10 Useful Hacks For Mountain Biking In Winter

10 Useful Hacks For Mountain Biking In Winter


(dramatic music) – Now it might feel that the
worst of winter is behind us, but there’s still a lot of mud out there and certainly a lot more
rain to come until spring, which does mean that
you’re gonna be maintaining your bike lots until that point. Which means there’s still
a load of great hacks and Tech tips that can
help you on your way. First up, mud guard hacks. Now let’s not beat around the bush here. The only reason that mountain bikers put mud guards on their bikes is keep the spray out of your face, especially out of your vision, so you can ride faster. And of course here and
there to basically protect some delicate parts of your bike, like your fork seals perhaps. Or sometimes suspension bearings. They’re certainly not
there to keep you clean. They will not have the same effect as a set of full length
guards on a road bike. Now at GMBN we run a mud hugger guard, and there’s quite a few
different options available from the full length FRX, to the shorties I’ve got on this bike. Now clearly the bigger
guard is gonna offer more protection against spray. But on this bike I tend to ride in a lot of areas with heavy mud, like really thick stuff
that clogs stuff up. And a shorty actually sits a bit higher, there’s less of it as well, and there’s a lot more
clearance around the tire. So it’s very beneficial for this bike. And of course, I emphasize the point I don’t ride this one as
fast as I ride my Mega. On the Mega I really like the protection of the full length guard. However, with a full length
mud guard of any kind you’re gonna have to sacrifice something. And that is mud clearers. But there’s some cool
little hacks you can do, especially if like me you end up running a huge front tire and the fork
brace on your particular bike doesn’t allow positioning of the mud guard in a place with optimum mud clearance. Now I’ve done this cool little hack where essentially I offered the mud guard up to my foot brace and
I cut a little notch out of the mud guard
just so it can bump it up very slightly. Now it’s not changed the
way the mud guard performs in any way. The seals are still protected by the sides of the mud guard here. It just enables it to sit
that little bit higher and that 2.4 tire I really favor up front is a particularly tall one. So, in the local conditions near to where we ride here at GMBN
it’s really thick with clay. And it can cause problems here and there. But do what the pros do, do
what the pro mechanics do, and hack stuff apart. Make it work for you. In recent times I was
looking at Sam Hill’s bike. Now Sam Hill’s Nuke Proof Mega. He’s got one of the shorties up front, but he’s also got one on the back that’s been butchered so it
fits around his chain line. Now this is a front mud guard. It’s not a rear mud guard. And the reason he’s got it there is not to keep his bike
clean and protected from the spray. It’s actually there to stop the mud building up in areas where it weighs lots. Now mud can weigh a lot. And when it comes off that back wheel, it’s gonna collect in areas around the, the yoke, around the bottom pivot here, and all that sort of stuff. And by having a mud guard on there, certainly with the speed that Sam rides, it’s deflecting that
crap all out of the way and back down to the floor. It’s gonna avoid it all
collecting on the bike. And it ultimately means
between stages of endura races, if he does need to sort of clean anything with a water
bowl it means the bike is gonna be fit for action straight away. Now a couple of weeks ago
on the weekly GMBN tech show in the news I talked about
a product by a bike co called the Willy. Unusually named, it’s a black rubber boot that effectively seals off
your seat tube junction. So really neat looking product. And because it’s a Be Spoke
product it does look very cool. However if you’ve got a lot of
old inner tubes lying around you can achieve a pretty similar result, if you’re willing to sort
of forgive the looks. Doesn’t look good. But you can make a
little simple rubber boot using a couple of cable ties and a section of old inner tube. Now this does work well but
something to bear in mind whenever you’re applying a boot to a bike is whilst it can keep the crap out, sometimes if the crap’s in there, it can keep it in. Which is why I would never recommend putting one over something
like a suspension fork seal or dropper post seal. And also, if you cable tie
one onto your dropper post, there’s a chance that a cable tie can slip and actually scuff
the actual stanchion tube of that post so I would avoid that. However, the one going over
the clamp of the frame, that is fantastic. You can put a blob of
grease around the top. Seal it all in. And that should be done for winter. It should work fantastically. Whilst you’re in the
area, you may as well, if you haven’t got
Rockshox reverb that is, if you’ve got any other
type of dropper post, unscrew the seal here, put
some fork oil underneath it, screw it back in place, just
to keep everything at bay and operating nice and smoothly. Now hopefully I’d assume that most of you have probably got a waterproof jacket. And some of you will be
riding in shawls or trousers. Now get yourself some waterproof spray. And you can actually make
