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Mountain Biking: How to Quick Lube a Mountain Bike

Updated on March 16, 2011

Mountain biking is a terrific outdoor sport that allows you to get back to nature and relax away from the hustle and bustle of city life for a few hours.  Mountain biking involves riding through an environment that can be very harsh to your bike.  It is important to maintain your bike on a continual basis to preserve its lifespan and its parts.  Part of proper bike maintenance is to clean and lubricate it.

The general recommendations for proper mountain bike maintenance are to give it a quick clean and lubricate it after every ride.  This must be done particularly if the trails are dry and dusty, or muddy, as dirt and mud clog up the moving parts and increases wear and tear. After every 15 hours of riding, a more thorough maintenance schedule is recommended.  One place to send your bike to is the bike shop that you bought it from.  That way, even the parts you don’t know how to handle can be maintained.

If you aren't in the habit of cleaning and lubricating your bike after every ride, there are other signs to tell when your bike needs a quick lube, for instance, when your bike is noisy or some of the shifting parts are getting sticky.  The parts that require lubrication are all the parts that move.  When performing a quick lube, make sure that you only use lubricants that are formulated for use on bikes.  Some brands you can look for are Pedro’s and White Lightning which are great for the chain, and Tri-Flow which can be used on the remaining moving parts of your bike.

Before applying lube to your bike, It is important to give your bike a quick clean.  You can hose it down or wipe it with a cloth or brush, the important part is to get rid of the mud and dirt.  The procedure for a quick lube is as follows. After lubricating each part, you should wipe off any excess lube that remains.

1. Bike chain

Keeping your bike chain well-lubricated will prolong its lifespan and make gear shifting smoother.  Turn your bike upside down or place it on a bike rack then slowly crank the pedals. Spray or drip the lubricant onto the chain as it rotates.

2. Derailleurs

Derailleurs are the parts of the bike that shift the bike chain from gear to gear.  If you are finding it difficult to shift your gears, a bit of lube on your derailleurs may be what your bike requires.  Use a brush to remove any dirt or mud then apply the lubricant to all movable points on your derailleur.  To apply lube to your derailleurs, turn your bike upside down, move the pedals and shift the gears.  Spray or drip the lubricant onto the moving parts as you shift the gears.

3. Pedals

Your pedals will require a bit of lube on the parts where they attach to the cranks. If you use clipless pedals, you will also need to apply lube the release mechanism to make it easier to clip in and unclip your biking shoes.

4. Brakes

When lubricating your brakes, make sure you don't get any lube on the brake shoes, the rims or the brake levers as this will reduce your bike's braking efficiency.  The parts that require lubrication are the pivot points where the brakes move.  Wherever there is a moving joint or metal on metal, you should lubricate it.  You will also need to apply lube onto the pivot points on the brake levers.

After performing a quick lube, check your bike and make sure all the movable parts are moving smoothly and are "noiseless".  You can also give your bike a quick ride around the block to check if it still squeaks and if the gear shifts are easy.  If all is working well, then your bike is ready for your next ride.


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      clipless pedals 7 years ago

      Very nice write up. Lubing up the bike is something that is very important, and also something thats very commonly overlooked. Take care of your bike, and your bike will take care of you! thanks!