While many riders would like to pretend they are good, or at least not that bad at properly maintaining their bike, most of us grabbed our bike out of storage and headed straight for the trails at the first sign of Spring. After a long, cold winter, that’s entirely fair. But, now that everyone has a solid block of riding under their belts, it’s time to go back and track down the source of the mysterious creak or click emanating from somewhere in your frame. While you’re there, use this excellent summer maintenance checklist from Lennard Zinn, the longest standing name in bicycle maintenance. A quick run through this list will catch any looming mechanical issues before they become full blown problems out on the trail.

Keep your bike running smooth all summer with this maintenance checklist from Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance, 6th Ed.

  • Wash off winter salt, sand, and grime with low-pressure water from a hose. (High-pressure sprayers can force water where it shouldn’t go.)
  • Check your chain for wear with a chain-elongation gauge and replace it if indicated.
  • Check your brake and shift cables for nicks and proper tension. If you find nicks or fraying, replace the cable. If they’re stretched out, tighten ‘em up or replace them. If all is well, consider lubing your shift cables with a few drops of chain lube to keep them sliding smoothly through autumn.
  • Check hydraulic brake hoses for nicks and leakage. Brake-lever feel will be soft or will pump up if the system has leaks or needs bleeding.
  • Overhaul your jockey wheels for improved shifting. This should take about 10 minutes.
  • Check your wheels for true and tighten any loose spokes.
  • Check brake pads for wear and replace them if they’re getting thin.
  • Replace those worn out grips.
  • Lubricate your bottom bracket bearings.

Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance Lennard Zinn

Don’t forget your higher-mileage maintenance! If you neglected these tasks during the fall, make them a priority now.

Every 1,000 miles:

  • Check that frame pump or CO2 inflator/cartridges are in working order.
  • Check saddle bag for tools. Check the condition of spare tube.
  • Drip chain lube on front and rear derailleur pivots.
  • Overhaul derailleur jockey wheel bushings and seals. If using cartridge-bearing jockey wheels, check for smooth action and re-grease after removing the bearing covers.
  • Clean and lubricate hydraulic brake-caliper pistons.
  • Check brake movement.
  • Check rotor trueness and thickness.
  • Check wheels for true and spokes for correct tension.
  • Check rim brake-track wear; replace rim if wear indicator dictates it.
  • Check rim for cracks, particularly at the spoke holes, and replace rim if cracks are present.
  • Service front and rear shocks.
  • Overhaul pedal bearings.
  • Lubricate shift and brake cables.
  • Remove and re-grease seatpost.
  • Check tightness of bolts all over the bike.
  • Check that tubeless tire sealant has not dried up, if applicable.
  • Check shoe cleats for wear and replace if needed.


Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance 6th ed Lennard ZinnFind easy, step-by-step instructions on hundreds of bike maintenance tasks in Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance, 6th Ed. by Lennard Zinn, out now from Velopress

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