Tech Tuesday: Mechanical Guide For Beginners

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Tech Tuesday: Mechanical Guide For Beginners
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Posted: Jan 29, 2011 at 14:37 Quote
How To Fix A Flat Tire:

In this, the first installment, of Technical Tuesdays, we'll cover one of the most common mechanicals: the dreaded flat tire! Inside you'll find step by step instructions and a How-To video to guide you through this 'must know' fix!

Read On...

Being able to fix a flat tire, whether it's while you're out on the trail or back at home, is a mandatory piece of bike knowledge. While a lot of readers out there no doubt already know how to go about replacing their tube, those who are new to the sport or have not yet been forced to learn how may not be so adept at it. We're going to keep it simple for this first installment of Technical Tuesdays and show you how to repair your flat. If you haven't had a flat yet and don't think you need to know how, your time is coming!

Watch the video to learn how to easily change a flat tire
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Step By Step Flat Tire Instructions

Tools needed: Tire levers (do not use screwdrivers please) and a pump

Flat tires have to be one of the most common mechanical problems faced by mountain bikers. Nothing kills the day's flow more than popping a tube halfway through a ride, it's just a bummer all around. While fixing a flat is a pretty simple job that should only take a few minutes with practice, it's something that a surprising number of riders struggle with. Even if you already know what to do (besides call your mom to come get you), there are a few tricks that can make the job quicker and easier. These instructions assume that you've already removed the offending wheel from the bike, and while we're using a standard tire and tube setup, many of these steps still apply if you manage to flat your tubeless setup and simply want to put a tube in to get you out of the bush.

There can be a number of reasons why you no longer have any air in your tube. One of the most common is surely the dreaded pinch flat. A pinch flat is as it sounds, the tube was pinched between the rim sidewalls and the tire hard enough to cut it. The more air pressure you run, the less chance you have of pinch flatting, but you will have less traction at higher pressures. The other common flat tire culprit would be some sort of foreign object. Picture thorns, glass, sharp rocks and you'll get the idea. It is important to figure out why you flatted so that it doesn't happen again due to the same cause.


1. Start by removing the wheel from the bike and letting out any remaining air. This will make unseating the tire bead much easier.


2. When fixing a flat, unless the tire is damaged there is no reason to completely remove it from the wheel. You only need to remove one side of the tire in order to replace the tube. Some tire and rim combos have quite a tight fit which can make starting with a tire lever difficult. To make it easier, start by squeezing the tire bead into the center of the rim all the way around the wheel. This will make getting the tire lever under the bead much simpler.

3. Line up the tire lever with a spoke that comes from the same side of the wheel that you are working on. Hook the spoon end of the lever under the bead and pry it up and over the rim wall, hooking the opposite end of the lever to the closest spoke. You should now be able to let go of the lever and have it be held in place by the spoke and tire bead, giving you two free hands to repeat the process a few inches to the left or right. The key here is not to get greedy and try to pry too much of the tire bead off at one go. Some tires will only require one lever to remove, but some may need two or even three. When putting in multiple levers, start within an inch or two of the lever that is already in place, otherwise it will be very difficult to get the new lever under the bead.

4. Once a good portion of the tire bead is up and over the rim wall you should be able to slide one lever completely around the wheel and have one entire side of the tire up and over the rim all the way around. Now you can pull out the punctured tube, but be sure to keep the tube in the same relation to the tire as you remove it. Likewise, make sure that the tire does not rotate on the rim as you're removing the tube. If you're not sure what caused the flat and are worried about a piece of glass or thorn that may still be stuck in the tire waiting to put a hole in the new tube, lining up the hole in the tube with the tire will tell you where you should check.
5. You should always take the time to figure out what has caused your flat tire. Some pinch flats are obvious, but others can be a bit of a mystery. Locate the hole on the tube by putting some air into it and holding it close to your face so that you can feel or hear the leak. A pinch flat will usually look like two parallel slits across from one another and running lengthwise on the tube, although sometimes there will only be a single cut. If there is a single small hole then it was most likely caused by something that was ran over on the trail like a thorn or sharp stone. If so, you'll need to make sure that is not still stuck in your tire's casing. Run your palm up and over the inside of the casing slowly, being careful not to cut yourself if you drag your hand over something sharp. Remove whatever you find.
Use your hand to check the inside of the tire for foreign objects - be careful!

6. Once you're happy that you've found the cause, it's time to install a new tube. Before you put it in be sure to put a few pumps of air in to the new tube so that it takes shape. This will help keep it from being pinched by the rim, tire bead, or tire lever, when you finish it off. Start by putting the valve through the rim's valve hole and then screwing on the valve cap. Doing this keeps the valve from pulling back out of the rim as you work the tire on. Once the tube is all the way on it is time to reinstall the tire bead. Place the wheel upright on the floor in front of your feet with the valve stem in the highest position and the uninstalled bead facing out. Starting at the valve stem use both hands working away from the valve in opposite directions to push the bead up and over the rim. At the point opposite to where you started you may end up with a 6" section that is too tight to push over the rim's sidewall.

7. This is the important part that will let you finish installing your tire without having to resort to using levers, which can easily puncture your new tube. While still holding the wheel on the floor, start opposite the remaining tight section and squeeze the bead together towards the center of the rim. What you are doing is forcing the bead into the rim's middle section where the total circumference is slightly smaller than out at the sidewall, therefore making the tire a looser fit on the rim. It may take a few tries, but you should be able to push the last tight bit of tire bead up and over the rim wall with a few strong pushes of your thumb. Once that is done you need to make sure that the new tube is not trapped between the tire bead and rim. If it is you'll be rewarded with a loud bang as it explodes at the trapped section once you pump it up. Before you put any air into it squeeze both sides of the tire together and visually check to be sure you can see any part of the tube that may have got caught during installation. Pay special attention to the thicker rubber near the tube's valve stem. Once you're satisfied that you've done it right pump it back up and you're all done!
Check to be sure that no part of the tube has been pinched between the tire and rim.
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How To Set Up Your SRAM Rear Derailleur

For the second installment of Technical Tuesdays we take a close look at how to setup your SRAM X9 rear derailleur. Don't feel left out if you don't run a SRAM derailleur, as many of the same steps still apply. Inside you'll find step by step instructions and a How-To video that will guide you through the process.

Read on...

How a rear derailleur works is a mystery to a lot of riders, and it's easy to be intimidated by it. One day it could be working perfectly and the next it will have a mind of its own. You take it to your local shop only to have the grumpy wrench wheel it into the back to perform three minutes of voodoo that is apparently a trade secret. He could be making adjustments or he may be sprinkling unicorn droppings on it, who knows? The truth is it's actually a pretty simple job that only requires a couple of tools and some patience to get right. Below you'll find step by step instructions on how to setup your SRAM X9 rear derailleur.

Keep in mind that the same basic principles will apply to other makes and models, although you may find the adjustments in different places.

Watch the video to learn how to adjust your SRAM rear derailleur!
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Step By Step SRAM Derailleur Setup Instructions

Tools needed: Folding allen key set (or separate 3 mm and 5 mm allen keys), Phillips or flat head screwdriver .

Before you begin adjusting things it is important to be sure that all of your shifting components are in good working order. You could spend the next hour following these instructions, but it will be of no use if you're using bent, damaged, or worn out parts. Take a few minutes to be sure that both your derailleur and derailleur hanger are straight. Do this by standing directly behind your bike and sighting up through your derailleur, everything should be straight and in line. Also, your chain should not be completely worn out and dry, as this will have a detrimental effect on your shifting as well. Likewise, if your cable is rusty and not moving free, all your efforts will be wasted. Once you're happy that everything is in good condition move on to the steps below.

You'll be adjusting three settings during this process: cable tension, limit screws, and B-tension.

Cable Tension

It is exactly as it sounds. The amount of tension on the shift cable controls how much the derailleur moves with each click of the shifter. Too much tension and it will shift past the correct cog as you shift to an easier gear, as well as shift slow in the opposite direction. Too little tension and it will shift slow, or not at all, to a bigger cog, and move too far as you come down to a harder gear. The correct amount of cable tension is a balance that moves the chain up and down over your cassette at just the right amount.

Limit Screws

Think of your limit screws as your derailleur's adjustable stops. They only effect the amount that the derailleur is allowed to move at each extreme of its travel. There are two limit screws, one for the low range (easiest gearing) and one for the high range (hardest gearing), and are labeled accordingly with "H" being for High and "L" for low. The further you dial in the "high" limit screw, the less range your derailleur will have at the high range. If you find that your derailleur is shifting over the top of the largest cog, you'll need to apply more "low" limit until it no longer over shifts. If your shifting is good throughout the middle of your cassette, but is not able to shift to the largest cog, you may have dialed in too much limit. The same applies to the high limit adjustment. If you manage to bend your derailleur or derailleur hanger after you make these adjustments, they will no longer be effective.

B Tension Screw

This lesser known screw adjusts how close the derailleur's upper pulley wheel follows the cassette. If it is too close, the upper pulley and chain will come in contact with the cassette, especially when back pedaling. Too far away and your shifting will be slower than you may like. Certain derailleurs will need more B Tension screw applied to keep them from bumping on large 32 or 34 tooth cogs found on some mountain bike cassettes.


1. For this process we are going to start from scratch. If your shifting is only slightly out of adjustment you may not need to start from the very beginning. Begin by shifting your SRAM rear derailleur to the smallest cog (least amount of cable tension) and then undo the derailleur's cable anchor bolt in order to release all cable tension. The cable should now be free and have no effect on the shifting. Take note of where the shift cable is clamped in relation to the bolt before you loosen it. Is there a channel or groove where the cable is intended to be clamped? You'll need to know this when the time comes to re clamp the cable.
Chain on the smallest cog and cable anchor bolt undone.

2. We are going to start by setting the high limit screw to the correct position. This is an important step as some of your other adjustments will be affected by this as well. If your high limit is off, there is a good chance the rest of your adjustments will be as well. To do this, manually move the derailleur with your hand by pushing on the knuckle (not the cage!) and moving the chain up the cassette just as you would if you were shifting to an easier gear. Next, slowly release it and let it come down under it's own spring tension. It should move the chain onto the smallest cog with no hesitation, but at the same time it should not let it go past the cog and and make contact with the frame. Sight from directly behind the smallest cog, the upper pulley wheel and chain should be directly in line with the teeth for the cog.
Setting the high limit adjustment

3. If it is shifting too far and the chain and upper pulley wheel are not lined up with the small cog, or the chain is coming right off and making contact with the frame, you'll need to add more high limit. Turn the high limit screw clockwise half a turn or less and then recheck. Likewise, if the chain is not coming down onto the smallest cog, or hesitating slightly before it does, you'll need to dial out the high limit screw a small amount to let the derailleur have more range.

4. The next step is to correctly adjust your derailleur's low limit screw. This adjustment keeps your rear derailleur from shifting the chain up and over the largest cog and into the spokes. With the shift cable still loose and not clamped down, push gently on the derailleur body (not the cage!) in order to move the chain up to the largest cog just as it would if you were shifting to an easier gear. Do this slowly as if your low limit is not adjusted correctly it will over shift and possibly damage your drive side spokes. You should be able to push the the derailleur body until the chain is on the largest cog. If it doesn't have enough free movement to reach the largest cog, or is doing it slowly, you'll need to dial out the low limit screw by turning it counter clockwise a small amount. If it moves the chain up and over the cog and into the spokes, you'll need to add more low limit by turning the screw clockwise. You should be able to move the derailleur and chain up to the largest cog and feel a firm stop. Again, when sighting from behind, the upper pulley wheel and chain should be directly lined up with the teeth on the largest cog.
Setting the low limit adjustment
Checking the low limit adjustment by hand

5. Now it is time to re clamp your shift cable, but first you should make sure that it is moving free through your shift housing. To do this shift as if you were shifting to the largest cog/easiest gear. Now hold onto the cable end with your hand and shift back down one click at a time. The cable should move freely and not bind at any point. If it does you'll need to replace your cable before continuing. If you are happy with it then move on to the next step.

6. It is very important to make sure that the derailleur and chain are in the smallest cog/hardest gear position before you re clamp your shift cable. Also, be sure to take note of where exactly the cable is supposed to be clamped. Certain models of derailleurs may need to have the cable clamped in different positions. Have a close look and you should be able to see a channel or knurled surface that defines the clamping area. If you position the cable in the wrong spot it will not shift correctly as the cable pull ratio will be off. Before clamping the cable, have the barrel adjuster at the shifter dialed two turns out from full in. With the derailleur in this position, pull the shift cable snug with your hand and clamp it in the correct position under the cable anchor bolt. When doing this be sure to pull all of the slack out of the cable. With practice you'll be able to know just how hard to tug on the cable so that you won't have to make drastic, if any, tension adjustments after it's clamped.

