The answer to the above question for many mountain bikers, would be to replace as many alloy parts with lightweight carbon fibre parts - but there are many ways in which you can make your mountain bike quicker, without breaking the bank on new parts and components. In this post, we write about some of the things that you can do to ensure your bike is running as slick as possible, helping your timings and everyday performance.
MTB Tyre Pressures for Speed
Getting your MTB Tyre Pressures right is one of the most important things you can do for riding performance. If you overinflate your tyres, you can be left scrabbling for grip - and if you under inflate your tyres, you can not only become less energy efficient - but also damage your rims and wheels in the process, whilst increasing the likelihood of punctures.
It’s always a good idea to use a tyre pressure gauge to keep an eye on tyre pressures - allowing you to ensure you are running about right. Of course, one of the biggest influences when it comes to running tyre pressures, is the terrain you are riding across. If you are riding over rocks and roots - an extra couple of PSI can help prevent punctures.
See the Bike for the Mud
It’s only when giving the bike a thorough clean, that you can inspect components and parts of the bike - to ensure all look in good working order, and are operating as they should. Inspect moving parts for excessive wear and tear, and ensure you remove all of the mud from the working parts of the bike.
Ideally, you will be cleaning your mountain bike on a bike stand - so you can easily reach all of the tough places to reach. First of all, hose the bike down and get rid of any large chunks of mud and grime. Use a cleaning brush to remove muck and dirt from the tricky areas, degrease the chain, clean the chain, wash the bike back down then lube the chain. If the bike has been sat for a while, then a simple dust wipe down would usually suffice.
Chain, Tyres & Brakes
Consumable parts on a mountain bike are all prone to wear and tear which can negatively impact performance. Tyres, brakes and chains are vital parts of your mountain bike, and if these parts are worn and not performing, then speed is almost always affected.
When chains wear for example, they stretch - the gear changes and everyday running of the bike becomes lumpier and less smooth. It’s the same case with tyres; mountain bike tyres with no tread struggle to grip, struggle to stop and also struggle to find the ‘bite’ needed to propel the bike forwards. Fitting new tyres, full of grip provides a massive benefit and difference.
The most obvious sign of brakes needing replacing, is a loud squeal when the brakes are pulled in. Only by trusting the braking system on the bike, and braking when required - can you carry enough speed to perform well on the bike.
Mountain Bike suspension setup is one of the most important aspects of riding a mountain bike - if you get this setup right from the outset - you can enjoy the very best in performance. To set up your suspension, consult the manual provided with your suspension/your bike and take into account the type of riding you do, as well as your weight. Things to look out for and change include sag, rebound as well as compression. The lighter you are, the less air your shock and forks will need.
Depending on terrain, if you ride over very rough off road routes - you may need less compression damping, and if you ride tracks with big drops - you may need to increase rebound damping.
MTB Handlebar Height
Many Mountain Bikers experiment with handlebar height, and how this relatively small change can make a big difference to how a bike rides. Making these changes is all about increasing confidence on the bike, with shorter bars increasing weight over the front of the bike. Those looking for higher bars can add spacers, which increases grip in corners.