your bag fairly waterproof, or at least help stop stuff sticking to it and getting it saturated. Now my Camelbacks I use at the weekends all have a coating of
this stuff on the bottom. Now I’m well aware it’s not gonna turn a non-waterproof item
into a waterproof one. But it can help stopping it get saturated. Which means if you’re
carrying spare clothing and other stuff inside it does help add to the waterproof ness of the bag. Now something on my daily bag that I use to ride to work, it actually stops stuff
sticking to the bag quite as much. Now I do ride through a muddy park on the way to work everyday. And you can see just the
general state of the bag. It’s got a few speckles
of mud and stuff on it. But it does mean with this on it doesn’t absorb it too much. And it does get cleaned a lot easier. But if you wanted to go one step further, something you can invest
in, which is very cool, is wax. Now I’ve got this particular
stuff for waxing a coat, and there’s various
different types out there. But beeswax, you can get
it in blocks like this. If you rub this stuff onto
the bottom of your bag or areas that you want to waterproof, then you just need like
a hairdryer or heat gun just to apply some heat so
it soaks into the fabric. It does a really, really good job. It’s not too expensive. You can get it from outdoor stores and home stores and other stuff like that. It’s a real good little hack. Now if you don’t have some
proper weatherproof shoes, if you’ve got something a little bit more like the ones Blake’s
wearing in this video I shot with him, they’ve got an actually, the surface of the shoe is quite shiny. So it’s pretty good with
keeping water at bay. But if you coat them
with some silicone spray it actually really helps
mud and other stuff stop sticking to them. It’s really, really useful stuff. And another great hack
you can do with shoes especially if you’re a flat pedal rider and you’ve got laces that
are exposed to the elements on your shoes is wax the laces. Now waxing the laces
stops them soaking water like a sponge. And despite what you think, you can wax the laces and
you can still tie your laces, provided you actually
tie your laces correctly. You may laugh at me for that, but I watched a Ted
Talks on tying shoelaces a few years back and it changed my life. I’d been tying my laces wrong forever. In fact, I’m gonna put
a link to that video underneath this video because I think you should check it out. But, wax your laces. Works the treat. And whilst we’re on the
subject of wet riding gear, one of my best little hacks
that I really like doing is getting some antibacterial
household spray. Once I’ve cleaned my riding shoes and they’re obviously drying out, spray them with that stuff because it avoids that horrible funk that you can get from knee
pads and riding shoes, in particular if they’ve
got a lot of neoprene cuffs they develop that certain smell. And I know you know
what I’m talking about. And it really does help. Now protecting your frame
from knocks and scraps is always a good idea, especially if you’ve got a nice new bike. Take advantage of that, fit
yourself an Invisi Frame kit or some Heli Tape or something
similar on the market. We’ve got our own ones of those. It’s a really good idea
to do exactly that. Now, in winter it actually
is almost more important because just for example
where cables rub on the frame they’ll rub your paint away. And when those cables are
covered in mud and grit it does that twice as fast. It can be really, really abrasive. So make sure you pay
attention to your frame. Get yourself a kit. They come with various
different sized pads on them. Apply them correctly. Now make sure if you’re not
applying it to a fresh frame get some like contact
cleaner or something similar with isopropyl alcohol in there and clean the area completely so it has no residue, no grease, nothing that’s gonna avoid
the adhesive doing its job. And place them on carefully. And just work your way around the bike. Now there’s two other areas in particular you wanna pay attention to. Especially I might add
with winter conditions. First one is the top tube of the bike. Now the reason for that is, let’s just say riding with knee pads, your knee pads are gonna get
wet and muddy at some point. And when you’re riding you
might not realize this, but you rub your knee
pads on your top tube quite a lot. Now that can happen when you’re cornering or it can happen just when you’re riding if you’re using bulky knee pads. So do yourself a favor
and get your top tube covered up on your bike. And whilst you’re at it do
the chain stays as well. Winter riding shoes are
quite often chunkier than the riding shoes
you use in the summer and other times. And again if you’re riding on flat pedals or if you ride with
your feet at 10 to two, you’re likely to take
the paint off your frame. So do yourself a favor, protect it. Now I actually made a video on installing some frame protection
onto one of Neil’s bikes last year on GMBN. I’m gonna put the link to
that in the description below. And if you wanna know anything
more about frame protection just add a comment in the comments below. Centered pads last longest in winter. All right, so it’s not really a hack. But nonetheless it’s a good tip. And it’s one that we should all listen to, especially if you ride in
