Bike preparation - before and after a ride

Dubzy Posts: 123
edited July 2010 in MTB beginners
The is a plethora of products aimed at keeping a bike in top condition. What procedures, prior to a ride, do experienced riders suggest and perhaps more importantly, what cleaning and lubrication methods do you suggest for the bike after your ride?


Life's good

Boardman MTB Team


  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    1. Unlock garage
    2. Get bike
    3. take bike out of garage
    4. lock garage again.
    5. ride
    6. unlock garage.
    7. place bike securely in garage.
    8. lock garage again
    9. have a cuppa T/eat some cake/watch telly/get laid/any other number of mundane real life things.

    Yeah, I'm lazy when it comes to bike maintenance, but it runs like clockwork. I will inspect if something is making a funny noise, otherwise that's it.
  • Dubzy
    Dubzy Posts: 123
    Yeah, I'm lazy when it comes to bike maintenance,

    It would seem you are. I'm sure you are instantly recognisable on trails as your clanking bike should be heard for miles :lol:
    Life's good

    Boardman MTB Team
  • Frodo1095
    Frodo1095 Posts: 252
    Mine is very similair to "yeehaamcgee" but I would add in:
    spin wheels - any noises, i.e. brake rub
    check brakes (now do this after going out a few weeks ago and finding my brakes needed bleeding whilst heading downhill (how did I know, easy when I pulled the lever it hit my handlebar and I didnt slow down enough)

    Post ride depending on how dirty I will rinse it down, but some say it is better to let mud dry then brush off as they you arent using loads of water near greased / lubed bits.
    tend to lube my chain every couple of weeks, depending on how often I am riding.

    Not much more beyond that, let my lbs handle servicing / maintenance
  • .blitz
    .blitz Posts: 6,197
    Yeehaa is right. The bike won't break while it's not being ridden and any problems that show up on the trails are attended to ASAP.

    Having said that I sometimes squeeze the tyres before I go out.
  • BorisSpencer
    BorisSpencer Posts: 786
    Spin wheels, squeeze tyres, bearing check - try to 'wobble wheels'.
    Bounce bike - listen for noises that shouldn't be there.

    Lube chain - as and when really, Finish Line wet aerosol lube.
    Northwind wrote: It's like I covered it in superglue and rode it through ebay.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Dubzy wrote:
    Yeah, I'm lazy when it comes to bike maintenance,

    It would seem you are. I'm sure you are instantly recognisable on trails as your clanking bike should be heard for miles :lol:
    You would think so, but I tend to be a perfectionist when I actually do any work on the bike, so it generally runs like a Swiss watch.
  • BigShot
    BigShot Posts: 151
    I do a bit more than above.


    Check the brakes are aligned properly and not rubbing when the wheel spins.
    Check the tyre pressures (by sitting on the bike and looking at the bulge rather than using a gague... pump up with a probably-not-very-accurate guage if need be).
    Twang the spokes to make sure none are loose, tighten them up to the right "note" if they are.

    If I'm just on-road I do the above about once a week.


    Clean the bike, checking welds, brake pad wear lines, cable housings and so on as I go.
    Quick spurt of "Green Oil" on the moving parts if it looks like it needs it.
    Sometimes check the wheels and spokes again just in case one has gone out of true after a knock... but that's not every time.
  • Pre ride:
    Take the bike out of the car, put the front wheel back on (very important, that bit)
    Spin the wheels, test the brakes, squeeze tires.
    Take a mini ride round the car to check its all in one piece.

    Post ride:
    When I get back home I'll give it a wash and re-lube as needed. It's been so dry the last few times I've been out I haven't needed to clean it at all.

    I'd like to learn some basic bike maintenance. My dad has just changed career (was a teacher) and retrained as a mobile bike mechanic so I'm going to ask him to impart some knowledge. I'd like to be able to spot problems and know what I'm looking at. :)

    ...just thinking as I type - wouldn't it be more sensible to do the pre-ride checks after riding? As .blitz says, any problems are going to happen on the trail. It would make sense to check the bike over afterwards so that you can fix the problems before your next ride.
  • yt_
    yt_ Posts: 20
    Check tyre pressures by squeezing them with my thumb, then pull the brakes in and if they work I carry on riding it out of the garage. Job done.

