Getting The Bike Ready For Summer

Mar 31, 2015
by Dave McInnes  
With spring starting to show its head here on the coast, it is time for those of us that have been lucky enough to have an amazing winter riding season to reflect on what our bikes have been through in the past few months. Though drier than normal this year, riding through the winter months still takes quite the toll on your bike. For most riders, this shoulder season into spring, is the perfect opportunity to give your bike the overhaul it needs to be ready for the summer season.

Roman Levy
  Roman riding through the wet winter in North Vancouver

Winter / wet weather is my absolute favourite time to ride. The mud and dampness adds a little intrigue and can make old trails feel like new again. The roots that become anathema to braking, and the lines that open up with the ability to grab traction in the muck. Amazing. That being said it is important to remember that riding through this season can wreak havoc on your precious rig. The constant abuse from the moisture and grime can lead to premature wear on almost every component of your steed. “So what should I be doing” you may ask? The first answer is, as always, keep riding. The caveat is make sure to check your bike more regularly and to get it looked at as soon as you hear/see/feel something that is a little off. Some of the biggest offenders in the winter wear category are brake pads, bearings/bushings and suspension. Yes, all three of those are huge parts of your bike and can potentially be the most expensive to get fixed, but with more maintenance and less emergency repair the price tag remains low and the ride remains better.

Dirty Linkage
  Dirty linkage and worn bearings

Nasty Bearings
  That kind of grime wears out both bearings and frames

Riding in the wet is like constantly pulling high grit sandpaper through your brake pads. Pads will wear out faster during the winter than they did in all but the driest of the dry summer months. When your pads wear past an acceptable point all sorts of things start going wrong. First of all stopping power is directly affected through the loss of the primary braking surface. Power is drained through the overextension of the brake pistons and heat management becomes a major issue. Rotors become warped and calliper pistons and seals can be damaged. When your pistons are overextend they also become magnets for dirt. This dirt can affect the piston seals and will cause uneven piston movement, further affecting pad wear. Rather than spend $80-100 on rebuilding a brake why not spend the $25-35 bucks on new pads and keep that ride fun and safe? When installing your pads make sure to clean the pistons before resetting them. Using an Iso-Pro and a Q-tip work awesome for doing this.

Dirty Caliper
  Dirt around the pistons can affect piston seals and performance

Clean Caliper
  Clean those pistons before resetting and bleeding them

The next big one to pay attention to is your pivot system. Whether your bike runs bearings or bushings, it is important to maintain these pivots through the winter months. No sealed bearing is truly sealed; water and dirt will get in. When this happens it causes corrosion and physical damage to the bearings and/or bushings. When these systems begin to seize, not only is your quality of ride seriously affected, but it can also contribute to frame damage. If a bearing seat within a frame receives enough wear (i.e. when the bearing itself spins in the frame due to being seized) that’s it. Game over. New bike time. And while this may be a great strategy if you’re trying to convince your significant other about the necessity for a new bike, it can drastically reduce the amount of time you will get out riding.

Dirty Bearing seat
  Dirty bearing seats

Clean Bearing seat
  What the bearing seat should look like before pressing the new bearing in

Bearings can be relatively easy to change at home using tools that most people have kicking around the garage. Blind bearing pullers are great but you can easily use a punch and hammer to remove bearings in most situations. Be sure to punch the bearing out in the direction intended. This will usually be easily seen from the location of the bearing seat within the frame. When you are taking apart your linkage make sure to take note of what comes off where and what order parts were removed in. Write it down, take photos or use whatever method works for you to make sure that you can put everything back in the correct order.

Punching out bearings
  Punch and hammer will work to remove most frame bearings. A nice flat edge on the punch will help to grab the bearing race.

Keepin it organized
  Keep everything organized in a way that makes sense to you.

Be careful not to damage the bearing seat when removing the bearings. Once removed, clean the bearing seats, re-grease the new bearings and press them in. Bearing presses can make this job easier but most home mechanics can get the job done using the old bearing and a vice.

Bearing press
  This RRP bearing press is easy to use and gets the job done quickly.

Pressing it in
  But using a vice and the old bearing as a press will work as well. Protect the frame where you can.

Old Bearing press
  Line up the old bearing to perfectly press the new one in.

Cover the vice with a rag where making contact with the frame and use the old bearing to press the new one into the frame. Once all bearings are changed it's time go back through your parts and reassemble. When putting your back end together make sure to only finger tighten all your pivots until you get your shock back in.