7. Now you're ready to check your shifting and see if any adjustments are needed. While pedaling shift the rear derailleur up one gear at a time towards the largest cog/easiest gear. If it's adjusted correctly, one click of the shifter will move the chain up to the next cog without hesitation and without it over shifting to the next cog. When checking your shifting be sure to shift one gear at a time as it can become confusing if it's out of adjustment and you're doing multiple jumps. The first couple of tries may result in not enough tension, with the symptom being that the derailleur is not able to move enough to bring the chain up to the next largest cog. If this is the case, you'll need to add more tension by dialing the barrel adjuster at the shifter out/counter clockwise. Only turn this adjuster 1/8 to 1/4 turn at each go and then recheck. If you find that it is over shifting and moving the chain too far, you'll need to remove some tension. Do this by dialing the barrel adjuster in/clockwise 1/8 to 1/4 turn and then recheck. Another technique to fine tune your shifting is simply to listen to it. A rear derailleur that is out of adjustment will "tick tick tick" as you pedal, while a properly adjusted one should be nearly silent.
There is no barrel adjuster on the derailleur, but one can be found up at the shifter

8. Before taking your bike off the stand the last thing to check is the B-Tension screw adjustment. To check this, shift your bike to the largest cog/easiest gear, and pedal forwards and in reverse. The derailleur's upper pulley and chain should not come in contact with the large cog, but be roughly within 5-6 mm of it. If you find that it is rubbing you'll need to add more B-Tension, do this by dialing the screw in/clockwise three to four turns. If it is too far away, your shifting may be slower than it needs to be. If it is too close you could damage the upper pulley wheel as well as not be able to pedal backwards or freewheel correctly.
Fine tuning the B-tension adjustment

9. Once you are happy with how your bike is shifting while on the rack be sure to take it for a spin outside before heading up to the mountain. The drive train may react differently during riding because it is under far more load when pedaling with your legs than it was in the rack. You may need to make further adjustments to have it perform optimally, but by using the steps above you should be able to dial it in to perfection.
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How To Remove And Install Your Pedals

For the third episode of Technical Tuesday we'll tackle a quick job that only requires one tool: removing and installing pedals. With the right tool and technique you should be able to finish this one in only a few minutes. Inside you'll find a great How-To video to guide you through the process, as well as step by step instructions with a few tips that could save the skin on your knuckles.

Read on...

Replacing your pedals should be a relatively simple job when you compare it to other mechanical work that you may have to perform on your bike. After all, it only requires one tool and there are only a few steps. So why is it that a lot of riders run into trouble when they have a go at removing their pedals? What seems like it should be a quick a simple job can sometimes turn into a nightmare of bloody knuckles and confusion. Below you'll find out how to avoid going down that road when the time comes to do this job.

Watch the video to learn how to easily remove and install your pedals!
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Step By Step Pedal Removal And Installation Instructions

Tools needed: Pedal wrench (a 15 mm open end wrench or 6/8 mm allen key will work with some pedals as well), and grease
All you'll need is a pedal wrench and some grease

You will find it much easier to work your way through this job if you keep your bike right side up on its wheels as you follow these steps. When talking about loosening or tightening the pedals I'll use the terms clockwise and counter clockwise as if you were facing the side that you're working on.

Before you go ahead and tackle this job, you'll need to familiarize yourself with how to loosen your pedals. Sounds easy enough, right? The curve ball is that the left pedal (non-drive side) is left hand thread, meaning that you turn it clockwise to loosen it from the crank arm. The right pedal (drive side) is standard right hand thread, turn it to the left to loosen. One more time: Turn the non-drive pedal clockwise to loosen it, turn the drive side pedal counter clockwise to loosen it.
Some pedals have four wrench flats which will make it easier to position the pedal wrench in the correct spot. Some also have a 6 mm or 8 mm allen access in the backside of the spindle. These pedals only have two wrench flats

1.Unlike a lot of other repair jobs, I find this one much easier to perform with the bike on the ground. The reason for this is that it sometimes takes a good hard push to break the pedals free and sometimes a stand has enough flex to make this difficult. Also, having the bike on the floor should give you much better leverage as you can use your body weight to help you.
By aligning the crank and pedal wrench in this position you'll be able to use your body weight to help you break the pedal free

2.Let's start with the drive side pedal. Align your drive side crank arm so that it is at the 3 o'clock position or close to it. Some pedals will have four wrench flats (located on the spindle, just outboard of the crank arm) that will make it easier to position the pedal wrench in such a way that will make it easier to loosen. Yours may only have two opposing wrench flats. Ideally the wrench should be close to parallel, if just above, the crank arm. Because you are turning the wrench counter clockwise to loosen the pedal, this will allow you to push down from above and use your body weight to break it free. Be weary of hitting your knuckles on the chain rings or chain guide as the pedal loosens. Once it is free you can spin it all the way off, being sure not to lose the pedal washer if there is one.

3.Now we'll remove the non-drive side pedal. Turn your crank arm so that it is at the 9 o'clock position or close to it. Again, this will allow you to apply more leverage once you place the pedal wrench in the same way that you did when you removed the drive side pedal. Turn the wrench down and clockwise, using your body weight to help. When it's loose spin it all the way off, taking note not to lose the pedal washer if one is present.


4.Before reinstalling your pedals, take a minute to clean any dirt out of both the crank and pedal threads. Apply a small amount of grease to the pedal threads before you begin the install as it will make it easier to remove them again down the road and minimize the chance of any creaks developing.


5.Always begin threading your pedals back in by hand to reduce the chances of damaging the threads. Turn the drive side pedal clockwise to tighten. Turn the non drive side pedal counter clockwise to tighten. Finish tightening the pedals using your pedal wrench. Always be sure to double check that you've tighten them, as losing a pedaling on the trail could spell disaster!
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How To Bleed Your Avid Elixir Brakes

For this Installment of Technical Tuesday we have SRAM's own Chuck Perryman from SRAM's Technical University to guide us through bleeding Avid Elixir brakes. Inside you'll find both a How-To video and step by step instructions on working your way through this job.

Read on...

Bleeding your brakes is not something that you should have to do often, but when the time comes it is important to know exactly how to do it correctly. One small mistake can introduce air into the system and mean that you'll have to begin the process all over again at best, or suffer from mushy brakes that could be down on power. With the right technique and tools it can be a relatively quick and simple job that most home mechanics should be able to handle. Below you'll find a great video and step by step instructions on how to bleed your Avid Elixirs correctly. If you do not have the correct tools or are are not confident in your ability to perform this job you should take it to your local bike shop.

Watch the video to learn how to bleed your Avid Elixir brakes:
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Step by Step Avid Elixir Bleed Instructions:
Tools needed: Avid bleed kit (syringes, drip free fittings, DOT fluid, torx tool, bleed block), T25 and T10 torx (included in Avid bleed kit) , 2.5 mm allen key, toe strap or elastic band, rags, water or isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle.


1.The first thing you'll have to do is prepare the syringes. Lubricate both syringe plungers with DOT fluid to create a better seal and make them easier to stroke. Thread Avid drip free bleed fittings onto both and fill one a third full with DOT fluid. If there are any large air bubbles you'll have to push them out of the fluid. Using a shop towel to keep from dripping, hold the syringe upright and depress the plunger until the bubble has exited through the bleed fitting. Now close the clip on the bleed fitting. You are now going to get the last bits of air out of the fluid by degassing it. With the clip still closed and the plunger upright, pull back (out) on the plunger to expand the small air bubbles in the fluid. Be careful not to pull too hard or you'll let air in through the backside of the plunger. Repeat if necessary until little or no air bubbles are present. Remove the large bubble again by opening the clip and pushing it out the top. Close the clip when done.
Degassing the fluid

2. Fill the second syringe only about 1/8 full. Remove the large bubble that is there from filling it, but there is no need to degas the fluid as it won't be introduced into the system. Close the clip when done.

3. If the brake is on your bike remove the wheel and take out the brake pads. Put the caliper thru-bolt,safety clip, and the brake pads in a safe spot where they won't get lost or be exposed to brake fluid. Insert the Avid bleed block in from the top, thick end down. This will keep the pistons from being pushed out as you bleed the brake.

[PI=https://ep5.pinkbike.org/p4pb4947002/p4pb4947002.jpg size=l align=c][/PI]
Installing the Avid bleed block

4. Use your T10 torx driver (one comes in the Avid bleed kit, or you can use a separate one) to remove the bleed port screw that is located up at the lever on the bite point adjustment dial. It's small so put it in a safe spot so it doesn't roll away. Making sure that the fluid is pushed right up to the end of the bleed fitting and screw your 1/8 full syringe directly into the bleed port. Now remove the bleed port screw for the caliper (you can find it at the center of the banjo bolt) and install your 1/3 full degassed syringe, making sure that the fluid is pushed up right to the tip of the bleed fitting. You're now ready to start bleeding the brake.
Removing the bleed port screw at the lever

5. Open the bleed clip at the lever first, followed by the one at the caliper. You are now going to bleed the brake line by moving fluid from the caliper syringe up to the lever syringe. While holding the lever syringe upright, push one third of the fluid from the caliper syringe up to the lever. As you do this the lever syringe will being to fill.
Pushing the fluid through the brake line

6. Now you are going to bleed the caliper. Use your toe strap or elastic band to pull the brake lever fully to the handlebar. This isolates the caliper from the rest of the system. With the bleed clip open, apply light pressure to the plunger to shrink any air bubbles that are in the system in order to make it easier for them to escape. Now pull back (out) on the plunger to draw out the air bubbles. Again, pull hard enough to extract the bubbles, but not hard enough to break the seal on the plunger. Repeat the process until you are no longer able to pull any bubbles out of the caliper.
Bleeding the caliper

7. Remove the toe strap or elastic band at the lever, but use your hand to keep holding it closed. Apply pressure to the caliper syringe and at the same time slowly let the brake lever come out. You should feel slight pressure at the lever as you push on the caliper syringe. Take care to release the brake lever slowly (be sure to watch the video to see how it's done). Now close the bleed clip at the lever.
Releasing the lever slowly

8. You are now going to remove the syringe from the caliper. Use a rag to keep any drips in check and unscrew the bleed fitting from the caliper. You should see fluid topped up right to the face of the bleed port. If you don't you may need to re-bleed the caliper. Install the bleed port screw and wipe off any excess DOT fluid after you've sprayed the caliper down with either water or isopropyl alcohol.

9. Be sure that the pad contact adjuster is threaded fully up against the body (all the way in) before bleeding the master cylinder. Open the bleed clip and bleed the lever just as you did the caliper. Apply slight pressure to shrink any air bubbles, followed by pulling out on the plunger to draw the bubbles out. There are two quick tips you can do to help remove any bubbles in the system: gently tapping the line and lever with the handle of a screw driver can knock bubbles free, as can flicking the brake lever slightly to release any air that is clinging to the piston. When this is done once again apply pressure to the syringe and then pull back. Repeat the process until you can no longer pull any air out of the system.
Removing air from the lever/master cylinder

10. You can test your lever throw by applying a slight amount of pressure to the lever syringe and pulling gently on the brake lever. The lever should feel firm as well. Close bleed clip and remove syringe. Again, you should see fluid topped up to the top of the bleed port. Install the bleed port screw and clean the lever using a rag and cleaning agent. Take a minute to check the brake by pulling hard on the lever (be sure to still have the bleed block in place) and watching for any fluid at the lever and caliper hose fittings. When you're sure that the caliper is clean and free of any DOT fluid reinstall the pads and retaining bolt and clip.

As with any job, be sure to check your mechanical work before hitting the trails. Besides ruining a ride, not having your brakes bled properly can be dangerous and certainly cause injury. Do a number of test stops to positive that there is no air in the system and that your brake pads have not been contaminated with DOT fluid. If you are not 100% confident in your work, take it to your local shop to have them double check.
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How To Check And Adjust Your Headset

For today's Technical Tuesday we're going to show you how to check and properly adjust your bike's headset. Inside you'll find both step by step instructions and a great How-To video running you through the process.

Read on...

An ill adjusted headset can be detrimental to your ride, not to mention possibly damaging the headset itself or even your frame. Too loose and you'll feel a constant knocking sensation through your bars and quickly begin to damage parts. Too tight and your bars won't turn freely enough and you'll go through headset bearings like Al Gore through global warming excuses. Adjusting your bike's headset is quick and easy enough to do that there should be no reason for it to ever be ridden while too lose or too tight. Below you'll find step by step instructions on how to properly make these adjustments.

Watch the video to learn how to properly check and adjust your headset:
Views: 72,277    Faves: 110    Comments: 17


Step By Step Headset Adjustment Instructions

Tools needed: Folding allen key set (or separate allen keys depending on sizes needed)

Before we start using tools, let's make sure you know the function of the parts we'll be adjusting. On top of your stem you'll find the top cap with the headset preload bolt at its center. The function of the top cap and bolt is to apply the correct amount of preload to the headset bearings. If it's too tight your bars will not turn freely, too loose and your headset will have play and knock back and forth. This bolt usually fits a 5 mm allen key, although it can be a 4 mm for certain models.
These are your stem steerer clamp bolts

You'll also need to loosen and retighten your stem's steerer tube clamp bolts as you work through this task. There are a few different ways that stems can clamp onto the steerer tube, although the most common place to find these bolts is at the rear of the stem. Steerer tube clamp bolts can come in 4 mm, 5 mm, and 6 mm varieties. If you're unsure if you have the right tools, or aren't confident in your ability to do this, be sure to take your bike to your local shop to have the work done correctly.