    If I hear a funny noise or something grinding then it gets checked out/oiled what ever is needed.

    I think its over safety checking It every day :twisted:
  • lesz42
    lesz42 Posts: 690
    before ride check psi in tires, check brakes

    after ride, wash if muddy, lube chain/wipe

    after a few rides if muddy decent clean, if its dry, just clean the chain really well

    oh and keep the fork stanchions clean as i can!
    Giant Trance X0 (08) Reverb, Hope Hoops 5.1D, XT brakes, RQ BC, Works Components headset 1.5
  • BigShot
    BigShot Posts: 151
    I think certain pre-ride checks are a good idea as sometimes you notice things that would have caused you to stop a wee bit into the ride, and who likes doing that? Nobody likes pumping up a tyre or tweaking their brakes a few hundred yards into a ride when they could have done it before leaving the house or when getting the bike out of the car.

    Sure, things mainly go wrong on the trail, but not always, and if you can catch something starting to go wrong before you hit the trail that's better anyway.
  • beski
    beski Posts: 542
    I think a quick check/clean post ride is a good habit to get into. Particular attention being paid to the drivechain and fork stanchions (wipe & lube as neccessary)
    Giant Defy 4 2014
    GT Avalanche Expert 2006
    Specialized Hardrock 1989
  • sm1thson
    sm1thson Posts: 47
    tyre pressure and brakes each time I go out. Everything else is just as I think of it or if I suspect something may be not quite right.
  • BigShot
    BigShot Posts: 151
    Of course... checks are all well and good but if you don't act on what you find it's a waste of time.

    Despite being missing a few teeth on the chainrings and some of the smaller sprockets at the back approaching shark-fin shapes I've not got around to replacing them yet. A bit dopey but there you go.

    I've STILL not done a couple of other faffy bits either but none of them are ever going to be critical.
  • mobilekat
    mobilekat Posts: 245
    We tend to do a quick visual check once we get the bikes down stairs (long story but they live upstairs in the dining room- place with most space)

    and check brakes etc work.

    Double check when get them back out of 4x4 if at trail centre....

    When we get home after a ride they get a quick clean (if needed depending upon what we did), and a good lubing (OH convinced is better after a ride so can soak in before next ride)

    Also then if there is an issue you spot it in time to sort it before your next ride- ever since the epic row of 'You forgot to tell me half the gears were not working after you borrowed my bike' (Bike quite new cable were going through the stretching phase)- I discovered this on a big hill when the gears all ran off and hide and I ground to a clanking halt!-good job we always carry basic tools!- (helps to prevent divorce!)

    Also means you know if the urge takes you to head out, you can grab and go!
    Wheeze..... Gasp..... Ruddy hills.......
  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    edited July 2010
    To, me it comes down to this... Some people have the mechanical sympathy and awareness to notice stuff as it starts to show signs of failing, and to monitor the few things that won't do that until it's too late like forks and chains, and so will be aware of what their bikes are up to as they ride. If the bike worked fine at the end of the last ride it'll work fine at the start of the next.

    But, not everyone can do that, and for everyone else regular pre- or post-ride checks are pretty essential, to pick up the stuff that you might have missed. The third option is to wait til stuff completely breaks and then replace it, but that's rubbish.

    Bikes are like babies, they can't talk but they'll try to let you know if they're ill. And if you don't understand what they're saying, they'll break and become noisy and unreliable and eventually you'll probably be better off just throwing it in a skip and getting a new one. Just like babies.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • hairy_boy
    hairy_boy Posts: 345
    lesz42 wrote:
    before ride check psi in tires, check brakes

    after ride, wash if muddy, lube chain/wipe

    after a few rides if muddy decent clean, if its dry, just clean the chain really well

    oh and keep the fork stanchions clean as i can!

    This is my routine also 8) not too much but just enough !