Reassembly
  Beginning the rebuild process.

Tighten the shock to torque spec and then tighten all the pivots. This will ensure that your back end is inline and that your shock is pushing straight. Remember - too much grease is what you forget to wipe off when you’re done.

Reassembly
  Roman giving Dave a hand to get everything back in line and bolted together. Working on your own bike is incredibly satisfying.

Suspension is another area that takes a major hit during the winter months. With all of the moisture and crud building up around seals it is not uncommon to have to do some suspension service to keep everything running smoothly. Most riders will hit their suggested service intervals sometime in the winter season. The first thing to remember is that cleaning your seals is not a bad thing. I am not suggesting you pressure wash the seals and force dirt into them but giving your seals a light spray down and a clean with a rag or Q-Tip after each ride will go a long way in maintaining the integrity of your suspension.

Checking for damage
  Inspect those stanchions for nicks and dings.

Seal Inspection
  Cleaning your seals goes a long way.

Make sure to inspect the legs for any damage that will contribute to seal wear. If you have already passed the point of no return and you see/feel oil leaking from your fork or shock it is imperative to have it looked at ASAP. If oil is getting out, water is getting in. And water in those internals is never a good thing. Not only does it create corrosion on your stanchions but it will also decrease damping performance and generally have a negative impact on your ride experience. Pulling lowers and changing seals is easy to do at home and most products have good service guides online. For the purposes of this article we completed the service before photos being taken, but keep your eyes open for a full technical breakdown coming soon.

Keep it clean
  Make sure to clean and inspect all the hard to reach places.

Inspect and Clean
  Inspect the rear shock as well. Once again, clean and inspect for leaking and/or damage.

With all of that in mind, get out there and ride your bike. All winter long! Give it the love it deserves and it will keep you smiling through the wet and dark months. Let other folks worry about snow pack and avi conditions, our bikes are all we need.

Happy Egor
  Clean Bike-Happy Bike

Finished bike
Finished and ready to ride.

Droppin
  Roman testing the overhaul on the Shore. Keep your bike running smooth and it will pay you back tenfold.

Till next time,
Dave


MENTIONS @BicycleHub




107 Comments

  • + 339
 I hate cleaning and inspecting because I always find something that needs replacing and that costs beer money.
  • + 2
 Squagles ! Your good friend with reliable on time service.
  • + 25
 Fork needs new uppers. Looks like it's Shitty vodka and malt liquor week for me.
  • + 126
 That's why I ride with my headphones really loud so I cant hear how bad of a shape my bike is.
  • + 61
 I live in Phoenix AZ . Absolutely non of this applies to me.

Let me know when theres an article about "How to keep your carbon fiber from bursting into flames during summer"
  • + 3
 hahaha that's funny, yeah too hot out there for u guys! Fu summer......at least for az, ca,..!
  • + 5
 @scary1 I live in Phoenix as well. My bike sees mud maybe once a year. Twice maybe if I make a mud puddle with my hose in the back yard!!
  • + 9
 And most of the time, after rebuilding the whole thing. You sit on it and it starts squeaking.
  • + 2
 @defineindecline, A week huh?
To me that's a month prohibition...
  • + 0
 fatbike /problem . no pivots, no suspension . #RideItHardPutItAwayWet
  • + 4
 That's it, I'm moving to Phoenix.
  • + 2
 Weird. I just looked into moving to New Zealand. .....
I stopped looking when i realized i dont make $250,000 a year.:/
  • + 49
 Tip. when using a vice to press in bearings or trying to remove them. you can use sockets of the right diameter as spacers and press dies to help when clearance is a problem. it also helps apply even pressure the bearing and frame piece. It also keeps the vice from scarring the frame. This trick works for all kinds of things, like u-joints on cars too.
  • + 19
 be very careful, however, on sizing. Sockets have chamfered edges that can move the force being exerted from the very edge(where you want it) inboard to the bearing itself(where you don't.) If you don't want to spend money on bearing drifts, getting a local machine shop to grind the chamfer off some sockets of the right external diameter can save a lot of heartache.

