Like it or not, the benefits of cycling are endless with the mixture of climbs and descents in your local trail park that you could be soon exploring on your bike. Mountain bikes provide a delightful way to connect with nature and exercise at the same time. You can use bicycle riding as a means of boosting your health or beating traffic in our jam infested cities.
If you are still not yet convinced, let me break it down to you as to how you can improve your relationships, health, and happiness on a bike ride.
- You will get to work on time– If you want to boost your bank balance, spend lesser time in traffic, and get to work on time, then bike riding is for you. In addition to reducing pollution mostly associated with motorized means of transport that have significant amounts of carbon footprints, bikes provide a cost-effective way of eliminating gas expenses too.
- The best form of pure cardio work out– Regular cycling provides a gym-like type of work out, and as part of your daily fitness scheme, cycling will strengthen the cardiovascular system. This will, in turn, boost your overall health, leaving you happy with yourself. In addition to keeping fit, you will have more satisfying sleep and a higher sex drive.
Whether you choose to enjoy cycling in the rugged landscapes of forests and mountains, mono technical tracks for more adrenaline-raising challenges, or meandering logging roads, you can have a pleasant bike ride from almost most of the terrains using a mountain bike.
However, despite all the pros of having a mountain bike, a poorly maintained bike will translate to high maintenance expenses when you have to change a corroded frame, faulty chain set or a gear shifting component that makes the gear to change on its own. Other than corrosion, wear and tear can turn a fun cycling experience to a life-threatening activity in a matter of seconds. You might get lucky and get a few fractures if you were to suffer a punctured tire or failed brakes in a downhill mountain bike race.
Keeping your mountain bike in optimal condition will ultimately prolong the fun experience of owning one. It is thus crucial to make sure your bike is appropriately stored such that even when left outside, the bike will not let you down later when you are riding to impress a date in a local park.
Where to Store a mountain bike
The best way to keep the mountain bike from contending with harsh weather elements is to keep it indoors. But what happens when you don’t have that extra space, and you end up storing your bike outside. How long will it be until the bike’s components start to corrode? This depends on several factors. The age of the bike is one such factor. An older bike is more likely to lack advanced seals on headsets, hubs that protect against corrosion from clammy air. Location is another aspect you should not ignore. Areas that experience a lot of rain or relative humidity above 80% make storing mountains outside a nightmare. The bikes corrode very quickly.
Effects of storing a mountain bike in the open
Chains are usually the first to corrode. Chains made of less stainless steel degrade faster, and the corrosion effect is much more evident in a week. Steel cables are prone to oxidation when the bike is left outside and will rust after some time outside.
All other parts also degrade over time. The duration of damage relies on how much humidity or direct sunlight that comes into contact with the bike. A high-end bike could take up to as much as 3 to 4 months before any noticeable damage is seen.
Rubber and plastic parts will bow to heat and break down and become more brittle. Continuous thawing and freezing can also make the bicycle parts to crack or come loose. Additionally, the colored parts of the bike will fade, giving the bike a much older appearance.
Cold temperatures will reduce the battery life in the bike’s cyclo-computer or any other fitted electronic gadgets. Moisture in high humidity areas can make the frame of the bike susceptible to rust.
Bikes have dissimilar metals put together using bolts. In cold weather, bolts can seize before corroding and getting stuck. Bearings also seize up in harsh weather environments and eventually break down.
How to Avoid bike rusting from the outside
Finding the best outdoor storage for a bike is not a big hustle as many riders imagine it to be. However, the choice of storage should be able to stand against various weather elements such as rain, direct sun exposure, and damage, or even strong winds that could blow your bike cover away.
- Covering The Bike – If you choose to use a tarp to cover your bike, then that cover should be durable enough to withstand tear and strong winds that could blow it away, leaving the bike exposed. The type of cover to be used also varies with the nature of the storage of a bike. For instance, a bike that is to be stored outside over a long period will use a more durable type of cover than that only needs to be stored temporarily outside. Having a good cover protects your bike from corrosions in a more effective way.
