- Getting Started
- On the Trail KitEssentials to wear and carry when heading off-road
- Eat Drink Go FastKeeping yourself fed and watered
- Tell Me MoreClubs, web sites and magazines
- Tools of the TradeEssential tools for fixing your bike and body
- Emergency RepairsTricks to avoid walking home when crap happens
- MaintenanceKeeping your bike running sweetly
- Basic Mtb Skills
- Lesson One: You And Your BikeFine tuning your bike to match your body
- Lesson Two: Braking And DescendingClimbing and plunging technique
- Lesson Three: Around the BendCornering technique
- Lesson Four: Climb Like A Billy GoatThe art and science of pedalling smoothly uphill
- Lesson Five: Lifting The Front WheelGetting over and around obstacles
- Lesson Six: The Flashy Stuff... lifting the back wheel and bunny hoppingLifting the back wheel and bunny hopping
- Advanced Mtb Skills
- Jack and Jill - Traversing
- The Hills are Alive - climbing
- Going down on your bike - downhilling
- Brakes Maketh the Mountain Biker
- Power to the Pedals
- As Easy as Riding a BikeOptions for staying fit and furious over winter
- Full Suspension Skills
- Stand up and be counted - rough ridingClearing obstacles like tree roots and rocks
- AirpointsTips to launch obstacles rather than rolling over them
- Rough and ReadySecrets to tackle very technical trails
- Knight RiderTechniques for mtbing at night
- Seeing the LightBicycle lights
- Bike GroomingMaintaining your bike to ensure it runs sweetly
- Well Hung and Double SprungLightweight dual suspension bikes
- Single Speed all the wayTips to temporarily convert your mtb into a singlespeed
- Buying Your First Mountain BikeThings to look for and avoid
- NZ New, One Careful OwnerWhat to look out for when buying a second hand mountain bike
- Disco InfernoDisc brakes
- No-tubes, no-ideaThe low down on tubeless wheels
- Other Stuff
- The Trail Builders' Rough Guide
- Life as an Urban Warrior
- The Art of Food and Bikes
- The Mountain Bikers' Code
- On the RoadSkills to survive swimming with sharks and riding among cars
- A Women's WorldCycle Tips for Women
- Flying HighTravelling with your bike and dealing with public transport
- Weight Watcher's Equipment GuideWisdom on appropriate gear for multiday mtb trips
- Cycle Touring KitThe essentials of cycle touring
- First Aid for Your Bike
Updated 25 February 2013
Mud, Glorious MudCleaning your bike after a muddy adventure can easily be more fun than a chore. Instead of making a dash for the shower when you get home, roll up your sleeves and first attend to your steed's personal hygiene. It makes sense to rip into it while you're still hot 'n' grimy and before corrosion can attack your expensive components - a stitch in time and all that. It's also a good bonding session for you and your bike. You'll discover new things about each other - worn parts, sore bits, unloved bits... and then there's the bike.
Gentle AnnieWater is your bike's best friend and worst enemy. Use just enough to wash off the bulk of the offending muck without swamping the hubs, gears, brakes or other vital parts. A steam cleaner or high pressure hose makes quick work of it but you risk stripping protective grease and lube or worse, forcing water into erstwhile smooth running bearings. That's okay if you're a pro racer with a mechanic to strip and rebuild your bike... but back on planet earth. It's generally necessary to whip your wheels off so you can do a thorough job. A good rub with a soft brush and a little detergent is next. Beware of weld holes and other entry points where water may find its way into your frame. If you hear water sloshing around then you've sprung a leak. Take out your seat-post and hang the bike upside down for the night with the bats in the attic.
Bubble and SqueakNow rinse and dry off with a soft rag. This is a good time to lovingly fondle your bike and check for any broken or loose bits. Your chain is easy to keep clean and lubed - point your mouse at 'Chain care' under 'Maintenance' in Tech Tips. Keep your brakes and braking surfaces clean - you minimise wear, avoid unfriendly screeching ... and they just work better. All moving parts (brakes, gear shifters, derailleurs etc.) should be sparkling clean and lubed with grease or oil as appropriate. Try some silicon spray - it magically penetrates and lubes in one. CRC gives immediate relief but doesn't last and eats into the residual lube you want to preserve.
Cable TVGear cables get gunged up with a combination of mud, rust and water. You know this procedure is overdue when changing down becomes 'sticky'. They are easy to clean. The trick to releasing your rear derailleur cable is to put your bike in a stand or hang it by the seat with an old tyre. Select the hardest gear at the back (smallest cog) and then while still pedalling, manually ease the derailleur over to the biggest cog. The cable goes all floppy letting you release it from the stops and shuffle the housing backwards and forwards letting you clean and lube the entire length. Deploy the same general idea to sort your front derailleur.
PreventionSuspension booties, fully enclosed cables, internal hub gears, disc brakes, derailleur boots ... oiling your frame even. These can all help to repel dirt and water and lessen the amount of TLC required to keep your bundle of joy purring.
Spring CleaningWhen summer starts poking its head around the corner and the trails begin to dry out, it becomes worthwhile to consider shouting your bike a spring overhaul. Those annoying clicks and squeaks take on real meaning when you can actually see which part of your bike is trying to communicate with you. Get it looking clean and pretty, then wheel it down to your local bike shop for a full service - mechanics generally respect that 'one careful owner' look. Consider replacing all of your cables (you can probably skip the front derailleur if you are running low on cash), brake pads and chain. Depending on the amount of wear, you can probably fit two new chains before having to splash out on a new cluster and chain rings. They'll also check out your shocks, headset and have a good hunt around for any other areas requiring remedial work. There are heaps of things you can do yourself too - pull off your tyres and clear out any water or mud that's shimmied its way in. While they are off, lightly buff your rims with a steelo-pad to remove any break-pad residue.
And hey presto, a nearly new bike, that shifts, brakes and performs like a new one ready for some full on summer riding.