Opinion: What Are You Too Picky About?

Sep 24, 2022 at 12:39
by Mike Levy  
Mike Levy


"Can we bump the ride to 2:30 instead of 2 pm?" I texted Dave at 2:15. "I've got something important to wrap up before I can meet you."

After pushing send, I stretched my chain out on its side across the workbench, one end hooked onto a small tack pushed into the wood countertop and the other held taut with my right hand. In my left was a tired, blackened brush missing half its bristles. If it wasn't for my burning and watery eyes, I would have seen the mist of aerosol brake cleaner hanging in the air as I furiously scrubbed the faded gold chain. Just a few minutes earlier, I had been using a small pick to go at the tiny nooks and crannies of my narrow-wide chainring, probably looking and sounding a lot like my semi-rabid Shiba Inu when she's chewing on another itchy spot. Before that, I first used a very specific flat-head screwdriver to scrape my already-clean pulley wheels clean and then cleaned them again with a clean rag that I sprayed with brake cleaner.

Then I staggered outside to lay down on the grass for twenty minutes while airing out my shop.

I wrote a thing from my high horse awhile back about how more of us should be working on our own bikes. In it, I said that you'll (maybe) save money, have more mechanical sympathy, and blah blah blah about something or other. But I also mentioned that, unlike a lot of people, I really do enjoy cleaning my drivetrain:
bigquotesSpeaking of black grease, even a job as menial as cleaning your nasty-ass drivetrain can feel both constructive and cathartic; maybe it's just the solvent talking, but freshly cleaned pulley wheels make me happy.

I love that when I lift my bike up onto the repair stand after an especially dirty month of pedaling, its cassette and chain can look like they've been at the bottom of the cat shelter's only litter box for the last month. But a mere three hours later and it's been removed, scrubbed clean until my fingertips ache, reinstalled, and drip-lubed one roller at a time with a bottle of delicious Dumonde Tech lube that I've written "LEVY" and "NOT YOURS" on with a black felt marker to remind my thieving girlfriend not waste any on her always dirty drivetrain.


A podcast, some solvent, and a brush are all I need to have some fun.
This is the dirtiest my pulley wheels ever get.


As much as I'd love to go through that ritual before every ride, stripping the chain of lube that's crept in between the rollers, plates, and pins with high-pressure industrial solvent is an end-of-the-month job and would be counter-productive in the long run to perform more often. Instead, I do the same forensic polishing of the chainring and pulley wheels before almost every ride, but simply give the chain a dry wipe-down and lube an hour or two before I head out. Wiping off any and all excess Dumonde Tech from the chain and every tooth on the ring and both pulley wheels is the last thing on the list before rolling out the door thirty minutes behind schedule.

"Maybe you need a quicker pre-ride ritual," the same lube-stealing girlfriend said while I grumbled about having to rush. "You're awfully crazy about your chain. Maybe you shouldn't be so particular..." she followed up with, tailing off at the end to make sure I could hear her eyes rolling as she walked away. Upon a bit of self-reflection, she might have a point of some kind, especially when I consider that my life could be burning down around me and I'd probably be half-clueless just so long as my drivetrain is shiny and shifting perfectly. Someone with more insight than I have would probably tell me there's a deep-seated reason for that, but we're let's keep this surface level, please.

Thing is, while I might be a little anal-retentive about my drivetrain, I'm relatively careless about how the rest of the bike looks just so long as it's set-up correctly and nothing is about to rattle off. It's in front of me as I type this, looking a bit sad and currently covered in a 5lb layer of dust and mud. You'd find tired, faded paint and plenty of scratches if you were able to wipe any of it away... which you probably can't because it's epoxied to the frame thanks to a thick coating of drink mix from a summer of soul-lifting adventures. It appears to be a hot mess, sure, but do you know what else it is? Absolutely dialed; the suspension is running perfectly, the rotors aren't even thinking about rubbing, and my tires and pressures are bang-on where they should be.


You thought I was joking about the 'LEVY' lube?


And unlike my friends who spray their bikes off after every single ride, mine doesn't make the slightest creak or groan. My advice: look after what matters, and yes, you should definitely be cleaning your bike when it's super dirty. But instead of trying to drown it with a garden hose, give your bike a cursory dry wipe-down and focus on what matters, which is being able to see your reflection in your chain.

So yeah, I guess I'll admit that I can be a little particular about cleaning my drivetrain bits. I asked a couple of friends their thoughts, hoping to learn that they too enjoy scrubbing a chain on a sunny Saturday afternoon. "I check suspension pressure and sag before every ride," My Buddy Wayne replied. "I just have to clean the dirt at the hub and spoke junction," Matt told me. "You're f*cking crazy when it comes to your drivetrain," Dave answered.

Dave is probably right, but aren't we all a little picky about something? When it comes to your bike and the other gear you use, what are you maybe a little too particular about?


395 Comments

  • 524 3
 Noise. I struggle to enjoy riding if my bike is noisy.
  • 36 0
 This more than anything else!
  • 70 2
 Yeah, any creak leads to a full tear-down when I get home.
  • 48 0
 This is like a therapy group haha. I feel better. Yeah any creak and I have to talk myself down at night in order to sleep. The subsequent diagnosing session always angst ridden. Every other part of my life is generally very smooth and organized... but if there is a noise, forget it.
  • 24 0
 Noise and perfect suspension is something I am near phsycotic about. I can't ride well when these things aren't right. If I'm mid project it literally affects my mood until it gets right. It normally takes me most of a year after a new build to tweak and silence everything into perfection.
  • 20 1
 I agree, I go way far above and beyond to do everything to make my bike silent. I’m absolutely perplexed why thousands of dollar bikes sound like clanging crap when going through roots rock and chatter- this should not be!

Next for me is suspension. Once you’ve tasted good dialed suspension, you never want to go back; kinda like coffee Smile
  • 74 1
 If my bike has a squeak I’ll find and fix it immediately after 3 or 4 more rides.
  • 3 0
 agree this can be so distracting
  • 4 0
 @krka73: I've had people leave a ride and go home 10 seconds in because of a gnarly BB squeak.
  • 6 0
 @diggerandrider: Also this. Before adding several pounds of strategically placed mastic tape, I sounded like I was riding a shopping cart full of pots and pans going through rock gardens.
  • 13 2
 Let me direct your attention to Zerode with Carbon (belt) Drive.
-silent, and also takes care of the main thrust of this article in having no drivetrain mess to deal with.
I'll never go back to derailleurs.
  • 14 1
 @MT36: pinkbike is therapy for millenials who cant afford the therapy they need.
  • 3 1
 C. King has entered the chat.
  • 9 5
 specialized enduro is a never ending noise machine
  • 37 0
 @CarbonShmarbon: I want a gearbox bike. I like Zerode's, but I cannot stand grip shifters. Plus I just bought this bike and my wife would have me doing all my own grip shifting if I bring home another one.
  • 2 1
 For me it's suspension design idk why but it is
  • 1 3
 @Korbi777: Occam's Razor says it's you, not the bike.
  • 4 26
flag Compositepro (Oct 6, 2022 at 13:58) (Below Threshold)
 i am picky about the type of downvoters on here there arent enough premium downvoters theyre all those rubbish ones
  • 8 1
 @adrennan: I spent all my therapy money on titanium bolts
  • 1 0
 @Korbi777: I must have gotten a lemon... The only noise is from my Awareness bell.
  • 21 8
 Dogs off leash on trails and being subject to Outside advertisements.
  • 3 0
 My wife is so picky about her seat height almost every ride i need to adjust it up, down, etc.... every time after 10 minutes of wasted time it ends up right back where it started aaaarrrrgggghhhhh
  • 10 0
 @grnmachine02: A trigger shifter is available, but expensive in my opinion. I took a chance buying one without trying first, and didn't know if I'd be able to get used to it or like it.
And whaddya know, I got used to it in short order. There is a learning curve, or more like a muscle memory curve, but there was a learning curve to get comfortable with trigger shifters too if you can remember back that far. There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems, and after riding my gearbox bike for 6 months now, I am of the opinion that some of the inherent advantages of a gearbox would be lost with a trigger shifter. Those mid-trail punchy climbs that sneak up on you? Dump 6 gears instantly without pedalling and roll right on up , then slam them back in one shot at the crest to go down. It's goddam beautiful.
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: I can also recommend damper upgrades as therapy. Very therapeutic.
  • 14 1
 @gnarnaimo - Agreed, especially now that so many bikes are relatively quiet. We're at another Field Test right now and a few bikes are SO loud and it is killing me.
  • 13 0
 If a creaking bike bothered me I'd never get to ride!
  • 1 0
 So true
  • 5 0
 the 1 person that down-voted this is a serial killer.
  • 17 16
 Noise is irritating but I'm sure it's more those that are more interested in having the best bike, posing with it, or simply just like fancy things or whatever that care about this the most...kind of like old rich folk that buy a Ferrari and want everything to be just spot on yet don't remotely take the car near it's limits. I have to say a largely disproportionate amount of the best riders near me shred on what most on here consider old junk...the true riders that ride for the love of riding and not to see how soft the landing with their 11.6 is or how many milliseconds faster their AXS will shift. Most on these forums are obsessed with nice bikes, not riding per se. You go to a trail and watch the guys who truly rip....they are riding old battered bikes and couldn't give a damn, it's better for them as they can do what they want with the bikes care free and focus on riding and not scratching their precious paint job. Every year people wanting the latest and greatest tech, how many of them are actually researching how to ride better and faster or putting that money towards coaching...they don't..they just want the latest quietest gimmicks to flex at the trail head. I know riders that absolutely rip better than most and they didn't even know what Eagle was...
  • 5 0
 Not just noise, but noise that signifies something is wrong. It can ruin a ride for sure.
  • 2 0
 Noises are bad mmmkay? But like really though, they are. Don't ignore your bikes cries for help people!
  • 1 0
 @grnmachine02: excellent comment
  • 5 1
 Just turn up the giant boombox you have in your backpack. Noisy bike problem solved.
  • 3 0
 *BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ*WHAT???*BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ*
  • 2 4
 i just buy $15K bikes and they’re usually quiet
  • 1 2
 Cleaning stanchions and silicone spray after. Clean rag on the chain and lube
  • 3 0
 @downhiller900sl: What's the added value of putting silicone spray on the stanchions? I just do the lower leg service every once in a while and call it good.
  • 1 0
 and my work here is done
  • 1 0
 100% this. Creaking bearings, rattling cables or brake pads (I'm looking at you, Shimano) or a clicking chain drive me nuts. Not enough for me to abort a ride, but enough for me to stop and try and fix it mid-ride. And certainly enough to stop me riding till it's fixed.
  • 5 0
 Rigid singlespeed cures most of these problems.
  • 3 0
 @IntoTheEverflow: Or just stick with pumptracks.

