Mountain Bike Maintenance – how much do you do?

Just a quick post today prompted by a maintenance problem I’m having with my Specialized Epic.

The bottom bracket that was fit by the previous owner is too small and the chain keeps getting sucked up and jammed between the chainset and the chain-stay. I’ve been looking into a new one and I have to admit, I don’t have a scooby what length I need, nor how to fit it. I like doing the maintenance myself, and I’m pretty good at figuring it all out if I can be bothered getting off my ass, but the bike shop’ll do the replacement for about £15. Tis mighty tempting…

Anyway. the point of this was, I’m curious how much other bikers do to their own bikes. Do the majority just go as far as cleaning and lubing after every (most…? some…?) ride, or does everyone get their hands dirty replacing group sets, brake hoses and the like?

I’m slightly hoping the majority do the latter so I don’t feel as much of a wuss going to the bike shop, but if it’s the latter at least I’ll be motivated into learning how to do it. Leave a comment below and let me know, shame me into action!


Colin started mountain biking in the early 2000s and has haphazardly, and with barely increasing skill, dragged his bike around the majority of Scotland's trail centres since then. Colin has oodles of hard earned experience in how NOT to do things - listen, be warned and don't repeat his mistakes...   More about Colin... Google+ Colin

4 Responses

  1. J says:

    I don’t think I do enough bike maintenance. Unfortunately my bike maintenance comes too late, so rather than tightening a lose crank bolt, I’ll just wait until the whole things comes off whilst on a ride!

    My local bike shop is good, but they’re often busy, so I do occasionally get my hands dirty, striping down the bike as much as possible, giving it a good clean and health-check, before putting it all (or most of it!!) back together again.

    This is my main concern; that if I try and do the work myself, I’ll actually make things work.

    If I had a complete snapshot of my bike when new, I’d feel more confident in working on it. Why doesn’t every bike have a Haynes manual like most cars do!

    My VW Polo is a pleasure to work on with a page-by-page guide of almost every part!!

  2. Bru Blazer says:

    I agree with J, there is always the worry that you do the wrong thing! Try this site, I’ve found it pretty handy:
    and also the Late Great Sheldon Brown has left an amazing legacy of bicycle knowledge:

  3. Colin says:

    I totally agree J, I’ve had a few second hand bikes and it’s hard to tell if your maintenance has done any good when you’re not sure what brand spanking new, totally working condition actually looks like. A haynes manual type thing would indeed be ideal, I guess the problem is the huge amount of different components out there…

    And yep, in the past some of my maintenance has more hurt the bike than helped but I have fun tinkering anyway! My local bike shop has helped me with too much free advice in the past wee while!

  4. J says:

    Those websites look mighty handy. Thanks!! I’ll make sure I’ve got my trusty skateboard ready as a backup to get to work when I attempt some bike maintenance next weekend!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *