Pre-Ride Tune-Up with GooseWorks Mobile Bike Tuning

Pre-Ride Tune-Up with GooseWorks Mobile Bike Tuning

Mike Wirth, the founder of GooseWorks Mobile Tuning ( in Los Angeles, California.

We believe in equipment that works well, makes us feel fast and does not leave us stranded deep in the backcountry. We want equipment that’s dependable and ready to go for that 6 a.m. Saturday morning ride we’ve been planning all week. We believe in gear that makes us feel like a pro when we ride that double-black-diamond trail for the first time. We want our gear to be the best on the trail, and to know that it’s set up properly for the trails we ride. That means giving your bike the attention it needs before you head to the trailhead. Even if you’re short on time, this quick pre-ride checklist will improve shifting and braking performance, and may also prevent equipment issues on the trail that could turn your enjoyable ride into an impromptu MacGyver-style survival skills test.


1. Been a while since your last ride? Air molecules leak out of tires and tubes over time, even if they don’t have a puncture. With tubed systems, usually the fix is as easy as pumping up the tires.

2. Tubeless tires with sealant may dry over time and need to be refreshed. Start by removing one bead, or one side, of the tire. You can use this two-handed technique.

3. There may still be a sticky, slimy mess in there. Be careful not to spill any of the sealant leftovers on your garage floor.

4. Remove as much of the old sealant as you can with a rag. Sealant is sticky stuff, so your rag should go in the dirty bin, unless you want sealant smudges the next time you wipe your frame down.

5. Tire sealants separate over time, so be sure to vigorously shake the bottle to get all the particulates mixed with the fluids.

6. Most sealants come with a measuring cup of some kind. This one has a handy cap that works well. Anything is better than just guessing how much you should splash in.

Carefully reinstall the bead using this technique, working the bead away from you with both hands. Done correctly, the bead should slide on the rim and into the rim channel easily.

7. Usually, you put in too much sealant and just end up with heavier tires and an emptier bottle. Measure it carefully, and then pour it into the low spot of the tire.

8. By only removing one tire bead for this process, you increase the chances of the tire seating easily with only a floor pump. If you removed both tire beads, or are having trouble seating the tire, try using a quick burst of air from a compressor. Resist the temptation to use a CO 2 inflation device, as the cold burst of air can actually cause the sealant to freeze.


If you use zip-ties to keep cables secure, check to make sure they are all still there and doing their job. In addition to the ones that secure hoses to the frame, we like to secure ones that run parallel together to keep them from rattling.

Whenever cutting zip-ties, use a flush cutting tool, like a simple pair of fingernail clippers to trim the ends. This prevents sharp edges from staying there, ready to slice open your skin.


Double-check your suspension-bearing pivot bolts are tight. Nothing ends a ride quicker than a lost pivot bolt. The goal is not to add torque to an already tight one, but simply to make sure none of them are coming loose.


Check to make sure your cockpit controls are secure and set up for your hands. A measuring tape is super helpful for dialing in a precise fit to match your preferred feel.

An angle-finder app on your phone can be very handy for checking that your controls are even on both sides. It can also be useful if you want to check your frame geometry—just be sure your bike is on a level surface before you measure it and call to complain that your downhill bike came with a 78-degree head angle.


Take a moment to center your brake caliper over the rotor. You can use the little “window” over the pads to make sure there is daylight between both sides of the rotor and the pad material.


This bike’s drivetrain has been neglected for a while—long enough for the cables to become frayed.

You can save some frayed cables by winding them with your fingers clockwise. Some of them, though, are simply too blown out to save.

This cable has some excess housing we can trim to make the shifting crisper. Start by removing the cable anchor bolt, and then removing the cable and housing like so.

Remove the cable end cap to check the filaments in the housing. These ones are protruding a little and can be cleaned up.

Cut a couple of millimeters off the housing, and then feed the cable back through the opening.

Feed the cables back through the cable anchor system and re-attach. The cable should be as tight as you can pull it with your fingers, but not so tight that you need a pair of pliers to pull it taut. Tighten the cable anchor bolt.

You can use the barrel adjuster on the shifter to fine-tune the tension and shifting. Then, use a cable crimp on the end to keep it from fraying next time. Now, you’re ready to hit the trails.



You can give your chain a quick wipe to knock off the grime. While it’s not as good as a full degrease session, it’s better to not mix chemicals by degreasing, and then trying to put chain lube right on top of an oily mess.

If your drivetrain is dry, drip some of your favorite chain lube on each link. Then use a clean portion of the rag to remove the excess lubricant that’s only attracting dust and not lubricating the chain internals.

The GooseWorks Mobile Tuning vehicle will be at the JPL (Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, Ca) lot on shuttle mornings (Mt Wilson MTB Adventure) for all your mechanical needs before you hit the trails. You can also call or book your next bike service online.

About GooseWorks

Gooseworks Tuning was formed in Southern California by Colorado-born, SoCal rider Mike Wirth. The company was founded to provide the highest quality of service and tuning available at the finest bicycle shops with the convenience of a mobile service van that comes straight to you.

As a veteran of the cycling industry for over 20 years, Wirth cut his teeth both as a professional mechanic for racing teams, factory demo programs, and most recently, as the head editor and lead gear tester at Mountain Bike Action Magazine. With years of experience tuning, testing, and talking about the best cycling gear in the world, GooseWorks brings the expertise and know-how to get the most from your ride. Whether it’s a quick adjustment to get you back on the trail, or a complete “Goose It” package to dial in your ride, Gooseworks has you covered.

Book Your GooseWorks Tune Online

With the click of a button, the GooseWorks service vehicle will come to your
home or office and dial in your bike.

For more info, email, or check out


Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun. Start a subscription by clicking here or calling (800) 767-0345.

Available from the Apple Newsstand for reading on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch.

Subscribe Here

368bike maintenacebike tune upgarage filesgoose workshow to'smike wirthnew productsNEWStop stories