Riders on larger-diameter
wheels looking to preserve the
climbing performance of a 26er
need to choose a lighter-weight
tire with a less aggressive knob
pattern than they are used to.
At some point during your
normal loop, pick a rocky, rooty
or rutty section you naturally
avoid and try riding it. You need
to break years of conditioning
that have trained you to avoid
Try braking less often and
with less power.
Even though your front brake
has more usable power than the
rear brake, tech reps at events
report that rear brake pads
always wear out faster than
front brake pads. Go figure.
There is one exception to tip
47. Bolts with thread-locker, like
this rotor bolt, should not be
greased. Just install these. The
thread locker that keeps the bolt
in place works as an anti-seize.
Using only moonlight for a
night ride is a really bad idea
if you ride on a popular trail.
There is no warning that another rider is coming, and rider-to-rider contact usually ends with
When replacing a tube or tire,
check the rim strip to be sure
it’s not pushed to one side. If
the spoke holes are exposed, the
pressurized tube can get pinched
and cause an immediate flat—or
worse, one halfway into the
Bigger wheels (29ers or 27. 5) raise
the front of your bike. Use a flat bar
and maybe a stem with a negative rise
to keep your handlebar at the ideal
Don’t expect to fall asleep easily after a
night ride. Plan your night rides for when
you don’t have obligations early the next
Rather than thinking about riding
as fast as you can, think about keeping
your form as perfect as possible and
allow the speed to come naturally.
When looking at a new bike,
ask the shop if they have the
rear derailleur hanger in stock.
This is the one item that is most
likely to be broken, and just
about every company has its
own hanger design. If the shop
has it in stock, you are doing
business with a good bike shop.
Don’t want to go tubeless?
Run latex tubes and lots of talcum powder.
Big riders or any rider hard
on wheels should try tied and
soldered spokes for a stiffer
If you only have one light,
mount it to your handlebar
(rather than to your helmet).
Using a helmet-only light creates weird shadows that make
the trail surface hard to read.
If your handlebar light
mount is not an easy-on/easy-off design, carry another light
in your hydration pack in case
you have a mechanical failure
and need to see the problem.
Nearly every bolt on a mountain bike likes to be greased.
This prevents the bolts from
seizing and allows them to be
properly torqued. Too much
grease just makes a mess,
though. Don’t go crazy with
this. Just a dab will do.
Don’t try to take 5 pounds
off your current bike. Reducing
that much weight by replacing components will set you
back more than what your
bike is worth. That type of dramatic weight reduction is best
achieved by buying a new bike
that sits on the showroom floor
at the 5-pound-less target.
If you feather your brake
levers, you need to break that
habit (no pun intended). Either
apply the brakes or stay off