What do I need to do to store my mountain bike?
August 10, 2009 11:23 AM   Subscribe

I'm fairly new to the mountain bike game and unfortunately I am having to park my mountain bike for three months whilst I work away. Security is not an issue but in general what maintenance and precautions do I need to take, if any, before it goes away? FYI: I have a 2008 Kona Cinder Cone (linky) and the bike is currently in a reasonably clean state (but not spotless).
posted by logicalsequence to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Certainly, I would clean and lube everything before storing a bike for any length of time. Protect it from the elements (best is indoors, but covered could work in a pinch.) If it will be stored somewhere cold, there is some small chance of rubber (e.g. tires) cracking.

Someone else will hopefully have comments on what (if anything) you need to do for the hydraulics for the brakes. In general, storing a bike is not like storing an automobile or motorcycle; keep it clean and protected and it'll certainly need some air in the tires and shock (if it's air-filled) when you come back to it.
posted by JMOZ at 11:27 AM on August 10, 2009

It would never occur to me to do maintenance on it before storing it, but I'd be prepared to reinflate the tires when I got back -- that's about it. You could do a quick chain cleaning and lube before you go, if it's not clean and oiled now, but other than that they really don't require that much.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 11:29 AM on August 10, 2009

Assuming that the storage is inside, you don't need to do any maintenance prior to storing it. If its outside, you might consider spraying a a bit of WD40 on any steel parts to avoid rust.

There are 2 things that you'll need to be more concerned about: the brakes and the seals inside of the suspension fork. In regards to the brakes, you should avoid storing the bike upside down as this can introduce air bubbles into the caliper itself (which may or may not require you to bleed the brakes afterward). And in regards to the fork, you should try to pump it up and down occasionally to lubricate the seals (the idea behind this is that it is theoretically possible for the seals to dry out and crack if they don't have oil on them).

If you are storing it with the wheels off, you should definitely put some spacers in between the brake pads to avoid problems that can occur if you accidentally squeeze the brake levers (which may or may not require you to bleed the brakes afterward).

I don't think you have tubeless tires, but if you do ... your first priority in 3 months should be to check that the slime/sealant has not dried out and to replace it if needed.
posted by Dave. at 12:38 PM on August 10, 2009

As an independent frame builder and owner of a bike shop in Portland OR, I run into these type of issues (storing) all of the time.

First I will say 3 months is not a long time for storing a bike.

There are 3 things that I would say you should do. (some already mentioned)

1) Remove and completely deflate your tires. sitting tires will deflate some anyway, and its better to take pressure off when not needed.

2) Store at room temperature. Prevent all your normal wear from elements. most importantly keep it dry! (may seem obvious be I have seen people leave their bike under a tarp where water gets in). nothing worse then coming back to rusted components from sitting in a damp area.

3) Clean your components. take a degreaser and remove any sludge or dirt build up. I even get in there with an old tooth brush to get deep down sludge. I would not recommend lubricating prior to storage, instead, do that when you take it out of storage before riding.
posted by InByronWeTrust at 12:43 PM on August 10, 2009

You might want to check the user manual for your bike. I just bought a new Trek, and I recall (though I don't have it in from of me at the moment) that the manual said to deflate the tires to 50% pressure when storing the bike for long periods.
posted by paulg at 2:09 PM on August 10, 2009

Please don't use WD40 on your bike, unless you're only spraying a rag to wipe it down with. WD40 can force grime and dirt deeper into places where it's not supposed to be. It also evaporates leaving parts unprotected.

WD40 is great for cleaning, but not for protecting or lubing.

Use a proper bike lube from your local bike shop.
posted by wfrgms at 5:34 PM on August 10, 2009

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