One other thing of course is, you're always going to hear something. The more effort you put into making your bike silent, the more the little sounds in your bike (or that of others) is going to bother you. Unpopular opinion here apparently, but one could consider to just make sure the bike is good enough to just ride it properly.
  • 1 0
 I use earplugs never had this problem again
  • 1 0
 @grnmachine02: Personal grip shifting is a risk no one is willing to take
  • 2 3
 I can't hear my bike over my bluetooth speaker
  • 4 3
 @BillT999: I can't hear my bluetoothspeaker over the noise of people complaining about my bluetooth speaker. I don't get it. Nearly all bike videos I've seen have a pretty present rock tune covering all the creaks and rattles. Pretty sure that's how it is done.
  • 1 1
 @BillT999: I mean he aint wrong?
  • 1 2
 @grnmachine02: I've told people to go home 10seconds in because hearing their BB squeak does my head in
  • 2 0
 @Pinemtn: But you buy a new one every ride, right?
  • 1 0
 @gnarnaimo
Same here. No bike noise or it makes my teeth grind.
  • 1 0
 @txcx166: is this Henry's alt account?
  • 2 0
 same.. clicking, ticking, squeeking.. drives me nuts.. then I start changing parts and usually costs a lot, to change very little... so annoying
  • 1 0
 @txcx166: It’s just a small speaker that fits in my hip pack. But yeah, totally drowns out the creaks Wink
  • 2 0
 @Pusher5000: I think the JBL Flip speaker has been designed to fit in a bicycle bottle cage. The number of people calling for bottle mounts on their bikes is suspicious.
  • 6 0
 @vinay: Because it's annoying AF. I get it, listening to music or whatever while riding is great. Get some bone conducting headphones or something. Not everyone wants to hear your music.
  • 11 0
 @grnmachine02: i rode up behind a guy yesterday who had earbuds in. he could not hear me shouting 'rider!' nor my high pitched bell. after several minutes of not being able to get his attention, i rode up and lightly buzzed his rear tire with my front (in a safe location). he looked down at his wheel, trying to figure out what it was, still not noticing me.. eventually he pulled over to investigate, at which point he finally turned around sufficiently to see me and let me ride by. i had a similar experience with a runner last year. she could not hear me and since she had no tire to buzz, i grabbed some leaves off of a tree branch on the side of the trail and tossed them into her back. i am fine with people listening to music (i do sometimes) but for the love of god you have to be aware of your surroundings. if someone has a bell and is shouting embarrassingly loudly at you and you still can't hear them, it is a problem
  • 1 0
 @machina_bikes
  • 1 0
 @wobblegoblin: we've got mountain lions so i have to get one of those instead but i appreciate the support!
  • 2 0
 @twonsarelli: Yeah, those people suck too. I can't ride with headphones because I'm totally deaf in one ear as it is, but my understanding is that bone conducting headphones allow you to hear both your music and what's going on around you.
  • 1 0
 @grnmachine02: for sure. i've got a buddy who is partially deaf and those bone conducting headphones work very well for him. i'd like to try them out by i use the transparency mode and can hear just fine. i also don't play music too loud, mostly because i don't want to smash that much volume in there
  • 2 0
 @grnmachine02: Don't worry mate, I never blast a speaker outside, let alone in nature. Heck, I even wear headphones when riding or running because I feel it messes with my awareness and balance. Bone conducting stuff may work, haven't tried that yet. I do however not get too bothered with sounds coming from my bike. If the sounds indicate there is an issue with my bike, it is the issue that needs solving, not the sound. It is just that not all bike sounds are problematic, which is why I am making a bit of fun of this discussion here.
  • 1 0
 flats are a bummer...
  • 1 0
 @TimMog: only when the cranks start to creak
  • 2 0
 This used to be me. But anyone who has ever had to live with the engineering disaster that is an eccentric bottom bracket (or at least Gary Fisher's implementation of said infernal device) eventually just learns to live with the noise. It's either that or take the damn thing apart after every ride to rid it of the creaking. Ironic that my noisiest bike was a *singlespeed* which should be low maintenance and utterly quiet.

Having switched to a modern FS bike I figured, "Well, at least I'll be used to the noise." and was pleasantly surprised at how *quiet* my new bike is (carbon frame/wheels probably doesn't hurt). 1x drive trains + clutched derailleurs have pretty much eliminated all the noise I used to associate with geared drivetrains. Sure there's a bit more maintenance involved and various pivots and what not can develop creaks occasionally, but I've been pretty happy with how blissfully quiet my new-to-me (It's actually been about two years now.) bike is.

Having said all that, my Fox CSU will probably develop a creak tomorrow...
  • 2 0
 @IntoTheEverflow: That just shifts the creaking to my knees.
  • 1 0
 @Danzzz88: reminds me of biking on the west coast of France, the least exerienced newbies had the newest most flashy bikes, but the most experienced had the junk bikes - their knowledge meant they could get an awesome ride out of anything with two wheels :-D
  • 1 1
 @twonsarelli: That's actually TWO problems:

