If you are like me safety checking your bike is probably the last thing on your mind before you hit the road, all you want to do is jump on a start pedaling. However, if you want to keep your mountain bike in tip-top shape and for your own safety performing a few simple pre-checks before your jump is a must.
To be honest it should take no more than 30 seconds to give your bike a quick going over, these bicycle inspections are quick and easy and you will be taking some preemptive steps to ensure that the most common mechanical failures are checked and your bike is running well each time you go out. This quick guide will help you eliminate and potential problems in a methodical way.
5 Simple and Quick Steps to Pre-Check Your Bike
In all honesty you really don’t have to be a fully trained mechanic to check your bike before each ride. Below I have listed what I think are some of the most important things to double check before each ride.
1. Gears and Chain
The first thing to check is to see if your bike chain moves cleanly through your rear and front sprockets making sure that it doesn’t rub against the derailleurs. This can easily be done by getting on your bike and pedaling. Quickly go through the range of gears to ensure that there is no chain slippage or rough shifting and the chain move freely and is free from grime.
2. Wheels and Tires
Most of the best mountain bikes for the money have some sort of quick release mechanisms. These are great for quickly removing your wheel but not so great if the wheel release whilst you are riding. So before you go out for your ride quickly check the quick release mechanisms and other nuts that hold your wheels in place to verify that your wheels are securely fastened.
Also run your hand over your bike tires to make sure there are no cracks and that your tires are correctly inflated using your best bike pump.
3. Handle Bar Stem and Seat Post
The next check is the handle bar, it should already be at the correct height but make sure it is held firm and that the bolt/bolts holding it place are tight. The seat stem also needs a quick check to make sure it is also at the correct height and fasten firmly.
There is nothing worse than not being able to control your bike when you realize that the handlebars are loose in your hands.
Ensuring your brakes are in good working order is a vital strep before you hit the road. Simply squeeze your brake levers to double check that they apply enough pressure to stop your bike when required. Also quickly double check that the brake cables are in good condition and are not fraying or stretched.
Most of the best mountain bike helmets still require that you give then a quick once over before you wear them. Give it a quick going over to make sure there are no cracks on the inner surface or outer shell, this could really mean the difference between life and death.
Also make sure that the straps are correctly adjusted and that the helmet fits snuggly on your head and sits down on your forehead somewhere just above your eyebrows. Most of the common issues I see daily with bikers is that they have their helmets up to high, this will not protect their heads in the event they come off.
Very Important, Quick and Easy
There really isn’t any reason why you can’t spend roughly 30 seconds quickly going over your mountain bike with a pre-ride safety check. It’s really only a visual inspection of the main components of your bike and it is the smart way to make sure you stay as safe as possible when you go out on your mountain bike.