New Bike Setup: 5 Tips for an Optimal Performing Bike

Ibis Ripley Sram Eagle

New bikes are super exciting, giving a new passion for jumping out on the trail to test out how the bike allows you to conquer challenging terrain.  They are normally trouble-free, quiet and setup fairly well.  Unfortunately, most bikes don’t come optimized for max fun and that new bike feeling fades away rapidly as squeaks and rattles emerge.  Who likes a bike that sounds like a hotel bed surrounded by rocking chairs?  Who likes throwing money out the window when it’s time to sell your rattle trap and battle-scarred bike?   I don’t know about you, but a stealthy quiet fine tuned machine is significantly more fun to me.

Here are my 5 favorite things to ensure optimal pleasure on the bike:

  1. Tidy cables:  Properly trimmed cables should allow plenty of bar rotation, but shouldn’t be excessive enough that you have cables rubbing where they shouldn’t and slapping against each other on every bump.  To minimize the rat’s nest of cables, use zip ties and trim the excessively long cables.   I like to zip tie cables together coming from the same side of the bars and prefer 1-2 on the rear derailleur and rear brake cables and sometimes one on front brake and dropper.  Zip-tied bike cables

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    Sloppy cables bike build
    This might have been one of the noisiest bikes I’ve ridden with cables that were all too long, making crazy noisy even going uphill!
  2. Cockpit setup:  Levers should be adjusted to give proper reach so you aren’t rotating your hand too far to grab the lever (adjust with reach adjustment knob or allen) and far enough slid in on the bar that you are using the end of the lever for max leverage.   The angle of the levers is highly personal but should keep the wrist as straight as possible when you need to brake hardest – usually on the DH’s and standing. The dropper should be easily reachable by thumb without movement of the hand on the bar.  The shifter needs a proper angle for easy reach and without awkward wrist angles when shifting up or down.  Some shifters have an angle adjustment on the thumb lever (SRAM) that should be used.

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    Crank Brothers Highline dropper remote
    A nice properly placed under the bar dropper remote makes things so much easier when you *really* need to get that post down quick.
  3. Protective clear tape:  For those of you that throw your bike on the ground and into things,  Racers Tape can help prevent damage that can kill resale value.  I started using this in Sedona where things seem to always be bouncing up and hitting the frame.   I strongly recommend Racers Tape since it’s a burly 8mm’s thick and leaves minimal residue behind.

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    ICS Racers Tape/Helicopter tape, 8mm thick. 2″x!2″. This should be enough for 2 bikes.
  4. Grease and proper torque:  Noisy bikes suck!  The culprits are most often improper torque and lack of grease.  The headset, freebub body, chainring, seatpost and suspension bolts are the culprits I see most.   Pull these items and make sure they have grease and then properly torque.  I highly recommend buying a torque wrench to avoid over or under tightening bolts.
  5. Bike mileage/hours log:  Keeping track of how many miles you’re ridden can help you stay on top of future maintenance like chain replacement (before its too late and you have to replace chainring and cassette also), tire sealant and suspension service.  There are many ways to do this with Garmin, Strava, etc.

Taking these steps will help optimize your new mountain bike for maximum enjoyment.   Additionally, resale value of your fine tuned machine should be much greater so you can keep moving up to the next latest greatest steed.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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