-They're being inconsiderate
-They're giving themselves permanent hearing loss
  • 2 0
 @Danzzz88: that’s valid. The people reading sponsored articles written about bike maintenance and upgrades… inherently are the type of people who prefer bike upgrades vs YouTube videos of technique, or simply getting out there.
  • 2 0
 Silence is golden
  • 1 0
 @twonsarelli: that's legit therepy, you should get your health insurance to reimburse you for those bolts...
  • 2 0
 Every new bike I've gotten in the past few years is blissfully quiet......for a few months. Then no teardown, no suspension service, no meticulous part-by-part inspection quells the noise for long. Sometimes it's a little grit in the headset bearings. Sometimes it's a derailleur that's come loose. Sometimes it's cables flopping around in the frame, but it's always SOMETHING. I still enjoy riding, but am resigned to chasing the creaks. Most recent one-Wolf Tooth ring developed play on an M8100 crankset. A generous helping of blue threadlocker seems to have quelled the noise.....for now.
  • 1 0
 @cougar797: Once it's all dialed in, stuff starts to wear out and creak anyway....
  • 1 0
 I go to great lengths to ensure my bike is silent but other peoples noisy bikes stoke a overwhelming amount of rage that makes me judge them extremely harshly. There is no climbing out of that hole. My mind has made its judgment and it will stand in perpetuity!!!
  • 2 0
 @Gibbersticks: Yeah I know. We could have been friends.
  • 110 1
 We are all too picky about Comments on PB
  • 15 0
 Period.
  • 21 2
 @noapathy: not a complete sentence
  • 13 1
 @idecic: Oh, someone uses Grammarly, do they?
  • 7 0
 @suspended-flesh: no, but I saw an ad for it once…or twice….in every single YouTube video for the last 9 months.
  • 4 0
 @runfanatic: you don’t have YouTube pro???
  • 12 0
 @suspended-flesh: Yes, I always run all the PB comments through Grammarly.
  • 5 0
 @idecic: You forgot your capitalization and punctuation (also, not a complete sentence). You must've skipped the Grammarly check this time. Please go to the corner for a timeout. Wink
  • 99 0
 My controls have to be set JUST so, for optimal brake-dragging down blue trails.
  • 3 0
 To be fair, Vedder blues are like blacks
  • 2 0
 Perfectly valid. Such a pain to redo and get it right. I traced marker lines on my bars so I can always reset the same.
  • 2 0
 @S4-916: "The steepest blues are black" - Dave Grohl, paraphrased
  • 78 0
 I’m picky about who I ride with
  • 133 0
 You guys have friends to ride with??
  • 93 0
 You guys have friends?
  • 16 0
 @Kyleponga: hahaha I feel your pain. Gravel stole my friends
  • 63 0
 You guys ride?
  • 33 1
 @like2pedal: no true friend could be stolen by gravel
  • 3 0
 You can pick?
  • 2 0
 based on wheel size, full face vs open face, clips vs flats, fanny pack vs backpack vs no pack, fox loud jersey vs kitsbow, oh wait I get it: well-maintained vs neglected bike?
  • 36 0
 @krahamgoats - I feel that. I've been riding for long enough that it isn't a social thing at all for me, I just like to pedal bikes and I do it on my schedule. My list of riding buddies is only a few people long but they're the best.
  • 7 0
 I had kids so I'd have someone to ride with. It was a crap shoot, but one of them does ride now. Winning!
  • 14 0
 I ride alone ... effing people are annoying, never on time, argue about where and what to ride, always got some other place to be.

My dogs never complain, I just wish they could ride farther and faster .. but they ride DJs Wink
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: is kaz on that list?
  • 5 0
 @rrolly: He likely would be if we lived in the same town.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Would you be on his? Wink
  • 3 0
 @sanchofula: I love riding with people, but you aren't wrong. One guy will drive two hours out of his way to make sure where we ride we can shuttle. I hate it.
  • 88 31
 Does anyone else just throw lube on their chain and call that a cleaning? And if things are really a mess I'll just find a "trail stick" and get the shit off my pulley wheels.

I don't think I've actually cleaned a chain or drivetrain in 10 years...beyond shining it up if I'm swapping it to a new frame.
  • 19 116
flag Slope-Style (Oct 6, 2022 at 12:11) (Below Threshold)
 You're dumb haha
  • 52 1
 Yep, the Rock N Roll Gold instructions are right up my alley: hose the chain down in lube, wipe it off, go ride.
  • 18 0
 @y0bailey I can relate. I live in the desert. Just wipe down the chain, re-lube and go. Maybe once a year, tops, I'll actually take the time to properly clean my drivetrain. I've been doing this for 20 years with no issues.
  • 10 0
 I used to clean my chain and transmission regularly enough. I don't do much anymore and it still rides great. I think 11 and 12 speed systems are way durable and reliable these days anyway.
  • 4 0
 Agreed. A stick does a great job on the jockey wheels and it can be conveniently done mid ride when you are taking a break
  • 3 0
 @Mugen: same, I just re-lube each ride, or at most turn the cranks while holding a tooth brush against derailleur cogs. My cassettes still last thousands of miles. Don't see the point in cleaning a chain
  • 3 0
 If I'm using WD-40, sure
  • 3 0
 yeah, never clean chains, just lube once in while, or change when became too long or within a new frame
  • 1 0
 Yeah but recently every time I try to quickly put a layer of lube on I end up with contaminated brake pads 20 minutes later. Now I'm really careful about taking care of each link and making sure it's super clean afterwards. I'll probably try the full Levy teardown in the winter.
  • 2 0
 I just power wash the crap out of my chain. Hold the nozzle 1” away. Then add fresh lube after its dry. Same as I did on my MX bikes my whole life. Never had a problem and my chain is always looking new and runs smooth. Say what you want, but I ain’t hand scrubbing my chain. No offense Mike.
  • 14 0
 I’m with Mike, crazy about chain maintenance cause cassettes are freaking expensive. I’ve run all sorts of wet and dry lube, dumonde, rock n roll, ceramaspeed, squirt, imulsion etc. I hate wet lubes for the greasy buildup, I hate wax lubes for the waxy build up and dry time.
Over the last year, I’ve been satisfied with scc ride it slick. It’s cheapish, has zero build up like a wax, and any excess wipes off with a rag, ready ride in a few minutes. I was skeptical but any greasy excess really wipes of with a rag, nothing sticks to it. Annnnnd somehow my chains are lasting longer. Made in USA, Definitely a fan boy. Hope this helps other pink bikers.
  • 1 0
 @OldschoolAK: I'll check it out!
  • 1 0
 yes, I just lube the chain with light mineral oil used in brakes and wipe off the excess, every third ride or so. No cleaning. Good enough for me.
  • 1 0
 If the sprockets are really dirty I brush them off, but usually don't use water. After a ride I apply a bit of lube, spin the chain and leave it there. Before my ride, I wipe the chain clean and go ride. I feel tiny bit I can get it cleaner is what will be back on after the first km of my ride. I do use a wet lube though (Green Oil). I've never had great experience with dry lubes but then again, I usually don't ride in super dusty conditions.
  • 1 0
 @OldschoolAK: Do you know if it is a PFAS chemical? I couldn't tell for sure on their website. Not crazy about the frequent application of Rock-n-roll and that it is a PFAS, but it does work for me.
  • 4 0
 @OldschoolAK: I contacted SCC- they responded quickly- no PFAS in Ride it Slick. If I have a choice, it's nice to not expose myself, family, and of course Momma Earth to more 'experiment with your DNA' stuff. Also want those DNA links to last a while.
  • 1 0
 If I'm up past my Dad bedtime (10ish) it's usually because I'm fixing the essential thing I broke so I can ride the next day and maybe doing a simple lube/wipe on the chain. I do inspect chain length frequently though and replace them before they start wearing the cassettes out. I'm in the same camp of never cleaning any of the gears on my bike, unless they come off the bike for some reason.

Also, not having a great Dumonde Tech Lite experience. It works ok (I even reluctantly did a full chain degrease/strip) but I got better lube intervals with Tri-Flo (more than 1-2 rides before chain gets noisy). Maybe I'll give "scc ride it slick" a try.
  • 3 0
 @gibspaulding: +1 (although Rock n Roll Blue for me).

