Set Up Your Mountain Bike For Commuting And Urban Riding

Set Up Your Mountain Bike For Commuting And Urban Riding


– I’ve just made a video for GMBN about using your urban commute, be that to college, to school,
to work, whatever it is, to best effect, essentially so you can get some more time on your mountain bike. Honing in some skills, getting that heart rate
up for fitness reasons, and of course just having some good fun. Now while I was making that video, it made me realize I had to
make a few changes to my bike to make it a bit more suitable for that. ‘Cause I don’t really have
another bike at the moment. This is my main bike so, riding a six inch travel 29er bike on urban terrain definitely
isn’t that much fun. So this is what I’ve
done to convert my bike to make it suitable for
a bit of urban thrashing. (intro sound effects) (light hearted music) So really to get my bike set up I’ve made quite a few adjustments. Now let’s start my looking at the tires. Upfront I run a Trail King
as my normal go to tire. I normally run this about
between 26 and 28 psi. At the moment, 50 psi, that is what I run when I’m riding to work, when
I’m doing my daily commute. And if I’m just doing any urban stuff which involves smashing
down flights of stairs. It is granted, you don’t
have as much traction it’s not as comfortable. However, it does mean that it is gonna help me preserve my rims a bit more, and it does roll significantly faster. Now out back I always tend to run a faster rolling tire anyway. Now the Mountain King tire is a great tire it does roll fast, however it
doesn’t have the Apex Casing that the Trail King does so
the casing’s a lot lighter which means smashing
down flights of stairs is not gonna do it much good. So I get them running at about 50 pounds. But on the inside, I’m
running one of these. Now I don’t run this on the front, I’m only running this on the rear. So this is the Nukeproof ARD system. So this is a rim insert,
there’s various different ones available on the market, there’s CushCore. Which really is a very specialist product because to just to fit
those and get them off if you need to get them
off, bit of a nightmare. So if you’re a serious downhill racer or maybe a serious endura racer perhaps CushCore might
be an option for you. But the Nukeproof ARD system
really does work well for me and a great value as
well, they come as a set in 27 and a half or in 29 inch. And they come with valve stems that are suitable for use with these. And they don’t absorb your tire sealant on the inside of your tire, so you put your regular amount in, to be fair I always put a
bit more than regular anyway. And it both helps the
tire stay on the rim, it’s helps protect the tire
side walls against pinching, which does happen when
you’re smashing down flights of stairs and stuff like that, and of course it gives
you a bit more support, and it protects the rim. It’s a win-win situation on every level. And they’re so light as well. Now my Nukeproof Mega290 of
course has 29 inch wheels. And it’s got 150mm of travel
via that Fox X2 Shock. Now the Fox X2 is clearly a very, very good, very capable shock. But it’s not exactly man’s best friend when you’re riding around town. Of course, this isn’t a town bike it’s not what it’s designed for. But you can still make it
work to your advantage. Now I tend to like about a third
of my available travel sag. I tend to prefer my tires firmer, and my suspension on the
slightly softer side, just to get a really
good feel on the bike. And this does allow it
because it’s very controlled, with the four way damping on there. So it’s got high and
low speed compression, and high and low speed rebound. And it also, in addition,
has a climb switch, which is separate, a separate circuit on that low speed compression. And it effectively gives it a platform so when you pedal it
doesn’t bob around too much. Now this is great, but I also don’t wanna
damage that feature. It’s a shim based system on the inside and if you run it, effectively
locked out like that, the same as with any shock,
if you run them like that on a permanent basis,
you’re basically gonna bend the shims on the inside
and it’s not gonna work the way it’s supposed to work. So what I like to do with my shock and the same with my fork,
which I’ll get to in a minute, for urban riding, is make a few changes. So firstly, I up the pressure in there, so again, normally I’m
running at about a 3rd sag, and I’m running less than
a quarter sag in here for my day to day riding, it’s only when it comes to weekends I make my changes, and I always refer back
to my base settings. This is why in our
suspension tutorial videos I always say once you
find your good setting, your base for all round
riding, make a note of it. Know your pressures, know your clicks, whether that’s from fully
open or from fully closed. That way, you can easily
return to it any time. Now, I’ve got low speed
compression wound fully in on the shock, I want this
to basically not move when I’m pedaling and sprinting through the traffic and
that, but I still want the shock to do its own thing. So I’m not gonna be really
using that climb switch unless I absolutely need to. Now of course there are some brutal hills and it does help that,
because your body weight shift is so extreme towards
the back of the bike, no matter what suspension
platform you have, sometimes it just really helps stand the bike up a bit better. But then also, I like to
increase the rebound on there. Now you might think that
low speed compression does all the work when you’re pedaling to avoid the bike wallowing
around, but actually slowing down the rebound
on the bike by doing the same adjustment with your
low speed rebound damping, you can do this on a single dial, but it works even better
