Tips from the world champion
How to make your bike fit for the holidays
Mountain biking with us in the Dolomites is a dream. But it is important that the bike is also fit for the holiday. World champion Mike Kluge, who is organising THE bike event of the year with us in September, shows in six simple steps how to take perfect care of your mountain bike.
1. Bike cleaning
“If you want to clean your bike quickly and efficiently, you need a pressure washer,” says Mike Kluge. However, correct handling is crucial. Do not direct the jet at the bearings or too close to the paint. If in doubt, a bucket of water with household cleaner, a hose and a soft brush will help to get the wheel clean. For stubborn dirt Mike recommends special bicycle cleaners. “If you clean your bike right after the tour, you prevent the dirt from drying on”. Therefore: invest a few minutes in cleaning after the tour – this will keep your mountain bike in good shape for a long time.”
2. Clean and lubricate the chain
Bicycle chains often receive far too little attention, which is why they either have too little lubrication or are stubbornly dirty. “A high-pressure cleaner is particularly useful for cleaning chains,” explains Mike Kluge. The water pressure rinses dirt and dust out of the chain links. Dry off with a cloth, apply chain oil or chain spray and leave to work overnight. For daily care – especially in dry weather – it is usually sufficient to wipe the chain with a slightly oily cloth, apply a little chain oil or chain spray and then wipe the chain again with the cloth before the next tour to absorb any excess lubricant. “Don’t forget to clean the shifting rollers,” advises Mike Kluge. A relatively large amount of dirt will stick to them over time.
3. Brakes check
“Brakes are the life insurance for mountain bikers, which is why they have to be checked regularly,” advises Mike Kluge. If the brake levers can be pulled almost up to the handlebars, hydraulic brakes have to be bled – which should definitely be done by a specialist. It is also necessary to check the brake pads regularly. “Mud or dust often looks like sandpaper,” says Mike from his experience. A regular brief visual inspection of the brake calipers is quite sufficient. When replacing the pads, the brake pistons must be pushed back with a soft lever, and the screw must be secured with a split pin. Mike advises: “Two pairs of spare pads belong in your holiday luggage in any case.” Changing these is easy, but if in doubt, it should be done by an experienced screwdriver.
4. Checking tyres and air pressure
“You should treat tyres like good friends,” says Mike Kluge. That means they need regular attention and you can trust them. But what distinguishes tyres from friends: They should be changed every two or three years. If they get too old, the plasticizer in the rubber hardens, causing them to lose their grip. “Also check the tread for cracks, torn studs or other visible damage,” recommends Mike to prevent punctures on the tour. And very important: “Many mountain bikers ride with too much pressure,” says Mike from his long experience. The correct tyre pressure depends on tyre width and body weight. “Maximum two bar”, recommends the three-time world champion. The tyre pressure should also be checked regularly. After all, if you again drive with too little pressure, you risk unnecessary flat tyres on the road.
This is how
bike care works
5. Check screw connections
“If someone has a screw loose, it makes personal contact more difficult,” says Mike Kluge with a wink. But loose screws on the wheel are a safety risk. When lifting and dropping the wheel, nothing should rattle. Before going on holiday – and at regular intervals – Mike recommends checking the bolts on the stem, handlebars, seat post and saddle regularly. “A torque wrench is essential for the maintenance and care of modern bikes,” he says. It allows all screws to be tightened safely to the torque recommended by the manufacturer”. Because bolts that are too tight can break suddenly and are therefore just as much a safety risk as those that are too loose.
6. Adjusting the circuit
“Before you go on holiday, you should definitely take a test ride on your bike,” advises Mike Kluge. If the gearshift hooks, usually only the tension needs to be adjusted. “Only work in quarter turns,” advises Mike. If it doesn’t get any better, the derailleur hanger may have been bent by a fall or improper transport. In that case, the expert must take over. The stops of the shifters usually do not need to be readjusted once they are correctly adjusted. “If you regularly care for and maintain your bike with these tips, you will have much more fun,” promises Mike. So let’s go on holiday and go mountain biking at the Ganischgerhof Mountain Resort & Spa in the Dolomites. We are looking forward to seeing you!