Friday, March 23, 2018

Angry Ray’s MTB Hacks and Other Ideas

OK, so the Schilling Blog Machine has been a busy one and it’s time for me to catch up a bit.  Sure I’ve done some cool rides and could talk about that, but I’ll leave that to later…what I wanna talk about now is HACKS…and other ideas that will a) save money for which you can buy more beer and b) enable you to fix your bike trailside (so you can get back to your car quicker to drink beer).

Being a fairly creative and “thrifty” engineer, I love DIY ways to accomplish things.  Additionally, finding things that solve a problem that is otherwise not obvious is pretty cool to me…so here you go…a dump of what I think are some good ideas…

Chain Measurement
Our drivetrains here in the desert take a ton of abuse due to the dusty conditions.  Wearout is a given and lots of folks have come up with tools to measure chain wear (stretch, but such a poor term).  Here’s how I do it…first, I have several chains that I rotate through the SS bikes I have.  When I’m trying to see where a chain is in terms of wear, I put them on the ground in a circle as shown…smaller the diameter, the more the wear.  I’ve found at about 22” diameter, I will start to have chain derailing on the SS.  Then it’s time to put that chain in the “art” bin for a future project.

Fix it stuff and how to carry
I love the idea of repurposing worn out stuff.  It keeps it out of landfills and that just seems like a good thing to do.  Recently I lost a small kit of tire fix it stuff that I had in a zip lock baggie.  What I realized was that a zip lock is slippery against my jersey…and I needed something with a bit more friction that wouldn’t work its way out.  So I took an old MTB tube and sewed up a simple pouch.  You see below that the pouch contains many necessary items like a multi-tool, mini-leatherman, quick links, valve cores, cleat bolts, ibuprofen, etc…  Works awesome and stays put.

Tire plugging
I’m sure most of us have tried to plug a tire that was punctured on the trail.  Tire bacon works great, but I’ve found almost anything you stuff in the hole that is a tight fit and can absorb some sealant will work.  Heck, I’ve even used a stick and was able to ride back out to my vehicle before.  In the pic below are several items plus a simple poker tool made from a needle and cork. 

Cotton string, strips of old tube, strips of mouse pad

Chain tool
Sometimes a quick link can be undone by hand, but the right tool makes it super easy.  Park makes one which is fine, but if you have a spare set of needle nose pliers, just bend the tips slightly inward and boom, you’ve got a cheap set of quick link pliers.

Cheap Velcro
I can’t imagine where we would be without Velcro…Harbor Freight sells a package of Velcro straps for cheap…I’ve used these for so many things from securing a waterbottle, securing a battery pack, etc…  stick a few of these in your kit and I’ve sure you’ll find a need for them.

Mouse Pads
Mouse pads made from neoprene rubber have a number of great uses…cut them into strips for tire plugs, cut out rectangles to go between your light battery and your frame,etc…

Single speed spacers
Having 3 SS bikes, different cog brands, and several wheel sets creates a bit of a an issue when trying to change a cog for a ride and being sure the chainline is right.  I do a couple things…first, standardize as much as possible on a given cog brand…then, keep track of the spacing between the cog and the inside lip of the freehub.  Then use that as a reference when changing.  If you have a bunch of spacers like I do, I zip tie a set together with the cog so I can quickly change w/o measuring.

Good value brake pads
I love stuff that has value.  TruckerCo semi-metallic pads bought off of ebay in 4-packs are like $25 total…they work and work well.

Plastic syringes are an important part of maintaining your bike.  If you’ve ever bled brakes, a dropper post, or added sealant to tires, you’ve probably used them.  They are INCREDIBLY cheap off of ebay.  The larger one below cost me less than a few bucks and with the small included tip glued on, I can directly inject sealant into tires…super quick and easy.  The smaller one will actually thread right into a bleed port on a Xloc and enable you to easily bleed your fork lockout or dropper lockout. 

Super Glue
Super glue is another indispensable item…get the big pack from Harbor Freight.  Put some on the toilet seat before your buddy sits down.

Ok, so there you go...a few of my ideas and hacks that have served me well.

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