How to Make a Mountain Bike Easier to Pedal?

Mountain biking is a fun sport because you can go to different places which are inaccessible to four-wheeled vehicles.

Not only can this serve as an adventurous mode of transportation, but this can also become your handy companion for commuting around town.

This is why you must ensure that your mountain bike is easy to pedal because this is the motion that makes it move from one location to another.

In this article, we’re going to discuss the best ways on how you can make your bike easier to pedal, so you can reach your destination fast and without any hassle.

Clean regularly

The first thing you need to do to make it easy for you to pedal your bike is to clean it regularly.

We all know that a clean bike is a fast bike because it’s free from dirt and grime that can surely put up the weight on your bicycle.

Aside from that, dust and other kinds of debris can also get stuck on your drivetrain and other components and cause a drastic effect on the bike’s performance. And you get all these by seeing your pride and joy looking sparkling clean.

Getting rid of all the dirt and grime on your cables, drivetrain, fork, and wheels, will surely make your bike easier to pedal.

It does this because your bike becomes more efficient in its performance. This also extends their lifespan so you can save money in the long run.

However, we all know that cleaning our bikes is easier said than done, especially if you just came home from an epic ride and your energy has been depleted.

We then end up just leaving our bikes with mud and grease all over, which then makes them prone to rusting. Treat your bike, especially your tires, just like road bike tires that need a lot of attention.

You can avoid this by making it a habit to clean your bike every after ride even if it’s just five or ten minutes. Just spray water from the hose on your bike and get rid of all the dirt. Then wipe it dry.

Use lubricant on the chain

Man lubricating bicycle chain and maintaining for the new season

Another great way to make it easier to pedal your bike is to always apply lube on your chain.

You want to do this every time you clean your bike, specifically your drivetrain. It’s just not enough to only clean your drivetrain thoroughly and wipe it dry. You also need to apply chain-specific lubricant on it so that it will run smooth

A well-lubricated chain makes the drivetrain more efficient. This means that the energy you exerted to pedal the bike won’t be wasted due to mechanical inefficiency.

This also does a great job of lowering down the amount of dirt and grime that your chain picks up whenever you ride on muddy trails.

But note that making sure that your chain is properly lubed doesn’t mean that you need to put as much lubricant as you can.

This is what many mountain bikers do wrong because they pour in a lot of lube on the chain to the point where it’s already dripping to the ground.

Avoid that by placing your bike on a stand and slowly pouring drips of lube on the inside of the chain as you rotate its pedals.

This ensures that you don’t overdo the lubrication process. After you do that, make sure that you wipe the excess oil from your chain.

Adjust your saddle height

Another effective way to make a bike easier to pedal is by adjusting its saddle height.

It might sound simple, but the height of your saddle plays a huge role in your endurance, position, and overall health, and more especially on the amount of effort needed to pedal a bike.

Having your saddle not set to its ideal height can even cause injuries as a result of long-term discomfort.

This also makes you a slower rider because it lowers down your pedaling efficiency. This happens because you’re not giving out enough power. After all, you are either over-extending your legs or bending them too much.

To know if you have the ideal saddle height based on your height, make sure that the inseam measurement is the same as the distance between the bottom bracket and the top side of the saddle.

You then subtract 10 cm from that afterward. So, if you have an inseam measurement of 80 cm, then your saddle height should also be 70 cm.

Another simple way to make sure that you have the right saddle height is to check the position of your legs when the pedal is on the furthest side while pedaling.

Your legs shouldn’t be in a fully straight position especially when you ride uphill. Instead, it should just be slightly bended, but also not too much so that you can still gather momentum when pedaling.

Change pedal tension

You can also adjust the pedal tension so that you can make it easier to pedal the bike.

Adjusting its pedal tension only applies to clipless pedals where you either make it easier or harder to unclip your foot from the pedals.

This is where your safety depends on, especially if you are riding on technical sections. Being able to easily unclip from the pedals means that you can swiftly dab your foot and gain balance if you slide or if you are hitting tight corners.

However, this comes at the expense of pedaling efficiency because there is a higher chance that your pedal strokes might wobble and slide out of rhythm.

Increase tire pressure

Young caucasian woman athlete tourist cyclist uses a hand tool, a bicycle pump to inflate air into a tire wheel mountain bike. Breakdown and quick repair of a bicycle in the countryside outside.

Increasing your tire pressure is perhaps the method where you can get the most effective when making your bike much easier to pedal.

Pumping up more air on your tires makes it harder, thus lowering down its grip while increasing its momentum because of its now fast-rolling nature and less rolling resistance.

Having soft tires will make it harder for you to pedal because there is more contact with the ground. And having more contact means better grip but lower rolling resistance capabilities because your tires’ rubber is always sticking to the ground.

On the other hand, a hard tire with high PSI will roll faster because it doesn’t stick to the ground that much. In other words, it has less ground contact.

It is also faster, but it does this while compromising grip and control. You see, there lies a balance in riding mountain bikes where you either focus on speed or safety. And you can’t choose both of them, of course.

Tune your gears

Gearing is a very important part of this sport because this is where your drivetrain performance depends.

Having poorly adjusted gears will surely ruin a bicycle ride because you will have clunky gear shifts whenever you go faster or slower.

Make sure that your gears work properly and have no delays when shifting so that you can increase your drivetrain’s efficiency.

This also boosts your confidence when you are tackling steep terrain because you can immediately change gears and adjust your gearing based on your speed.

We recommend that you go for 1x drivetrains such as the SRAM Eagle lineup composed of SX, NX, GX, and XX1 variants, with the latter being the most premium of them.

The main reason why 1x drivetrains are better compared to 2x drivetrains is that they only have one chainring but have more than 11 cassettes.

This means that there are no unnecessary gearing options that will complicate the shifting process and put unneeded weight on your bike.

Check your brakes

Mountain biking is a technical skill to master which is why you don’t just need to focus on the pedals or the drivetrain. It’s not all about speed and moving forward by pedaling.

You also need to know the other side of the sport, which is about how you can slow down. You might be surprised at first, but slowing down with the help of braking is indeed a crucial skill to learn.

You don’t just brake to slow down, but you can also brake to go faster. This happens by gaining momentum when you brake before tight corners.

You should then release the brakes once you are already in the corner so that you can pick up momentum from the curve, and in the process, go faster and make it easier to pedal afterward. Also, make sure that your brake pads don’t rub off your rotors.

The brake pads should just make contact with your hydraulic disc brakes rotors and rear wheel if you pull a brake lever. If there are some deformities, then that’s the time you should go to the local bike shop as working with a professional mechanic will surely have a huge difference.

Conclusion

Learning how to make your mountain bike easier to pedal is not that hard.

You just need to know how your bike works, what the effects of its components are, and how you can adjust and customize your gearing, parts, and body positioning so that you won’t have to exert too much effort when pedaling.

Just also make sure that you make it a habit to clean your bike every after ride, do proper maintenance, and learn how to tinker with your mountain bike so you can become a full-fledged mountain biker.

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