Using old bearings is one of your best options, provided the bearing seat isn't deep enough that the bad bearing gets stuck too.
  • + 2
 Definitely agree with this. Hold the socket in place with your fingers to align it exactly whilst tightening the vice initially. Otherwise the socket piece can slip. I've done loads of bearing replacements this way and it is fine as long as you take your time.
  • + 3
 I found that removing & replacing one side at a time & using the through bolt as a guide in correctly aligning the replacement bearing.
  • + 6
 Use old rags or soft jaws!! i learnt that one the hard way. (not on my own bike though so its cool)
  • + 2
 Even with a bearing-press kit I am often using sockets, mostly for removal of old bearings because you need the other side of the press to contact the frame or linkage or swingarm, etc. Big sockets (1 1/4" +) are handy because the larger 6xxx series bearings will pop right inside them.

I've done 3 frames and 2 hubs with my bearing press tool - definitely worth the money. A bearing puller is next on my list.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/4971253 lol, my photo from 5 years ago!
  • + 2
 I bough a consumer bearing press from wheel manufacturer. Well, gets the job done very fast, can`t missalign and it`s also cheap. My advice, if u like to service your own frame buy one, U won`t regret it.
  • + 2
 yes, an appropriate sleeve for the bearing drift is important. Hope make a tool called a "hub support" for this very reason. I've mostly done as you say, however. big sockets are cheaper than that hope tool(but I do want to pick one up someday.)

edit: dang, they're only 13.99 now, I think they came down in price. definitely tacking one on to my next CR order. www.chainreactioncycles.com/us/en/hope-nylon-wheel-hub-support-bush/rp-prod8031
  • + 4
 You can also use an 9mm quick release skewer as a press.
  • + 7
 Most important trick for pressing bearing is ALWAYS press the fixed cage and not the moving cage. ie when bearing is in a hole, only press on the outer cage, if it's on a shaft, only the inner cage. This way you are sure that bearing race is not damaged by pressing force.
  • + 38
 One of my favourite things that happens at a bike shop is when mechanics find cracks in frames when fixing a customers bike. And then the customer gets mad at the mechanic for finding it and costing them a bunch of money.
  • + 7
 I have never been happy about a crack but I am so thankful they were pointed out at my lbs and taught what to look for.....like thin black grease lines
  • - 54
flag chrisingrassia (Mar 31, 2015 at 14:32) (Below Threshold)
 How can the customer be sure the LBS didn't f*ck something up and then just use the excuse of "we noticed it when we were cleaning/fixing something"?

I don't let the LBSs anywhere near my bike.
  • + 12
 Chrisingrassia.. a crack is not f*cking something up. Pretty hard to simulate a crack or cause a crack by wrenching on a bike.
  • - 37
flag chrisingrassia (Mar 31, 2015 at 14:39) (Below Threshold)
 typx, yeah right. If you're going to use a bench vise to push things in, you'd be surprised the damage you could do. Bleeding brakes you could bust a bleed port, any work near a carbon frame you could drop a tool on it and crack something. Possibilities are endless.
  • + 25
 Boys, there's more to life than constantly looking for cracks.
  • + 8
 If you're a bike shop, you aren't using a vise to push in bearings
  • + 8
 even at home with a vise only a HAMFIST could brake a frame. what a tard
  • + 36
 "ah shit jerry it happened again! I dropped my allen wrench on that carbon nomad and broke the frame!!"

Dammit thats the third time this week!!
  • + 19
 That's what tax returns are for. I just buy new parts every year , maybe even a new bike. Thus I avoid needless maintenance and repair. Ok, I don't really, but I'd like to say that.
  • + 11
 Just FYI - tax returns are for those who like to give their government an interest-free loan.
  • + 5
 I gave them a 25 dollar loan this year. Pretty happy about that
  • - 1
 taxes are for chumps
  • + 19
 I find its much easier to just drop my dirty clapped out rig off and just let Dave fix it lol
  • + 8
 antibiotics do wonders. Hang on to Dave. It's hard to find a good doctor.
  • + 3
 Yes !!!! Served
  • + 15
 This almost reminds me of those famous Tech Tuesday articles from the days of old...
  • + 9
 I enjoyed those.
  • + 4
 Today is Tuesday......................PB was so subtle and sneaky but you guys, you guys are good.
  • + 8
 A good tear down twice a year for me, its one thing to clean it often but a proper service is essential every now and then, Just finished one this week, it was very therapeutic. Full strip down, clean, lube and replace cables pads fluids etc. Fork still needs a service, couldnt get the service kit in time, which should arrive tomorrow.
As well as a nice refresh for the bike, it allows you to thoroughly inspect frame and components for damage thats more difficult to find whilst assembled, whilst doing mine i spotted that the bars where slightly bent, Wasnt obvious with everything attactched due to where the bend was but clear as day with everything stripped off, you can even see the discolouration from the stress marks :O