Levy totally lost me on the DuMonde. I put that on my road bike chain, on the recommendation of my LBS (I normally use ProLink, but they no longer carry it). It picked up so much gunk that I can’t imagine using it on a mountain bike chain.
  • 1 1
 @mikelevy: To you and anybody else having issues with Dumonde: Their instructions (not easy to find) actually say to fully degrease the chain before you apply one drop. Y'all do that step? I use Finish Line Speed Degreaser. Put the new chain in a glass jar, spray an ounce or so of degreaser in there, and shake it up. Pour it out and wipe the chain off. Repeat. You'll know the chain is degreased when you can hear the chain's rollers rattle against the inner plates. Then install the chain and Dumonde it. I hardly get any build-up on my drivetrain.
  • 1 0
 Yup. The occasional bike park hose down every once in a while, and then wd40 silicone spray if I remember.
  • 1 0
 @barp: I once did that to a chain. It wasn't DuMonde but I did try a lubricant once where I had to degrease my chain. So I did. I never managed to get it properly lubed again. From then onwards I've always happily stuck with wet lubes.
  • 1 0
 Motorcycle chain degreaser ( I use motorex) works really well. You can spray it on the cassette and chain. Let it sit fit a few minutes and everything comes of with hose pressure.
  • 2 0
 @barp: Yup, that’s what I do. No issues.
  • 1 0
 Makes me wonder there, with all the materials, chemicals and their containers (spray cans in particular), which is the more environmental friendly solution? Just to use a lubricant and occasional cleaner for which the performance may be slightly compromised for environmental reasons hence the drivetrain parts may last a little shorter, or to use the no holes barred super high performance lubes and cleaners which will extend the life of the components and are also more toxic. I understand that it probably also depends on the drivetrain and some people use cassettes for which you can't replace individual sprockets. But well, let's say for a basic Shimano Deore XT 10x1 drivetrain (so everything XT). I'm curious how these two options compare.
  • 1 0
 With “ride it slick” I don’t even use a degreaser anymore. I used to use a citrus degreaser that worked good without negative environmental impact but only use a chain brush and water since switching. Re-lube and wipe off excess after a ride. It’s been pretty crazy simplifying my previously excessive chain maintenance and increasing my drivetrain life at the same time….. @vinay:
  • 1 0
 @OldschoolAK: Alright, thanks for clearing that up. So in your case you're using less stuff (hence less packaging). Still curious about how it pans out for those who do use the cleaners and stuff, like Levy mentioned in the article. Aside from the chain oil, I don't use much. When the bike is really dirty though and I want to work on it (or need to put it inside my car) I use a mild bike cleaner, a brush and a low pressure cleaner from Karcher. Not to get it spotless though. I don't care too much about spotless though I do admit it is a bit addictive to get it cleaner once you've started cleaning. But that's still occasional. For most of the dirt that gets on the bike, it is best to allow it to dry and brush it off. Using water only makes a mess.
  • 1 0
 @OldschoolAK: How does it compare to the ProGold lubes? I've tried many products, but always go back because squirt on, wipe off, and very little mess.
  • 1 0
 @SvenNorske: I haven’t used that brand. Looking at them, it may be similar. Both pro gold and ride it slick have a fire arm lubricant background.
  • 42 0
 I used to be particular about my entire bike. Never squeaked, clicked, perfect shifting every time. Now I have 2 kids and the only thing I a particular about is actually riding it when the opportunity presents itself. Squeaks, clicks, poor shifting and at least one loose bolt. No less enjoyable though.
  • 2 0
 Same. I am just happy that I have the time to go and ride. As long as it is not a death trap, I am probably riding, cable rattles and all.
  • 4 3
 I am particular about not having kids. Life is too short and every parent is misarable. Fuck them kids
  • 2 0
 @valrock: My daughter just brought me a beer tonight.

Checkmate the guy with no free time and that is constantly tired.
  • 1 0
 @valrock: Eh, I get it. I am 'one and done', as long as science does not let me down. The way I look at it is this: I wiped her nose and her rear so that in 50 years, she can return the favor.
  • 32 1
 Cleat position on my shoes! I HATE getting new shoes for this reason. I trace the cleat location on my shoes every time I have to change them. Even then I will still have to get it perfect.
  • 70 30
 The best position for cleats is in the garbage next to the pedals they connect to. Wink
  • 25 11
 Flats will solve this problem for you.
  • 29 1
 @fartymarty: No, it leaves riders used to clipless left fumbling to find the perfect spot on the pedals whenever they get going
  • 10 0
 @fartymarty: if you have flats, you might want to try inserts.
  • 15 29
flag Korbi777 (Oct 6, 2022 at 13:42) (Below Threshold)
 @slowerthanmydentist: flats are for children
  • 12 3
 @Korbi777: say that to Sam Hill
  • 5 0
 @vtracer: I ride both just to keep myself in check with myself.
  • 1 0
 I ride clips as well so do feel your pain.
  • 6 0
 @vtracer: This so much. I moved to flats a few years ago to try something new and challenge myself to learn some new/improve neglected skills and was constantly having to shift my feet because it never felt right. Had been using clipless for 20+ years prior. I could ride fine with the flats and I loved just being able to hop on the bike no matter what I had on my feet. But man, I could never get my foot in what felt like the right place and I was was constantly thinking about my feet. I finally decided to go back clipless I am so much more comfortable. 20 years of having you foot in the same position every time is a hard habit to break I guess.

I will trade some time fiddling to get the cleat set up right once vs constantly having to fiddle with foot position on flats all ride.
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty: actually no, i used to switch back and forth and the thing that keeps me ditching flats over and over again is the varieing footposition. Knowing your foot sits on the exact same spot keeps me riding less bad. ( they said its a therapygroup after all)
  • 1 0
 @optimumnotmaximum: I know what you mean as I ride both on a fairly regular basis (I currently have clips on the HT and flats on FS).

Also with clips you don't need to think about your feet (except when you're desperately trying to get a pedal back in).
  • 19 0
 I'm very particular about the air I put in my tyres staying in my tyres. And the air I remove from my brakes staying out of my brakes. Stuff on my bike doesn't get much love, because that's the way I like it. If it needs constant tending and tinkering to function at a reasonable level, I don't want it.
  • 32 0
 you should try premium air instead of budget air
  • 22 0
 I never want to see the term, "Levy lube" printed on this website again. Please and thank you.
  • 2 0
 A full article about Levy Lube, and only 1 out of hundreds of responses about Levy Lube. Has the impossible happened? Is there still hope for mankind?
  • 18 0
 I air my tires 2 days before i ride and check the pressure using the "pinch" method, after 2 days the tires feel perfect. If i air it the day before or the day i ride, the tires just don't feel right.
  • 52 1
 One of my eyes is twitching uncontrollably after reading your comment haha
  • 18 0
 You called Dave 15min after you were supposed to meet him to ask for 15 more minutes. Then finished your work and sat on your lawn for 20min. I'm surprised Dave still rides with you.
  • 8 0
 You are 100% right
  • 7 0
 Because Dave knows and wasn't ready neither
  • 18 0
 I'm picky about the gas I put in my shock, it has to be 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen or I'm not interested, I'm all about performance.
  • 23 0
 this guy breathes
  • 12 0
 I dare you to ask for that next time you are in the bike shop "one can of shock air please"
  • 16 1
 I'm very picky about my brakes, especially lever feel. If the bite point isn't at least an inch in front of the bar don't even talk to me. And don't even get me started about how the lever feels after it hits bite point, if that shit moves more than the tolerances of the bearing it sits on, it may as well be thrown in the garbage (looking at you Sram, Hayes, and TRP)
  • 3 0
 What brakes you running?
  • 5 1
 @kylereidmcc: Hope Tech 3 E4 on my Enduro bike, Shimano XT on my trail bike. Will probably switch to Hope on the trail bike at some point eventually.
  • 2 0
 @Bobtheguy: put the T3 on the trail bike and get some T4V4 for the enduro. Thats my plan at least.
  • 1 0
 TRP? I have slate t4s, and when it bites, the most it moves is a few mm
  • 1 0
 @Bobtheguy: cool, I’m interested in trying the new hopes, but find the lightness of the Hayes too addicting….
  • 1 0
 @Andrea1811: a few mm too much
  • 14 0
 I'm really picky about try to look like I don't care: mismatched gear (bike and self - both probably dirty), park bike for trail riding, brakes that go to the bar, prob should get some chain lube, tires set at that'll survive PSi
  • 9 0
 Absolute menace.
  • 7 0
 Username checks out
  • 16 0
 if the drivetrain can't survive in A Quiet Place world im not riding until it can.
  • 7 0
 I guess you’re running Onyx hubs and not i9 Hydras or Chris Kings…
  • 17 0
 Very picky about headset routing.
  • 6 0
 I've internalized this comment.
  • 13 1
 My seatpost height. On both my road bike and mtb, I have them marked with a piece of electrical tape right above the collar and look at it almost every ride to confirm it hasn't slipped. If I can only help it, I will NOT take the seatpost out, for the fear that I won't re-install it in *exactly* the same way, as I'm convinced that I have it at just the perfect, most optimal height and seat pointing straight and that obviously is not repeatable...
I know.
  • 4 0
 I thought I wasn’t too picky. But yes, this. A few weeks ago I rode the flat half mile to the trail head, felt like something was wrong. Bike felt like shit. Wondered if I was just exhausted or injured (or maybe covid). Raised seatpost by 5mm. All was then right with the world.
People who just slam it down to the collar because it looks cool make my teeth itch.
  • 12 0
 You gotta be picky about seat height if you're pedaling a lot. I injured myself and spent a bunch of time off the bike because I was riding test bikes back-to-back-to-back and the seat heights weren't close enough. Knees and nerves ooof
  • 1 0
 @AyJayDoubleyou: sorry about the itchy teeth, but mine's slammed and the right seated height. I even cut the seat tube by 10mm to get that tiny bit lower. Nothing to do with looks, all about getting the seat out of the way.

So I guess I might be too picky about that.
  • 2 1
 @AndrewHornor: if you’ve gone to the trouble of cutting your seat tube that’s not quite slamming it in and calling it done. But if you ever see a British man looking at your frame and looking uncomfortable be sure to repeat that explanation back to me.
  • 2 0
 @AyJayDoubleyou: 5mm in one go?? I assure you I'm on a different level of anal (no pun intended) with this then. If I adjust the seat height for any reason, the increment is 1mm at a time. And I could swear I can feel the difference
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Are there any tips or tricks that helped alleviate your knee/nerve issues?

