Tag Archives — Mechanics

Pre-Ride Check for Safety and to Avoid Mechanicals


The pre-ride check is common sense but as with most things that are common sense many people do not adhere to the basics and will get into trouble eventually, if they have not already. These 3 min worth of little skills will help you stay safe and avoid major mechanicals on the trail. Often fixing things in the garage or from the car is much easier (I.E. Inflating tires with a floor pump versus a mini-pump) so make these quick checks part of your routine and look into learning more about the basic mechanical skills discussed here by practicing the skills before each ride. Many new cyclists (and some advanced) find the installation of wheels, bolt checks and tire/tube inflation and changes tough. Ask a knowledgeable (and patient) friend to help you (not do it for you) then practice at home and during this pre-ride check and you will quickly get better. 




Why You Need Tubeless Tires on your MTB – Ep 128

I remember when Tubeless Tires and Disc Brakes came onto the scene. My friend Ryan got a Gary Fisher X-Calibar equipped with both. I remember being so jealous of the stopping power these new brakes and the decreased flats/increased traction  that the tubeless tires provided. Neither technology was perfect at the time (~2002?) but within a few years everyone was racing with at least one of the new technologies if not both.

So the question is, 10+ years later why is everyone not using Tubeless tires on their MTB ? We will leave the road, cross and fat tire sno bike arguments for today but in MTB I can not see a valid argument. I know of a few high level racers (Alban the 2012 Leadville Winner and Marathon Super Hero) who still use tubes at certain times and have done testing on rolling resistance etc. These are the exceptions to the rule and examples like today’s Bike Skills Project episode give a perfect reason why most, if not all, people would be well served to invest in tubeless tires.

Tubeless tires allow lower pressure (better rolling efficiency over bumps), fewer flats,better traction and improved cornering.

[youtube] Common reasons not to switch and = possible arguments/fixes :
1) It takes too long to switch between tires  = If you have switched tires in the last month see #2, otherwise I am not sure this is a valid argument due to infrequency of the inconvenience . By that I mean the benefits would far outweigh the cost.

2) I switch tires regularly and it really takes a long time = seating tires is a skill , eased by an air compressor but it rarely should take more then 20min for a set of tires to be switched out
*see one of the many mechanical editions of bike skills project to up your game

3) What if I flat ?  = you won’t flat as much and when you do it is exactly the same  procedure, except you need to unscrew a nut to take the valve out .

4) Won’t they roll slower ? = I have heard some arguments about the sealant and lack of tube-tire friction but these always seem to be trumped by the increase in smoothness of ride (i.e. decreased vertical motion = less energy expended)

5) Expensive = If you patch your tires (easy) they can last so long and many ‘normal’ users will go months without any change of tires/sealant . Tire prices, sealant prices, valve prices, wheel prices are all quite low now that the technology is 10+ years past point of being very good.

Do you use tubeless Why or Why Not ? (post to comments!)

Have an idea or want to be a guest on bikeskillsproject ? Please post to comments or email me

Bike Skills Project – Episode 7 – Bent Derailleurs (on the trail fix)

Excuse the purple haze

Basically, be smart about your derailleur function. Know the basics of cable tension (we will cover this soon) and how the alignment works/relies on the alignment of that hanger and derailleur

Use caution when bending, most of the force/torque should go through the allen key-multi tool.

If your at home take it to a shop or use a proper ‘Derailleur alignment tool’ [youtube]