1. Let's start be figuring out if your headset is too tight or too loose. To do this, place one hand over where your fork crown and lower headset cup meet and use your other hand to hold your front brake on. Now gently rock the bike front to back. If your headset is loose you'll feel a knocking through the hand that you're holding over the lower headset cup. If you have a dirt jump bike without a front brake, you can turn the front wheel 90 degrees and check for the same knocking with your hand. To check if your headset is too tight lift just the front of your bike off the ground an inch or two by holding onto the top tube. With the front tire off the ground check to be sure that the wheel flops from side to side without your hands on the handlebar. A headset that's too tight will hold the bike's steering in place or slow it down as it flops back and forth.

2. Once you've figured out whether it's either loose or too tight, you'll have to fix it! We'll start by adjusting a loose headset. With the bike on the ground, loosen the stem clamp bolts a few turns each (if your bike has a double crown fork you'll need to also loosen all of the upper crown bolts) Once the stem is loose on the steerer tube, turn the top cap bolt clockwise a half turn at a time, stopping to recheck if it is still loose by placing your hand over the lower headset cup and checking for knocking as you rock the bike back and forth. Once any free play is gone, lift the front end off the ground a few inches and check to be sure the wheel still turns freely.
Adjusting the headset's bearing tension to either take up slop or to loosen it so it will turn free

3. If you've discovered that your headset is too tight, you'll need to loosen off the top cap bolt that preloads the headset bearings. Start by loosening your stem clamp bolts a few turns. Now turn the top cap bolt counter clockwise a half turn at a time. After each time be sure to check if you've loosened off too much by putting your hand over the crown and lower headset cup and rocking the bike back and forth. If you feel knocking you'll have to add bearing preload by turning the top cap bolt clockwise until it goes away.
Hold the front wheel off the ground and check to be sure the steering turns freely

4. Once you are positive that you've correctly adjusted your headset, you'll need to realign the stem before retightening the clamp bolts. The easiest way to do this is to straddle the bike's top tube and sight from above to line the center of the stem up to the centerline of the tire. If there are any straight lines on the ground, even the edge of a floor mat, you can use it to help you align the tire and stem. When the stem is straight you can retighten it to the manufacturer's specifications. If you're not positive that you've done all the above steps correctly you should take the bike to your local shop for them to check it over before you hit the trails.
Align the stem with the centerline of the tire
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How To Fix A Broken Chain

For the sixth episode of Technical Tuesday we'll explain how to fix a broken chain and how to properly use a chain tool. Inside you'll find step by step instructions and a great How-To video running you through this repair.

Read on...

While breaking a chain may not be quite as common as it once was, it can still quickly ruin a good day on the bike. And if you haven't yet broken a chain while miles out in the bush, your time is coming! Unlike some other mechanicals, if you don't have the proper tools and knowledge to sort out this problem on the trail, it will mean that you are dead in the water. A chain tool is a mandatory piece of equipment that should always be in your backpack. Thankfully this only requires a single tool to fix and can take just minutes once you have the technique nailed down. Below you'll find step by step instructions and a How-To video.

Watch the video to learn how to use a chain tool to fix your broken chain:
Views: 44,441    Faves: 62    Comments: 7


Step By Step Instructions On How To Fix Your Broken Chain:

Tools needed: Chain tool or multi tool with built in chain tool.
Multi tool with built in chain tool

Before you start this job it is important to figure out what make of chain you have on your bike. If you have a Shimano chain on your bike you'll either have to reconnect it by using another company's reusable link, or by inserting one of Shimano's new pins. If you do not have either of those items you can still follow the steps below in order to get your bike back on the trail and yourself out of the bush, but be sure to be careful as the new connection will not be as strong as if you had used the new pin and could fail. I would recommend taking it to your local shop to have them fix it before you hit the trails again.


There are a number of reasons why your chain could have broken and there are many riders out there who swear by one brand over another. The truth is that any and all chains can break, but there is always a good reason for it. The causes could range from a bad shift under load that caused an outer plate to separate from the pin, large amounts of wear, or even incorrect installation in the first place. Despite a lot of riders insistence that it must be down to their leg strength, this is never the case as there is always an underlying cause. The chain may have broken while you were practicing your gate starts, but your meager amount of ponies wasn't the root cause of the problem!


1. The first thing to do is to remove the broken chain from your bike. This will make it much easier to remove the damaged links and check for any others that may be twisted and cause your bike to skip under load. When you look at the breaking point on the chain you may see a number of different things. Depending on how the chain snapped, you may be left with any number of combinations of male (inner links) and female (outer plates), but to put it back together without using a replaceable link you'll need to use your chain tool and make one end a male end and the other a female end.
Damaged chain link that needs to be removed

2. Now lets start by removing the damaged pieces. Some chain tools feature two different slots to put the chain in. The inner most position is strictly for fixing stiff links that may arise after you fix the chain, but you'll only ever use the outermost position to install or remove links. If your chain tool only has one position then you don't have to worry about this. One more thing to note is that some chain tools use a threaded dial to fit different width chains. If this is the case with your tool, simply turn the dial in after you've placed your chain in the slot. This will hold it in place as you work on it. As you are doing this, you'll only want to remove the damaged pieces in order to keep the chain as close to its proper length as possible. In order to produce a male end (inner link) simply push the chain pin completely through and out the opposite side. The outer plates will fall away and you'll be left with only the inner link. Take care not to let the roller (round piece that can be found between the two inner plates) fall out as they sometimes are prone to doing so.
This chain tool has both an inner position to help loosen stiff links and a standard outer
position to drive the chain pin in or out.


3. The next step is to make a female (two outer plates) end on the opposite end of the chain. This is the tricky part. Once again, put the chain in your tool's outermost position and make sure that the tool's pin is perfectly lined up with the chain pin. Begin to push the pin, but the key is to stop before it is completely through. The goal is to push it out far enough to allow you to remove the damaged bits, and if done right you'll have to flex the two pieces to snap them apart. Once apart, you should have close to a millimeter of the pin protruding towards the inside of the female outer plates. If you happen to accidentally push the pin all the way out, you'll have to restart on a new section of chain as it's not recommended to try and reinstall the wayward pin. Leaving the chain pin protruding slightly to the inside will also make it much easier to join the chain once it's on your bike, as it will snap together and you won't have to hold it.
New female end on the left, male on the right

4. Now you're ready to reinstall the chain onto your bike. In order to have the least amount of chain tension to make it easier on yourself, shift your rear derailleur to the smallest cog position and your front derailleur (if you have one) to the smallest ring position. Feed the chain through on the route that it would normally take, but be sure to have the pin that you just pushed mostly out facing to the outside of the bike so it is easier to work with.
Chain pin facing out and ready to be reinstalled

5. Join the two ends of the chain together. If you've pushed the pin on the female end just the right amount, you should be able to snap it together and not have to hold it from coming apart. If not, you'll struggle to keep it from springing apart as you use the chain tool to push the pin through. One trick is to take a 4" section of old spoke and bend it into a "C" shape, using each end to hold the chain together. Before you begin to push the pin back into the chain, take a few seconds to make sure that everything is lined up. If the chain pin is not lined up perfectly with the holes in the outer plates, it will damage them as it passes through and the chain will not be safe to ride. When you're happy that everything is lined up, begin pushing the chain pin through until there is an equal amount protruding on either side of the outer plates. Depending on your chain, the ends of the pin may be very close to flush with the outer plates. The important part is that both sides are equal. Inspect the new joint carefully for any damage to the chain such as plates that were bent out during installation.
Using the chain tool to reinstall the chain pin

6. There is a good chance that the chain does not rotate freely at the new joint. This is because the outer plates have been squeezed together in the chain tool as you pushed the pin through. You can easily spot a stiff link when pedaling backwards and watching it go through the rear derailleur's pulley wheels. There are two ways to deal with this, you can use your hands or use your chain tool to fix it. I prefer to simply use my hands. Place one hand on each side of the chain with your thumbs close to the stiff link. Using some effort, flex the chain side to side directly at the offending link. It should only take one or two tries until the new joint turns freely. The alternative method is to use the innermost position on your chain tool to give the pin at the stiff link only the slightest nudge. This is also an effective method of freeing up the stiff link.
You can use your hands to free up a stiff link

7. Before you jump on your machine and start sprinting away, always check to make sure that you've done the job correctly. There should be no bowing or cracking of the outer plates at the new joint. Run through your gears and take a few cautious pedals before going out and wheelie dropping off your balcony! Keep in mind that you've removed chain links and the chain is now shorter than it was before you broke it. If the chain was already at just the right length, it may be too short now when in the bigger cogs. Be very careful otherwise you'll end up installing a new rear derailleur and hanger!
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Tubeless Conversion

On today's Technical Tuesday we're going to show you how to convert your standard tire and wheel combo into a tubeless setup. Inside you'll find a great How-To video running you through the entire process.

Read on...

The time tested combination of a tire and tube has treated us well over the years, but the traditional system does have its drawbacks. A tube will always be more susceptible both to pinch flats and holes from thorns, rocks, and any other troublemakers that may be hiding on your local trail. More and more riders are turning to tubeless setups to avoid these troubles, but not all wheels and tires are manufactured with this in mind. Thankfully there are many kits out there that allow you to convert your standard wheels and tires to be able to avoid using tubes. We'll be converting our Maxxis tire and DT rim using Stan's NoTubes yellow tape, tubeless valve stems, and tire sealant. Watch the video below to see how it's done!

Keep in mind that you may be voiding your tire's warranty by converting it to tubeless if it is not designed to run as such. If you're good with that, then continue on!

Tools needed: Floor pump or compressor, rag, and a knife.
Views: 52,273    Faves: 132    Comments: 20

A floor pump is all you need to seat some tubeless setups

Step by step instructions
43 second mark - With wheel in bike or stand to hold it in place, clean rim thoroughly so the rim tape has the best possible chance of creating an airtight seal
1:11 mark - Pull rim tape very taunt as you apply it to the rim bed
1:37 mark - Overlap tape by 6" and cut with sharp scissors. Use edge of tire lever to be sure that the tape is fully stuck to inside curves of the rim bed
2:02 mark - Using a sharp knife, cut a small "X" to open the tape the is covering the valve hole. Be careful not to cut any extra beyond the hole
2:13 mark - Install the tubeless valve stem and tighten it securely with the lock nut
2:20 mark - Seat only one side of the tire, just as you would if you were installing a tube
2:31 mark - Hang the wheel off your handlebar or bike stand with the valve in the 6 o'clock position
2:42 mark - Add the appropriate amount of sealant for your tire size
2:48 mark - Keeping the wheel in the same position (valve stem at 6 o'clock), use both hands to install the bead evenly around the tire, finishing at the 12 o'clock position
3:08 mark - Add air. Certain tire and rim combos may inflate quickly with only a pump, while others may require soapy water or a compressor to get them to seal
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Chain Wear
Views: 32,368    Faves: 49    Comments: 10


For today's Technical Tuesday we're going to have a closer look at chain wear. We'll explain what exactly is happening to your drivetrain as it wears, as well as how to properly check your chain to see if it's time to replace it. Inside you'll find a video full of information and step by step instructions on how to find out just how worn out your poor chain actually is!

Read on...

One thing that all of our bikes have in common despite their intended discipline, amount of travel, or wheel size, is that they're all powered by a bicycle chain. And from what I've seen, there is a pretty good chance that your chain is either already worn out or is very close to being so. Reading comments from past Technical Tuesdays it is pretty clear that everyone wants to learn how to rebuild their suspension or lace up a wheel, and we will be covering those jobs down the road, but we still have some relatively basic tasks to cover first. It's incredible how many very expensive bikes I've seen that have the latest and greatest parts on them, but have drivetrains that are completely worn out. This is unacceptable in my books! For this Technical Tuesday we are going to show you how to not only properly check for chain wear and some of it's symptoms, but we'll also explain exactly what is happening to your drivetrain as it becomes more and more worn. Watch the video below and then have a look at a past Technical Tuesday that shows you how to properly use a chain tool and replace that poor worn out chain of yours!

