Video: Marshy Attempts to Teach Greg Minnaar How to Bleed Brakes

May 6, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  

bigquotesDuring this lockdown period, we intend to keep our athletes trained in more ways than one... Enter 'On The Spanners', a new mini-series where our veteran mechanics try to teach their other half's, the tricks of the trade, all through the power of the internet during this lockdown period! Greg Minnaar, the G.O.A.T on a downhill bike, but in over 20 years of racing he's never bled a set of brakes. Can Marshy show him something new?!The Syndicate


  • 72 0
 Next episode: Greg attempts to teach Marshy how to stay at the top of WC DH racing for 20 years
  • 10 0
 Not sure for how long, but in a way Marshy has been at the top of WC DH racing for a good while too (be it as a top level bike wrench). Wouldn't be surprised if it were just as long.
  • 7 0
 @vinay: Well he was wrenching for Miles Rockwell when he got the rainbow jersey in 2000 so Yeah at least 20 years.
  • 22 0
 Cool to see this method and hear Marshy's explanation of the inner workings of the brake. Never thought to tinker with the free stroke adjuster when burping them... time to get in the shed.
  • 2 0
 It’s funny the freestroke seems to do more for the burp than it does otherwise, but it’s definitively effective, always get at least a few extra bubbles when I dial it out
  • 7 3
 When I bought my first SLX from a friend he said "keep them topped up" so I did. Doing this and never really having to bleed is the truth. I bleed once a year just for the hell of it. Bubble bleed a few times during each set of pads' lifetime keeps them feeling nice, and I think they feel better if you finish with the free stroke all the way out, close everything off, then wind it all the way in as the final step. A reverb syringe works fine instead of the bucket. Never experienced the wandering bite point which Pinkbike reviewers like to whine about, over four sets of Shimano brakes.
  • 6 0
 I've been using Marshy's bleeding technique for a couple years. I'm like 5 sets of Shimanos in and they have all been great. I only fully flush them once a season, and I like to put the bleed bucket on to burp them when doing pads.
  • 8 1
 So what you're saying is by continually bleeding your brakes you didn't need to spend any time bleeding your brakes or suffer from a wandering bite point?

Since swapping out from Shimano to Hope I've only ever bled the brakes when I've damaged the hose in a crash. They've felt the same since i've fitted them through multiple sets of pads. Won't be going back to Shimano as I like to spend my time riding not wrenching
  • 1 0
 @Garpur44: I’ve generally treated my saints / zees like you describe treating your hopes, but have run into some issues (e.g. sticky / f*cked pistons that can’t be replaced) that I fully attribute to lack of maintenance. I’m maybe not as picky about lever feel and as long as I still had bite I was happy...

How do hopes feel in comparison to saints?

I bet if your pistons go in your hopes you can replace them unlike shimano which is nice.

Seem like a brand where you spend a bit more on the front end and they last forever.
  • 1 0
 @nvranka: Hopes do feel different to Saints.

I run E4’s on the Enduro and V4’s on the DH bike.

To be saints feel a bit grabby and kind of on or off. With the Hopes there is more Modulation IMO so helps when feathering a little more input and they’ll stop you on the spot pretty much.

The bit point adjust / lever reach adjustments and great too and I love the feel of hope levers.

Buying Hope is pricey but pays for itself in the end. As you say any tiny piece is available to buy so in the event anything does happen it’s usually. Fairly cheap fix
  • 1 0
 @Garpur44: right on thanks
  • 5 2
 Pretty incredible really. You'd expect these pro legends to be able to do their basic maintenance on their own home fleet. Especially considering he doesn't live particularly close to his mechanic. So no, I don't believe this. Greg is better at riding bikes than any of us. And he is better at bleeding brakes. He's our hero after all. Heck, I'm even pretty sure his team mate Loris knows perfectly well what all these different suspension adjustments are for.
  • 2 0
 More evidence:
  • 5 0
 So... There's one thing I can do on a bike better than Greg Minnar... Even if it isn't riding
  • 2 0
 Heh, just did this for the first time 2 weeks ago. Much better video (IMO) of it here you can actually see what Marshy's doing and it includes a lunch break.
  • 1 0
 I don't think he touched on the free-stroke part in that one though... Or my memory is shyte. One or the other, guaranteed.
  • 2 0
 Can you do the same with Sram Code's? This seems like a great idea for routine maintenance most of the year.
  • 10 1
 Yep, Code's are even easier. One hand to hold a syringe at the lever, another hand to hold it at the caliper, another hand to pull a vacuum, now use your toes to hold the pressure back at the caliper, and then use your nose to screw the lever adjust to purge any bubbles.
  • 6 3
 @dubod22: Sram is way easier, unscrew torx, unscrew calliper, throw in bin.
  • 2 0
 @TopperharleyPT1: I prefer preventative maintenance.... Do this as soon as you buy the bike.
  • 1 0
 Now I know what that usless "Freestroke screw is good for trapping air, Its a hydraulic system same as hundreds of millions of cars use bleeding should be straight forward.
  • 2 0
 Funny and useful. Putting my bike on the stand now. The comment about wearing pads and lever feel makes sense now.
  • 2 0
 So Greg wont need a mechanic anymore... Wink
  • 3 0
 he says "bru"
  • 4 0
 Thats how you know he is a South African
  • 3 0
 @petrospit: howsit bru
  • 1 0
 @BaGearA: yeah bru
  • 3 0
 @petrospit: want a brew bru?
  • 1 0
 @BaGearA: I have also heard Blake Samson say it. He is from Zimbabwe of course.
  • 2 0
 more Sarah.... how about a whole special on her.
  • 1 1
 I advise not looking directly over the bleed bucket when squeezing the lever! Get mineral oil in your eye and you have a problem. SHouldv'e added this Marshy!....
  • 2 4
 I run hope hope brakes so bleeding isn’t necessary very often (maybe related to the apparent lack of power but thats for another trp thread...). That said they are a piece of piss to bleed.
  • 2 2
 Been running Hope's for 5 plus years on DH and trail bikes. I live in Colorado and usually have season passes to two DH parks at ski resorts, 10 or more Whistler trips on them as well. Myself at approx 170lbs/77 kgs, and several of my friends riding at expert level or so, zero issues with power. I don't understand the folks complaining about them lacking power. I run the Tech3, E4's on trail bike with 203mm/183mm Tech3, V4's with 203mm fr/rr for the DH bikes. I will take them every single time over Sram. Saints are great but the modulation was meh on them for me.
  • 3 0
 @bman33: i have the same setup as you on one bike and xt 4 pistons on another. xts feel like they have way more power in all situations. in saying that the hopes have never felt like not enough power and id be tempted to use them if I was racing as there would be less accidental over braking
  • 1 4
 So that wasn’t a brake bleed.
  • 4 0
 More like a brake burp. He mentioned that when the pads wear out and he pushes in the pistons, he'd do the same thing. However, by the time you change out your brake pads, you might need to do a full flush and bleed. I find the oil gets pretty dirty by the end of the season. Even half way through a season, the pink mineral oil starts to collect black contaminants. But the trick with flicking the levers, I have to try that.

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