- Drying The Bike – One of the leading ways to prevent rust on a bike is ensuring that it’s always dry when it gets wet. Therefore, since water can aggravate rust in many parts of the bike, you need to be able to dry it correctly often. If you’ve been using the mountain bike often, then you should learn to use the right cleaning detergents to get the job done.
Factors to consider when selecting a bike cover
This is a noteworthy aspect when selecting a bicycle cover. Most of the bike covers differ in appearance and material. The material ought to be thick enough to offer more durability over an extended period. Denier is perhaps the best material with regard to the test of brittleness and reliability. Contrasting two denier materials of comparable polyester material indicates that a 600D is indestructible compared to a 400D material. This implies that the higher the denier numbers, the thicker and heavier the threads tend to be.
A suitable cover should be able to cover the bike entirely. Before settling on a particular cover, inspect the measurements and contrast it to that of your mountain bike. Bigger cycle covers provide adaptability and conceivably cover more bicycles and future bigger bicycles that you may add to your collection of bikes.
- Reflective Material
This feature is not a fundamental one when settling on a cover, but can assist you in checking your precious bike in dimly lit environments. The reflective strips aid in keeping the bike noticeable and more secure.
- Ease of Accessibility and Lock Holes
If you make the decision of leaving your bike out in the open for a few months, a security system in the bike cover will cut down the worry of your bike being insecure. A bike cover can possess metal gaps in front to allow the bicycle’s front wheel to be accessed and bolted to a post on a rack. The front hole enables you to secure the front wheel in place making the cover’s metal gap a unique security feature.
Straps Types used to secure the Cover
Strings with locks will assist in fastening the cover to your bicycle. This comes in handy when you store your mountain bike outside in strong winds, and the bike cover is not blown away.
Types of Mountain Bike Covers
- Comprehensive bike cover-Ideal when storing the bike for more extended periods. The varieties in this category are contoured to fit around most bikes and have durable material coupled with stretchable straps to secure around the mountain bike. The cover will protect against dust, harmful UV rays, and moisture. Bonus protection includes protection from scratching and accidental scraping of the bicycle.
- Water-resistant seat cover-This is confided to the saddle only. The Seat cover is fastened over the seat using elastic straps to protect against the sun and rain.
- Car bike cover- These types of covers are stretchy and protect the top tube, saddle, front fork, and the handlebars only.
- Pro bike Cover- It is designed using a durable fabric material with a strong two-layered stitching and well-sealed seams. The cover provides excellent protection against harsh weather elements such as strong winds, rain, and snow. The anti- UV extra coating guarantees that the bike is more protected from harmful sun rays. The lock-hole design allows for cable locks for an extra level of security. Another amazing feature about this cover is the reflective safety characteristic that allows the user to move the bike in and out of the cover efficiently.
- Top spring bicycle cover-This double-layered cover is made of tough and resilient polyester material and PU. The cover is smooth in texture, but don’t let this fool you. The cover, despite its sleek look, happens to be more durable, waterproof, and UV resistant. In addition, the waterproof cover has buckle straps and elastic hems to protect against strong winds. The cover is cheap and covers a 26-inch bike fully. The only disadvantage is that it is only limited to one mountain bike.
Getting The Right Mountain Bike Cover
- Purchase bearing grease preferably waterproof grease- For a few bucks; you can get a tube of lubricant for both the front and rear sprockets. Apply on the chain too and store the bike. Riding the bike makes the grease dirty and reduces the effectiveness of the oil in protecting the bikes drive train components. If by accident, the oil is ruined, clean the bike and grease again. The grease will only be removed after the storage period. A coating on the parts of the drive train should be considered as well. These parts include brake bolts, spokes, and stem bolts. More grease should be applied on the base of the spokes where it meets the rim to provide more effective protection against rust. The seat post should also be lubed and greased as well. A rusted seat post will most definitely ruin your bike.