Step by step instructions on checking for chain wear

Tools needed: Chain checker or tape measure.
A modern bicycle chain is made up of inner plates, outer plates, pins, and finally the rollers. The pins are pressed through the outer plates and the rollers and inner plates are free to rotate on them. This allows the chain to circle freely around the chainrings, cogs, and pulley wheels. Two things are happening to your chain as it begins to wear. The most obvious symptom is known as "chain stretch", but the name is a bit misleading. It would be easy to be mistaken in thinking that the inner and outer plates actually stretch with use, but that isn't the case. What is actually happening is the tolerances of the press fit between the chain pins and outer plates is increasing over time and as the small gaps get bigger, the distance between the chain pins get bigger and the total length of the chain increases. The other symptom of a worn chain is rollers that both seem to have shrunk in size, as well as have a lot more room to "float" in the space between the two inner plates. As a chain is used, the rollers slowly get worn down from contact with the cogs and chainrings. As they get smaller, the gap between them obviously increases in size. Further exasperating this issue is how the roller has room to rattle or float within the inner plates. This is caused by wearing down of the inner shoulder that the rollers turn on. So the question is then, how does a worn chain effect the rest of your drivetrain?
A chain is made up of the inner plates, outer plates, rollers, and chain pins
One complete link consist of a both inner and out plates

A new bicycle chain has a pitch of 1/2" (pitch is the measurement from one chain pin to the next) that matches the same pitch on our chainrings and cogs. The pitch of a chain gets longer as a chain wears. The chain rollers that apply torque to the same spot on each gear tooth as you pedal will slowly wear the teeth as well, although at a slower rate than the chain itself wears. The teeth on the cog or chainring are shaped to work perfectly with the size of the rollers on a half inch chain, as well as being just the right distance apart from their neighbor. Material is slowly removed from the leading edge of the gear teeth as a worn chain applies torque to them, and the ever important distance between each tooth actually gets larger as this happens. This is most evident when you install a new chain on a worn out cassette and discover that it skips under load. Simply put, the new chain will not fit the worn cassette due to the gaps between the teeth now being too large for the new chain and it's 1/2" pitch. There isn't enough engagement to keep it from skipping as you pedal hard. Because a chain wears faster than a cassette, it makes sense to replace your chain multiple times before they become too worn, thereby making your cassette last much longer. The teeth on a worn cassette will have a much more pronounced point to them and look very much like a shark's fin. Chainrings generally wear much slower due to much more contact with the chain which distributes the load over a greater area. Even when a large chainring is badly worn, it may not skip simply due to the amount of wrap that the chain has around it. Middle and small chainrings are another story though...

Measuring a chain with Park's CC-2 chain checker
Step 1. Turn the gauge on the CC-2 tool to zero and place both pins into the gap between the rollers
Step 2. The gauge on the CC-2 tool tells you just how worn the chain is. Replace if it's at .75 or higher

Measuring a chain with a tape measure
Step 1. Using a tape measure, line up the 0" mark directly with a chain pin

Step 2. Six complete links on a chain in good shape will measure in at 12". Any more that 1/16" needs replacing

Don't fret if you don't have a specific chain measuring tool, you can also use a standard tape measure or ruler to figure it out. Just like using a chain checker, you can do this while the chain is still on the bike.

• Line up the tape measure so that the zero inch mark is directly in line with one of the chain pins.

• Holding the tape measure in line with the chain, measure out exactly 6 complete links (A link is a set of both inner and outer plates).

• Because the pitch (distance between each link) of the chain is 1/2", 6 complete links on a new chain will measure exactly out to 12".

• If the chain has wear, the pin will line up slightly past the 12" mark on the tape measure. A general rule of thumb is to replace the
chain once it is over 1/16" past the 12" mark.
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SRAM Shifter Cable Replacement

Today's Tech Tuesday will show you how to quickly and easily change the shift cable on your SRAM shifter. Inside you'll find both step by step instructions and a great How-To video to guide you through the process.

Read on...

If your rear shifting is off, there is a good chance that the shift cable itself is the culprit. The steel wire that moves your rear derailleur up and down your cassette can be the weak link in an otherwise dialed system. Your shift cable is susceptible to contaminants like moisture and dirt that can quickly render it useless. It doesn't take much to send the performance South, and once that happens a can of spray lube can only help so much. The bad news is that replacing the cable is the only solution a lot of the time, but the good news is that a new cable is relatively cheap and installing it should only take a few minutes.

Learn how to quickly change the cable in your SRAM shifter:
Views: 51,734    Faves: 103    Comments: 9


Step by step instructions

Tools needed: 5 mm allen key or folding allen key set, cable cutters


The instructions below guide you through replacing a shift cable on your rear SRAM shifter. The same basic steps apply to the front shifter as well, with only a few differences. When changing the cable on a front shifter, you'll want to shift to the smallest chainring/easiest gear before undoing the cable anchor bolt. Also, the internals of the front shifter are visually different to the rear unit. Take note of the path that the cable takes before removing it.

This Tech Tuesday does not cover making shift adjustments that you'll most likely have to perform soon after installing a new cable. To find out how to dial in your shifting have a look at a previous Technical Tuesday that will guide you though this setup.
Step 1. Shift your rear derailleur to the smallest cog/hardest gear. Trim the old cable end off and use a 5 mm allen key to loosen the cable anchor bolt. Take note of where the cable is clamped (above or below the bolt) as this can greatly effect the shifting
Step 2. Using a 5 mm allen key, remove the SRAM shifter from its perch to allow you to access the silver dial that holds the cover on
Step 3. Turn the dial counterclockwise to remove it, be sure to put it somewhere safe where it won't roll away. You can now remove the shift cover to access the shift cable within the shifter
Step 4. With the cover off you should be able to spot the end of the cable just underneath the large spring. Take note of where it sits and the path that it takes to exit the shifter. You should be able to dislodge the head of the cable by gently pushing the cable into the shifter through the barrel adjuster. Completely remove it from the shifter.
Step 5. You may have to gently pull aside the large spring to allow the cable end to exit the shifter. It only needs a few mm's of extra clearance. You might have to do the same thing when installing the new cable
Step 6. Now it's time to install your new cable. Thread it in using the same path as the old cable. If you are having trouble lining up the cable to feed it though, you can use pointy spoke or even the end of a pen to help guide it through. Be sure that the cable end is fully seated in its home position
Step 7. Reinstall the shift cover and lightly snug down the silver dial by turning it clockwise
Step 8. Reinstall the shifter onto its perch before feeding the new cable though the housing
Step 9. Gently push the new cable though the housing until it exits at the derailleur. If the new cable doesn't slide smoothly though the housing, you may need to replace some or all of it. We'll cover this job in an upcoming Tech Tuesday
Step 10. With the derailleur still inline with the smallest cog (hardest gear), guide the cable though the correct path and tighten the anchor bolt as you pull the new cable snug
Step 11. Use your cable cutters to trim the new cable, leaving about an inch of extra cable. Crimp on your new cable end
Check your shifting before you hit the trails and make any adjustments as needed. Remember that shifting performance on the rack can vary greatly from actually test riding the bike.


USEFUL LINK:


http://www.tftunedshox.com/info/spring_calculator.aspx
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Posted: Jan 29, 2011 at 16:22 Quote
Removing And Installing A Headset

Today's Technical Tuesday will show you how to remove and install a headset on your bike. Inside you'll find step by step instructions, as well as a great How-To video to guide you through the process!

Read on...

Earlier we showed you how to check and properly adjust your bike's headset, but what do you do if it's time to replace the entire unit? A lot rides on how well your headset is working and if the bearings are shot or if the cups are damaged, your bike will not handle how it's supposed to. It may be time to replace the entire unit!

There are a number of different types of headsets on today's bikes, from integrated, semi-integrated, and the standard threadless headset that is still most common. Today we'll focus on the standard threadless headset, but many of these same principles will apply to other kinds as well that use cups pressed into the frame.

A headset is made up of a number of pieces that allow it to turn freely under the preload that keeps it from rattling around. The two main and most obvious parts are the upper and lower headset cups. These are pressed into your frame and require tools to remove and install. Within these cups is where you'll find the headset bearings. Many different types of bearings are used throughout the industry, ranging from inexpensive loose balls, to different variations of sealed bearings. One of the most important parts of a headset, even though some brands elect not to use one, is the wedge. The wedge sits on top of the upper bearing and the outer circumference usually has a 45 degree angle that makes contact with the bearing. It is usually split and this allows it to conform to the inner diameter of the inner bearing race, as well as hold it's tension better. Above the wedge is the headset's top cap that helps to seal the bearings from the elements. At the bottom end of the headset is where you'll find the crown race. This small, but necessary piece, is what the lower bearing turns upon. Without it your fork crown would come in direct contact with the bottom headset cup. Certain headsets may also use separate seals to protect the upper and lower bearings. While they will all differ slightly in appearance, most will follow the above description. This tutorial will guide you through removing and installing just the cups. Follow the instructions provided with your new headset to complete the installation and have a read through Tech Tuesday #5 where we show you how to properly tighten your headset.


Watch the video to learn how to remove and install headset cups:
Views: 61,768    Faves: 102    Comments: 11


Step by step instructions:


Tools needed: Headset cup remover, headset cup press and a hammer.
Cup remover, headset press, hammer, and some grease

Before we start, a word about using the proper tools. This job is possible to accomplish without a proper cup remover tool and headset press, but we highly recommend using the correct tools. Using the wrong tool to remove your headset cups could result in a gouged headtube at best, or fatal damage to your frame at worst. Likewise, when pressing headset cups into your bike's headtube, having them go in crooked can have dire consequences. Using a proper headset press minimizes this risk. Take your time and use the correct tools, and if you don't feel that you're up for this job, take your bike to the local shop to have them do the work.
Step 1. Begin by sliding the cup removing tool into your head tube. You can remove either the top or bottom cut first
Step 2. Before you use the hammer, be sure that the edges are resting only on the inside lip of the cup and not any part of your frame
Step 3. With one hand over the opposite end of the headtube to keep the frame from moving, begin to hammer out the headset cup. Holding your hand over the cup will also keep it from flying out and giving you an embarrassing black eye
Step 4. Ease up as the cup starts to exit the headtube. Repeat the above process on the remaining cup
Step 5. Now it's time to install your new headset cups. Begin by checking the inside of the headtube for any damage from removing the old cups, and then greasing the inner surface to ease installation.
Step 6. Only install one cup at a time to minimize the chances of one going in crooked. Once the cup begins to enter the headtube, stop to make sure that it is perfectly straight. If so continue pressing it in, but if not you'll need to use your cup remover and try again.
Step 7. Once you've fully pressed the cup into the headtube, have a very close look to make sure that there is no gap between the outer edge of the headset cup and the face of the headtube. Repeat the process on the remaining cup and then follow your headsets directions to finish off the installation.
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Chain Lube Explained

Today's Tech Tuesday takes a closer look at chain lube. There is a great video inside explaining the differences in lubes, as well as showing you the proper technique to use when lubricating your chain. If you think nothing of spraying your chain with WD40 then this is the Tech Tuesday for you! Inside you'll find information on:

• Which types of lube to use for your conditions
• What never to put on your chain
• How to properly lube your chain

Read on...

For a lot of riders it is a victory if they simply have some sort of lube on their chain, but using the right kind of lube for the conditions at hand can actually make a big difference to how your drivetrain performs. Applying the wrong kind of lube can cause all sorts of problems, from a gummed up and slow shifting drivetrain, to one that won't be quiet, but the end result is always accelerated wear that will cost you time and money in the long run. But that is only half the battle... How you lube your chain can have just as big of an effect, if not more so, than what lube you are using. You won't be doing yourself any favors if you are going to town with a can of spray lube and have shaky hands from downing too many energy drinks. In fact, you're doing more harm than good by overdoing it as excess lube will only attract dirt and grime. The key is to only apply the right amount in the right places.

Watch the video to learn all about lube and how to properly put it on your chain:
Views: 55,862    Faves: 72    Comments: 12


Types of chain lube

Teflon based lubes are by far the most common type of bicycle chain lube used, and for good reason. The name Teflon is actually DuPont's brand name for what is known as "PTFE" in the chemistry world, or polytetrafluoroethylene. Teflon has an incredibly low coefficient of friction when used between two solid objects like chain plates and rollers and is used to lube much more demanding mechanics than our simple bicycle chains. In order for the PTFE to properly penetrate into the inner workings of a bicycle chain, as well as stick around long enough to be useful while still having self cleaning properties, it can be mixed with many kinds of oils and solvents depending on the conditions that it has been designed to perform best in. The general rule of thumb is that the thicker the lube is, the longer it will last in wet conditions, but the stickier and messier it will be. If you live in a rainy environment like we do here on the West coast of B.C. you will be best off using a thicker lube because it will last much longer and not require as many reapplications. If your home trails are dry and dusty, then you'll be much better served to use a thinner lube that won't collect as much dirt that would gum up your drivetrain and create a mess like a thick lube used in that sort conditions would.
We used Park's Synthetic Lube with PTFE as it works great for the dry weather that we're coming into

The other common option are wax based lubes. Just like Teflon chain lubes, wax lubricant can come in many different kinds of mixtures depending on the conditions that it is intended to be used in. Wax based lubes are generally thought of as a cleaner option to Teflon, but they have some drawbacks of their own. While they certainly collect less dust and dirt, you must be very conscious of how much wax lube you are using because it does have a tendency to build up and create a mess. Picture big globs of wax caught up between your pulley wheels and derailleur cage and you'll get the idea. Wax lubes also require the chain to be quite clean before you apply them for best results, and even then they won't last as long as their Teflon based competition.

