop. These are all situations you want to prevent. This is why urge you to perform a simple cleaning after every ride. As a result, no dirt or residue in any places it shouldn't.
Mountain Bike Care: Regular & Advanced Riders
If you're riding on a regular basis. Twice a weekend or a couple times a week in real mountainous areas. Then you should perform maintenance every two to four weeks. This includes:
- Re-greasing your chain
- Readjusting your brakes to avoid lost tension
- And re-tuning the gears to make sure they are shifting on point
This all varies depending on your ride frequency and your ride intensity. For the guys that are riding seven days a week. You better be doing maintenance once a week, and your maintenance must be thorough. And for those rides, they may need to take components off the bike, clean them and reinstall them. Therefore, for that kind of riding, you need your equipment to be performing at the highest level.
Mountain Bike Maintenance For Recreational Riders
For a very novice and recreational rider, check your air pressure in your tires. Make sure that the tires are holding air, and aren't leaking. Fill them up to the recommended psi and check your gears. Make sure gears are shifting as they should. And most important, check your brakes. Pull the caliper out, see what the response time is, ride it up and down the street. When you pull the caliper, how fast does it stop? It's a routine check to make sure everything's performing. If there's something out of the scope of your capabilities. You should get your bike over to a bike shop before getting it out onto a real mountainous path or trail. In conclusion, if nothing else, make sure you give your bike a good cleaning to clear out the dirt.
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