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Storing your mountain bike properly is essential to maintaining its performance and extending its lifespan.
Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a beginner, this article will give you hints and tips on how to store a mountain bike and keep it in top-notch condition during periods of non-use.
11 Tips On Storing A Mountain Bike
There are various things you might think about when contemplating mountain bike storage.
1. Clean & Lubricate
Cleaning and lubricating your mountain bike after each ride is crucial for its longevity and performance. And it’s wise before any spell of long-term storage. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure a thorough clean:
- Rinse: Use a gentle spray of water to remove loose dirt and grime from the bike, focusing on the frame, tires, and drivetrain.
- Degrease: Apply a bike-specific degreaser to the chain, cassette, and chainrings. Use a brush or rag to scrub away the dirt and old lubricant.
- Wash: With a bike-specific cleaner and a sponge or brush, clean the frame, fork, wheels, and other components. Rinse thoroughly.
- Dry: Use a clean cloth to dry the mountain bike, ensuring no moisture remains on the frame or components. This will help to avoid rusting.
- Lubricate: Apply a quality bicycle lubricant to the chain, derailleurs, and pivot points. Spin the pedals to help the lubricant penetrate the chain.
- Wipe Excess: After a few minutes, use a clean cloth to wipe off excess lubricant from the chain, preventing dirt build-up.
- Final Touch: Polish the frame and other glossy surfaces with a bike polish or silicone spray to restore shine and protect against corrosion.
By following these steps, you’ll keep your mountain bike ready for your next MTB adventure, whenever that may be.
Video: Cleaning A Mountain Bike
2. Inflate The Tires
Properly inflating your mountain bike tires is important for optimal performance and a smooth ride. Before doing anything, you should check the manufacturer’s recommended pressure, which will always be written on the sidewall of your tires.
Keeping tires inflated during winter storage helps to keep them flexible and prevents them from leaching their protective oils and drying out. A bike left standing on concrete is particularly prone to this.
Use a high-quality pump to inflate your tires, preferably with a gauge so you can accurately measure tire pressure whilst pumping.
Make sure you don’t inflate the tires beyond their maximum pressure or beyond the max pressure of your wheel rims, whichever is lower.
Inflate gradually and push the plunger all the way into the barrel if you want to work efficiently. The final part of the stroke is where the air is delivered.
Tires are prone to damage from UV exposure but especially to ozone, so it’s worth avoiding ozone pollution from household appliances and other machines. Store your mountain bikes away from machinery where possible.
Note that tubeless sealant is likely to dry out over a winter, so you’ll need fresh sealant before you resume riding, assuming use of tubeless tires.
Read more: How to store your bike tires
Video: How to Pump Up a Bike Tyre
3. Location, Location
When it comes to mountain bike storage, choosing the right location and environment is crucial. You should pick a cool, dry area that is well-ventilated.
Extreme temperatures and high humidity can cause damage to the bike’s components. Avoid direct sunlight, as UV damage can fade colors and degrade materials over time.
Additionally, select a place where the bike is protected from hazards like accidental knocks or falls. By storing your mountain bike in an ideal location, you’ll help preserve its condition and ensure it’s in good shape further down the road (or trail).
4. Use A Bike Rack Or Stand
Storing an MTB on a bike rack or stand offers various benefits for its long-term preservation. Firstly, it keeps the bike off the ground, preventing flat spots on the tires and reducing the risk of damage from moisture, dirt, or pests.
Additionally, a bike stand helps save valuable space, especially when storing multiple bikes. A single bike might be easy to accommodate, but how to store mountain bike number two, three or four? A bike rack or stand is the solution.
Bike storage options include a floor stand or rack, wall or ceiling bike hooks, wall mounts, or a ceiling rack. Different forms of hoist bike storage that lift your mountain bikes to the roof are usually great space savers, and they save you from doing any heavy lifting.
Read more: The best garage hoists
There are various bike racks on the market. The ideal storage solution for your mountain bike will depend on the available space you have. Freestanding racks are ideal if you hate DIY, but other racks that save more floor space usually require drilling during installation.
Video: DIY Mountain Bike Wall Mount
5. Maintain The Suspension
Aside from retro 1980s-type mountain bikes that have no suspension at all, most mountain bikes include some form of suspension.
A full-suspension or dual-suspension mountain bike has suspension at the front and rear. A hardtail mountain bike only has front fork suspension.
There is no need to reduce air pressure in MTB suspension over the winter, but you should consider adding a few drops of suspension lubricant to front forks and rear shocks. This stops the seals from drying out.
You can also add suspension lube to mountain bike dropper posts for the same reason.
Extend the dropper post fully for storage over the winter season, as this puts less pressure on the seal. (Of course, not all MTB riders are forced to stop riding during winter, depending on where they live.)
Sometimes it’s said that hanging a mountain bike upside down helps keep suspension seals lubed, though if the seals are worn it may cause oil to leak instead. It may also cause air bubbles to shift in a hydraulic brake system, but it doesn’t create air bubbles.
6. Protect The Frame
Protecting mountain bike frames with cloth or foam during winter storage offers several benefits.
Firstly, it prevents scratches, dings, and cosmetic damage that can occur when the bike is in close proximity to other stored items.
Cloth or foam acts as a cushioning barrier, absorbing any impacts or vibrations that may occur during storage. This is especially useful if you’re storing two bikes or more close together.
Additionally, it helps to prevent moisture build-up on the frame, reducing the risk of corrosion.