I’m having trouble too (biceps femoris tendinopathy on back/outside of knee) randomly after 15+ years of riding and no meaningful changes to setup.

A lower seat and physio seems to help a bit, but it’s frustrating because time off the bike seems to be the only cure and it flares up as soon as I start riding again.
  • 1 0
 Same. I always thought that marking seatpost height with electrical tape was "best practice." I am incredulous when I don't see it on other people's bikes. "How do you know where your saddle height is!" (shaking my fist).
  • 2 0
 @scotteh: Oh man, I’m not the guy to give advice about that stuff. For me, I have to be super anal about my setup, especially making sure my seat isn’t too high by even a few millimeters. Seat angle is a bit factor for me as well.

Have you tried a pro bike fitting? I’m not super convinced about some of those people but I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt.
  • 1 0
 @Dopepedaler: I was a mechanic in a shop that sold a ton of high-end road bikes, and those people are (and should be) super picky about seat height. It was drilled into my head to always mark the post with tape or whiteout marker before moving it.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Same. That's where I learned about the zealous adherence to proper saddle height.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: makes sense as everyone is different, but thanks anyway! lowering my seat seems to help too, and i'm going to try 165mm cranks to see if spinning a smaller circle might help.

i have tried a pro bike fit, but it felt like $150 down the drain to hear my set up is already dialed... i'm sure some are better than others though, open to suggestions if anyone has a good fitter to recommend!
  • 11 0
 I'm too lazy to scrub my chain, but also picky so I bought a cheap ultrasonic cleaner. Now I'm sad I didn't buy one big enough to fit the cassette.
  • 13 0
 Oh man I lust after an ultrasonic cleaner big enough for the whole drivetrain. Don't work at a bike shop kids. The fancy tools ruin you for life.
  • 2 0
 @sspiff: You can get some pretty cheap ones out there. I also have one that is a hair too small for my cassette. I need a second bigger one too. I clean my big rings one side at a time in mine currently.
  • 2 0
 Ultrasonic cleaners intrigue me. What's good and bad about them?
  • 1 0
 @slimboyjim: + they clean things with very little effort or nasty solvents - they’re a wee bit noisy
  • 5 0
 I really need to buy my own ultrasonic cleaner and take it to the next level. Amazon here I come.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: please don't put it into xmas gifts tips, I've just bought a massage gun from the last round
  • 1 0
 @cougar797: oh I mean the whole drivetrain at the same time. Takes like a gallon of simple green concentrate. Pretty sure the big bois are still pricey?
  • 2 0
 Why just big enough for the cassette? I'd rather just have one I can put my whole bike in. Or a drive thru version so it will clean me as well.
  • 1 0
 @cougar797: ooh, that's smart. I didn't think if doing part of the cassette and rotating it.
  • 10 1
 PICKY?? Lets face it, how many of us just grab the bike and go. Who doesn't spend way too much time trying to decide which shoes, shorts, jersey, socks, etc, to wear. Only to find that the gloves you chose are actually 2 lefts and youll have to go with the ones you didn't want to wear. Doesn't everyone grab too much stuff for the hip bag? Then painfully pair the pile of stuff down since there's definitely not enough room?.

"sh?t, where's my sweat band? Do I have a pre-roll? A lighter?" Keys, phone, single ear bud, shimano crank bolt tightening thingy, (you never know right?). Picky is a mere stepping stone to neurotic lol.
  • 9 0
 @mikelevy I had a boss at a machine shop who once said "things have a funny way of working right when they're clean." He was right, and it is why I clean every moving part of my bike more times than I ride it.
  • 6 0
 Exactly. And you also find things that are wrong before they go really wrong in the middle of a ride.
  • 1 1
 Do you regularly remove the sprockets from the freehub body for inspection? The last thing I broke during a ride was the freehub body, which cracked somewhere between the second and third smallest sprocket. I hadn't seen that coming. The hub manufacturer kindly sent me a free replacement though, so it was only one ride cut short and many happy rides to come.
  • 7 0
 If my bike isn't nasty enough to get a full bubble bath, I will at least wipe down and lube the drivetrain, as well as wipe crud off my suspension (paintbrushes work wonders for getting into tight areas where you'd still like to be gentle, like fork seals).
  • 8 0
 I wash my bike maybe twice a year. The chain and pulleys get wiped down before every ride, with fresh lube on the chain. Check the tyre pressures and that's it.
  • 1 0
 I’ll rinse mine with the hose but otherwise the same. Tire pressure I find matters and it’s the one thing that always changes.
  • 8 0
 Brake levers feeling the same on both sides, which almost never seems to happen!
  • 5 0
 I spend around 8 hours f'n with my bike for every 1 hr of riding time. Last week i spent a few hours removing the annodizing on my match maker clamps and polished them so they would match the z1 coil i spent a week stripping and polishing. The brain gets weird when you've been an eat/sleep/breathe bike guy for 30 years and cant ride cause you disslocated your hip and rupruted a disk in the lames possible (not)crash.
  • 5 1
 Other riders laundering their kit in heavily scented detergent or fabric softener. I don’t make an effort to get out of the suburbs so I can still smell Febreze. Bluetooth speakers playing loudly. Drones.
The drivetrain gets a wire brush and a generous dose of Squirt.
  • 5 0
 Stickers and sticker residue. They must be annihilated. Fun stickers can be added to my tool chest, but "Made In Taiwan" or "Warning: [Don't Do A Stupid]" must be removed from parts.
  • 5 1
 If you are picky about your drivetrain being clean and not using a hot melt wax you are doing it wrong. Since I switched to wax I can get it perfect in just a few minutes, no nasty brake cleaner required.
  • 4 0
 Ok, but maybe you live somewhere with precipitation? Wax is useless in the PNW, unless you bring it on your ride and reapply while you're out.
  • 8 0
 Wax has never worked for me, but I can see it keeping things clean if you're riding in the dry. Who remembers White Lightening?
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: I had a bottle of that! Then I never bought wax lubricant again lol
  • 1 0
 Great if you are in the dry- I’m in the Rockies and both my Mtbs have waxed chains. I can imagine that on the coast it would make me more neurotic- “was that too much precipitation? Should I strip it and re wax it?” etc. But whilst it is running well it is so nice and quiet and clean.
  • 1 0
 Wax hasn't worked too great for me, but using the Silca Super Secret wax-based lube on a normal SRAM chain (without ultrasonicing the stock grease off) makes my shifting so much quieter.
  • 1 0
 @gnarnaimo: worst crap ever!
  • 1 0
 @gnarnaimo: I use Squirt in the UK all winter with no issues
  • 1 0
 Came here just to say this. Nowhere is hotmelt wax more popular than the rainy UK. Can't say I miss having to clean my chain.
  • 1 0
 @continuity: when it is damp the wax doesn't last as long, but even regular oil needs a refresh after a wet ride too. I'd rather have a clean drivetrain.

I guess I don't deal with tons of water in CA, but my few wet rides per year I always used to have to strip and lube the chain after anyways.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: that stuff is pretty terrible, but a hot melt wax like Silca Secret Chain Blend is a completely different type of product. Taking the chain off and throwing it in a hot pot makes it a much more effective, and I think easier, process.
  • 2 0
 @mtb-thetown: rotating chains is a massive help too. Having one on the the bike and one prewaxed and ready to ride saves time and is pretty convenient.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy looks like you are missing the screw on the AXS derailleur too. Newer units have it (rolling change in 2022 according to SRAM). SRAM told me it makes no difference on the older ones, but I put one in and I SWEAR it shifts better.