There are all sorts of lubes and concoctions that you shouldn't use on your chain, most of them are either two thin or two thick. One example would be the popular Phil's Tenacious Oil. It is the perfect lube for inside of freehub bodies, but far too thick and stringy to be used on a chain. While it would last much longer than standard chain lube, the mess and build up that it creates can be quite nasty. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the ever popular WD40... this is not a lubricant for bicycle chains! WD40 is far too thin and acts as a solvent that actually strips the chain of any lube that may be present. Use WD40 to free up old and rusty parts, but not to lube your chain. You are far better off heading down to your local shop to pick up some proper lube designed for where you ride. If you're not sure what to get it is worthwhile to ask.

Lubing your chain

I know a lot of you are happy just to have a chain that doesn't squeak and scare away fellow riders, but by properly applying lube to your chain you can limit the amount of dirt and trail grime that it picks up, which will increase chain life and cost you less money down the road. Oh, and as a side benefit your bike will also be quieter, shift better, and you'll be less likely to be that one annoying guy who's bike can be heard from a kilometer away. Below is how I like to lube my chain, your method may differ and there are countless ways to do it, but the goal is always the same: to apply the right amount of lube to the right places.

Step by step instructions

What you need: Chain lube and a rag.
Step 1. Begin by shifting the chain to the middle ring and a middle cog for a straight chain line. Use a rag to clean any dirt or grime that may be on your chain before you add more lube

Step 2. I prefer to use a drip bottle as it is far more precise than an aerosol can

Step 3. Apply lube sparingly to each roller on both the top and bottom sides of the chain while pedaling in reverse

Step 4. Keeping it in the same gear while you pedal the bike for a few minutes to let the lube penetrate into the chain's inner workings
Step 5. Use a clean rag to wipe off any and all chain lube that may be on the outside of the chain, including the side plates and the derailleur's pulley wheels. Extra lube will only attract dirt and create a mess. The only lube that you want on your chain is in the rollers and between the chain plates
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RockShox Totem and Lyric Mission Control Damper Mod

If you have a Totem or Lyric fork that uses a Mission Control damper with the Floodgate feature, but don't take advantage of it and would like your fork to be more sensitive, this is the Tech Tuesday for you. Inside you'll find a great video that guides you through the process of removing the Floodgate for more active suspension.

Read on...

Source: Colin "Hummeroid" Alexander

There are lots of riders out there who's bikes are equipped with either RockShox Totem or Lyric forks, and of those a lot of riders don't bother using the Floodgate feature. By removing the Floodgate unit from your fork entirely you can increase your fork's sensitivity which is never a bad thing. The great thing about this mod is that if you don't like the results, it's easy to put it back to factory spec. While performing this job is relatively easy, it does take some basic knowledge and tools to do correctly. It is very important that the parts are reassembled in the correct way and that the oil stays at the proper height. If you don't feel confident that you can do this mod, please hit up your local shop and have their trained mechanics do the work for you.

Tools needed: 24 mm socket or crescent wrench, allen key set, SRAM 24 mm flat wrench (channel lock pliers work, but can damage the L/S adjust), snap ring pliers, and a syringe. Gloves will also come in handy.
Views: 63,088    Faves: 249    Comments: 89


Video by Hummeroid


The guys at SRAM know that riders out there love to tinker and fine-tune their suspension to get it exactly how they want, but it's important to do that tinkering correctly. Below you'll find some tips directly from SRAM that expand on the process of removing the Floodgate component from your Totem or Lyric fork, as well as some technical info about their 2010 dampers.


• Instead of using channel lock pliers, the SRAM flat 24 mm wrench is the correct tool for the job. Channel locks can damage the low speed adjust. Simply turn the high-speed compression knob until you can fit the flat 24mm wrench underneath.

• A note on the "excess oil" - This is NOT excess and should be taken into account when re-filling. Always remember to put this amount of damping fluid back in. You can also lightly push on the shim with a 2mm allen. This drains the damping fluid directly into the upper tube. Oil hight in this system is crucial for proper performance.

• Please do not grab the Pop-it with sharp metal tools. This is technically a sealing surface and should be handled accordingly to prevent any damage.

• The system does not require Teflon tape. The sealing comes from the o-ring at the top of the treads. We suggest that you never use Teflon tape in any RockShox product.

• Please refer to all torque specs when reassembling the fork.


We here at RockShox, understand the diverse conditions, the crossover in this particular category, and the quest for performance. This being said, we are all about choice. We offer three different damper choices for the Totem and Lyric forks:

The best way to educate you guys on the ride quality or feel of the two Mission Control dampers we offer is describing what we changed for model year 2010. First is the re-valved Mission Control damper. The mentality behind this damper stays the same, the floodgate is intact as one of the quickest and easiest climbing tools in the all mountain realm, while we slightly changed the compression tune for better bump performance. The second completely new damper, Mission Control DH, is aimed at the rider who prefers the descent. This option is purely focused on bump performance. The Mission Control DH shares a lot of similarities to the video shown above. We have made some adjustments to the shim stack that really optimizes the ride feel and quality. Both dampers share updates to their rebound damping, which now features a larger displacement shaft and the removal of an internal tube, so a larger rebound piston can be utilized. The third damper is the Motion Control IS. This is an easy to use compression damper that we have used in other forks such as the Domain and Domain Dual Crown.
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Shimano XT Crank And Bottom Bracket Installation

Today's Tech Tuesday shows you how to install Shimano's XT Hollowtech cranks and outboard bearing bottom bracket. Inside you can watch a great video guiding you through the process.

Read on...

Although installing a new crank and bottom bracket can look overwhelming, it's actually an easier job than you may expect. While the video below shows you how to install Shimano's new XT cranks, the process shares many of the same steps with other models and brands. There are actually only a few pieces to the system and it's pretty hard to get it wrong, but it's worth noting that other makes may require different assembly steps and different torque numbers. Before starting it is important to be sure that your bottom bracket threads are in excellent shape, if they're not you'll likely struggle to turn the cups in and there is a good chance that you will damage the threads on either the frame or the cups. Likewise, if your bottom bracket shell is not faced smoothly and evenly, your bearings may wear out prematurely. A lot of frames come faced from the factory, but if you are not sure it is worth taking your bike to your local shop for them to have a closer look. If you are hesitant to do this job on your own be sure to have your shop do it instead.


Tools needed: 5 mm allen key, flathead screwdriver, bottom bracket tool, and grease.

Watch the video to learn how to install Shimano's crank and bottom bracket:
Views: 83,114    Faves: 94    Comments: 16


A note on torque...

It is recommended to use a torque wrench on the majority of repairs, especially jobs like this, but the reality is that most home mechanics do not own one. If you are not using a torque wrench, use common sense when tightening anything. Shimano gives torque measurements for the bottom bracket cups, crank preload cap, and the left crankarm's pinch bolts that you can find in the video below. But don't fret if you lack a torque wrench, there is a simple method to estimate torque. Bicycles usually use in/lb (inch/pounds) when measuring torque, but I find it easier to convert this to ft/lb (foot/pounds) as it is simpler to estimate. The conversion is 12 in/lb = 1 ft/lb. This means that there is one pound of force at the end of a foot long bar. Now that we know this it becomes easier to estimate torque values. For example, Shimano recommends tightening this crankset's bottom bracket cups to 300 - 435 in/lb.. Do the math and you'll discover that this equals 25 - 36 ft/lb, meaning 25 - 36 pounds of force at the end of a foot long bar. Now that you know this, you can do the conversion for the rest of the torque values given in the video below. Happy math!

Shimano also has a great technical page with further instructions on any and all parts that they make.

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Straightening Your Derailleur Hanger


Your bike can shift poorly for a lot of reasons, one of them being a bent derailleur hanger. Today's Tech Tuesday shows you how to fix this common problem and get your ride's shifting back up to par. Inside you can watch a great video guiding you through the process from start to finish.

Read on...

There are plenty of reasons why your rear shifting may have gone haywire, but one of the more common ones is that your bike is suffering from a bent derailleur hanger. I wouldn't think of this as it being "broken" per say, as the job of a replaceable derailleur hanger is to absorb abuse (bend or even snap if need be) so that your derailleur or frame are spared. The hangers are made to be weaker than the actual derailleur that attaches to them for this very reason. A bent hanger can happen quite easily, although a simple way to limit the chances of having to do this repair is to simply avoid laying your bike down or against anything on its driveside. I can't count how many times I've seen bikes bouncing up and down on their driveside as the shuttle truck makes its way up a rough road.

Before starting this repair it is important to note the differences in derailleur hanger types. The most common design is the simple bolt on hanger that is held in place by one or two bolts. If they do snap they are usually the most inexpensive type to replace. Some full suspension bikes (and a few hardtails) use a larger unit that encompasses both the dropout and derailleur hanger and bolts to the rear stays. This can make for a stiffer interface as the hanger is built into the dropout and may result in better shifting for that reason, especially when using the latest 10 speed gearing. The downside is that this piece is likely to be far more expensive than the simpler common bolt on hanger. The last type is the much less common non-replaceable hanger. While it can make for precise shifting, the consequences are high if you manage to severely damage it. This type is far less common and I'd recommend taking it to a professional shop to have it straightened if you manage to bend yours. Regardless of the type of hanger that your bike has, they all use the same technique to straighten and I can't stress enough that you need to be gentle and take your time throughout the repair. Spending an extra ten minutes doing this job may end up saving you money and downtime. Like a lot of repairs, this one requires special tools and if you don't have them, or don't feel comfortable doing the work, take the bike to your local shop to have them do the work.


Tools needed: Hanger Alignment Gauge, 5 mm allen key

Watch the video to learn how to straighten your derailleur hanger
Views: 67,319    Faves: 50    Comments: 15


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Setting Up Your Front Derailleur


Tech Tuesday has returned from its short Eurobike delay, with episode #15 explaining the ins and outs of front derailleur set up. Inside you can watch a video that will guide you through this sometimes tricky process.

Read on...

While many of you reading this will have bikes that use only one ring and a chain guide, there are plenty of riders out there that spend most of their time on bikes that are equipped with two or three front chainrings. And if you don't have a front derailleur on your current ride, there is a good chance that you will have a bike equipped with one down the road. Despite only needing to move the chain across two or three chainrings, front derailleurs can be notoriously tricky to setup, more so than your rear derailleur that must move the chain over many more positions. The video below will guide you through the set up process, watch it and then have a go on your own bike!

A note on mounting types...

There are more than just a few different types of front derailleurs and your bike will require the correct model in order to work properly. The most common mounting method is the hinged band type that comes in varying sizes to fit different seat tube diameters. Common sizes are 28.6 (mainly used on steel frames), 31.8, and 34.9 mm, and shims can also be used to fit larger sizes on smaller seat tubes. Have a look at your bike's online spec to see the size you need or use calipers to measure the seat tube diameter to find out what your bike requires. More and more bikes are now incorporating a direct mount system where the derailleur is bolted onto either a tab on the seat tube (otherwise known as braze-on) or to the swing arm of certain full suspension bikes. Attaching it to the swing arm allows the derailleur cage to track the chain throughout the bike's travel which can result in more consistent shifting. Once more common, but now not used as often, is the E-type mounting. With E-type the front derailleur is attached to a plate that is sandwiched between the frame and bottom bracket cup, much like many chain guides used to mount before ISCG tabs became more common. E-types can be more difficult to setup due to their often limited adjustments, but they are the only option for certain bike designs. Now that your head is spinning with different mounting types it is time to add in cage sizes - triple ring cranks that use large big rings may require longer front derailleur cages, cable pull direction - does the cable pull from the bottom or from the top, as well as high mount or low mount - does the cage hang down below the mounting band/tab, or is it positioned above... Confused yet? There is a good chance that the online spec for your bike lists the required front derailleur type, and if not your local shop will be able to figure it out for you. The only saving grace is that they all follow the same basic principles for set up. Derailleur cage height and angle, limit screw adjustments, and cable tension are the adjustments that you'll be using to dial in your front shifting.
Tools needed: Folding allen key set (or separate allen keys depending on sizes needed), phillips screw driver
Views: 52,979    Faves: 58    Comments: 5

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Setting Up Your Cockpit

Setting up your handlebar controls may seem like an easy task that is hard to do wrong, but spending a few extra minutes getting everything in just the right place can actually make a world of difference. You may be making it very difficult on yourself to shift when you need to or even may be robbing yourself of braking power without knowing it. How so? Have a look inside to find out!

Read on...

Maybe you just got your new bike from the shop or maybe you've had it for quite awhile, but there is a good chance that some of you have never taken the time to properly setup your handlebar controls. Everyone out there is shaped a bit differently and by taking a few minutes to properly adjust your cockpit, you can greatly increase not only your comfort level, but possibly your performance as well. Watch the video below to learn what adjustments you should be making and what to look for when you are doing them.

