Whether you own a beat-up big-box-store special or a racing bike that costs more than your car, there’s more to keeping your mountain bike in good shape than inflating your tires to their proper pressure.
5. Align your derailleur[s]
3. Clean your chain
2. Clean/replace/align your brake pads
1. Adjust your brake levers
The above is only a bare-necessity starting point.
If you’re interested in thoroughly tuning up your own mountain bike, check out this tutorial: http://bicycletutor.com/tune-up/ and buy yourself a good-quality cycling multitool.
If you’re not completely confident in your ability to do the above work, leave it to the pros: Shop around and look for the best deal (coupled with a good policy for recourse if you’re not happy with the tune-up) from your local bike or bike & board specialist.
Remember, though: Just like your car, any investment in keeping your bike in good working order is an investment in your own well-being.
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