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How to Tune Up a Mountain Bike

how to tune up a mountain bike

Bike tune up is a maintenance activity that is essential for every owner to do with his bike on a regular basis. Regular tune ups will help the biker locate a problem before it can get worse while ensuring the bike has the optimum performance. But how to tune up a mountain bike? Find out in the step-by-step guide below.

Step 1: Cleaning your Bike

Tune up involves cleaning your bike which means you will need to remove any dirt that is clinging to your bike. Start by cleaning it using your garden hose and spray your bike with enough pressure of water to remove all the dirt on the surface. As they say, start with a clean bike and the tune up will be much easier.

Step 2: Service Suspension

In this step, you will need to hang your bike in the right location so that it will be easy for you to service the suspension. The initial step to do is freshen up the suspension oil. Doing this regularly will provide a positive effect to the rubber seal as it lasts longer. It also does a better job in keeping out the dirt and the grip from your fork resulting in it being fresh all the time.

Remove the fork off the bike first before cleaning the headset next. On the air side of the fork, use a 10cc’s of 20 wt gold suspension fluid. On the damper side, use 20 cc’s of 5 wt teflon fluid.

You can start by letting the air out of your fork but make sure to familiarize the setting just in case there are any changes that will happen. It is essential to know what is your PSI, rebound, compression, and your spacer settings.

Then, undo the rebound knob while loosening both the bottom on the lowers for you to be able to remove them. After you remove the lowers and clean everything up, apply some alcohol and let it dry after. It is recommended to aiup your fork to 60 psi first before reinstalling and inserting oil from the bottom.

Step 3: Cleaning the Headset

Start by giving the headset a little spin and making sure that everything is working as it should be. When reassembling, the initial step is to snag down the top cap and then do the pinch bolts up. If it is too tight, you will notice that it is difficult to rotate the bars.

Step 4: Maintenance of Brake Rotors, Pads, Fluids

As a general rule, it is highly recommended to replace the brake pads before they actually die so that they cannot affect the rotor down. Check your rotors for wear and contamination. If cleaning is needed, use the brake cleaner to remove all the dirt.

Make it a point to inspect your braking pad more often to ensure they are not running down to the middle backing and killing the rotor at the same time. You can do a quick little copy bleed to remove any bubbles on the line. If the oil is very dirty, you can have the option to do a full gravity bleed in the whole system.

Step 5: Cleaning the Bottom Bracket

Start by removing the cranks and clean the spindle. You can also check the bottom bracket while inspecting any wear on the chain ring. Before replacing the cranks, check the bottom brackets for wear and replace it if you need to.

Step 6: Regreasing the Pivots

There are a lot of moving parts in a bike but most often, bike owners tend to forget that the pivots and the bearing affects how the bikes perform and how it feels underneath. So, to maintain it, you need to pull out everything, clean it, then regrease it. But, do not forget how to reassemble.

Step 7: Cleaning the Chain, Cassette, and Derailleur

For you to be able to maintain a smooth drive train, you need to put lubricants on regularly while replacing the chain throughout the season. A new chain is more affordable than a new cassette and a chain ring. So, regularly lubricating the chain will make the drivetrain dry more evenly.

Always keep your chain clean. If it has stretched overtime, it is better to replace it. Then, you can scrub the cassette while giving the derailleur a good cleaning activity.

Step 8: Checking the Spoke Tension

The next step is to check on the tension and the straightness of the wheels. Unfortunately, loose spokes can lead to big issues which can lead to expensive repairs. So, make sure that the spoke is always snug.

Check if your wheel is true using a zip tire on the chain stay to check for any wobbles. With the spoke, only tightens what needs to be tightened. Do not overtighten the spokes. You can start by annually checking it with your hand and then tightened what needs to be tightened.

Step 9: Checking the Bolt

The final step is to check all the bolts in your bike. Always use the torque wrench when tightening all the bolts.

How Much for a Bike Tune Up

how much for a bike tune up

A mountain bike needs regular maintenance for it to have optimum performance during the ride. You can tune up your bike if you have the mechanical skills and the knowledge to do it. If not, you can proceed by bringing your bike in a bike shop for the proper tune up. But what is the cost?

It really depends on the location but the average bike tune up cost should be between $60 to $100. In most cases, there are two types of tune up service to choose from. One is a minor or basic tune up which on the average costs around $55 to $89.

Then, there is the major tune up which is comparable to a major maintenance routine that will be done to your bike. This service will cost you on the average of around $119 to $150. The cost will vary depending on the additional service included in the tune up.


Learning how to tune up your bike can be a challenge but doable. If you have the knowledge and the mechanical skills, then you can tune up your bike on your own. If not, you can ask for help from bike technicians at a cost. The most important thing is to do the tune up regularly to keep your bike in tip-top condition all the time.

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