5 Mistakes To Avoid When Traveling With Your Mountain Bike

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Traveling With Your Mountain Bike


– No matter how good you are
at maintaining your bike, or even how often you do it, occasionally, you’re still
going to make mistakes in working on your bike. And all too often, they’ll become exposed when you head out riding, hitting the trails at the last minute, or even putting your bike
on the back of the car. So here are some of
the classics on how you get around them. (upbeat music) And the first one we’re
going to look at is something I very nearly just did
myself and that is putting and that is pulling that front
brake lever when there is no wheel in the bike. And of course, what that means
is that your break pads are going to push together,
clogging the wheel in your bike; straight away you’ve delayed your ride. So I’m just going to pull
the bike out and show you a couple of ways around
this and what you should be doing to avoid it. (upbeat music) – Okay, so I’ve taken the bike
out of the back of the car and as you can see in this case these break pads are
really close together. So what you need to do is pry them apart. Now there’s a couple of different
ways that you can do this. Now the first option, this
is the Park Tools PP-1.2 and the job of this is to
solely push those pads apart. Now if you do have one of
these or get a similar tool, the important thing to
remember is it is clean and it has no grease or oil
on it, you don’t want that anywhere near your break pads. All you do is simply push it
in between the break pads, give it a whittle until its
sent home towards the back of the caliper there, and
what it does is it pushes the pistons back into place,
and as you can see now it is wide enough apart so
that the disc rotor can slide back into place as it should be. However, you might not
have one of those tools, or perhaps you don’t
feel that you need all those tools in your tool kit. The other solution is a
simple flathead screwdriver. Now the wider the head of
the screwdriver the better, because it’s going to do a better job. Same thing applies, just
essentially to wedge in there and pry them apart. But make sure there is no
oil or grease on there. The same action applies. Takes a little bit more care
to do with a screwdriver than it does with a dedicated tool there, but you can achieve the same result. And there we go so, ready for that disc rotor
to slide back in there, and then the wheel will go right in. Now how do you get around this and stop this thing
happening in the future? Best way to do this is with a bleed block. So, depending on what brakes
you have, you can get a bleed block, which has a space at
one end for when you’re taking the brake pads out to bleed those brakes, and at the other end is a pad spacer. So the sole job of this is
literally to slide in between those brake pads there, and
act basically to take the space that the disc rotor would. And what that means is if
the brake lever is actuated in the back of the car, or wherever it is, what’s going to happen is
your brake is going to work against this as if it were a disc rotor. No problem. Before you ride, simply slide
it out, put it somewhere where it’s not gonna get too greasy,
put your wheel in place, and off you go. Now although most brakes
sets do come with these, and they’re easily obtainable
for your local bike shop, you might not have one to hand. So in which case, any old
bit of cardboard will do. In this case, from an inner
tube that I carry with me, I’ve kept the packaging. Same thing, you can fold
over a couple of times, and that will act nicely as a pad spacer whilst you’re transporting your bike. (upbeat music) – So now you have sorted
the brake problem out, it’s time to put the wheel
into the bike itself. Get that to go right in. Now of course, I need to put
my quick release axle in place. Now this is something we see
people struggling with quite a lot, because sometimes
they’re a bit sticky, they don’t quite line up, they
don’t really go into place. So how do you sort this sort of thing out? Simply put, you have to maintain
these just like you would any other part of the bike. They’ve got moving parts, they have a cam. So as long as you keep
these nice and clean, you apply some spray lube
to those moving parts, a little bit of lube or
some very light grease, like a spray grease, just on
the axle and take the excess off, is enough to help it
pass through the axle itself. Then of course you have
to make sure that you do up the lever into
the correct orientation. Now there’s a few different
ones on the market. This is the Fox QR15, I’ll
demonstrate with this one. I’ll also show you with
the rear one I have. Now this particular one is
clean, I’ve just given it a wipe. But what you do want
to do is make sure that that cam itself has been
lubed, so it does move freely. Slacking through a few
times, and then of course wipe off the excess. Now you might just want to
put a bit on the axle itself. Again, you don’t want too much on there, just run enough on there
so it can pass through nice and clearly straight
through into the bike. As you see, that slides in much better. A little TLC goes a long way
with any mechanical part. Now of course, doing the
lever up in the correct orientation is really important. With the QR15 one, the lever
should be pushed down at this stage, and there should
be between one and twenty millimeters between it and the fork. That is fully closed, so
that’s a safe position. With the Rockshox Maxle the
safe position is actually following the fork along
towards the back of the bike. Now it’s important to make sure
that you have your specific lever in a correct orientation. If, for example, you’re using
a Rockshox Maxle and that front lever is facing forward, A: it probably won’t be secured properly, which means it could come undone. And B: probably worse still,
is the fact that it could snag on any bit of terrain, like
some brambles or something, and pull itself undone, and
just by riding will unwind itself and you wheel could come out. So, obviously, it’s for
your own safety as well as the performance of the
bicycle to make sure that your axles are installed correctly. Give them a bit of love,
give them a bit of lubricant, make sure they’re the correct orientation, and they’re secured to the bike. Now this particular
rear one is a DT Swiss. It screws straight into the frame. As you can see here, the lever
is not in the best position, so you pull this out and you
can reposition it, so it’s in the correct position. Obviously it depends on your preferences. I like mine to actually face
backwards because they’re away from any sort of chance
of being knocked and unwound on that bike. Some people will prefer
them inward to keep them nice and neat. Of course it’s more
important with the front one, because you really don’t
want that to come undone. But there we go. So just make
