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Attack the Singletrack!, Issue #003 -- Spring is Here! Is your Mountain Bike Ready for the Trail?
March 17, 2010

Catch the Buzz on Playing in the Dirt

Attack the Singletrack! Issue #003 -- Spring is Here! Is your Mountain Bike Ready for the Trail?

Attack the Singletrack brings you mountain bike tips to help you become a better rider and enjoy mountain biking more.

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In this Issue...

1) Tip of the Month -- Click here or scroll down for a tip on how to know if your bike chain needs to be replaced without having to buy a special tool...

2) Spring is Here! Is your Mountain Bike Ready for the Trail? -- Get your bike out of winter storage and dust off the cobwebs. After sitting in storage all winter, are you wondering what needs to be done to get your bike ready for the trail?

Click here or scroll down to learn tips on how to do a preride inpection and maintenance to make sure your bike is functioning properly and ready for riding.

3) What's New on Mountain Bike Buzz -- Click on the links below to learn about new information that has been recently added to the site...

Do Mountain Bike Handlebars really make a Difference
- Information on types of mountain bike handlebars, including riser vs. flat handlebars. Tips on adjusting your handlebars for optimal comfort and performance...

Is your Mountain Bike Seat a real Pain in the...
- How to choose a mountain bike seat that is comfortable and fits you properly. Tips on adjusting bicycle seat height, tilt, and fore/aft position to prevent soreness and injury.

Tip of the Month:

Checking Wear on your Bike Chain --
Replacing your bicycle chain when needed is very important because if it wears past a certain point, it will cause wear in your chain rings and cassette, which can become costly.

In order to measure your bicycle chain wear, all you need is a ruler or tape measure. Measure 12 inches from the center of one of the left pins on a chain link. The left pin center of the 12th chain link from that spot should be right at the 12 inch mark. If the center of the pin is more than 1/16" past the mark, the chain needs to be replaced. If it is more than 1/8" past the mark you may also need to replace the chain rings and/or cassette.

Is your Mountain Bike ready for the Trail?

Now that spring is here, you are probably ready to hit the trail, but is your bike ready? Spring is a great time to do a preride inspection before each ride to prevent injuries or bike malfunctions, but preride inspections should really be done on a regular basis.

The following are some quick tips to make sure your mountain bike is ready for the trail.

Check your tire pressure and visually inspect the tires to see if they have cracks, cuts, or are unevenly worn. Make sure the tires are on all the way around the rims on both sides.

Check your shock preload by sitting on your bike and measuring the sag with zip-ties. Sag should be at 25-30% give or take for different riding styles. For more information on setting your shocks, check out our page on Mountain Bike Shocks

Check your brake pads for excessive or uneven wear. Squeeze the brakes and make sure you can't squeeze the levers all the way to the handlebar. If you can, the pads probably need to be replaced.

If you have V-brakes, make sure the pads go flat against the rims. If you have disk brakes, listen for squealing when the brake lever is squeezed. If they make a lot of noise, the rotors may need to be cleaned with a soft rag and rubbing alcohol.

Spin the wheels and make sure there is no wobbling, rattling, or rubbing. If there is, make sure the wheel is attached properly. The wheel should move freely and silently.

Hold down the front brake and push the bike forward and back. The headset should be tight and not move or make noise.

Do a quick shift through the gears to make sure the bike is shifting smoothly. Lubricate the pivot points of the derailleurs and check cables and housing.

Check all the bolts on your bike with allen wrenches and tighten if necessary.

Clean and Lubricate:
Keep your bike clean and lubricate the drivetrain. Do a thorough cleaning and lubrication if it still has crud on it from last year. For more tips and information on mountain bike cleaning and lubrication, please visit our page on... Bicycle Cleaning

Click here to see previous issues of Attack the Singletrack!

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