7 Pro Tips For The Ultimate Custom MTB Setup | Mountain Bike Maintenance

7 Pro Tips For The Ultimate Custom MTB Setup | Mountain Bike Maintenance


– Whilst getting your bike set up is a relatively straightforward process. The thing that really
defines your mountain bike as your bike is the little custom tips and tweaks you can do to it. So with that in mind, when I have my own bike what I like to do is get
suspension dialled in. Then after that, these are my seven best tips and tweaks. So without a doubt a dropper post is one of the most useful bits of kit a modern mountain bike can have on it. And of course, they’re very useful on all sorts of terrain
for getting your saddle up, saddle down, out of the way. But, if like me, you’re
riding bumpy conditions, or sometimes wet and muddy conditions, could be a bit of a struggle sometimes to keep grip on the actual lever itself. So I have a single source
of little custom hacks and bodges for this. Some people have actually gone as far as cutting with a
hacksaw onto their levers to get a bit of traction, or even using self-setting rubber. But really you can’t beat a good bit of skateboard grip tape. It’s dirt cheap and you can just custom form it to fit your one. You can also use it on the
brake levers themselves. Now I’ve got a Crankbrothers
Highline dropper post on my bike and they actually make their own little kit of these little gripper pads that you can put on your own levers. And they’re mint, it grips nice and tidy. It’s a nice little custom
touch for your bike. So a chain slap is one of
the most frustrating things you can get on a bike. Not only is it loud, with your chain rattling
away on your frame, it actually chips off your paint. And it’s not really good for
you bike in the long term. So while a lot of bikes these days do come with chain slap
protectors on them, sometimes they’re not
actually a soft rubber. The harder rubber can still
make quite a bit of a noise. So what I always like to do straightaway with any new bike I get, is put a decent chain slap protector on to stop that. And what I tend to use
is Scotch 2228 tape. And this is a rubber mastic tape. You can get this from
electrical retailers. And there are other
similar ones out there, other unnamed mastic tapes you can get. And it’s literally sticky-back rubber. You can apply it to the length you need on your chain stay. Stays on there whatever the weather. And because the rubber itself is actually very soft compound, it’s got a good damping quality to it. Now I also like to put some
on the inside of my seat stay, just where the chain can also flick up and take away the paint. And if riding abroad, say in the Alps, I actually put some on the underside of the down tube too. I mean this particular bike, my Canyon here, has got a down tube protector, so it doesn’t need it. But this stuff’s really effective for that and it comes in 25mm width and also a 50 mil, if you
want the extra protection. This stuff is well worth looking into. Clipless pedals are one of
the most important things for me on my bike. I’ve always ridden clips and I prefer the way the
bike feels with them. Now with that in mind, there’s two types of pedals. There’s the smaller, more
cross country focused lightweight pedals. And you tend to run these
with a more trail-based shoe. Or the more heavy-duty shoe
and pedal offerings like these. So the thing I like about these is they still manage to make a bike feel like it’s got a downhill feel with the flat pedals, but you’ve got all the
benefits of clipping in. However, they’re a lot harder to set up and get just right. And your shoe and pedal combo is absolutely essential to getting that real good feel. Now while some riders will actually take a knife to the sole of the shoe to customise the cleat
recess if they need to, a better way of doing it, really, is by using these little spacers. Now although these are
Crankbrother spacers, you can use these on any
cleats on the market, whether it’s Time, Shimano, Look, etc. It really doesn’t matter. And there’s actually a
better way of doing it, because you remove the cleat slightly from the bottom of the sole and it just gets
engagement that bit better. Now whilst the plastic spacers are the best way to do this, I actually use a slightly
different technique. I’ve always loved the
firm, click-in action of other pedals like Shimano, but prefer the feel of
a Crankbrother’s pedal, where you can actually
move around more on it. Now to get that same snappy feel, I just unclip the pedal here. You’ll see that I’ve got
