March 12, 2019 3 min read

The spring thaw finally getting going and the best time of year to ride just about here! By the sound of it, some may still be stuck with Old Man Winter for a bit longer, but at least freedom is on the horizon! So. Dang. Excited.

Forget planning trips or other things, let’s at least get out and ride in what is wonderful weather. The shear joy of blasting down the trails or feeling the wind go by on a perfect section of road, it’s hard to beat (especially if fresh pavement got put down over the off season, oh the joy...).

With all of this excitement in the air, it’s the perfect time to make sure your gear is in tip top shape so you don’t end up with nasty surprises on that first outing. Nothing is a faster killjoy than starting a ride only to find out your tires need some love, your chain is screeching at you, or some other flaw that you didn’t discover in your hyper-fast “I’m loading up and heading out” check.

So, before you get caught in what can only be described as a real downer, here’s a rapid checklist to make sure it doesn’t happen to you!

Mountain Bike

  • Tires: Check for signs of dry rot and wear, if it’s there, replace the tires.
  • Tire Sealant: Running tubeless? There’s a good chance that the sealant has dried up over the off season. At minimum, top it off, but it’s best if you get the old gunk out first so you don’t compound the problem.
  • Chain: Make sure this bad boy is clean, and lubricated. This is also a great time to check wear with a chain checker and replace it if it’s getting long.
  • Derailleurs: Make any adjustments to account for cable stretch over the of season so that these guys can do their job smoothly while you get your legs back into shape.
  • Suspension: Even with everything else humming smoothly, a super soft suspension can be a real downer. Use a shock pump to get everything dialed in to get the max fun out of your ride. We recommend between 25-30% sag, depending on your ride preference.
  • Brakes: Let’s not forget these guys, especially if you’re in big mountain territory. Brakes should be bled once a year, but at minimum, make sure they’re working as expected, with no squishiness or dead spots. If they’re squealing like crazy, there’s a good chance you got some kind of oil on there and you’ll need to replace the pads.

Road/Gravel Bike

  • Tires: Check for signs of dry rot and wear, if it’s there, replace the tires. Blowouts lead to seriously bad crashes.
  • Tubes: Make sure these guys are fine too. Just like tires, they can get dry rot.
  • Chain: Make sure this bad boy is clean, and lubricated. This is also a great time to check wear with a chain checker and replace it if it’s getting long. With the miles that a road bike gets, you don’t want a worn chain to prematurely wear out your cassette and chainrings.
  • Derailleurs: Make any adjustments to account for cable stretch over the of season so that these guys can do their job smoothly while you enjoy that hopefully brand new pavement.
  • Brakes: If you’re running rim brakes, check the pads to make sure they don’t have dry rot and still have plenty of wear left. Running disc brakes? Wether you’ve got mechanical or hydraulic, make sure they’re working as expected, with no squishiness or dead spots. If they’re squealing like crazy, there’s a good chance you got some kind of oil on there and you’ll need to replace the pads. Don’t forget, hydraulic brakes should be bled once a year.

If anything feels like it’s not where it should be, take it to your trusted local shop for a more in depth inspection before you have a bad day out on a ride. The DIY type, well, you know what to do! ;-)

Ride safe and here’s to an awesome season that has hopefully at least one epic bucket list trip in there!


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