if you can just do it on the low speed. If you crank that up, you’ll
find the bike barely moves. You’ll still move when you start hitting bumps and steps and doing stuff but it really does stand
the bike up nicely. Now unlike the rear shock,
which requires a bit more work, forks don’t tend to, because
it depends if you have dial or if you have a lock
out or anything like that on your fork. Now quite often, you
might have something like the older CTD, the Climb Trail Decent. If you got Fox or if you got Rocks, you got the three way clicker on the top. If you’ve got that, running
on the mid setting on trail, and then adjusting your
low speed compression all the way in will really
make a big difference. You’ll make it feel similar
to what I’ve described with that rear shock,
but unfortunately for me, well, not unfortunately,
I’ve got the better FOX fork, it’s actually got that
grip2 dampener in it, but it does mean it doesn’t
have the three position dial. Instead I get a low speed
and a high speed compression dial on the top, and you guessed it, that low speed one gets cranked right up. I don’t actually change
the pressure in the fork, I only do this in the shock out back. Because I really find that
making that adjustment and a little bit higher speed as well does calm the fork right down. Don’t get me wrong, it’s
nothing to do how I run this off road, off road, I
like it really sensitive, operating nice and fast,
but in an urban environment, I like it a bit slower, less reactive, I want it to just be
silently doing it’s thing. And as you can see, I’ve
not used that much travel, despite smashing down one
of those flights of stairs. Now usually when it
comes to winter riding, I like to switch over to
flat pedals as much as I can because it does make things a bit easier and a lot more fun, but for urban riding, I’m commuting to work, I just wanna get the job done. So for any where I wanna pedal and sprint, I’m gonna default to clips, it is what I ride in most of the time and it makes perfect sense, it also means I can take advantage of the big, waterproof,
reflective winter boots that I’ve got. They’re absolutely fantastic
for riding to work, the do the job in off
road conditions obviously, and they’ve got loads of
reflective stuff on there so it just makes for a good,
solid combination there. Now urban riding obviously can make your bike make some horrible noises when that chain’s slapping
around all over the place. Especially when running
your suspension firmer and less reactive and running
your tires a lot firmer. It does mean you’re gonna
notice chain slap more. Now chain slap might be annoying but also, it does take out
chunks of paint from your frame so make sure you’ve got
a nice rubber coated chain stake protector
on there like this one. Now what also will help you out, if you can get something on the back of the sink stay there where the chain actually strikes when it’s fully loose. You will lose a lot of paint there if you don’t have that protected, and of course it is rattly,
it does get annoying if you haven’t got anything there. Now something I like to
recommend people to use is that Scotch Mastik Tape. I think its 2228, I’ve
used it in a lot of videos on GMBN and GMBN Tech,
it’s not the cheapest stuff out there but it does
work fantastically well. And it’s really serious, heavy duty rubber that sticks straight on,
so you can trim it to size and stick it anywhere. Quite discreet, you don’t
even know it’s there, but it means I’m not gonna get any chain slap, I’m not gonna get the chain
taking off any chunks of paint. And also there is an additional benefit to silencing your bike. Now, in the video that
I just made for GMBN, I go out through the back
of a lot of housing estates, down alley ways, flights of stairs, the sort of stuff that
some people might frown on. It’s great fun, and of
course I would never ride too fast in an area where
there’s likely to be people. Always make sure the
coast is clear, however. Sometimes people don’t
like you being there, and if your bike is a
little bit on the quiet side you can get away with that
cheeky run through there without anyone even knowing. And the final thing, this is common sense, if you’re riding in an urban environment, get yourself some
lights, at the very least get yourself some basic LED lights, front and rear on the bike
there, so you can be seen. And you can charge them
at your desk at work, or at school, or wherever you are, it won’t be a problem charging them, and most modern ones you get now, you can plug in via USB,
so you can go straight into your computer or anything
like that, it’s no issues. There’s no excuses for not
having some lights for safety. And if you insist on wearing dark clothes, make sure that some of it has
some reflective panels on, because you might think
that you can be seen but a lot of the time
motorists won’t see you. So don’t take the chance. Well there you go,
that’s the changes I made to my completely inappropriate bike for urban riding, and do you know what? It goes pretty flippin’
well, I can even challenge a few roadies out there,
so I’d love to see if you make any
modifications to your bikes to make them more suitable
for this sort of stuff. And don’t forget, if you
do do this sort of riding, send some clips in to the Dirt Shed Show and I’m sure Martin and the guys would love to see that stuff. Now for another urban related
video, click down here if you wanna see what I
did to Chris Smith’s bike to set it up for Gibbing. That’s also a really cool
video that’s gonna drop any time now on GMBN, so
keep an eye out for that one. And of course, if you love what we do here at GMBN Tech, give us a huge thumbs up and click that subscribe button.