www.pinkbike.com/photo/12059053
  • + 4
 Same. I didn't get a nice snapshot of the parts all laid out though. I put my shit in zip locks as soon as they come off and are cleaned. Also easier if you need to stop mid rebuild as you don't have a billion tiny one off bits laying around waiting to walk way.
  • + 15
 I wonder how many of us played with Lego as kids?
  • + 5
 Couldn't agree more. There nothing more satisfying than the feel of your bike after a full service when everything is working properly and efficiently. Always tend to find I shred harder too knowing my bike isn't guna let me down.
  • + 12
 Lego for life!
  • + 2
 I used old shoe boxes. They get labeled and an added plus is I can poke my screws through the top during installation so they don't roll away. Sometimes I get super fancy and trace a linkage (or whatever part i happen to be working with) on top and mark the screw holes so I know which length and thread goes in the right hole.
  • + 8
 Thanks Dave for helping me to keep my bike in shape! Bicyclehub is amazing ! Bike is running like a new. From rainy shore to dusty Kamloops - it might need another overhaul soon Smile

www.pinkbike.com/photo/12072002
  • + 5
 How could you let a bike fall to such disorder! Anyway, great article guys, just about the first one I see that tells you can actually do your pivots overhaul with a vice and stuff, unlike others just saying "bring it to us" or "get the park tool for $1000".

Also, where's 2nd anniversary party?! I was waiting for that to get me a haircut Frown
  • + 6
 so igor , are you super famous now ?
  • + 1
 I am now!
  • + 5
 My name is Roman....and I use white lightning spray degreaser on my dirty brake pistons.
  • + 2
 what's the habit for fellow PB users - pre-season big rebuild, post-season big rebuild, both or something else? I usually do a major strip-service-rebuild for my DH bike post-season and then conserve it for the winter. With my back-country bike it is different cos I ride it around the year, so I find it better to do a big rebuild in spring after riding through shitty winter conditions. No time or money for me to do more than 1 rebuild per bike per year.
  • + 3
 @ Dave McInnes, have you been creepin in my garage, cuz i literally just did this Sunday. haha,
Great article. look forward to the "full technical breakdown" of the sus service.
  • + 2
 so the nightmare scenario with linkage bearings is that they seize and then the whole bearing moves in its housing. Why then is the main symptom for worn bearings side-to-side play?

is it because the inner bore/hole develops wear and allows the pin to move a bit?
  • + 2
 You develop play from wear, you develop seizing from exposure to elements. Worn bearings exhibit side to side play because the balls are no longer large enough to take up slack between the two races. That's why full complement bearings have a longer lifespan: more balls spreads the wear out more evenly.
  • + 1
 cheers mate, top answer!
  • + 1
 Nice guys. Just finished new cable, derailleur, pike lowers (should that done earlier because oil was euw), greased, shock air chamber rebuild, and for fun I bought the one brakes 2nd handed, so new hoses and bleed. I haven't chance to ride them. But Im so curious how they are instead my xtr brakes.
  • + 1
 I really need to learn some mechanical skills to service my own bike.

when I had my bearings replaced the lbs got them from B&Q for a few quid, I wouldn't know where to start and would end up spending £80 on a bearing kit
  • + 4
 If your LBS is sourcing parts from B&Q, I'd get learning to do it yourself pretty damn quick!
  • + 1
 I've got a simpler system. When it the trails start looking like in that first photo I stop riding and start building. Then once they're dried out and ready to go I stash my tools in a stump and start riding. I don't have to deal with these maintenance issues and the trails on the Shore keep looking fresh.
  • + 1
 Do not worry about trails. It was not that wet Wink Just one spot, right for the photo..
This photo was done on the same day and same trail:

www.pinkbike.com/photo/11904727
  • + 3
 my DH bike is currently sitting on my work stand half assembled. I just need to find the time to finish the job; first race is less than 4 weeks away!
  • + 1
 To the best of my recollection, I do not recall a wet winter in SoCal. Maybe over 10 yrs ago.I learned the hard way not to just throw the bike in the garage soaking wet after splashing 3 feet plus creeks and deep muddy ruts. After I let it set for over a month probably 3, the bike needed a total dis-assembly overhaul. even with new cables, and chain it never felt the same. My riding buddy did the same ate his bottom bracket from water damage; )
  • + 1
 Haven't ridden in two months... After breaking a few parts, i've had no money to fix them since buying a car... I'll be giving the bike a proper service before i start riding it again. I try and do it every 6 months, and i do enjoy it. I hate my bike not running 100%, so i'd rather spend a day out in the garage working on the bike than have an annoying creak every time i ride!

