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Keep Your Rig Ripping: A Maintenance Schedule for Gravel and MTB

Spring has finally arrived, and the warm weather beckons cyclists to trade in the indoor trainer for outdoor riding. As you transition from basement miles to hitting the open road or trail, it's crucial to ensure your trusty steed is ready to roll. Before embarking on your first outdoor adventure, take the time to inspect the condition of your bike's tires, add fresh sealant to your tubeless setups, check the brake pads for wear, and give the chain a thorough cleaning and lubrication. A well-maintained machine will not only perform better but also ensure your safety and enjoyment on every ride.

Daily Ritual

Before and after every ride, get into the habit of a quick ABC check:

- Air - Check tire pressure and ensure it's topped up for the day's terrain, check for any cuts or thorns

- Chain - Degrease, clean, and re-lube that hard-working chain

Weekly (Every 7-10 rides)

- Remove wheels and clean/inspect for any worn components or dry bearings

- Clean and re-lube all pivot points, derailleurs, and brake calipers

- Check brake pads for wear and replace if needed

- Check shock air pressure and add air if needed


- Deep clean and re-lube entire drivetrain, cassette, chainring

- Bolts - Give a quick onceover and re-tighten any loose bolts

- Check derailleur hangers for alignment and re-tension shift cables

- Clean and re-lube suspension fork and seals

- Check tubeless tire sealant levels and replenish if low

- Check shock air pressure and inspect for any leaks or bushing play


Spring Tuneup (After Winter)

- Thorough inspection of frame, wheels, components for any cracked/worn parts

- Re-lube brake pivot points and re-bleed brake lines

- Clean and re-lube all cable housing and re-cable if showing signs of wear

- Re-tension any loose spokes

- Shock air can service - full disassembly, cleaning, re-grease air can/rebuild

Fall Tuneup (In prep for Muddy Season)

- Replace any worn drivetrain components like chainrings, cassette, chain

- Overhaul fork and rear shock - clean and replace any seals/oil

- Re-grease all bottom bracket, headset, wheel bearings

- Clean and re-lube any questionable pivot points and linkages


At least once per year (or every 6mo for high milers)

- Complete teardown for comprehensive overhaul service

- Remove/re-grease and re-install entire crankset, all suspension parts

- Re-pack all wheel bearings with fresh grease

- Replace any worn cables, housing, brake pads, etc.

- Inspect frame, wheels, components for any cracking/damage

- Full rear shock rebuild service

Keeping those pivoting suspension components and air shocks running buttery is a must for mountain bike performance and longevity. Dirt and moisture can wreak havoc on seals, so staying on top of cleaning, lubing, and servicing the shock is critical. Develop an intuitive feel for your shock's air pressures and any funkiness in the travel, as that's the first sign you may need a service or rebuild before things get too gunked up. After all, there's nothing more fun than that dreamy plush feel when your suspension is freshly juiced up and ready to party!

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