You know, since we're being picky and all... Wink
  • 1 0
 Where is this screw you speak of?
  • 3 0
 @jwellford: So looking at the picture of Levy's derailleur on the bench, it is the bottom parallelogram pivot closest to the bench, just next to the limit screws. The pivot is a female threaded shaft with a bushing for the pivot, so nothing is securing it like the other three. I used an M3-.5x6 screw (.5 thread pitch, 6mm long).

www.mtbr.com/threads/attn-all-axs-drivetrain-owners.1207581
  • 7 1
 Pulling up to my local trailhead and seeing groups of perfect ly healthy people riding bikes with motors..so gross
  • 4 1
 Yes, gross. That's the right word to describe this whole thing. Yuk.
  • 4 1
 Suspension. I get OCD if a service is late and small bump compliance suffers. My wife thinks it's neurotic but hey, otherwise I can't sleep at night hahaha Don't even get me started when I hear a creak or a click...
  • 2 0
 Same dude. Perfect suspension is a place of bliss. When its not there after you've had it nothing brings that level of satisfaction until you find it again.
  • 2 0
 Bar and seat angle. New bar or seat. First ride, ride 5 minutes, stop. Adjust 1 degree. Ride 5 minutes, stop. Adjust one degree. Ride 5, stop. Adjust. Over and over, then half a degree, back and forth. Next ride, same thing until I find something. A few weeks later, "Think it moved" start over. It annoys me so
  • 2 0
 I've found that I'm really particular about control setup, and apparently prefer a rather unique arrangement since I've virtually never hopped on someone else's bike and liked it. Brakes far enough inboard to juuust catch the hook with a single finger and the shifter/dropper lever far enough inboard that they don't overlap the grip at all.
  • 3 1
 I’m picky about the click bait I click. But I clicked here and found my idiosyncrasies align with Levy. Dirty bike, clean chain. A gritty, grindy drivetrain can detract from my ride as much as a fluttering shopping cart wheel makes me hate the store I’m shopping in. That and internal cable rattle. And “spill-proof” gas cans. And the doorbell during my nap.
  • 1 0
 Oh man, spill proof gas cans, what a joke.
  • 3 0
 Brake pad rub. On my bikes and the guys I ride with. If someone's got pads dragging and squeaking all the way up the hill, I'll make them stop so I can realign the caliper to shut the damn thing up.
  • 4 0
 Heck yes on pad rub, that is 100% unacceptable. I also check my crank and pedal bearings all the time... no idea how some people are okay with pedals that barely spin!
  • 2 0
 Everything, and I mean everything. Every bolt is the correct torque, every item is spotless, the brake levers are the exact same angles and the exact same distance from the grips, the bars are exactly centered in the stem, pressures are checked digitally with 2 gauges. No wonder I'm still rubbish, I spend more time with spanners than riding it!
  • 6 0
 I feel like that's all part of it, though. The geeking out and working on stuff, just like car people do.
  • 2 0
 Killer article, thx. Super picky about too much but 1) having the Pinkbike podcast intro on Thursday and 2) the intro soundtrack (vs. some vocal intro) make me happy.

Other than that, all the other OCD things about a bike everyone's commented about already.
  • 2 1
 Apologies for no podcast this week!
  • 5 0
 @mikelevy: No worries amigo, it only breaks our hearts is all. Seriously tho, best podcast ever. Defined the pandemic, and I cant even imagine life w/o it now.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: SHAME! I had to listen to MUSIC while driving to the bike park!
  • 2 0
 I switch tires not unfrequently. And doing so involves collecting the sealant from the old tire and transplanting it to the new one, along with some extra. The old tire is properly washed and returned to storage. If an insert is being moved from wheel to storage I also pick up the sealant that's sticking to it and store it or put it on the wheel that's being installed. When I put the new tire I "grease" the beads with soap, an habit from the old days that I'm not sure is still necessary. I have two wheelsets so I can have some options without having to change tires, but it's still many hours throughout the year being devoted to these operations.
  • 2 0
 I'm sort of picky about the way I dress. I want to look like I know what I'm doing and this isn't my first day on the bike, but also not so kitted out that I look like I'm sponsored or a poser. Because I definitely do not ride well enough to be sponsored.
  • 2 0
 My bike is washed after every ride, at the DIY carwash on my way home. Before my ride I just wipe my chain with a rag and re-lube it. My bike doesn't click, moan, squeak, or grind at all. I strip it down once a year and give everything a cleaning with 99% rubbing alcohol. Bearing are regreased and everything is reassembled with loctite and anti-seize. I've been doing it like this for over a decade, its the easiest maintenance schedule ever!
  • 2 0
 I do a quick clean after every ride - to keep friction to a minimum, check for wear and check for breaks. I hate being the guy that holds up the group because I haven't maintained my bike.
  • 5 0
 Too picky about how PB announces Win it Wednesday winners !
  • 2 1
 Bike HAS to be mechanically perfect. No room for an imperfect bike. Dirty is fine - unless I'm just looking at it during an extended break, or if there's a phototshoot involved... And the tire labels... And the housing length And the bolt torque... Then there's in incomplete vintage projects with the era-correct builds with matching component date codes......
  • 1 0
 I need a clean drivetrain too. But I don’t go to the same extremes as Levy. Close though. Noises are the worst. I del with them as soon as I get home. I ride alone a lot too I think partly because of friends whose bike sound like a a plastic container of Lego being shaken with mice and rats inside squeeking in protest.
  • 1 0
 I’m picky about noise. So anything that can result in noise gets cleaned or adjusted, ideally before the noise starts: clean drivetrain, lube everything that needs it, all fasteners and headset correctly torqued, brakes properly adjusted, etc.

As for my drivetrain routine, due to dusty conditions I normally clean the chain and gears after every ride. But it’s a very quick, 2 minute on the bike process: spray with degreaser, scrub, hose off, dry with air compressor, relube.
  • 3 0
 wax lube in the summer, wd-40 spray in the winter, after every ride, it repels water, and cleans while lubricating.

and above all else; never use wet lube.
  • 1 0
 Fork performance of my 2021 Lyrik Ultimate. I know suspension is a compromise of settings, but it's never been very satisfying, even when theoretically dialed with a ShockWiz or my own variation of settings. It never seems to be able to keep up with the back end of my bike, which is set and forget operating acceptably over a wide variety of types of terrain and speeds.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy there’s an odd but possible chance that you cooould be, my brother from another mother? There’s no chance you left the part out where you constantly mess with the adjustments on your suspension while your riding is there?
  • 2 0
 I almost never change much with suspension once it's where I like it. The exception would be if it's been really wet and the trails are slippery so I'm looking for more grip.
  • 1 0
 I'm generally not too picky- as long as it rides reasonably, I'll be happy. That being said, brakes are my one exception. I hate when I have sloppy bite points or uneven travel. It's not that I can't ride through it, but it's in my head and I think about it. A lot. Just a reasonable bleed and most of my issues are averted, but a rental or demo bike with sloppy brakes can just about ruin a day for me. It's cause I'm fat.
  • 1 0
 Super picky that my bike shifts just right! If my derailleur is being whack I’ll spend forever tinkering with it using voodoo mechanics. If that doesn’t work…I’ll just put a new one on. That’s why I like shimano SLX, not too much to replace!
  • 1 0
 ALL NON-NATIVE NOISE MUST GO!!! Cable slap is native.... loose axles, headset isn't, or pivot bolt in't native... A calibrated torque wrenches and some assembly compounds a mans best friend though. Take all the grenade-able guess work out of the equation, and give yourself peace of mind.
  • 2 0
 The only reason why I clean my drive train and bike a day or so after riding is to see if there's anything loose or making funny noises and take care of them before I go ride again.
  • 1 0
 Also chain, but I've left behind The Levy Mess by switching to Wolftooth WT-1 and always re-lube the night before a ride, then wipe the shite out of it the next morning. And seat height. A low seat height makes me feel like I'm totally out of shape, and struggling with every hill.
  • 1 0
 getting the stem/bars perfectly lined up with the front wheel. I KNOW I will ride it just fine and not notice it being cockeyed while I'm 20 feet off the ground at the jumps, but I just can't have it that way when I'm setting up my bike.
  • 3 0
 Brake bleed. Any sponginess and I’m back to the bench. I am
mocked for it. Those who mock me largely ride bikes with brakes I’d consider broken.
  • 1 0
 Tire pressure! I set it before every ride based on where I'm riding, and get annoyed when other factors affect it (temperature, elevation) enough to be noticeable. That's really only on my XC and gravel bike though, it makes such a difference on those ones.

