Part of owning a mountain bike is understanding that eventually, it will need to be repaired or replaced, but buying a mountain bike is more than just a purchase — it’s a long-term investment.
So how do you find the right equipment to suit your needs and preferences while also buying a bike with a lifespan you can be confident in?
Maintenance: The Name of the Game
Chains, tires, brake pads, grips — it stands to reason that these are going to be some of the first parts to fall into disrepair. Depending on how and how often you ride, these could last anywhere from a few months to a few years. Regardless of usage, however, they’re guaranteed shelf life.
Careful and attentive maintenance of these parts is not only going to keep you and your investment safe but preserve the overall condition and endurance of the bike overall. It’s a good idea to schedule quick diagnostics at predetermined intervals to ensure that nothing gets overlooked.
Using it is Abusing It
That’s right — part of what makes a good Mountain Bike is that, like any off-road vehicle, it’s inherently designed to take the hard hits.
The frame should be the toughest part of any good mountain bike, and thus the least likely to need repairs or replacing. Although it’s absolutely possible to replace the frame, it’s also the most cost-prohibitive repair you can make to any bike, which is why a damaged frame usually means you’re going to find yourself in the market for a new bike entirely.
This makes selecting a frame with the right ratio of weight to endurance a crucial factor to consider. That means making the purchase with a clear idea of the kinds of trails you’ll ride (and how you’ll ride them).
Visit any trailhead and you’re likely to see bikes resting upside-down with the grips on the ground. The grips are made to be durable but also comfortable, so they’re going to be made of rubber. Rubber wears out. If you find your grip on the bar isn’t as sure as it once was, consider replacing them, as keeping a firm hold on your bike is crucial to riding safely, especially over rough, uneven terrain and steep grades.
If you use your mountain bike often at all, you’ll find that replacing tires and rims comes with the territory. Although the rims will only need replacing in the event of a wreck or having been ridden with poor tire pressure, the tires themselves will steadily lose tread. Riding tires with poor traction can be a hazard to your safety. Additionally, although good tires are designed to take some abuse, a puncture on the trail isn’t unheard of.
Like any part that creates friction, brake pads are designed to eventually deteriorate. Because the function of these pads, as well as the entire braking system, is critical to safely operating your mountain bike, maintaining the pads, discs, calipers, and levers is essential. Also bear in mind that oils or muck can build up on the pads and disks and cause them to wear out more quickly, or even malfunction.
The drivetrain is the core system of a mountain bike, and therefore the most important to maintain. Without it, you’re going nowhere, and because it’s complex it can break or wear out in a lot of ways. And since many of its parts are composed of bare metal, leaving it out in the rain and humidity can leave it susceptible to rust more so than the rest of the bike.
Another part prone to rust is the chain. You only have to leave it exposed to the weather once to find this out. You could find yourself replacing this part more often than any other, as it only takes a snag, a derail, or getting caught in the drivetrain to create a break in your linkage.
Keep in mind that the only way a mountain bike will last forever is if you either don’t ride it or don’t ride it the way it was intended to be ridden. Nonetheless, it may surprise you to learn that a well-maintained mountain bike can serve you for 20 years or more. Now that’s a good investment! So what are you waiting for? Don’t just make your bike last, get one designed to last.