sure you look after those axles and keep them lubricated just like you would any other moving part. (upbeat music) Another classic is if you’re
changing your pedals before you ride, perhaps from clips
to flats, or vice versa. All too often I see people
that have bikes upside down like this, and they go
to undo on the Allen key and it slips, smashing
knuckles into that chainring. Don’t do that. Cause if that’s a really tight
fit and you’ve got to put a lot of work into that, what
do you think is gonna happen? Not nice. So use your weight advantage. Put the bike rubber side down, and stand over the bike itself. Now you want to put the Allen
key into the back of the pedal there, and simply lean down on
it. You can hold to opposite crank and you can undo that pedal nicely. And then all you’ve got to
do is put the back of it in, and just back it out. Now as well as not actually
thinking about what you’re doing when you’re undoing the pedals,
a lot of people actually forget which way round you tighten them, or which way you undo. Easiest way to think about
this is with rubber side down, both pedals tighten towards
the front of the bike, and they loosen towards the rear. Keep that in mind and you’ll
always be able to get your pedals on and off correctly. But on other thing just to add on there, is if your pedal threads
are dry and your pedals are tightened, they’re gonna be
extremely hard to get off. So do yourself a favor,
put a little smidge of grease on those threads. Not too much, just
enough to give it a lube, and then you’ll tighten them up, and they’re easier to undo next time. (upbeat music) – About to hit those trails,
and of course you just want to put a bit of lube on your chain
before you go to make sure everything runs nice and smoothly. And one of the choices lots
of people have is some sort of spray lube like this one. Now I also often see
people aiming that spray straight at that rear cassette. Of course your disc rotor
is right behind there, and if it’s windy you’re
gonna get a mist of oil traveling around the bike there. So just do not do this because that oil, when that gets in contact
with that rear disc rotor, it will definitely contaminate those pads. And your brake will either
howl and won’t work, or it just simply will not work. So if you are one of those
riders that like to use a spray lube, just think about
it before you start spraying; is it windy? If it’s windy, more than likely
you’re gonna get a mist of lubricant going places you
don’t necessarily want. So, the first thing I would
suggest is get some shop towel, and stuff it in the way
of your disc rotors. Make sure that if you insist
on spraying anywhere that’s gonna get that, that is gonna catch it. But of course, your bike
might not have disc brakes. Your bike might still have rim breaks. If that’s the case, then
you’re gonna need to put some shop towel just to protect
the rims from that spray when you spray the chain. Now the best place to spray your chain is at the bottom here. Just gonna demonstrate to you
how I would spray my chain, protecting that rim. Cycle the chain backwards,
little bit of spray just directly onto the bits of chain length
that you really want to receive that lubricant. The inside of the link is what
contacts with the chainring and the sprockets in the
back, so that’s where you want to be applying that lube. Now you just want to run the
chain around in that shop towel afterwards, so you just don’t
draw any excess dirt and grime to that chain while you’re out riding. Now the best solution really,
especially for the back of your car, is always gonna
be an oil that you apply drop by drop straight
into those chain links. It’s a lot less messy. You
end up using less lubricant, because you’re not having
to over spray anywhere and you really can’t get it
exactly where you want it. And it’s the safest option
for not getting any anywhere near your brakes. (upbeat music) – Now there’s a few last
things to do before you hit those trails. One of them is pumping up your tires. Now I’ve seen it a million
times where people, a little hasty, they jump in
to inflate their tires with a mini pump, they put the
connector on and they damage the end of the valve core. Now sometimes if you’re in a
bit of a rush you can end up damaging valve cores when
you’re going to inflate them. Now this particular pump
is like a mini track pump, or mini floor standing pump in the way it has a chuck on the end there. So this is actually a fairly
safe one in order to use before you go hit those trails. However, not all mini pumps are like this. Some of them, you can add the
actual part of the pump itself directly to the valve. And quite often you see
people, when they’re pumping vigorously, damage
the end of the valve. Now if that happens, you’re
more than likely gonna end up with bent valve core, which
renders it useless for putting air in and of course taking air out again. Which is really bad, because
it’s one stage away from actually snapping, which means the air is gonna come rushing out. So something you definitely
wanna consider doing is getting yourself a valve core remover. For the obvious reason that
you can get those valves out of the actual valve stem. So this is a damaged one,
which is no longer good to use. But thankfully, I keep a couple of spares. These things don’t cost a lot of money. It’s worth having a few in your tool kit. Keep them alongside a valve core remover, and it means that you’re
not gonna have that problem stop you going riding again. Now whilst on the subject of
valve cores, it’s important to always make sure that your
valve cores are nice and tight. And the reason for that is A:
obviously you don’t want any air to escape from there, but
B: a lot of pumps actually screw onto the valve stem themselves, and if your valve core is
loose when you unscrew them, you’re gonna undo that
valve core at the same time. Now what is the result of that? (loud air hisses) Now as I explained, this
particular pump has a separate hose, which
means once it’s attached, moving the pump around isn’t
going to affect the actual valve core. But if your particular pump
attaches directly to the valve core, make sure that
you actually support that when you’re pumping. The reason for that is, there
can’t be any flex in it, and therefor you’re least
likely to damage that valve core and more importantly lose all
the air out of it in one hit, rendering your ride a bit
of a pain to start with. So there we go. My bike is safely together,
out of the boot of the car. Nothing is wrong with
it, it is ready to ride. All I’ve got to do is chuck
on my trusty gym going gear, and go for a ride. If you want to see a
couple more useful videos, click down here for five
hydraulic disc brake setup hacks. And if you want to see how to
overhaul your clipless pedals, that’s both Shimano and
Crankbrothers of course, click up there. As always, click on that
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