The best medicine is often preventive and the best way to avoid mechanicals on the trail is to ensure your mountain bike is in working order before you hit the singletrack. Despite our best efforts, stuff happens. When it does, you should be prepared to rise to the occasion and save your ride.
I’m not going to give you half-baked advice, such as how to use a tree branch in place of a handlebar if your handlebar snaps, or suggest that you stuff your tyre full of leaves if you get a flat. Instead, these are practical solutions to common mechanicals that you or your riding buddies are likely to encounter
1. Know how to pump properly
Picture this: you flatted and have just installed a new inner tube. You’re pumping like mad with your hand pump so you can get riding again only to shear off the valve stem. No patch is gonna fix that. So you’d better have a second tube or it could be a long walk home.
There is a right and a wrong way to use a hand pump. The wrong way is to rest the wheel against your thigh and pump like crazy. While effective, this puts undue stress on the valve stem, increasing the likelihood of damage.
2. Give sidewall tears the boot
3. Carry the right multi-tool
4. Fix a cleat with your bike’s ‘back-up bolts’
5. Trailside singlespeed conversion
- Remove what remains of the rear derailleur by unbolting it from the hanger. Take the rear derailleur cable and loop it around the seatstay so that it won’t get tangled in the drivetrain.
- Open the quick-link or remove a pin with your chain tool. (Using the quick-link is generally preferable, but you’re going to be shortening the chain anyway.)
- Attempt to find a workable gear combination with the straightest chainline possible. Use the middle chainring on a triple crankset, the small ring on a double, and, well, the only chainring on a 1x drivetrain. Find a gear combination that will work without too much slack in the chain and splice the chain back together.
- If you have a full suspension, be aware that most suspension designs have some degree of fore/aft axle movement as the wheel moves through its travel. This means that while your chain might appear reasonably tensioned when you’re hacking things together, the chain will become too loose or too tight as the rear suspension compresses. To counter this, lock out the rear suspension.
- If you have a shock pump handy, inflate the rear suspension to the point that the suspension won’t compress in the open position (but be sure to stay below the shock’s maximum air pressure, which is usually printed on the shock body.) High air pressure plus the lockout will minimize any rear suspension movement that could compromise chain tension.
You can read more at BikeRadar.com