Mountain Bike Hacks: Tricks of the Rider

There are some great mountain bike hacks that will make life easier, or even get you home after a technical issue. Here are the MTB-Threds mountain bike hacks.

Cable Ties

Cable ties are very versatile little things. They are useful when you are working on your bike at home and on the trail. Here are some cable tie mountain bike hacks.

  • Sag measurer – It is quite common for riders to lose the O ring on the suspension fork or air shock. A cable tie can be used as a makeshift sag measurer when you need to set up your suspension. But remember to remove it. If you bottom out your suspension, the plastic cable tie can damage your fork’s seal and you really don’t want that! It is best to put it on inside out. This way it won’t lock on and can easily be removed without risking your stanchion with some snippers.
  • Replace a bolt – This is obviously not a permanent fix. But, you can use cable ties to replace a crank bolt, chain ring bolt to get you home. You can even use one to hold your brake lever on.
  • Accessories – Use cable ties to attach things to your bike, such as spare inner tubes, pumps, lights and sandwiches.
  • Gear cable fix – In the event of getting a broken gear cable, thread a small cable-tie through the barrel adjuster of the rear derailleur. Then push the derailleur to a gear that you’d be happy using for the rest of the ride and clamp it in place.
  • Puncture repair – Believe it or not, this is possible find the hole in your tube and block off that piece of tube by clamping it shut with a cable tie. If it’s too big then use two, one either side.
  • Shoe fixing – It is easy for laces or buckles to break and without a shoe, you will find it very difficult to ride home. Use cable ties to temporarily fix the breakage to get home. Just make sure the blood supply isn’t cut off.

Bonus Tip – If you have ever cut yourself on a sharp cable tie end, you know it really hurts and bleeds a lot. So make sure you trim those nasty pointy ends back properly.

New Uses For Inner Tubes

Inner tubes are just to keep your tyres inflated right? Well yes, but you can use them for lots of mountain bike hacks.

  • If someone falls badly breaks a collar bone or something else nasty, you can use an inner tube as sling for support.
  • If you use a handlebar mount for your GoPro or Insta360, use a piece of inner tube rubber on the inside of the mount as a shim. This will stop it slipping if your handlebars are shiny. This will also work for bike computers and lights.
  •  Split an inner tube down the middle and cut it to length to cover your chain stay. This will protect the paint from chain slap. You can also do this to protect the bottom tube. But if you ride particularly rough terrain, you might want to use an old tyre instead. Attach it using cable ties.

While researching this, I have come across loads of non-bike uses for old inner tubes. From jewellery, storage solutions, medieval knight costumes to borderline fetish wear. Check out this Pinterest page to see what I mean.

Cleaning and Maintenance Mountain Bike Hacks

Cleaning your bike is very important and there is a proper way to do it, click here to see my 6 step method. But there are a couple of other mountain bike hacks for cleaning your bike.

  • Car interior wipes are cheaper than bike specific cleaning ones, but they are just as good. They help you get to the hard to reach places.
  • Use WD40 to clean off scuffs. normally, I would say stay away from WD40 for most bike things. But, this is an exception. It is great for getting oily rubber scuff marks off your frame. But make sure you don’t get it on anything else.
  • Use alcohol wipes for cleaning brake discs. These work better than cleaning sprays and cleaning cloths as they get dirty easily and lose their effectiveness. You will need a few alcohol wipes, but they are foolproof.
  • Carwash shampoo is a cheaper alternative to bike specific cleaning fluid. It works just as well and you won’t need as much of it to clean a bike than you would to clean a car.
  • A toilet brush is excellent for cleaning your drivetrain. This is because, the long tough bristles can get right in to the cassette, getting out all the dirt. But please buy one and not just use an old pooey one.

Of course there are lots of tools you can buy depending on the amount of maintenance you want to do for yourself. Click here to check out my post about mountain bike tools. But , what if you don’t have the correct tool? For example, you may need to take off your chain, but you don’t have a chain tool. The video below shows you how to do this with an old gear cable and is one of my favourite mountain bike hacks. If you are out on the trail, you can use your shoe lace!

Mountain Bike Hacks for Life

  • Keep all your riding gear such as, pads, backpack, helmet etc in a big Ikea bag or crate. This means everything is together so you don’t forget to put it in the car. It will also keep your car clean when you drive home with it covered in mud.
  • When you sip from your hydration pack, you usually end up with warm water for your first mouthful. Blow down the tube first. This mixes the water that was sitting in your tube with the cool water in your reservoir. Click here to see the best hydration packs
  • To stop the water in your hydration pack sloshing around, remove all the air. Do this by turning it upside down and having a drink out if it. This will suck all the air out.
  • Make sure you are fuelled properly for your ride. Protein and energy bars can be expensive, but you can make your own at home. Check out these recipes from
  • Sit your bike upside down for a few minutes while you are getting ready. This will let the oil in your suspension coat everything inside, meaning it will work nicer.
  • When transporting your bike with a wheel removed, it is very easy to for the brake lever to be pulled. This means your pads will be pushed together, as the disc is not there. This is a pain, as you my not be able to push the pistons back. Put a CLEAN ice lolly stick in between the pads to stop them moving.
  •  Going tubeless will stop you getting punctures, unless you are really unlucky. It does take a bit of faffing at first, but it is worth it. I haven’t had a puncture for 3 years and I ride some pretty rough stuff. Click here to see why you should go tubeless.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, for more mountain bike hacks, check out the videos below.

Maybe you have some of your own? If so please let me know in the comments section below.

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