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I recently purchased my first MTB, a Rockrider 560, and I'm curious to know how much a roughing up can it take?

For example, can I ride up and off kerbs without wrecking the tires? What about bunny hopping? Is that going to pummel the bike?

Tangentially related: My first ride with the bike (about 2 hours on off-road) was done without checking tyre pressure or if the new bike's chain was oiled properly. I take it this isn't going to have disastrouse consequences for the bike?

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Assuming a decent and well maintained mountain bike it can handle much more abuse than riding up and down curbs or jumping around a bit. Even the most lightweight mountain bikes will not have the slightest problem with that.

However, two things are important: Good maintenance and riding technique! Riding on underinflated tires or a badly serviced suspension fork can easily lead to a flat or a bent rim when hitting hard on an edge. And good riding technique does not only make your riding look smoother but also is softer on your bike since it to some extent avoids the hardest impacts on your bike.

So go on with your riding, don't worry too much about how much your bike can handle, keep your bike well serviced and try to learn some decent riding technique.

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  • Excellent, I surely will. Thanks for clearing that up! – A.Banks Oct 26 '15 at 18:15
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    +1. I would add that a good technique is not only smoother on the bike, but on rider's body as well. No point enduring unnecesary pain (or ptential injury) if the same trail can be ridden easier while keeping the fun. – Jahaziel Oct 27 '15 at 4:31
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From looking up your bike, it's a pretty well-equipped machine. Your Rock Shox fork is going to help a lot in taking physical stresses off of your bike (and you).

Obstacles like curbs, rocks, logs, fallen branches, and roots will present varying levels of difficulty to you. Since your bike has 26" wheels, it'll be more difficult to ride over things than it would be with a 27.5" or 29" wheel. Small rocks, some fallen branches, and most roots probably won't hurt you to roll over them, but you'll want to hop curbs and larger rocks since your wheel won't be able to chew it up as easily. You'll pretty much always need to hop over logs (regardless of wheel size), so you'll want to practice shifting your weight over the rear wheel to help you get started with manuals and bunny hops.

Using a mountain bike on actual rough terrain is going to loosen your spokes over time. You (or your mechanic) will need to re-tension the spokes periodically to keep the wheels true. You'll also want to have your fork inspected regularly, and serviced once a year if you ride often.

The frame itself can probably handle several years of punishment, but with the vibrations and bumps that you'll be hitting out on the trail might start to loosen some of the bolts on your bike. Periodically check the pinch bolts on your stem as well as the bolts on the faceplate of the stem that grab the handlebars. It's common to see threadlock compounds on these bolts, but that's not always the case.

Your drivetrain will be punished a little differently. Traversing obstacles will cause your rear derailleur and chain to bounce, but the worst thing that can come of that is a dropped chain (and you could purchase a chain-keeper or switch to a 1x drivetrain with a narrow-wide chainring up front to prevent this). What you'll need to keep your eyes on back there is grit and dirt you pick up from the trails.

Keep some degreaser and lube (bicycle specific!) on hand at home and degrease your chain, cassette, and rear derailleur. Scrub them with a brush if necessary. Re-lube when you're done.

Keep your tires pumped up too. They'll lose a psi or two a day naturally. For a mountain bike, your pressure will probably be around 30 to 45 psi. Underinflated tires risk pinch flats and, while they provide extra traction, also generate excess friction, and will wear out faster. Overinflated tires will give you a harsh ride and might cause the tire to come unseated, resulting in a blowout.

As long as you stay on top of the maintenance, there's a good chance you'll get a decade of hard riding out of your bike (barring accidents anyway). Your mountain bike is designed to take a beating, but it'll suffer (and so will you!) if it goes unmaintained.

Enjoy the trail!

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    This is a incredibly thorough and delightful answer, thank you. I'll use this as a reference for the future. If this bad boy survives a decade, it'll be one hell of an investment. How often does the fork typically need inspected if the bike is ridden every day? And would you recommended cleaning\re-lubing (bike-specific) the chain etc. after every trip or would doing it at the end of the week suffice? – A.Banks Oct 30 '15 at 21:50
  • Riding on a daily basis, I would definitely recommend having your fork checked by a mechanic every 3-6 months. As for your chain, it varies somewhat with your lube and riding conditions. If you're riding daily and mashing through muddy stuff, you might be cleaning and lubing your chain once a week. If you ride more dry and dusty stuff, you might be able to get away with two or three times a month. Your local bike shop can probably recommend a good chain oil for local riding conditions. I suggest Rock 'n' Roll Gold or Blue lubes, or Finish Line Green lube. – James Murphy Oct 31 '15 at 2:45
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    That makes sense. It's so easy to dismiss the importance of local knowledge and wisdom with the ease of the internet. Thanks! – A.Banks Nov 2 '15 at 1:44
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I take road bikes off curbs. Up is different - hop up. If you bent a rim you would most likely heard a ding and then felt the rim wobble.

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  • Any videos you'd recommend of good hopping technique? – A.Banks Oct 26 '15 at 18:13
  • Check youtube and the problem is there are lots of type of hops. – paparazzo Oct 26 '15 at 18:15
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Go and search Red Bull Rampage on Youtube and you will see what a MTB is capable of.

Yes their bikes are stronger than yours, but the difference is surprisingly small.

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  • Well that puts my kerb concern into perspective. Crazy that their bikes can take that level of punishment, and that the suspension is good enough to prevent the infertility you would assume to be the end result of some of those drops. – A.Banks Oct 30 '15 at 21:51

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