Also creaks, damn I hate them.
  • 1 0
 For those not fastidious enough to do the Dumonde Tech routine, but who still want a good lube, Boeshield T-9 is great. It's solvent & wax, the solvent pulls crap out of the rollers to where you can wipe it off after the wax dries. Makes it easy to maintain a relatively clean chain with minimal effort. Don't chuck out your half bottle of tri-flow, give it to someone you don't like.
  • 1 0
 I’m 100% down with his take on drivetrain care!
I learned a long time ago that a wearing chain is beginning of the end for the rest of the drivetrain.
My last bike shifted perfectly for 5 years because of chain maintenance, and dumping the chain for a new one twice a season.
I don’t have a parts washer, but I do have 70% isopropyl and a toothbrush..
  • 1 0
 Cable routing. Nothing makes me happier then looking at (my own) cockpit cables that are nicely shrink wrapped together and neatly laced into their ports and/or guides. On the other hand, if someone's (not my own obviously) brake cables and shifter/dropper cables do not follow the same path and are not wrapped together or at least zip-tied it makes me want to cry. Even worse if they're not that way because of manufacturers incompetence but due to the laziness of the mechanic/s who built and worked on the bike.
  • 1 0
 Anything can be caked in mud but the stanchions and wiper seals must be spotless, chain must be lubed and wiped and I only take it to your screw driver gunk removal phase on chain ring and jockeys. Air pressures running within 0.3,5 p.s.i of whatever number that comes to my head for the particular bike, casing and trail, the bike must be flipped upside down for the chain part and this process is totally necessary because it puts oil from my lowers on my foam seals in my fork, right knee protection always ALWAYS goes on first! My wife’s bike gets the exact same routine and I ask what pressures she wants and proceed to use those numbers as guide lines to what she really meant to say. Some of my friends wait with hands on hips and bored looks on their faces others just pedal off.
  • 2 0
 Dude! I'm left handed! Always put your left side on first! Come to the Dark Side!
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy write up on superstition and pre ride habits? Dead birds, black cats, broken mirrors and walking under ladders don’t bother me at all and yet I can’t shake my right before left knee pad pre-descend ritual. I have my theories like warning my self I am about to do something risky but I take other risks all the time without much thought.
  • 1 0
 Suspension sag. It drives me crazy watching people climb up the mountain sitting 75% into their shock stroke. I guess shocks leak more or something because it's nearly always the shock.

Riding in Santa Cruz there's an inordinate amount of e-bikers with this issue, and I'm just so sad thinking about what that shock has to deal with on the decent.
  • 1 0
 Great writing @mikelevy - actually LOLed at "My Buddy Wayne" capped up.
My frame is similarly dirty, my gears are mildly gunked up and the rear mech bent and un-bent just enough to (mostly) work, the suspension is set-and-forgot-what-it's-set-at and the tyres are anywhere between 17 and 27psi depending on when I last pumped them up.
But the brakes have to bite at the right point and feel rock solid or it totally throws me off. And they're Shimano, so that's not always a given.
  • 1 0
 Bike has to be clean & quiet (except for the freehub!). A recent move to coil shock has taken my bike to new levels of quietness, I can't stand rattles and squeaks.

Second thing i'm picky about is a freehub that's working properly, I can tell whether it needs a clean and lube based on the sound, it should be crisp! And absolutely no sticking.

When I'm rolling down the trail, all I want to hear is the freehub and the sound of my tyres in the dirt.
  • 1 0
 My bike is always perfect, so the things that annoy me are about other peoples bikes. For example:
The use of chain oils like muc-off instead of wax.
Overgreasing everything.
Putting grease on things that don't need lubrication like the axle.
  • 1 0
 Muck in tire threads after washing/lubing/shining drive me over the edge.

Putting it in the stand or in the living room (yes, paranoia) and discovering FILTH on the threads...the horror!

Also, all chemicals used on the bike must smell right. Not bubble gum.
  • 1 0
 I've always been a minimal maintenance guy, just enough to keep things running. But then I got some proper cleaning brushes, stiff skinny ones for cassettes and a big soft one for frame and suspension. They make cleaning so easy that my bike actually looks like someone cares. Bike looks good in 5 minutes as long as there's no caked on mud. The right tools make a world of difference.
  • 1 0
 Personally I struggle with any visual damage on the bike. Stacked it a couple weeks ago and scratched up my Code levers, top cap, brake line and outer shifter cable and handlebar. Nothing serious, but I’m struggling to not order all new parts
  • 1 0
 When I worked in a shop, I didn't ride that often and with a full shop at my disposal, cleaned my bike after every ride. I no longet work in a shop, and ride all the time. Now, I hose it off maybe once a week and re-lube the chain when I hear it squeak. The only thing I keep clean are the fork, shock and dropper stanctions.
  • 1 0
 Levy, here are my mandatories:

1. check/set tire pressure before every ride.
2. clean and lube drivetrain after every ride.
3. clean, lube and torque all pivots and linkage every quarter.

For this I am rewarded with a bike that is smooth and quiet 99% of the time. I don't think your drivetrain obsession is weird, who doesn't want a bike that runs like a pearl?
  • 1 0
 Just my bike in general.

I am WAY too picky about my bike, its cleanliness and function. After almost every ride the bike gets a full deep clean, re lube, I check to see if rotors are rubbing, quick top bleed, quick wheel true. Any rattle, squeak or creak from my bike prompts a full inspection, which involves making sure my chain guide hasn't wandered (a good chance to really get inside and clean around my bb behind the chain guide. everything gets pulled apart, lubed, retorqued, and inspected.

The downside of this is just how much time I spend maintaining my bike. The upside is that except for light battle scars, all my bikes stay in near new condition.
  • 1 0
 Kudos, Mr.Levy! You have your piorities aligned just as they should be. Except for one thing. You gotta share, Bud. When you're single-dropping lube on your chain - do hers, too. Dividends, man. What goes around comes around, ya?
  • 1 0
 I am a fanatic about using color-matching areas of my bike. For example, my entire drivetrain, including rotors and calipers, crankset, chainring, chain, and cassette must all be silver or clear anodized; everything else on the bike must be black, including several dozen black titanium screws in various places. The aesthetics of my bike must be free of compromise.
  • 2 1
 ~30yrs I had a chain cleaning sequence: soak and clean in varsol using a tooth brush; wash off excess dirt with water and finally soak in oil (confession, it was 10w30). Hang chain over oil container to drip off excess.
  • 4 0
 Beer, definitely picky about my beer before and after a ride!
  • 2 0
 This is how I choose my friends.
  • 1 0
 @ShredKC: Miller low life or PBR?
  • 1 0
 @Lts3000: we can’t be friends.. lol
  • 5 0
 my nose
  • 1 0
 As long as there is space for a water bottle inside the front triangle, a threaded bottom bracket, and it doesn't have through the headset cable routing I don't care about much else on the bike.
  • 3 0
 I have a battered Raleigh Team Banana that you would LOVE.
  • 4 0
 A message to Dave: you deserve better.
  • 2 0
 Other people's handlebar widths, wheel size choice, amount of suspension travel...or anything that can be commented on in PB.
  • 1 0
 Noises and clean drivetrain..luckily no issues with either on my RZ (at least for the noises, solid build all around) and clean drivetrain when its gets nasty from the woods..otherwise i keep riding...
  • 2 0
 I need to know what is causing noises. I don't necessarily fix it right away, but I need to know what's causing it right away.
  • 1 0
 I'm pretty tolerant but handlebars not centered or rolled correctly, levers not at 30.0 degrees, tires underinflated causing sidewall flex, or rubbing disks...and I'll stop and fix it!
  • 2 0
 Literally everything creaks on my bike. Headset, bars, forks, BB, pedals, frame bearings. It hurts my soul, but the twice yearly clean doesn't fix it, so I'm out of options.
  • 4 0
 Dunk that hoe in some wax and ride the bike
  • 1 0
 Showing up to the spot on time and ready then the buddy shows up maybe a minute early and proceeds to flip the bike over and lube/wipe his chain. Automatic 10 minutes late to start riding. Must be a Colorado thing.
  • 1 0
 I have a 300-gallon ultrasonic cleaning bathtub in my garage. Dump the entire bike in, set timer to 5 min, and off I go. My entire bike is a faded silver color (used to be green, blue, black, etc.), not sure why.
  • 1 0
 BRAKES!!!! I can't have any rub what so ever. Brake rotors are taking over my garage,seriously I probably have at least 100- 150 rotors. I'm thinking of giving them to Trick or Treaters this year.
  • 1 0
 That's a lot of rotors! What are the best ones you've tried for staying straight?
  • 4 0
 What? Levy has a girlfriend?
  • 1 0
 I'll admit I'm very uptight about the cleanliness of my drivetrain. It probably has to do with the fact that an xx1 11 speed cassette is so damn expensive, I don't want to wear it out faster than necessary.
  • 1 0
 Noisy bikes - but not mine. My bike is well sorted and looked after - it's quiet. My mate's sacks of shit aren't and listening to them on a ride makes me want to not fasten them on the rack on the drive home.
  • 1 0
 Tires and suspension should be at correct pressure, drivetrain should be clean, bike should be quiet. However, an optimally performing chain doesn't need to be removed and stripped with harsh chemicals on a regular basis.
  • 4 1
 @mikelevy
"vhainring"
nice
  • 1 0
 Doh! The V is right next to the C dammit hah
  • 3 0
 shiba inus are generally very quiet dogs. . .
  • 3 0
 Mine sounds like she's a zombie extra on the Walking Dead when she's chewing on herself.
  • 1 0
 @zeedre @mikelevy: Mine howls like a wolf when she gets worked up. The chewing on leg sounds are hilarious!
  • 3 0
 I’m picky about the type of air I put in my tire.
  • 1 0
 Do you prefer Dry Air, Moist Air or Saturated Air?
  • 1 0
 I find that other riders chains making noise bothers me. At least if they're on an expensive bike. You bought an $8k bike...treat it with some respect and lube the chain!!!
  • 3 0
 The cost of Mountain Bikes
  • 3 0
 If my electric car doesn't match my downcountry bike I won't ride
  • 1 1
 Wait! I have both but they don’t match! I blame supply chain for both. Now… should I wrap the EV or powder coat DC?
  • 2 0
 I compensate for my downcountry bike not having enough travel by my car having too much power Wink
  • 3 0
 You care about your car? I only give the car the attention it needs to get me to the trail!
  • 3 0
 @Peddle4Life: I've observed that if my automobile is working at all, as far as I'm concerned it's working perfectly. Whereas if my bike isn't working perfectly, as far as I'm concerned, it isn't working at all.
  • 2 0
 Tire pressure. I adjust it depending on wheter it is wet or dry, roughness of the trail or the ascent.
  • 2 0
 Pedals on opposite sides of each other.
If you mess this up w/ a square bb spindle it feels kinda funky.
  • 2 0
 How in the world does a sticker from a small Southern Ontario motor sports shop end up on you shelf lol?
  • 1 0
 I bought some Ohlins suspension and other bits for my car from them. Good service, sticker goes up haha
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: What car are we talking about?
  • 2 0
 Me, making sure I have IPAs to bring for the après bike festivities in the parking lot or at our on hill lounge.
  • 1 0
 I know I’m crazy & I obsess over everything it just depends on the day of the week & if I’m going riding that day or soon every small detail!
  • 2 0
 I clean stuff meticulously when I come to sell it, otherwise it gets a bit of rinse when it rains/when going through puddles
  • 1 0
 Frame is cracked, squeaks like hell. Derailleur looks like it's been cleaned with a grinder, suspension screams after a few minutes of DH. Still Fun!
  • 2 0
 For me its my wheels and brakes. Wheels have to be straight and brakes have to be dialed.
  • 1 0
 "Be picky and be a dick about it" - is that how the saying goes on PinkBike? Where's the Friday Fails - I need to get my fix!
  • 1 0
 I'm picky about having anti-seize, thread locker, and grease in their appropriate applications. None of this grease-on-everything business.
  • 2 0
 That is an excellent thing to be picky about, especially when you're the one working on it months after putting it together.
  • 2 0
 I 'floss' my hubs. No one else I know does this, but you can't beat a shiny hub.
  • 1 0
 Do you tie pipe cleaners around your hub shells?
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Ha ha, no I just use a clean rag and a bit of patience to get it in between the spokes and stuff.
  • 2 0
 Great article Levy! Had a smile on my face reading this. Need to make some time to work on my bike now...
  • 3 1
 Bike needs to be in factory condition. I hate chain noise.
  • 2 1
 @mikelevy Start waxing your Junk, wait, I mean Chain, and your Junk, wait I mean drivetrain will always be clean...
  • 1 0
 I used a hot wax chain lube last season, drivetrain was always nice and clean. It worked well provided it didn't get wet, any rain and it was done.
  • 1 0
 @als802: That's also the beauty of it!

