How to Make A Mountain Bike Faster – Ultimate Guide

“More Power!” is typically a catchphrase of several mountain bike enthusiasts, and understandably so. The sport, after all, is all about thrilling adventure and electrifying pace. If you want the same, then you, my friend, have come to the right place. 

As a seasoned rider, wanting to learn how to make a mountain bike faster is not only predictable; it is almost natural since mountain bikes are, by design, adventurous and bold racing machines.

Although mountain bike owners can opt for the most expensive modifications and upgrades to make their bikes faster, such changes are usually not entirely a must-have for average mountain bike riders or hobbyists.

To make things simpler for all of you, in this blog post, we are going to share at least five modifications and upgrades to improve your mountain bike’s performance and make it faster. Please note that some upgrades are more expensive than the rest.

Nonetheless, keep in mind that not every modification is essential or suitable for every rider, budget, or skill level.

Therefore, before you travel down the upgrade’s highway, it is integral to understand and know your machine; several amateur mountain bikers assume their bikes aren’t powerful enough, overlooking the simple design features and changes that will provide them the boost they are seeking.

how to make a mountain bike go faster on the road
how to make a mountain bike go faster on the road

So, without any more delays, let us get started!

How to Make A Mountain Bike Faster?

As a seasoned mountain biker, you have mastered the fundamental means to improve a mountain bike’s performance. You (hopefully) don’t use cheap air filters or lubricators, and your bike’s steering and brakes are pinpoint precise.

So, now it is high time you take the next step toward biking greatness with these super helpful and foolproof mountain bike mods and upgrades for optimal performance and speed. 

Similar to playing sports with high-quality equipment, it is much simpler to improve your skills on a mountain bike that counters well to your budding skillset.

We always recommend you start on a bike you aren’t in love with – at least cosmetically – but there is no reason to get a different mountain bike when there is a plethora of potential resting in your existing ride, waiting to be unleashed.

Read How To Clean a Mountain Bike

These are far and away five of the best ways to make your mountain bike faster

#1: Start with The Basics (Always)

  • Difficulty Level: Medium
  • Cost: Essential
  • Time Required: Indefinite

Bear in mind, just like everything else in life, in order to fully benefit from your machine; you must take care of it! We’ve encountered several novice mountain bikers who dive headfirst into upgrades and modifications, thinking that underperformance or low speed is an outcome of stock parts and setting.

Frankly, mountain bike ownership comes with a steep learning curve. What amateurs – and at times even seasoned riders – don’t understand is that to make a mountain bike perform better and faster, they must focus first on the fundamentals.

If you wish to get the most out of your mountain bike, ensure you’re following the suggested maintenance schedules. 

Believe us, you can put on all the upgrades and modifications in the world, but if your bike isn’t healthy, it will not go any faster. Therefore, we strongly suggest you do the following things first before trying any other upgrades: 

  • Suspension – If the suspension of your mountain bike is worn out or not functioning properly, it can lead to massive horsepower problems. For instance, if your bike’s suspension is very squishy, then some of your mountain bike’s power will be transferred into the suspension’s softness, leaving you with a lot less power.
  • Tires – Always ensure that the tires of your mountain bike have plenty of treads. Worn-out tires signify that you’re mislaying all your horsepower in the back wheel.
  • Air filter – Check and clean your mountain bike’s air filter regularly. In case the air filter is worn out or dirty, it might choke the engine of much-needed oxygen. Remember, a dirty and poorly managed air filter denotes a substantial reduction of pace and power. 
  • Carburetor – When was the last time you cleaned the carburetor of your mountain bike. Not many riders realize this, but when a carburetor fails to properly get the gas into the engine can’t breathe sufficiently, it will make them lose considerable horsepower and speed.
  • Spark Plug – A shabby spark plug will slow down your bike’s power and acceleration. Why? Spark plugs are made up of vital metals that generate the maximum spark, which in turn instigates maximum combustion in the bike engine. Thus, when the maximum spark is not achieved, you will experience a significant loss of power on the wrist.
  • Jetting – Next, consider how’sthe jetting in the carburetor. Is it running too lean or too rich? Are they to the spec of the mountain bike? Ensure you’re running the right jetting for the bike because if they aren’t, you will have acceleration and horsepower.
how to make a mountain bike go faster
how to make a mountain bike go faster

Read Buying an MTB: What Mountain Bike Brands are the Best?

#2: Eliminate Restrictions (Uncorking)

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Cost: Free
  • Time Required: 15 minutes 

NOTE:

If you decide to go with this uncorking option, you’ll have to change the jetting, too, as your mountain bike will run leaner than usual due to all the extra air that rushes through it. If you don’t know much about jetting, fret not. We’ve discussed that further in the post.

For those who aren’t aware – a mountain bike can be restricted at places – the pipe, muffler, and airbox. Bike manufacturers like to restrict down mountain bikes in power in order to hold them within reasonable rev limits for optimal engine performance and general overall safety.

In addition to this, they also do it to stay within the standards of pollution and noise restrictions –particularly if a bike is road compliant. 

Eliminating restrictions from all these places can make your mountain bike not only breathe easier but also make it go faster. The process of removing such restrictions from a bike is termed “uncorking” in the biking world. 