Watch the video to learn about cockpit setup

Views: 51,209    Faves: 97    Comments: 11


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Suspension Basics


Suspension setup can be intimidating, but the key is simply knowing what the terms mean and how each adjustment effects your bike's performance. Inside we breakdown the basics of this, the first in a series of videos that will focus on demystifying your suspension and helping you arrive at a setup that works for you.

Read on,

Taking the time to properly setup your bike's suspension is one of the single most important things that you can do for your ride. But before you do start fiddling, you need to know exactly what all of the terms mean, and some of those are less clear than others. While I'm sure that many of you out there not only already have a clear understanding of what the dials do, but also have a baseline from where to start, there are plenty of riders that will benefit from a quick breakdown before getting their hands dirty. Before watching this video you'll need to keep in mind that this is the first installment in a series of Technical Tuesdays that will get progressively more advanced as time goes on. You may already know some or all of this, but if you're patient you may learn something new down the road.


Watch the video to learn the basics of suspension
Views: 62,064    Faves: 360    Comments: 10

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Adjusting The Fox DHX 5.0

Fox Racing Shox may have released their new RC4 rear shock, but the DHX 5.0 has been around long enough that it will continue to be one of the most common shocks that you'll see up on the hill. For that reason, today's Tech Tuesday takes a closer look at the 5.0's adjustments and how each one will affect your bike's performance. Video inside!

Read on,

Fox's DHX 5.0 is one of the most widely used shocks and can be found on many different makes and models of bikes. Although this versatile shock features a number of adjustments that let you tune its performance, it's easy to be either overwhelmed by the number of dials or simply be too intimidated to start making changes. That is a shame because spending a bit of time to dial the ride in to your liking is well worth it, especially considering the wide range of adjustments available. You may be just fine with the settings that your bike rolled out of the shop with, but you should know that there is a good chance that it can get even better. Watch the video below and start experimenting!

Tools needed: Shock pump, 4 mm allen key


Watch the video to learn more about the Fox DHX 5.0
Views: 74,450    Faves: 397    Comments: 21


Now that you know how each dial will effect how your bike rides, grab the tools that you need and hit the dirt. To aid in setup I recommend finding a short section of trail representative of the type of terrain that you spend most of your time on. Start by mostly dialing out an adjustment and riding the section, then dial it mostly in and have another go. Doing this will give you a clear understanding of how each adjustment changes your bike, as well as the changes you have to make in your riding style to compensate. You may discover that even though you've always been happy with very little rebound damping, you have more control and confidence with a slower setup. I like to have a small notepad with me and make notes of the changes that I make. Not only can this be helpful as a guide when you get on a different bike, but you'll also know where to put the dials back to if you end up with a setup that you don't like.
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Adjusting The RockShox BoXXer World Cup

RockShox's BoXXer fork is one of the most popular options for racers and downhill weight weenies alike. Their top of the line DH fork not only weighs in at a very competitive 5.9 lbs thanks to its air spring, but it also offers a host of effective adjustments that will allow pretty much anyone and everyone to dial the fork in to their liking. But like a lot high end suspension, too many riders don't take the time to learn what each adjustment does and how to use them, which is a shame because this fork is so adaptable to the terrain and riding style. Being air sprung not only means that it will be lighter than its coil sprung brothers, the BoXXer R2C2 and R2, but also benefits from an infinitely adjustable spring rate. Just a touch too soft? Add in a few pounds of air, as opposed to having to install a new coil spring that may be too big of a jump. The fork also uses its adjustable DropStop to control hard bottoming at the end of the stroke. Damping adjustments include separate high and low speed compression, as well as both beginning and ending stroke rebound. Confused? No need to be! Watch the video below to better understand how to tune and get the most out of your BoXXer World Cup fork.

Tools needed: Shock pump


Watch the video to learn more about the RockShox BoXXer World Cup

Views: 38,639    Faves: 228    Comments: 14

The RockShox website features a great setup guide that should be mandatory reading, even if you think you know what you're doing. You'll find spring rate and damping suggestions, as well as a tutorial on setting up the sag on your fork.
Pictured above are the adjustment knobs of a 2010 fork. Although the 2011 gets updated with easier to turn dials, you'll still find them in the same place. Compression adjustments, both low speed and high speed, are made at the top of the right fork leg. Beginning and ending stroke rebound dials are located at the bottom. You now no longer have any excuses for not taking the time to properly setup your fork!
The 2011 BoXXer World Cup may look the same from the outside, but there has been some major tweaking done to the internals for 2011. Things have been simplified on the spring side of things, with a new Solo Air assembly that not only controls both the positive and negative air chambers, but uses a more reliable air valve in place of the previous year's O-ring design. The damping leg also sees some changes for '11, starting off with new and easier to manage knobs on the outside, as well as changes to the rebound damping components that RockShox says will do a better job of keeping it and compression duties separate. This has allowed their suspension engineers to re-shim the compression piston and allow for a wider and more effective tuning range.
Now that you have a good idea of when to turn each dial and what it will do, it's time to start experimenting. As always, the first step is to find a suitable spring rate and make damping adjustments from there. Like I suggested in the previous week's Tech Tuesday, to get a better idea of what each adjustment does, it helps to find a section of trail that you are familiar with and ride it twice, once with the one adjustment backed mostly out and once with it turned mostly in. Repeat this process with each adjustment individually and you'll soon have a clear understanding of what is happening. Don't be afraid to try a setting that you may not usually use, you could end up surprised at the results.
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Servicing Your Fox Float Shock
Fox's Float shock is known for being both reliable and versatile, excelling on all sorts of bikes and terrain. But even this robust little damper needs a bit of TLC every now and then.

Watch the video inside to learn how to replace the air sleeve seals and give your Fox Float shock some much deserved attention.


Fox's Float shock is found on an incredible amount of bikes, from short travel cross country whippets to longer legged all-mountain machines. It's known for being one of the most versatile dampers available and features simple adjustments that any rider can understand without needing a degree in knob turning and vehicle dynamics. In fact, it works so well that a lot of riders simply forget that it requires a bit of love every now and then just like any other product. Thankfully, servicing the Float is just as simple as setting it up. Besides a few tools, all you'll need is a Fox Float rebuild kit that you can source from your local shop, which at under $7.00 USD, is quite inexpensive. Below you'll find a video showing you how to remove the old seals and install the news ones included in the kit.

Some pointers before you begin...

• Take note of your air pressure and rebound settings before starting.
• Be sure to have a Float Rebuild Kit. There is zero point in rebuilding it with your old O-rings.
• Always wear safety glasses, even if you're positive that all of the pressure has been released.
• Be very careful not to scratch the aluminum sealing surface that the O-rings sit in.
- When re-assembling the air sleeve it only needs to be snugged up by hand, not torqued mega tight.


What's needed: Fox Float rebuild kit, shock pump, soft jawed vice, rag and a pointy spoke or awl.


Watch the video to see how to service your Fox Float shock's air sleeve:
Views: 56,642    Faves: 206    Comments: 2

Fox's Float shock seems to go and go, so much so that it can be easy to forget that it may need a little love. Thankfully the Float rebuild kit is inexpensive and fairly easy to install. In only 10 minutes you can have your shock back up and running smooth.
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Wheel Truing Basics

Wheel truing; bike shop magic or black art? This week's Tech Tuesday will show you that it is actually neither, but instead a simple process that requires basic knowledge, some confidence, and the proper tools. Inside you'll find a video guiding you through the fundamental steps that you'll need to know in order straighten wheels.

Read on,


Wheel truing can be an intimidating task to wade into, especially during your first few attempts. Without some basic knowledge of what to turn and when to turn it, straightening a wheel can seem more like black magic and voodoo than an actual skill that you can learn. The truth though is that it is just like any other repair job: get the right tools, read up on how to do it, and after some trial and error you'll have an idea of how it works and be able to progress from there. It is important to remember that it takes time to get good at truing and that there is more feel and intuition involved than most other repair jobs. This is a skill that can take many years to become proficient at, but over time you will get the feeling for it and will know just how far to turn each nipple. If you're just learning don't get frustrated and give up if you don't get it right away, it will come to you eventually. As with any repair, if you don't feel up to it or are having troubles, you will be much better off by visiting your local shop and having them either give you some pointers or finish the job.


Some pointers before you begin...

• Instead of learning on your go-to wheels, pick up an old beater wheel to teach yourself on.
• If you don't have the right tools, especially the correct sized spoke wrench, you'll do more harm than good. There are three sizes of spoke wrenches: the 3.23 mm (black Park Tool wrench) is usually used on most performance mountain bikes, while 3.30 mm (green) and 3.45 mm (red) are sometimes found on less expensive or older bikes.
• A spoke multi-wrench that has a number of different sizes on it can be helpful, but the tolerances are usually not as good as a standalone tool. Be sure to find the tightest fit.
• A proper truing stand will make life much easier, but it isn't 100% necessary. If your bike has rim brakes you can actually use the brake pads as a gauge, if not, you can use zipties or even your fingers for guides while making lateral adjustments.
• It will be very difficult to properly true the wheel if your hub has lose bearings. If this is the case you'll need to first sort out the bearing play before straightening the wheel.
• A drop of thin lube where the spoke meets the nipple can go a long way to making the job easier, especially if the wheel is older. The lube will creep into the threads between the two and make turning the nipple easier, sometimes helping to keep the spoke from turning with the nipple. Be sure to clean any excess lube from the rim when done.
• It may sound obvious, but it should be stated anyway: you absolutely must fix any broken spokes before truing the wheel.

The single most important point that catches most beginning mechanics is which way to turn the nipple. The spoke and nipple use standard right hand thread, but you'll need to remember that you are actually looking at the nipple upside down while truing the wheel. Turn the spoke wrench clockwise to loosen and counter-clockwise to tighten.
No, you don't absolutely need a truing stand in order to straighten your wheel, but you will need the correct size spoke wrench, there is no way around that. Do NOT use an adjustable wrench or vice grips, you'll only damage the nipples and create more work for yourself. While there are some inexpensive truing stands out there, you can fake it by attaching zipties to your chain or seat stays, or even just using a finger as the guide in a pinch.

What's needed: Spoke wrench, truing stand, and some thin lube can help. Once you have the technique down you may also want a spoke tension gauge.
Views: 37,888    Faves: 275    Comments: 11

A spoke and a nipple are essentially a screw and nut that thread together to tighten and add tension to the wheel. They use standard right hand thread, but because you are looking at the nipple upside down, you have to remember to turn the spoke wrench clockwise to loosen and counter-clockwise to tighten. Only turn the wrench a small amount at each go, an 1/8th to a 1/4 turn at a time will prevent you from overdoing it and limit the damage if you do end up doing something wrong, which is likely to happen when you are learning.

Please keep in mind that this is a basic wheel truing tutorial that is meant to introduce the techniques to learning mechanics. It would be easy to write a book on this subject, there are actually quite a few out there, but that isn't the goal of this Tech Tuesday. Future episodes will cover other topics such a spoke replacement, spoke tension, and wheel dishing.
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Shimano Brake Pad Replacement

Any rider who hits the trails on a regular basis will have had to replace their brake pads at some point - the more you ride, the faster they wear out! If you haven't done the job yet, you're in luck. Today's Tech Tuesday takes a closer look at replacing the pads in a Shimano brake system.

Inside you'll find some pointers to make the job easier, as well as a video guiding you through the process.


Along with your drivetrain and tires, your bike's brake pads are considered to be a consumable item. That is, they wear out while doing their job and require replacement over time. If allowed to wear too thin or even completely out, you will not only end up with a bigger repair bill that could also include rotors, but you're also putting yourself in danger. Some riders put off replacing their brake pads so long that they end up using the backing plate as pad material, and once that happens it can take only a few minutes of use to completely destroy a rotor. I've personally witnessed rotors being worn so thin from this that they fail catastrophically, folding in half in the blink of an eye and instantly pitching the rider. Scared yet? Long story short, inspect your brake pads often and replace when necessary for better performance, to save yourself money in the long run, and to prevent injury. Keep reading to get the lowdown on how to do this repair job.
You'll need to remove the reservoir cover when installing the new pads, but you shouldn't have to perform a full bleed. Have a rag handy to catch any drips that happen while you work on your bike and be sure to not get any fluid on the new pads or rotor.

Some pointers before you begin...