Cannot wait to get out and ride some trails, its killing me
  • + 2
 I feel so bad for you right now there isn't a word to describe it. Anyone with the bike-bug going longer than 2 weeks must be hell
  • + 1
 curious to see how far people let their pads wear down. I've always replaced mine when its less than the width of a dime. but usually I'm replacing them before that even happens. how far do others let theirs ware?
  • + 29
 Right to the metal m8
  • + 4
 I usually get pad contamination before I've worn through them. Maybe i need to get on the brakes more (or ride more)
  • + 2
 One time I let my rear pads wear down so far that it kicked them out of the caliper. Not sure if that's ever happened to anyone else. But yeah, I'm that guy.
  • + 2
 i'm happy to live in a dry dusty area, my bike rarely sees water and never get anywhere near that dirty, bearings typically last several years before replacement
  • + 3
 All of this is why my winter bike is a steel rigid with rim brakes. Clean and oil chain, ride, repeat. Easy.
  • + 3
 I fix things immediately. OCD perhaps, but I find a noisy clapped out bike distracting to the ride
  • + 1
 I used to do a complete rebuild before and after each weekend of racing. Even non race weekends if it was super wet or just extra dirty. Bearings, bracket, hubs, brakes, fork, cables, shifters, etc. It took some time but I eliminated any issues caused by dirty parts and the bike ran like new. It was always easier to ride harder with a clean, well loved ride.
  • + 3
 I'm buying my favorite mechanic some cheap beer.
  • + 1
 People need to check their heatset bearings also. Two of my buddies had to replace theirs. Cheap fix and make sure to put some grease to help seal out the moisture.
  • + 3
 iv been doing this for 4 months... i think im set :p
  • + 2
 just spend 1000£ on my np mega for this summer cant wait to go shred the trails are drying up nicely
  • + 3
 Great article, Thanks BikeHub
  • + 3
 A true enduro hucker rides their steed until it falls apart.
  • + 1
 organize in a way that makes sense to me... well sometimes i do things that don't make sense. usually it ends up in pain! im not good in organizing
  • + 1
 do one step at a time , not take the whol thing apart at once
  • + 4
 The best way is to remove every single piece from the bike and put it in one bucket, then take each peace out one at a time from the bucket and inspect/clean and reinstall in its intended place. Almost impossible to mess anything up then :p
  • + 1
 If your bike has bushings instead of bearings are you supposed to grease them, if so what type of grease are you using??
  • + 1
 For most bushing bikes I am using a very light grease such as slicoleum. Depends on the hardware system but you definitely don't want a heavy grease in there to bind or to trap debris
  • + 1
 how many muddy rides does it take for dirt to start showin up in/around the bearings? great article!
  • + 1
 KNIPEX PARALLEL PLIERS = HAND VISE. perfect for bearing installation at home.
  • + 1
 Has anyone else found it impossible to find that RRP bearing press anywhere online to purchase?! Link please!
  • + 1
 Don't know about the in the states but they are distributed locally here in Canada. I order them in for customers whenever needed.
  • + 1
 I made some of my own from scrap bar stock when I was in tech school. Maybe see if any local machine shops can turn out some stepped round bars for a small fee.
  • + 1
 pedal axle is looking pretty bent...
  • + 1
 single speed and rigid solves a lot of these maintenance issues
  • + 1
 put air in the tires and go
  • + 1
 Gudamn i need me a shocker, them be my dream bikes.
  • + 1
 Or use the weardown as an excuse to buy a new bike.
  • + 1
 Respect the rig........ALWAYS!
  • + 1
 Awesome post. Thank you
  • + 1
 SHOCKER!!!! WOOOO!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 Shocker's da illest
  • - 2
 Bu!
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