The Essential Racing List:
I have seen everything break on my own bike and on those of fellow riders from small parts hand grenade-ing to entire frames breaking, and nothing is more defeating / draining then not having the parts you need in hand, and the knowledge to replace them prior to your race.
Unless your are in the rare minority of top racers sponsored with free parts and mechanic that keeps you perfectly dialed, you are in the majority and must maintain your own parts budget, and be your own mechanic.
So if your still reading, I can only assume you are in the majority and we should first develop a list from the ground up.
Let’s start with the items that are the most likely prone to breaking or extreme wear and are an absolute necessity for your XC Cross Mountain Bike racing kit.
I know many riders simply accumulate lot’s of spare parts, and it is better to take used back parts than no replacements.
Also these mountain bike spare parts kits can be built up over time, and missing some items is no excuse for not racing.
In some cases many of these parts are available for sale at the race track, but expect to pay a premium, so finding the deals (which is what XC-mountainbike.com is all about) is key, since most of us have budget limitations.
Finally, while we all want to win, but there is a true family / friendly environment at the races, and it is not uncommon to help out your fellow riders who might need something you have in your kit, for free or a cash price. Your kindness will often come back around when you need something and another rider or team comes through for you.
XC Mountain Bike Racing Parts Repair Kit
On a budget:
Lube is a rider’s best friend, and several kinds are very handy. Silicon works great for lubing cables, shifters and can be used in as a replacement for chain lube. On very dusty tracks, there is no avoiding get you drive train gummed up, but silicon often collects dirt than other lubes and greases.
Grease makes the world go around, and has many uses, never leave home with out at least a small tube. Besides greasing bearings, etc. it a thin film makes creates wonderful anti-seize protection.
In a sport this demanding on parts with all the vibrations and big hits, all your key components should be prepped with Loctite.
For those running disc brakes, it is like blood in the veins of your bike, and extra brake fluid is a must.
Brake Bleed Kit
A bleed kit is a must, while this is something that should have been set up properly before the track, there are times when via transport, big altitude changes, or poor prior bleeding means you will have to give your brakes some trackside love, if you can find a clean place a way from all the hustle.
Chains – Qunatity 2
Some times you don’t break a chain for months and months, and other days, they seem to snap like butter, so I prefer two, but bring one at the bare minimum, and a one replacement link.
Spare Front Tires – Quantity 2
1 replacement front tire a must, but 2 is better. These days front tires are so lightweight, especially race tires, they tear like nothing. Plus more tires means more selection based on track conditions, i.e. mud, hard pack, sand, etc. Also consider one that is a bit heavier duty, just in case the track is so rocky you start shredding them and need something a bit more robust, and must make the weight sacrifice. Lighter doesn’t mean much if you can’t finish the race and lose massive time replacing the tire in a mad dash repair during the race.
Spare Rear Tires – Quanity 2
See above for the front tire, the same is solid advice for the rear tire as well.
Tire Sealant Fluid
(used for tubeless and can be used for tube systems as extra protection)
Tire Sealant is great for tubeless systems or standard systems where you just want a bit of extra thorn protection. The only downside to Tire Sealant is it makes tire changing a messier proposition. Although on race days, to keep things light, only a very small amount of Tire Sealant should be used anyways, if you opt for it. Some riders may be harder on the front or rear, and can add just a little to one side. At any rate, always have some in your kit. Tire Sealant can save the day.
Spare Tubes – Quantity 6
(these are cheap and removed from the boxes don’t consume much space)
An absolute must for both tubeless or tubes system riders. Both will find themselves throwing in a replacement tube if the tire or tube fails.
A patch kit is another option, and while it saves weight, I have never had any good success with them, but others have.
Plus the time it takes to find the puncture spots to apply your patch kit, may be greater than one in pinch flats or massive thorn fields. This can really slow down the repair time offsetting the penalty incurred by the weight of spare tubes.
Seat post bolts – Quantity 2
Check out our lesson from the story of the Broken Seat. Always have a couple of these saddle / seatpost bolt handy.
Replacement Front Disc Brake Pads
Sometimes contaminants like grease or lubes get into the
Replacement Rear Disc Brake Pads
See above as the same applies to the brake pads as it does to the front.
Your rear derailleur seems to break, right when you are counting on it the most. A replacement is a must. We find great deals on these, so buy 1 or two in advance, and don’t pay trackside prices, be prepared.
Rear Derailleur Miscellaneous Parts
A few rear derailleur parts can resurrect a good derailleur that may not be available race day trackside.
Suggestions: If you have 1 or 2 of the same model that may be older / broken in your stash, bring them, space providing. These can come in handy to cannibalize missing / broken parts. Who wants to buy a whole derailleur for a simple part you can strip off another model.
Replacement Shoe Cleats
Sometime they are simply more worn then you think, or break. New mountain bike shoe cleats should have the screws too if you drop one from the installed pair you have. Definitely Loc-Tite these if you haven’t already.
Replacement Shifter Cables
Shifter cables and housing do break. Whether it is from a crash, poor transport or some other mishap, a spare set shifter cable set is a must. Remember a stock set needs to be sized properly, so it makes the most sense to buy the stainless cables only, and have some of the jacketing you like to you use so you can cut it to size. Remember the cable ends, get some extras, they always get lost.
Replacement Tubeless Valve Stems – Quantity 4
Tubeless valve stems break occasionally and can be hard to come by. Always have a few extra, they are the life blood of your tubeless rims.
Presta Valves Quantity 4
Presta valve stems get bent and break all the time. Of course you can poach them from a new tube in a pinch, but better to have a few. These are nice to store in an old film canister, if film canisters even exist anymore.
Rags or Disposable Wipes
If you have a bike, you will need rags or disposable wipes.. Spare clothing or some shop rags get the job done. Synthetic fabrics don’t work well. Stick with old cotton T-Shirts and the like.
Misc. Bolts Replacement Package
If you have been riding for any duration, you probably already have a collection. If not, carry a few popular sizes and lengths.
Study Waterproof Tool Box or Bag for all your parts
A sturdy, waterproof tool box for your spare parts only makes sense. If it can organize your parts somewhat, that is even better
Rich guys / gals (Trust Fund Babies) add these parts:
Spare MTB Race Bike
Just like the pro race teams, a back up MTB Race Bike is the only way to go.
Go for a carbon spare wheelset, if you can.
Replacement Handlebar Shifters
Mountain bike handlebar shifters do fail, and if you have an identical set, you can replace the one you broke, without having to run a different one you aren’t use to if you have to buy what is available at the track. You should replace the cable as well, so have a spare cable for each one.
Replacement Mountain Bike Racing Saddle
A crash can tear one of these lightweight
MTB racing saddles
, in a second, and create great discomfort over an entire race. A spare is a great hedge against this.
Replacement Seat post
Most likely an XC MTB seat post is generally only damaged in a crash, but the initial crash may not break it. Stress fractures may rear their ugly head the seat post may break during a race. Sometimes finding the right diameter at the track is hard, so purchasing a spare can save your day.
Sometime you a fry a tooth or two on your rear cassette creating havoc on your shifting. You will pay a fortune for a high end rear cassette at the mountain bike race track. Let us help you get a great deal on a spare.
Front derailleurs don’t break to often, but it can be hard to find the proper one that is the right wing and fits your tube / mount. An extra ensure you will never be without front shifting. This assumes your are actually running front shifting on your race bike.
Don’t’ miss our article that accompanies this on the Tools you will need. All the spare parts in the world, aren’t much good if you don’t have the tools to prepare them.