By investing a little effort in providing this protective layer, you can ensure that your mountain bike remains in excellent condition, preserving its aesthetics and overall value.
A popular way to protect bike frames is by covering them in foam pool noodles. That works well in any situation where your mountain bikes might be stacked.
7. Consider A Bike Cover
As long as you’re able to store your mountain bike indoors, a bike cover shouldn’t be necessary. That said, even indoors, a good bike cover will stop your bike from being covered in dust and other debris that still exists under many roofs (e.g., pet hairs).
One of the inherent problems with a poorly designed outdoor bike cover is that it can cause a condensation build-up. This makes it almost as hazardous to a mountain bike (or any bike) as exposure to the elements. So, you need a bike cover with built-in ventilation.
A bike that is constantly allowed to get wet without prompt drying is likely to develop rust.
Rust on bikes and chains is often superficial, but you want to stop it setting in. Other areas prone to rusting include fenders, bike racks, nuts, bolts, and washers.
8. Protect Your Interior
Something to consider when storing a mountain bike indoors is protection of interior decor and flooring. Mountain biking is messy, so bringing the bike indoors is not without risk.
No matter how clean you think a bike is, sooner or later it’s likely to mark something with a knock or a drop of oil. This is usually okay in a garage, but not so much inside the home.
It’s worth thinking about wall and floor protection if you’re storing a bike in a house or other living area. Mountain bike storage can be challenging if the storage space has to stay pristine.
An easy way to protect flooring is to put some plastic sheeting under a bike, though you should be wary of liquids running off the plastic. A canvas blanket works better. Contact points with the wall can be protected with a layer of cardboard, as unsightly as that is.
To link up with the previous section, you can also buy ready-made interior bike covers from manufacturers like Velosock. These protect your floor (e.g., carpet) as well as preventing dust from coating the drivetrain.
9. Remove Accessories
Another thing to think about when storing your bike is removal of accessories. This might mean storing your bike without lights, GPS devices and computers, e-MTB batteries, water bottles and holders, and other consumable or potentially valuable items.
It’s easier to keep accessories safe and in good condition when they’re off the bike. It’ll avoid potential theft or loss provided you store items in an organized way. The need for this depends to a degree on what the items are and where you store your bike.
Stripping a bike down also makes it easier to clean, so there’s that to consider, too. When you’re ready to resume mountain biking after winter, you can equip your bike afresh.
10. Thoughts On Security
It’s always worth locking your mountain bike, especially if it’s valuable and kept in a garage or shed. Storing it inside the home is a safer bet, but even there it only takes 10 seconds to lock your bike. Think about how vulnerable your home is to burglary and theft.
The best types of bike lock are expensive U-locks with thick shackles or heavy-duty chain locks: the ones used for motorcycles. Don’t lock a valuable bike with a $10 cable lock.
Aside from bike locks, you can create other obstacles for thieves like storing a bike behind a car in your garage or locking the room in your home where the bike is stored.
Read more: Store a bike on a balcony
11. Regular Check-ups
No matter how carefully you store bikes, it’s always worth periodically checking your mountain bike for signs of damage or loose parts. That’s especially the case if your bike is stored in a frequently used area with limited space.
Periods of inactivity like winter are always a good time to assess and replace bike parts.
Indexing the gears, checking brakes, and replacing cables are common maintenance tasks you might undertake during a break from riding.
MTB Storage: Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is It Important to Properly Store a Mountain Bike?
By properly storing a mountain bike you will extend its lifespan, prevent damage, preserve components, and maintain its performance.
What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make When Storing Their Mountain Bikes?
Mistakes people make when storing a mountain bike include leaving it in a dirty state, storing it in damp or humid conditions, allowing it to sit on concrete with flat tires, and exposing it to UV or ozone damage (the latter applying mostly to tires).
What Are Some Effective Ways to Store a Mountain Bike to Prevent Damage?
Store it in a dry place with a constant temperature, protect it either from the elements or dust, clean and lube the bike before storing to prevent corrosion or seizure of parts.
Are There Any Specific Tools or Equipment Needed for Storing a Mountain Bike?
There are various items of equipment that help without necessarily being essential.
These include a bike stand, bike rack, wall mount, bike cover, cleaning tools, lube for the chain and suspension, and a bike pump preferably with a pressure gauge.
How Can a Mountain Bike Be Stored in a Small Space?
One way to store a mountain bike in a small space is to make use of the wall or ceiling to get the bike off the floor.
This might involve installing a wall-mounted rack, simple bike hooks, or a ceiling hoist. Folding mountain bikes also exist.
Can a Mountain Bike Be Stored Outside, or Is Indoor Storage Always Necessary?
A mountain bike can be stored outside, but you may have to work harder to keep it in prime condition and inspect it regularly.
You can use a high-quality bike cover, bike tent, or bike shed to protect it from the elements.
How Can a Mountain Bike Be Protected From Theft While in Storage?
Lock your mountain bike to an immovable object using a high-quality U-lock or thick chain lock. Use at least two different locks for a high-value bike.
If the bike is in long-term storage, obstruct access to it by blocking it with a vehicle or other heavy items.
What Should Be Done to Maintain a Mountain Bike While in Storage?
Periodically check the bike to make sure it hasn’t been knocked or damaged, cover it to prevent a coating of dust, keep tires inflated, do routine maintenance ready for the new season (index gears, change cables, check brakes, look for wear in other vital parts).