Trail Toolz

During the winter here in Northern California the mountain bike riding is excellent. Traction is for days, but also slippery roots and moss covered rocks, a little mud and maybe even some rain. Winter storms cut new ruts and change trails into different animals. It’s great. Some of the best riding you can imagine.

What these winter storms also bring are downed trees and fallen branches. A rider has to always be prepared to come around a corner and have the trail blocked by a tree or a low branch hanging in a dangerous place.


To combat this we all do our part. It’s common to be doing trail work even on poach rides. Just taking care of it becomes part of the average ride.


There are a few things that we can have with us that make this easy. They pack well into our bags, they are light, and easy to use. During winter, a rider should at least have a folding saw with them. A pruner and bow saw if a known job is going down.


These are some nice tools in my opinion:

There it is. Super easy. Cheap stuff. An amazing amount of work can get done with these three tools.

For the big jobs, we get into chainsaw country.

I’ve been told that the new generation of battery powered chainsaws are very good for the use of the mountain biker. Something like the Makita 18V X2 LXT® Lithium-Ion (36V) Cordless Chain Saw. I have no experience with these and it’s worth asking around but they apear to be a better buy if you are getting a saw only for mountain bike trail maintenance.

Since I have a gas powered chainsaw, Husqvarna 272 XP, I just keep it running and use it on special jobs about 2 to 3 times a season. Recently, I reduced the bar length to 16″ from 20″. It’s so much nicer to get into deep trail now.


Be careful when using your chainsaw. Be safe. Plan ahead. Don’t cut your arm off. Also, don’t do like what we found on Mailboxes the other day where some folks got their bar stuck in a tree and had to break it off to get away. Horrible.