In this article, we will cover all the things you need to do for post ride checks and maintenance. By doing both post ride maintenance and pre-ride checks (found in our previous article,) you will feel confident when out on your ride, that your bike will be working properly and there should be little or no issues when you get to the trail.
The level of maintenance your bike needs will vary dependant on what time of year it is. In summer you may be able to get away with a few rides without doing much, whereas in winter dealing with the aftermath of a ride will be a bit of a mission.
Post Ride Wash
It's best to get the bikes hosed down as quickly as possible when the mud is still wet even if it is just to get the majority off and not properly clean it. Waiting until the mud has tried to the bike and into the nobs of the tyres will add a considerable amount of time to the washing process. (Some people carry portable hoses that are powered by the cars power outlet to enable an instant wash, but jet washes can usually be found at trail centres and used for a small fee.)
When spraying the bike with a hose use a soft power setting and try to avoid spraying directly into where any moving parts are. This will save the grease from being washed out and help the bearings last longer. Spray on the bike cleaner of your choice and allow it to sit for a short amount of time before taking it off. The cleaning should be done with a combination of brushes and cloths. We start with the drive train and use the brushes to clean it thoroughly removing any built-up crud and use the pedals to rotate so you’re able to give all areas a good scrub. Then we move onto the stanchions. We wet the clean cloth and take extra care when cleaning the stanchions (the part of the suspension that goes into the other bit) as these are easily scratched which can affect performance. Once the stanchions are done then move to the rest of the bike frame. Use a light spray with the hose and then back to the brush for the wheels and tyres. When the wheels are done, wipe the brake calipers with the cloth. We completely ignore the brake discs as don’t want to get them contaminated.
Now just give the bike a quick check over covering any bits that may have been missed and then dry off. A towel or microfiber cloth is good for the whole bike and the drive frame however a lint-free rag for the stanchions.
Now the bike it clean and dry it is worth doing a quick bolt check to make sure everything is tight. This can be done in the shape of an M to make sure nothing is missed. To Make the M shape start at the back hub, up to the seat, then down to the bottom bracket, up to the stem and back down to the front hub.
At this point is when you would also search for any issues you might have encountered during your ride and look into it further E.g. A random squeak that needs locating. If you find any issues, these can usually be solved easily or with a quick trip to the bike shop to get it sorted.
Once the bolt check has been done you can inspect the brake pads to ensure they have enough life left on them. You can do this by looking down through the caliper. Again avoid the disc completely; even the natural oils on your hands can affect the performance of them. Then do a couple of slow speed runs pulling the brakes to ensure they still work, as they should.
Drive Chain Check
Lift the rear wheel off the ground and quickly run through the gears whilst spinning the cranks to ensure they are changing accurately. If it’s not smooth some adjustment will be needed. Something as minor as a knock on the trails can see them needing to be re-indexed.
Use special stanchion oil on the stanchions whilst being careful not to get overspray anywhere. Then compress the suspension and wipe away the excess left with a lint-free rag.
If you prefer to lube your chain at this point then do so, however, some prefer to leave this step until their pre-ride checks.
Once you have completed this stage you know your bike is ready for next time you want to go for a ride.
In the next article, we will give a summary of everything we have been through so far in your journey to help you become a mountain biker!