  • Uncorking the Pipe – To remove restrictions from the pipefirst take it off and shine a torch down the pipe where it connects to the engine. You may see a tiny piece of metal closing or blocking some of the pipes; remove it.
  • Uncorking the Air Box  In some mountain bike models, the air box may involve a setup or an air intake snorkel that’s specially designed to limit the amount of air that can be pulled into the air box by almost half. If your mountain bike has either of these on the air box, cut them off. Some people even drill new holes into the airbox to provide it more oxygen for breathing. This works well too, but you’ll certainly damage the airbox.

#3: Upgrade Jetting

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Cost: Affordable 
  • Time Required: 15 to 30 minutes  

By far, the most inexpensive and effective way of making your mountain bike faster and increasing horsepower is to ensure that the fuel is mixing sufficiently with oxygen and is being supplied to the engine as efficiently as possible.

All this is made possible with jetting. For those who are new to the biking world, jets are the tiny valves that rest in the carburetor and control the amount of gas being sprayed into the engine as well as the carburetor.

Too little (lean) gas and the engine of your bike will not have sufficient power; on the other hand, if it’s too rich; it will burn a lot of fuel and end up being sluggish.

As mentioned earlier, if you decide to uncork your mountain bike, you will have to upgrade your jetting too because the bike will end up running too lean from all the excess oxygen that’s being thrust throughout the bike.

The best way to get the jets upgrades is by calling a reputable bike store and tell them your mountain bikes model, make, modifications and request for their performance jetting. If they actually know what they’re doing, they’ll be able to sufficiently advise you on jetting. 

Read 11 Best Beginner’s Mountain Bikes You Can Get in 2022

#4: Bigger Fueling Injectors

  • Difficulty Level: Medium
  • Cost: Varies ($350 to $850)
  • Time Required: 1 to 2 hours  

One of the failsafe and most effective ways to increase the power of a fuel-injected mountain bike is, of course, getting bigger fuel injectors along with a tuning box. Carbureted mountain bikes, however, are a lot more interesting.

Since a carburetor regulates how much fuel and air are transported to the engine, even trivial alterations here will have a massive impact on your bike’s performance. 

As a reference, set the timing, fuel/air mixture, and idle modifications using your owner’s manual and/or an online guide. Afterward, change the jetting, which can provide colossal performance improvements all around.

But before you crack open the bike’s carburetor and begin messing around, ensure you have covered the basics of your mountain bike. 

Moreover, keep in mind that the best way to extend the carburetor’s life is to ride your mountain bike often and do not hold back. Why? Because doing this keeps the accelerator pump and floats working smoothly.

Older carburetors can benefit from a healthy dose of a good quality carb cleaner, but typically by that time, a full rebuild is on its way. But do not worry much – even a full re-jetting and rebuilding session will only take an hour or two at most. 

Tip: While you are in there, be sure to give the carburetor a good clean and inspect the fuel lines as well as the top end. 

#5: Get the Engine Ported

  • Difficulty Level: Difficult 
  • Cost: Affordable 
  • Time Required: 30 minutes 

In a nutshell, porting refers to the process of polishing the internals of the cylinder of an engine around the fuel, air, and exhaust ports. Why is it important? By enabling the gases to flow in and out of the engine more proficiently, you will not only eliminate ‘turbulence,’ but it will also allow the air to flow as efficiently as possible throughout the engine.

Less gas resistance = more speed = higher volume = more horsepower

We do not suggest you do this yourself as porting requires special grinding and polishing equipment and tools. Plus, you must also know what you’re doing, or else your precious bike might be at risk of irreversible damage. Whereas, only for a few hundred dollars, a pro can do the job for you.

how to make a mountain bike faster
how to make a mountain bike faster

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What Not to Do

We see the following mistakes happening all too often and thought it would be best to mention them in case you are or were tempted to try your luck with them. Here are some things you should not consider doing to make your mountain bike faster: 

  • Do Not Use Racing Fuel – Remember, racing fuel is designed especially for bikes that have been specifically built to handle ethanol in their engines. Therefore, a regular mountain bike will not gain power or acceleration with racing fuels; rather, it will lose both as the engine just does not know how to efficiently burn the high ethanol content. 
  • Do Not Take the Baffle Off the Muffler – For those who don’t know, a baffle refers to the end cap of a muffler. Some people assume that if it is taken off, the machine will breathe easier and result in greater power and acceleration. Well, sorry to disappoint a lot of you, but that’s not the case. Removing the baffle will only make your bike louder. And apologies to disappoint you again, but louder doesn’t tantamount to more speed or power. Though we bet, you want it to. 

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How to Make A Mountain Bike Faster: Conclusion

Now that you know everything about the five foolproof ways to make your mountain bike faster, we want you to also remember one more thing: it turns out the old saying “Money cannot buy you skill” is a hundred percent spot-on.

Even the world’s best mountain bike will not make you a better biker. Yes, it’ll indeed help, and incorporating these five upgrades and modifications will ensure your bike is ready to sufficiently handle your growing skillset.

However, no one ever picked up a guitar for the first time and shredded like Slash – the skill needs to be earned, gradually refined, and perfected. Thus, don’t just focus on superfluous modifications; invest in your skill too for a better and faster riding experience.