Even if it does get wet, the dirt and grit doesn't stick to the chain so it's perfectly clean when you get home ready to whip off and drop into the wax. Far quicker than removing greasy sand/mud, applying a wet lube and cleaning all the black crap off everything you've touched.
  • 1 0
 @realize: I think the ideal way to do it is to have two chains. I was on a trip when mine got wiped out in the rain. I didn't travel with my mini crockpot.
  • 2 0
 Wax has never worked for me, especially in the rain we get. I clean my chain enough that I can use a nasty, heavy lube in the winter and it's all good.
  • 1 0
 @als802: Nailed it, always travel with two chains! This also maximizes time between waxing sessions. Drivetrain parts don't wear either since chain stretch isn't much of a thing. There's no perfect for everyone, but waxing is pretty rad and my chains are never hairy.
  • 2 0
 Brake rub/drag is my nemesis.
  • 1 2
 Tire pressure and creaks, I can tell if tire pressure is off by 2psi and it just feels weird.
creaks... well its stressful - we spend big $$$ on these bikes are they still suck at quality.
  • 2 0
 Craft beer. Very picky about my beer.
  • 1 1
 Just a second. How can that OP profess to be anal but have a workbench that looks like crap! Either be a perfectionist or don't, there's no Inbetween
  • 2 0
 Bars MUST be perfectly straight
  • 1 0
 Noise. If something is creeking I ride harder ‘till it breaks or quiets down. What’s grease for?
  • 1 0
 Grips. Need to be double lock-ons. Grips moving and twisting drives me up the wall.
  • 1 0
 Mismatched tire brands or the biggest of faux pas, one skinwall one blackwall.
  • 1 0
 No break cleaner, just some simple WD40 on a short ride then everything comes of into a bath of dish soap and water.
  • 1 0
 Bike color and overall look. I got a new bike this summer and would ONLY look at models that looked like raw aluminum.
  • 1 0
 My bike has a dodgy derailleur, buzzing brakes and wonky wheels, but you best believe my tire pressure is within .1psi
  • 1 0
 Transmission cleaned “Levy style”, brakes perfectly bleed and true, no noises of any kind. Then I can enjoy a ride :-)
  • 2 0
 Lube. Every. Link. Individually.
  • 2 0
 Especially if each drop is the cost of gold or more!
  • 1 0
 Loud hubs. All the Endurbros got'em. Not hating.it's just what they want to hear coasting. To each their own
  • 1 0
 I have to have my suspension and brakes perfect and if their not i will spend weeks getting them right.
  • 1 0
 Don’t wait to be told!!
Clean yourselves!
Wash your pads!
Helmet pads too!
  • 2 0
 EVERYTHING!
  • 1 0
 I hose my bike down but I also make sure its dead silent so yeah idk
  • 1 0
 I can't stand loose rocks on the trails... sort of bike related.
  • 1 0
 Brake rub/align/rotor true is a big one for me
  • 1 0
 Mandatory safety meetings.
  • 1 0
 Same, it's good to be safe.
  • 1 0
 Noise on the bike in any form
  • 1 0
 Literally everything, according to my wife.
  • 1 0
 I. Can't. Stand. A. Creaky. Seatpost.
  • 1 0
 Elbows..cant be too pointy.
  • 2 0
 Orange forks must die.
  • 1 0
 Can we pause for that bug collection...
  • 2 1
 Just wax your chains , cmon
  • 1 0
 Im probably too picky about my wifes shopping……..or not.
  • 2 3
 I'm overly picky about tire pressure. 18psi? 40psi, who cares, it doesn't matter, just go ride.
  • 6 0
 I’m super picky about tire pressure. I check it digitally before every ride. It has got to be right.

Ironically my rear tire is well overdue to be replaced, which certainly has more of an effect on my riding than pressure. But hey, new tire costs money and air doesn’t!
  • 2 0
 @mtshakira: I have to check pressures, If im 2psi off i can notice somethings not right. stresses me out.
Same with creaks, If my bike creaks i cant ride it. - if its just that bike and somethings wrong, i will replace it... We pay for high quality an should be getting it.
  • 1 0
 @mtshakira: a worn out rear tire is fine on some trails and terrible on others, but I don't wanna case something or go through rocks running low pressure
  • 2 2
 I’d be struggling with that girlfriend…bloody thieves
  • 3 4
 Lubing your chain before a ride is what does it for me - do that shiz afterwards, less mess on the rest of the bike
  • 2 2
 You're doing it wrong lol
  • 1 1
 You're in desperate need of a waxed chain.
  • 1 0
 brakes.
  • 1 0
 Never remove the PLOD
  • 1 2
 Ummm, yeah.
  • 3 5
 Pinkbike: where you aren't allowed to have an opinion
  • 1 1
 Who doesn't like yr opinions? Or ya referring to the downvote army? I personally am forced to review every 'hidden' comment when I see them so I don't get the point. Seems like upvoting does the job w/o team wokeflake 2 minutes hate trying to hide anything they disagree with. I love seeing opinions I despise or fully disagree with - hiding them is Survivor reality trauma leftover that's purely outdated.
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