• As mentioned above, don't do anything half-assed when working on your brakes. Take your time and do it right, and if you don't feel up to it, get your local shop to do the job for you.
• It is always recommended that you have a clean work area when doing any brake work. Accidentally putting your new pads face down onto a dirty counter can ruin them. Save yourself time and money by doing a quick clean of your bench before you start.
• Never ever use anything metal, such as a screwdriver or hex key, to push the pistons back into the caliper. Doing so can damage the pistons by scratching the sealing surface and you will have to replace them.
• Use a rag and some isopropyl alcohol to clean the caliper before, and especially after, you replace the pads. This will greatly lessen the chance of you contaminating the new pads.
• Once you have the threaded pin and snap ring removed, put them somewhere safe where they won't get knocked off the counter. A magnetic bowl may seem a bit extravagant, but it is perfect for keep small bits like these from going missing.
• Anytime I'm dealing with brake fluid, be it mineral oil as found in Shimano brakes or DOT fluid as some others use, I'm careful to keep it from getting on anything that it shouldn't be on. To that end I will be sure to put a clean rag over the rotor and caliper that I'm not working on, something that is especially important on a system that may overflow at the master cylinder when changing pads. It is also good practice to put the removed wheel in a safe spot, not leaned up on the repair stand under your bike...
• Some people like to leave the old pads in place while pushing the pistons back as it protects the pistons from damage. This is certainly an option, but there is a good chance that this will render those old pads completely useless. Why does that matter? I like to keep my old pads for spares just in case I'm on the road and find myself needing to use them.
• Inspect the old pads for signs of uneven wear. Pads that are worn on an angle are a sure sign of a misaligned caliper.


Looking for a bit of help? Check out the technical documents on Shimano's website for more information.


When do you replace your pads? Shimano recommends not letting the pad's braking material wear thinner than 0.9 mm, but it certainly doesn't hurt to replace them sooner than that. My personal rule is to not let the pads get any thinner than the thickness than a dime. You'll also know that they have worn much too thin once the silver pad spring starts making contact with the rotor. If that is happening you know that you should have replaced the pads awhile back!
You'll need a plastic tire lever, some hex keys, a small phillips screwdriver, a clean rag, and the red Shimano pad spacer

What's needed: 3 mm hex key, plastic tire lever, small phillips screwdriver, clean rag, isopropyl alcohol, the red Shimano pad spacer, and of course your new pads as well.



Watch the video to see how to change the pads on your Shimano brakes:

Views: 41,834    Faves: 111    Comments: 12


While your bike's brakes can be intimidating to work on, reading the instructions and having the right tools will make the job easy.
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Posted: Jan 30, 2011 at 11:48 Quote
Didn't realise it was gonna be this big.Eek

Posted: Jan 30, 2011 at 16:23 Quote
Shimano Brake Bleed

If you've never had a go at bleeding your Shimano brakes, now is the time. Today's Tech Tuesday is here to guide you through the steps from start to finish and there is no reason to be intimidated - it's easier than you think! Inside you'll find some helpful pointers and a great video showing you the process.

Get your tools and mineral oil and learn something new today!




How do you know when to bleed your brakes? As a very general rule, one should replace the fluid in their brakes at least once per year, even if you don't notice any degradation in performance. If you ride more than average, or spend a lot of your saddle time in a bike park banging out laps on the char lift, you may want to do a bleed more often. A quick check of the fluid by leveling the lever so it's parallel to the ground and removing the reservoir cap will allow you to see if the mineral oil in the system is cloudy or dark with contamination. Keep in mind that some mineral oil is darker than others, but if it looks hazy or you spot any floating bits, it is time to perform a bleed. Likewise, a spongy feel at the lever, excessive lever pull, or brakes that pump up (meaning the bite point changes when they get hot during use) all mean that it is time to do this job.


Some pointers before you begin...

• As always, a clean work area can make this job go smoother. Take a minute to clean up your bench and put away the tools that you won't be using.
• Always remove your pads and put them somewhere that they won't get fluid on them when you make a mistake and get drenched. It will happen at some point. Likewise, put your wheels in a safe spot as well... Not leaning up on the repair stand under your bike!
• Remember that you may have to overfill your Shimano system while bleeding which could make a bit of a mess. While mineral oil isn't going to cause damage like DOT fluid can, you may still want to put an old towel on the floor, under your bike.
• While some Shimano brakes incorporate a small phillips screw that you can use to adjust the bite point of the brake, its range is very limited and has little effect. If you're looking for less lever pull than what the screw allows, now is the time to make that adjustment. With the bleed nipple on the caliper closed, gently pull the lever to pump the pistons out ever so slightly. Remember that having the pistons protrude only an extra millimeter can have a huge effect on the lever pull. You can test the results by reinstalling your pads, after being sure to clean any mineral oil that may have been present on the caliper, and giving the lever a squeeze once you've place a rotor between them. If you've gone too far you may get some pad rub on the rotor. Reset the pistons using a plastic tire lever and try again.
When bleeding your Shimano brakes you'll be working the fluid from the reservoir at the lever down the line and out of the bleed nipple at the caliper. It is important to not let air be introduced to the system by letting the oil level in the reservoir get too low during this process. To prevent this, drip the new mineral oil in from the bottle as you prime the system. Old oil will be expelled from the caliper and drain into the bottle. Once you can visually see the new oil is being pushed out of the caliper you will know that a full bleed has been performed. Finish it up with the last few steps to fully rid the brake of any air that may be trapped.

What fluid should you use in your Shimano brakes? Most importantly, never use anything other than mineral oil in your Shimano stoppers, and I highly recommend using Shimano branded oil. Many other brake systems use DOT brake fluid, the same as your car uses, but the two fluids have very different properties and are not interchangeable. The rubber seals in your Shimano brakes will be quickly eaten away by the much more corrosive DOT fluid, rendering your brakes useless in no time. A quick stroll through your local pharmacy or auto store will show you that there are a number of different mineral oils available, but the majority of those will not work for this job. Many of those oils will be far too thick to work well, or have perfumes and other chemicals that will damage your brake system. Anything mineral oil from a pharmacy will not only be too thick, but is intended to be used as a laxative. Use that stuff when you need to pooh, not stop your bike. Likewise, a quick search of the forums and you'll see people exclaiming how they've used fork oil or automatic transmission fluid... there is a good chance that both of those options are too thick and will make your brakes feel sluggish, not to mention possibly having additional chemicals in them that could damage the seals in your brakes. What should you use? Despite it costing quite a bit more than some alternatives that may or may not work, I always recommend using Shimano branded mineral oil. I'm sure many readers will pipe up with options that they've used in the comment section below, but by using Shimano mineral oil you'll know that you won't have any problems. Yeah, it costs quite a bit, suck it up and buy the right stuff though and you'll know that you won't have any issues.
To do this job you'll need a set of hex wrenches, a small phillips screwdriver, a 7 mm wrench, a clean rag, some isopropyl alcohol, the yellow Shimano bleed block, some tubing and a bottle or small plastic bag, and of course some Shimano mineral oil.

What's needed: 3 mm hex key, small phillips screwdriver, a 7 mm wrench, clean rag, isopropyl alcohol, the yellow Shimano bleed block, some tubing and a bottle or small plastic bag, and of course some Shimano mineral oil.


Want to learn how to bleed your Shimano brakes? Watch the video!
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Fox Lower Leg Removal And Service

Spending a few minutes to remove and clean the lowers of your Fox fork will not only keep it running smooth, but also act as preventative maintenance for down the road. Today's Tech Tuesday shows you how to drop those lowers and replace the all-important lube oil to keep your fork silky.

Check out the tips and video inside to see how the job is done,






Your Fox fork may feel like a million bucks, but if it's been awhile since you've performed any maintenance than there is a good chance that a little love will have it working even better. This job won't require rebuilding the damper, a repair that some will find intimidating, but only removing the lowers for cleaning and reassembling with new lube oil. How do you know when to get your hands oily? Fox says to slide the lowers off once every 25 hours to inspect the seals and foam rings, but this is also the time to clean everything thoroughly and treat the fork to some new lube oil as well. Riders who spend a lot of time in nasty conditions or doing laps of the bike park will want to do it a little more frequently, but it never hurts to be an eager beaver when it comes to maintenance.

What exactly does that oil in there do? It's pretty simple actually, it acts as lube oil to keep your fork running smooth and active. The oil breaks down over time and loses its ability to lubricate the bushings, but it also gets contaminated from the elements. Small pieces of grime, water from hosing your bike down after a ride, and even tiny bits of rubber from your seals all pollute the oil, with the result being that nasty and thick gray sludge that you're about to pour out of your fork lowers. This sludge can not only have a negative effect on performance, making the fork feel sticky and unresponsive, but can also damage your stanchions in the long run. Think of that nasty oil as sand paper, because that's essentially what it is, with millions of invisible grits slowly working away to scour the finish right off of your stanchion tubes. Doing this repair will not only keep your fork running smooth, but it's also preventative maintenance that can save you money in the long run.


Some pointers before you begin...

• There is a good chance that you're going to make a mess during this job, especially if it is your first go at it. Not only do I recommend wearing gloves and eye protection, but it also doesn't hurt to put down an old towel on the floor to soak up any spills. Be sure to properly dispose of your old oil as well, not by just pouring it down the drain!
• You'll be dealing with some small parts during this job, including the foot nuts and the very small detent ball and spring tucked up in the high-speed compression knob. Don't lose them! Having a small dish or container to put these bits in after removal can save you from spending a lot of time on your hands and knees scouring the floor.
• The video shows me removing the fork from the bike, this makes the job much easier, but isn't 100% compulsory.
• Both foot nuts, 10 mm on the spring side and 15 mm on the damper side, are aluminum. This makes them light, but more fragile than if they were steel. Use the correct size tool (not an adjustable wrench) and take your time so as not to damage them during the repair.
• In the video you'll see that I'm using a rubber mallet to tap the foot studs lose from the lower leg assembly. I can't stress enough to never use a standard hammer for this.
• Once you have the lowers off, take a few minutes to inspect your stanchion tubes to be sure that they don't have any fatal scratches or dings in their finish.
• With your lowers off and the upper assembly in the upright position, stroke the fork's damper rod through its travel. It should take effort to stroke, but move freely and not feel notchy. If it feels as if it momentarily loses damping you'll need to service the cartridge, which we'll cover in a future Tech Tuesday.
• There is no point doing all this work and then not properly cleaning the inside of your lowers before putting them back on. You can use a rag and a long screw driver (just be sure not to scratch the bushings inside the leg), or the long plastic handle of a kitchen utensil, to push the rag in and out of the fork. Spraying some non-corrosive cleaning solvent down the legs will help as well.
• When reassembling take note of the flat surface on the adjuster rod that the low and high-speed adjuster knob's setscrew tighten down onto. Be sure to line this up with each setscrew.
• If either of the foot studs spin when reinstalling the foot nuts, a bit of pressure on the fork can help a lot.


Putting in the correct amount of lube oil is vital in order to have your fork working properly. It's all about volume - too much oil and you won't be able to attain full travel, but you need enough in the lowers to lubricate the bushings. Our 180 mm travel 36 VAN RC2 requires 40ml of lube oil in both the damping and spring side, but it will vary depending on the fork model. Be sure to have a close look at the Fox oil volume chart to determine the correct amount that your fork requires. Fox also recommends using their own special 10 wt. fork oil on models featuring gold Kashima equipped stanchion tubes.


What's needed: 2 mm hex wrench, 10 mm socket, 15 mm socket, rubber mallet, oil pan (an old Tupperware container works great), measuring cup, 7 wt. suspension fluid



Want to keep your Fox fork running smooth? Watch the video:
Views: 88,215    Faves: 385    Comments: 38

While I didn't need to replace the seals on my fork, if you need to, follow the same dis-assembly procedure as stated above in order to remove the lowers. Once the lowers are off you can use an 18 mm open end wrench to pry the seal up and out of its bore, being careful not to score the inner surface of the leg. Don't worry about damaging the seals, you'll be replacing them anyway. Now remove the foam ring that was hidden under the seal. To install the new seals, first slide them up the stanchion tube, not into the fork lowers. This limits that chance of damaging the new seals during installation. After dipping the foam rings in your new oil, slide them up into position under the new seals. Now you can reinstall your lowers, sliding them up onto the stanchion tubes. Use your fingers to seat the new foam rings and seals into the seal bore. If the fit seems tight you can use a socket or another blunt tool on the seal's outer edge to push it in place. Never push on the dust wiper lip unless you want to buy another set of seals.
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RockShox Motion Control Service

This week's Tech Tuesday takes a closer look at rebuilding the Motion Control damper of your RockShox fork. Inside you can watch a video straight from the smart minds at RockShox that details all of the steps needed to keep your fork running smooth and consistent.

Read on,




Keeping your RockShox fork running smooth and consistent is easier than you may have imagined. All you need is some tools and oil, and after reading the instructions and watching the video below you'll be ready to dive into it. The question is though, how often should you do this job? RockShox recommends dropping the lowers off for cleaning and adding new lube oil ever 50 hours of riding, but as always, you should do it more often if you are riding in nasty conditions or you notice that your fork isn't as smooth as it should. The damper service covered here should be tackled after 100 hours of riding and it is good practice to replace any O-rings or wear items at this time as well. As with any repair job, if you don't feel comfortable tearing into your fork you probably shouldn't be doing it. Take it down the road to your local shop and have them perform the work instead. Motion Control dampers can be found on RockShox BoXXer, Pike, Reba, Recon, and Revelation forks.

