How to Tune Up a Mountain Bike

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Tuning up a mountain bike is an adventurous process and can be fun too for bike lovers.

It is essential to keep your bike tuned. Regular tune-ups enable you to catch problems before they become major problems.

When you’re tuning up your bike, you’re making sure that your bike operates to its maximum capacity. But, tune-ups for all-mountain bikes are not the same.

You can divide your bike tune-up into various parts such as wheels, frame, suspension, brakes, drivetrain, etc.

Different Things You Need to Check While Tuning a Mountain Bike

  • Check tires and treads
  • Check the air pressure in tires
  • Adjust Brakes
  • Check Suspension
  • Clean the frame of your bike
  • Tune handlebar and the seat height of the bike
  • Clean and lubricate the chain of the bike
  • Clean every part of the bike
  • Final adjustment

Check Tires and Treads

Starting with the tires and their treads, you should have to determine how much tread your tires have left and check for knobs that are peeling off as well. 

Also, examine the tire to make sure that there are no small tears or thorns stuck in the tire which become a problem for you on the trail.

If you find any tear or thorn in the tire, you should change the tire of your mountain bike.

Check the Air Pressure in Tires

You should check the tire pressure of your mountain bike, using a gauge and matching the pounds per square inch (PSI) with the suggested numbers.

You can find the suggested PSI printed on the side of almost every tire. Commonly 40 to 80 or 60 to 80 PSI is the standard air pressure for mountain bikes.

Generally 5 to 10 PSI less on the front tire.

Adjust Brakes

When you are checking your wheel, then it is obvious that you will check the brakes of your mountain bike.

If on applying brakes, you hear a pleasant sound then your brakes are in perfect condition. Otherwise, you need to repair or change your brakes.

Check Suspension

Almost all mountain bikes are equipped with suspension for better support to riders while riding on the track. 

You should ensure that the fork stanchions of mountain bike suspension are in good condition by inspecting them for nicks or scratches. 

If you observe that the fork seals of your suspension are dirty, wipe them off with a clean rag. 

A rider may need to rebuild his/her suspension forks if he/she notices cracks or excess fluid leakage from the seals.

Clean the Frame of your Bike

The easy way to make your mountain bikes look fresh is by washing them.

But, make sure that mountain bikes are very sensitive to hose or pressure washers. So, make sure to wash them with a toothbrush, a microfiber, and a gentle soap.

Tune Handlebar and a Seat Height of Bike

When you are tuning your mountain bike, you should have a close look at the seat height and also the height and angle of the handlebars. 

Adjust them as needed to accommodate any change in height and for the comfort and safety of mountain bike riders.

Clean and Lubricate the Chain of the Bike

While tuning your mountain bike, you should not forget about the chain of the mountain bike, as the chain is the hardest-working component of the bike, and it deserves special attention. 

You should clean the chain of your mountain bike with a piece of cloth or with a brush. Then, lubricate the chain to prevent performance issues and rust

You should use only those lubricants which are formulated specifically for mountain bikes.

Clean Every Part of the Bike

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A bike tune-up traditionally revolves around cleaning, lubrication, and a few minor adjustments like treads, air pressure, etc.

The important concern of tuning your mountain bike is to make your bike fit for a ride after completely cleaning it.

Final Adjustments

You tune up your whole bike for its betterment and now it’s time to reinstall the different parts of a bike that you have separated for cleaning.

Brakes should be reconnected and wheels reinstalled.

You may need to adjust the brake pads and cable tension as needed. 

First, adjust the rear derailleur, then the front derailleur. Put your bike on the ground, then adjust the position of your handlebars and seat if needed.


What is the cost of tuning up a mountain bike?

In general, bike tune-ups range from $60 to $100, depending on where you live. 

Most shops offer two different tune-up options – a minor tune-up that costs from $55 to $89 and a major tune-up that typically costs between $119 and $150.

Can I self-tune my bike?

Yes, you can by following the steps given below:

  • You should regularly service your bike to ensure it is running efficiently
  • Clean the frame
  • Check your wheels
  • Tight up everything like nuts
  • Check the brakes.
  • Check gears of your bike
  • Inspect and clean or lubricate the drivetrain

What should be the average time for tuning a mountain bike?

Higher Ground recommends that riders should get at least one tune-up per year and possibly two or more.

Bikes can last up to a year without a tune up, but it depends on how often they are ridden and on what types of trails they encounter.

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