- Consider a frame saver – A steel frame is subject to internal rust, and applying a frame saver aerosol on the frame of the bike will provide the so much deserved rustproof treatment for your bike. If you cannot get a frame saver, WD40 is a good alternative aerosol. The advantage of using frame saver is that it can get into small openings in the frame of the bike, and when it dries, it leaves a protective coating on the bike’s frame. The main places to spray the frame saver are; the seat tube, head tube, and BB Shell. The bottom bracket will also benefit from this spray as it is susceptible to rust more than any other on the bike. You need to disassemble the bike for a more practical application. While you spray, remember to circumvent the tubes to have an even application in all areas. Seal the tubes with paper towels when you are done with the spraying, and all excess spray gas drained out and left to dry.
- A shopping Bag for the saddle. – Sounds funny, but a priceless plastic shopping bag tied to the bike’s seat post will go a long way in protecting your seat against destructive UV rays. Xero covers will also do the trick, but they come at a price. Their two-layer design makes them water-resistant and durable. This keeps the seat clean and free from the sun’s destructive rays. A cracked seat can expose the tube to rust factors such as moisture. .A wet seat will deteriorate with time and expose the tube as well. In addition to keeping the seat dry, the fabric is elastic and easy to fit on any bike seat.
- Ensure the tires are inflated at all times- Inflated tires protect the rims from direct contact with the ground. It is imperative to keep a bike pump around to keep the tires inflated in the course of storing the bike.
- Use a bike shed. A makeshift can house a rack/ mount to store the bike.
Wall and Ceiling hook
- The Wall post
This is basically a post that sticks out from a wall. The bike is hung on the wall by the saddle. The bike stays off the wall and floor at the same time.
- Use a tarp
A tarp will shield a bike from exposure to the sun and rain. A tarp should not be placed directly on the bike. The reason being- a tarp just like any other tent will trap moisture inside the tent, and that will also lead to corrosion.
Preparing your bike for outside storage
- Inflate the tires– If you are to store the bike lying on its wheels it is imperative to inflate the tires to the maximum. This prevents the weight of the bicycle from pressing down into the rubber below the rims on one spot when the tire is flat. Failure to inflate the tires leads to a gradual degradation of the tires with the rubber ending up distorted.
- Wipe the frame– Storing a bicycle when clean comes with many benefits. However, you should not use pressurized water from a water hose to clean a bike. Pressurized water tends to wash out the grease out of sealed bearings leading to damage later during a riding session. High-pressure water can also seep into frame openings and cause rust from the inside of the frame. A brush that has soft bristles can get used in removing dirt such as dried from the bike. Then use some rag to wipe off all remaining dust.
- Inspect the frame– Wiping down the bike also gives you a chance to inspect the frame for structural integrity and soundness. A reasonable frame should be free of any metal fatigue or cracks, especially at the weld points and bottom bracket which supports most of the weight during cycling and thus subject to massive stresses.
- Grease the cables– When you take time to lubricate the braking and shifting cables, you reduce the likelihood of rusting occurring on the cables during the rainy weather. Using a rag, apply a light lubricant on the exposed cables and cable housing.
- Check the wheel area- Check the wheels for broken or loose spokes and repair accordingly. A damaged spook could expose the inner part of the rim to external weather effects such as humidity and cause rusting.
- Clean and lubricate the chain– Dust and dried mud provide a good rusting environment when moisture comes into contact with any metallic parts of your bike such as the chain.
- Water bottles and hydration packs.- Remove the hydration packs and filled water bottles from the bike to reduce pressure on the wheels during storage.
- Lock your bike– For as little as thirty dollars; you can secure a kryptonite bike lock from an online store. A bike lying idle for a prolonged time will attract unnecessary attention. A lock will protect against theft when you leave your bike outside.
Is it okay to store a mountain bike vertically?