sandy, wet, muddy conditions. Now centered or metal pads certainly do last the longest. But as a downside, they
do make a bit of noise when they’re wet and maybe if
they haven’t heated up yet. And there’s a sort of an undulating ride where you’re not really
using the brakes that much. You’ll notice that even if your brakes are bended in properly
that they’re gonna squeal from time to time. I know my brakes on this
after riding in the snow they were howling. But at the same time, I’m
willing to put up with that because otherwise I’d be
going through pads constantly in the winter conditions
around the GMBN offices. Now the next best bet is semi-metallic. So you get a little bit more traction, a little bit more grip with them. They’re a lot quieter. But they do have some of the benefits of the metallic backing to them to avoid wearing down. What you don’t wanna be
using are resin pads. Now resin pads, although they’re not, they don’t favor the wet conditions, they do grab quite well. However, they’ll wear out super fast and cost you loads of money. Now if you don’t wanna use
the all around centered pads all year round on your bike, maybe take a tip from some
of the Scandinavian drivers who have winter tires and summer tires, and do the same with your brake pads. Have some winter pads. And you can always have your resin or your organic pads for summer use. Cover up the rear of your brake arch. Now whether you use a mud guard or not, it’s a haven for mud to collect. And the best way to do
it is a sticker on it. You can use some GMBN stickers. You can use the RockShox
stickers that came with your Rockshox forks, just like it did on my commuter bike. Or you can simply use
some black electrical tape and just wrap it around that fork brace. You don’t have to keep
it there all the time. If you just do it through winter it stops them all filling up with mud. And makes things a lot easier to clean. Moto foam. Now this stuff is a non-porus foam. It will not absorb moisture or mud or anything like that. It’s used by a lot of motocross mechanics. And the sort of places they’ll
put it on a bike would be above the sump guard for
example that sits down here where there’s gonna be holes where otherwise heavy weight mud would just pack in there when I’m riding. Now a lot of downhill mechanics have been using this
on downhill race bikes and you see the same on endura bikes in certain situations. Now the idea is to stuff it in places where mud would collect, which means it’s gonna be
faster to clean the bike, and the bike’s not gonna get
bogged down with heavy mud. Now you can do this on your own bike. It’s quite cheap. You can get this on Ebay and
other auction sites like that. And you can stuff it in places like this, where rocks and other things
can actually find their way in. Quite handy stuff. It’s quite cheap. It doesn’t look the best
but it means, for winter, your bike might handle that a bit better with a little less weight on it. Dry lube. Now it might sound crazy, because we always recommend using dry lube in summer conditions, and wet lube in winter conditions, but I actually favor
dry lube all year round. Now of course when it’s
absolutely hammering down and I’m riding in the wettest conditions, I’ll always use the thicker wet lube. But for most of the time, I’ll stick to dry lube. And the reason for that quite simply is less stuff is attracted
to my drive chain, which means it’s easier to clean. When I go for a ride, a
typical Sunday morning ride, I’ll go out, I’ll get covered in mud, and I’ll come back and I’ll wanna clean my bike as fast as possible. I’ve got other stuff I need to do. Now if my drive chain
needs a full degrease and clean because it’s
got wet lube on there, with all the mud and muck and other stuff that sticks to it, that
could be a couple of hours fully cleaning that bike. If I use dry lube I can
pretty much wash it off, clean the bike, apply some fresh lube, and go about my day. Check it out, it’s quite good stuff. And the last one, a bit
of a classic actually, but it’s always worth reiterating is getting some skateboard grip tape. You can get enough to cover a deck. It doesn’t cost a lot of money. And share it around with all your friends. And use this on your brake levers, on your shift levers, on
your dropper post remote, any areas like that where you can struggle for a little bit of grip. Just bear in mind though, if you use something that’s too course, it can actually sort of affect the ends of your gloves. It can sort of affect the fabric a bit. But if you’re more bothered
about actually performance then it’s a really good little hack. So there you go. There’s some winter
hacks and tips for you. Especially useful no
doubt if, like myself, you end up riding in mud
and rain a lot of the time. For a couple of more videos, if you wanna beat the winter, click down here and see what
Blake and Neil got up to. And for looking after your riding kit, click up there. As always give us a thumbs
up if you love GMBN Tech. If you’ve got any ideas, let
us know in those comments below and if you’ve got any better hacks let us know those too. In the meantime, click
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