Some pointers before you begin...

• Think you're tough? You won't be when you get fork oil in your eye. Wear some glasses and nitrile gloves to lesson the chance of having an incident.
• There is a good chance that you're going to make a mess during this job, especially if it is your first go at it. Not only do I recommend wearing gloves and eye protection, but it also doesn't hurt to put down an old towel on the floor to soak up any spills. Be sure to properly dispose of your old oil as well, not by just pouring it down the drain!
• You'll be dealing with some small parts during this job, including the foot nuts and the very small detent ball and spring tucked up in the high-speed compression knob. Don't lose them! Having a small dish or container to put these bits in after removal can save you from spending a lot of time on your hands and knees scouring the floor.
• You'll have to remove your fork's lower legs before being able to service the Motion Control damper. Check out this video if you need some guidance on how to do this. Once you have the lowers off, take a few minutes to inspect your stanchion tubes to be sure that they don't have any fatal scratches or dings in their finish.

If you've never had your fork apart you'll be doing yourself a big favor by taking a few minutes to read the instructions found on the RockShox site before watching the video below. Better yet, print them out to have them on hand in case you get lost. You'll also find the correct oil weight and volume levels for each fork as well. This is very important - too much oil in the fork's damper will prevent it from attaining full travel and possibly damage the internals. Too little oil and your fork will suffer from inconsistent damping... get it right!

What's needed: hex key set, internal and external snap ring pliers, 24 mm socket wrench, a pick or awl, isopropyl alcohol, rag, 5 wt. suspension fluid, and an oil pan (an old Tupperware container works great)


Time to service your Motion Control equipped fork? Watch the video first!

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Avid BB7 Cable Disk Brake Setup

Avid's BB7 cable disc brake is an economical stopper that is a great low cost alternative to more expensive hydraulic brakes, but like any other component, it needs to be setup correctly to get the best results. Inside you'll find some helpful pointers to dial in your BB7, as well as a great setup video showing you the process from start to finish.

Read on,




Some pointers before you begin...

• It should go without saying that if you're not confident with a tool in your hand that you shouldn't be tinkering with your brakes, but I'll say it anyway: Your risk injury or death if your brakes are not setup correctly. If you doubt your skills, take the bike to your local shop and have them do the work for you.
• As always, clean your work area before beginning this job. This is especially important when working on disc brakes. Any grease or lube that you get on the rotor or pads will quickly make them useless.
• Cable disc brakes are all about leverage. Setting them up too tight by rotating the caliper's actuation arm too far forward will limit the power you have on tap. Likewise, having your lever pull to short will also result in less bite. Have a look at Tech Tuesday #16 where we covered cockpit setup for more information.
• Avid uses a nifty system consisting of hemispherical washers that compensate for any misalignment that may be found in the disc brake tabs. I've seen these CPS washers stacked incorrectly all too often which can not only make it hard to get the brake to run drag free, but also possibly sit the caliper at the wrong height. Take a minute to be sure they are orientated the right way.
• The T25 torx screws used to hold the rotor on should have blue Loc-Tite on the threads and be torqued to 55 in/lbs.
• After installing the rear wheel into the bike, put it on the ground and loosen and then re-tighten the axle or quick release. This will ensure that the wheel is in the frame straight, something that can be hard to do when the bike is in the work stand.
• The red inboard pad adjustment dial can sometimes be hard to turn with your fingers. You can use a T25 torx wrench to make turning it easier.
• Use new housing and a new cable to have your brake work at it's best.
• A new brake will require being broken in correctly before hitting the trails. Spend some time outside test riding the bike and breaking in the new pads and rotor.


If you've never worked with Avid's BB7 brake you'll be doing yourself a big favor by taking a few minutes to read the instructions found on the RockShox site before watching the video below. Better yet, print them out to have them on hand in case you get lost.



What's needed: hex key set, T25 torx wrench, cable cutter



Watch the video to learn how to setup your Avid cable disk brakes:

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If you've never installed a chain guide before you'll want to download and carefully read the instructions provided by MRP, and watch the how-to video below before picking up a single tool. Familiarizing yourself with the steps prior to starting will make the job much easier once you begin. While the process is simple enough, it is very important to install the guide correctly. Not doing so can result in your chain coming off or jamming at the worst possible time. It's one thing to lose a chain during your race run, but it's a whole different ball of wax if your chain jams while pedaling your ass off towards a jump. As with any repair that we show you here on Tech Tuesday, don't even start if you don't have the correct tools or the confidence to do the job correctly. That is what your local bike shop is for.



Some pointers before you begin...

• Be sure that you intend on using the correct size chain ring that works with the guide. MRP produces a number of guides to work with different sizes, but the G2 SL is designed to be used with 36-40 tooth rings.
• The G2 SL is available in BB mount (using an adapter), and ISCG or ISCG 05 mounting patterns. How do you know the difference? BB mount refers to a frame that doesn't incorporate chain guide mounting tabs around the bottom bracket shell, meaning that you'll have to use an adapter that is sandwiched between the frame and drive side BB cup in order to install the guide. ISCG and ISCG 05 stand for "International Standard Chain Guide" mounting system, with the new 05 standard being the most common. If you're not sure which one your bike uses you can either look it up on the manufacturer's website or measure the shortest distance between the mounting holes. ISCG will measure at 47.7mm, ISCG-05 at 55.9mm.
• For the guide to work properly it must be positioned correctly over the chain ring. The G2 SL, as well as most other guides, can be adjusted both in and out from the bike's center line by way of thin washers in order to be centered over the ring, as well as clocked correctly by rotating the guide on its slotted mounting holes so that the sliders are in the right position to hold the chain in place. Both adjustments are critical to have the guide function properly.
• While it can sometimes be a time consuming process to dial out any and all drag by changing the thin mounting washers between the frame and boomerang, your guide will function better and last longer if you make the effort to do it correctly. Never space out either the upper or lower sliders.
• The upper and lower slider are held in place with lightweight aluminum bolts. Take care to not over tighten these.
• The MRP G2 SL's upper slider should sit between the 12 o'clock and 12:30 position when adjusted correctly.
• Do not install the guide and head straight out to the trails! Check your shifting on the stand to be sure that it doesn't interfere with anything and then do a few laps around the parking lot before loading the bike up.



What's needed: 2.5mm, 4mm, and 8mm hex keys, crank extractor (if your cranks do not use self extractors), the appropriate bottom bracket cup tool (if uses a ISCG adapter)

Views: 38,455    Faves: 64    Comments: 11

Posted: Feb 2, 2011 at 14:39 Quote
Manitou Dorado Fork Rebuild

This week's Tech Tuesday takes a closer look at rebuilding the Manitou Dorado. While the Dorado leads the pack in performance, a little love can go a long way in keeping things running smoother for longer.

Some pointers before you begin...

• While everyone has to start somewhere, and this isn't the most technically demanding job, it still isn't for everybody. If you have some doubts about being able to get it done, don't start. Likewise, you need every single tool listed below to do this task - no substitutes. If your fork needs some love but you don't feel up to the task, take it to your local shop to have the work done by the pros.
• Anytime that you are dealing with suspension, you need to be aware that there may be residual pressure within... even if you've let out all of the air. Take your time and wear eye protection to prevent injury.
• As always, clean your work area before beginning this job. An organized work area is an efficient work area and you'll be less likely to lose parts.
• Be sure to write down both your rebound and compression damping settings, as well as your air pressure, before taking things apart. This will save you setup time once you have the fork back on your bike.
• The easiest way to loosen the fork's top caps is to first back off the clamping bolts on the top crown and then crack the caps before loosening off the lower crown's bolts and removing the legs. While the top caps should never need to be overly tight, this method can still make the first step of this job much easier.
• This is very important - too much oil in the fork will prevent it from attaining full travel and possibly damage the internals. Too little oil and your fork will suffer from inconsistent damping... get it right! Stoking the damper rod and rotating the leg while draining the oil will help to empty the leg.
• Take a few minutes when you have the fork apart to inspect the seals, stanchions, and internals for any damage that may be present.
• Stroking the damper rod while adding new oil will let it flow into the damper and is vital to attaining the correct oil height.
• Be sure to double check any and all bolts on the fork once you have everything back together and it on your bike. This includes crown bolts, caliper and axle bolts, and even the bolts holding on the leg guards.

A note about fork oil: The oil used for damping has very different demands than the oil that is best used for lubrication. The damping oil, in this case it is a 5w fluid, is designed to resist cavitation (foaming) as the piston and internals travel though it at a high rate of speed. Cavitation can cause inconsistent damping as the damper now has to deal with air in the oil. Lubrication oils, such as the the 5w full synthetic recommended in the Dorado, are made to resist shearing forces and let the parts slide as smoothly as possible. Yes, you can use damping oil for lubrication. No, it won't work as good. If you have a fork as nice as the Dorado, you're far better off taking the time to use the correct oil in the correct places.

If you've never worked on your Dorado before, you'll be doing yourself a big favor by taking a few minutes to read the manual found on the Manitou support page before watching the video below. Better yet, print it out and have it on hand in case you get lost. Even if you've done this job numerous times, it doesn't hurt to refresh your memory.

What's needed: hex key set, 12/13/36 mm wrenches (or an adjustable wrench), shock pump, 5w suspension fluid, 5w full synthetic semi-bath fluid (full synthetic 5w40 motor oil), drain tank (for old oil), eye protection and nitrile gloves.


Learn how to rebuild your Manitou Dorado:
Views: 30,304    Faves: 125    Comments: 9

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Cane Creek Angleset Installation

The Cane Creek Angleset is a relatively new product, and has been a godsend for the serious riding community. No longer are riders stuck with a bike designer's idea of "the perfect geometry", or with adjustments to change multiple things at once. The CC Angleset allows a rider to adjust their head angle to suit their own riding style, without changing BB height or any other important geometry areas. As it's a bit different to a normal headset, it can be slightly tricky to install. Josh Coaplen shares the installation know-how in the audio clip blew. Listen, learn, install.
After installing the headset cups in the correct orientation, apply a thin layer of thick grease in the cups where the gimble will sit. This allows the gold colored gimble to articulate properly within the headset cup. Do this to both the upper...
... and lower cups.
Install the crown race onto the fork's crown (making sure that it is fully seated) and then place the bearing and lower gimble on top. Once again, make sure that the bearing is fully seated onto the crown race.
The next step is to completely put together the entire upper assembly. This includes the upper gold gimble, bearing, compression ring, and headset top cover.
Now you can seat the entire upper headset assembly into the cup, and then, and only then, slide the lower crown up and seat the lower gimble.
Make sure to keep the upper part's snug while you slide everything together, keeping anything from shifting. A friend may be helpful if you have a tight top crown.
Slide the crown down, install your stem and any headset spacers that your bike uses, and snug the headset up to take any slack out of the system. You may be required to tighten the headset slightly more than usual to fully seat the gimbles into the headset cups. Once those are fully seated check the system for any play or to be sure that it isn't too tight. Finish up by tightening your stem and crown bolts, double checking to be certain that everything is torqued to the correct amount before hitting the trails.

• Something that caught me during install was that the different cups have different effective stack heights: 0 Degree, .5 and 1 degree and 1.5 degree have the gimble sit at different depths, meaning that the stack height is slightly different. This can cause a steerer tube to be too short if it was cut precisely, or can cause your top cap to bottom out on the steer tube without really noticing it, thus preventing you from fully tightening your headset if you don't add a thin headset spacer.

• Also note that the gimbles will lock into the cups after a little bit of tightening and can be a tad tricky to get out. Use a flat bladed screwdriver and gently pop it out.

• The bearings are beveled and meant to go in one way. They do fit the other way, but simply won't tighten down - make sure you have the bearings in there the correct way!
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Posted: Feb 2, 2011 at 15:04 Quote
Nice job dude. Serious props for all thisSalute

Posted: Feb 2, 2011 at 15:06 Quote
mcmbike wrote:
Nice job dude. Serious props for all thisSalute


Thanks man, I have all the time in the world, but as you can see it took a lot of copying and pasting Eek

Posted: Feb 3, 2011 at 3:20 Quote
kinetic-uk wrote:
mcmbike wrote:
Nice job dude. Serious props for all thisSalute


Thanks man, I have all the time in the world, but as you can see it took a lot of copying and pasting Eek

Nope credit where credit is due.Salute

Posted: Feb 3, 2011 at 3:31 Quote
uttanutta12 wrote:
Eek

Good in it.

Posted: Aug 6, 2011 at 15:15 Quote
Yes Sick Tips Man !
kinetic-uk wrote:
mcmbike wrote:
Nice job dude. Serious props for all thisSalute


Thanks man, I have all the time in the world, but as you can see it took a lot of copying and pasting Eek

Posted: Jan 11, 2012 at 10:41 Quote
top job an loads of time on ur hands dude..Salute tup tup

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