metal spacer under the cleat. Now these are made by Crankbrothers and are actually designed to protect the sole of carbon shoes from the clip mechanism. What I’ve found actually, is using them on these shoes, makes it way easier to engage. You’ve got that really defined click when you clip in. It doesn’t affect the feel of the pedal. Now that’s my little custom sole tip. So this setup tip is a bit of a weird one, because it’s not a common occurrence, but actually it’s a preventative measure. A long time ago, cut the story short, I was out on a ride,
and I lost a cleat bolt. And I was so far from home that it would have ruined my ride. And I was trying to find
another bolt on the bike I could replace it with. But at the time, the only bolt suitable I didn’t have ’cause I had
centre lock rotors on the bike. I did bump into another cyclist and he let me pinch a bolt
off his disc rotor though. So I replaced the cleat bolt with that. Now although it got me home, it was pretty uncomfortable, clicking wasn’t that good all the time, but it did work. So it made me think, why didn’t I carry a spare on my bike? Why not in the bag? If it’s on the bike, I’m never going to forget it, it’s always there. So I now carry one of
the countersunk bolts on each of my wheels. So, whatever I do, I’ve got five normal disc rotor bolts
on one countersunk bolt. Holds the disc rotor on just fine. And I know it’s there for emergencies if that ever arises. So going along with the theme of keeping things on your bike that you might not need, but actually can save you when you’re on that ride with no tools. One of the things I always tape
onto the controls of my bike is an adjoining chain link. So be it SRAM or Shimano, depending on your preference, just get a bit of electrical tape, get one of those links, and just tape it around
one of your gear cables. It’s always on your bike and you’ll forget about
it until that one time you’re out for a ride
and you snap your chain. You can fix this, no fuss, get back on the trail, job done. Now most modern bikes have
pretty good cable routing, but you can still get cable rub depending on how you run your bars, flip, forwards, up, down
and that sort of set up. So as you can see on
my personal bike here, the cable do actually strike each other. Now, I like my bikes to
be silent, if possible. And I also don’t really want
my paint to get rubbed away. So a little trick I like to do is actually attach the
cables together here using some electrical tape. It stops the cable wandering around within the frame as well, ’cause it’s bound to the next one. Now in addition to hatching
the cables together with the tape, something I also like to do is I’m not really a fan
of the clear patches, because I do find that they discolour and come off in time. So what I actually like to use is the same rubber mastic tape I use in my chain stays and just put a little patch just under where the cables contact. So not only does it stop
them rattling around and sort of rubbing on the frame as well. And at the end of the day, it’s all about making a bike silent, so, for me, anyway. So that’s my little custom tip there. So the last one’s not really
a custom set up tweak as such, it’s more something I like
to do before going riding. Now, I really like to pay
attention to my suspension and view that lower leg
services quite frequently to keep them running nice and smooth. But if I’ve been riding
a lot of wet conditions or dry conditions, the seals can still dry out. So you can do a super fast little tweak just to get your forks running
smoothly before you ride. Now the obvious choice would be to flip your bike upside down, so that lower leg lube is in sight there for coating the bushings, but another little cheater one you can do is just by simply rolling
the garter spring down on the fork and taking the
end of an uncut cable tie and just slide it between the
stanchion and the wiper seal. You can just apply some
decent suspension lube directly into the seals. Now using the plastic end
of a cable tie is good ’cause it won’t scratch your stanchion. Just make sure you don’t do this with a screwdriver or anything else that’s likely to damage either the seal, or more importantly, the stanchion. It’s a super fast little way or just applying some suspension lube, wipe off the excess, go and hit the trails. Happy days. So hopefully seven of
my little favourite tips have been helpful for you, guys. I’d like to hear if you’ve got any little set up tips and tweaks you’ve got. So don’t forget to leave a comment below. Subscribe here by clicking the globe. You’ll get a brand new
video every single day. And I must refer you to a couple of really helpful videos. One of them is how to set up a new bike so if you want to click down here, really informative video. And the other one is
how to silence a bike. And that’s not only from chain slap, also creaks and stuff. So click down here. And don’t forget to give us a thumbs up if you like the video.