If you happen to be pressed for storage or space in your chosen storage shed, you may consider storing your bike vertically. Various types of racks allow you to store your bike vertically with wheels placed perpendicular to the adjacent wall. When positioned in the corner, the rack takes the least amount of space. The wheels of the bike can also be aligned perpendicular to a wall depending on the type of wall mount used. A high placed mount on the Ceiling of ample storage space keeps other elements in the space free from obstruction by the bike. Free-standing racks provide a rider with many bikes to store several bikes on the shelf. Another way of suspending the bike vertically is by use of j shaped hooks and pulley racks. Decent brackets also save on space when not in use by folding flat against a wall. If you live in some rented house, it is essential to request permission to mount bike racks to the ceiling or the wall.
Factors to consider before storing a bike vertically
- Security-If, the storage area is not lockable or shared, then you should consider a wall mount that comes with a lock for advanced safety and reduced chances of subjecting the bike to theft while it is stored.
- Bike weight- If the structure in which you wish to store the bike is not as strong and you happen to have a heavy bike, then suspending the bike from the Ceiling could have dire implications later, should the bike fall.
- Wall and floor care –For temporal storage, use models that provide an extra feature for protecting the floor and walls from grease spilling off from vertically suspended bikes. Having Plastic housings on the racks will accommodate the wheels of the bike such that the tire closest to the floor does not touch the floor. The same applies to racks mounted sideways from a wall. The plates protect a person from getting any form of dirt from the bike.
- Wheel Size-Wheel size applies to most of the racks that use the wheel as the central anchor. You must check whether the wells on the rack can fit the tire width of your bike.
Types of mountain bike Storage racks
Just like bikes, storage racks come in different variations such as free-standing mounts, stylish walls, and ceiling racks. However, the main goal of all of a rack or mount is to keep the bike atop the ground to prevent dirt, scratches, or the bike falling over leading to damaged spokes, gears, or worse still causing injury to you or another person.
- Free-standing racks
- A free-standing rack is designed to hold two bikes, but in the event, you wish to store yours vertically, then it can only hold one. The racks are ideal for storage areas that lack a mountable wall, or mounting racks is prohibited. They are portable and make the process of rearranging the storage unit an easy task.
- Wall mounts-Riders with limited space can opt for this type of mount. A simple j shaped hook can suspend a bicycle via the rear wheel. Securing the bike by the top tube can turn out to be a daunting task due to its angling. However, modern wall racks are equipped with flexible arms to auger with the bicycle’s particular design. Hanging the bike by the wall keeps the room spacious as if the bike is another piece of art hanging on the wall.
- Floor stands-This type of rack consists of a single metal bar with a vertical wheel well suited for a single bike only. They are easy to use. A simple pop of the wheel into the slit and the bike is stored. They, however, require a bit more space as the bike has to be stored horizontally.
- Ceiling mounts- a rider with many bikes to store will go for this particular mount. They are easy to set up and only occupy the upper unutilized space of a storage unit.
- Gravity stands- Their factory design limits them to a lean on position only against a flat surface and relies on a bike’s weight for stability. The advantage of this type of rack is that it does not require any form of mounting and can host as much as two bikes.
- Hoist bike storage-this storage setup comprises of pulley systems that help you lift and lower the bikes. This makes it suitable for ceilings that make bikes hard to reach once hoisted. Most of the elevators support heights of only twelve feet and below, and it is for this reason that you need to know your ceiling height.
After keeping your bike stored for long, it is imperative to give the bike a fresh tune-up at the local service shop before using it again. The price of a tune-up will vary from one bike shop to the other. The tune-ups vary from Full Tune or a complete overhaul, Basic Tune, and Deluxe Tune. The type of tune-up depends on the bike’s condition and purpose of the bike. For instance, a bike that has most of the parts worn out will require a Deluxe Tune-up. The bike mechanic will recommend replacement parts and come up with the total cost of the bike’s repair.
The brakes, chain, rims, freewheel or any other part of the bike that was greased will then get degreased and cleaned and later lubricated using a suitable lubricant. The process of tuning up the bike does not end here but continues until all parts of the bike are in optimal condition.