How to Silence a Noisy Drivetrain

Every bike rider likes a silent, and smooth bike! But sometimes noises and creaks on a bike are hard to find. They can occur in bearings, the chain, small misalignments, or worn parts!

The process is nearly the same for all bicycles, on or off road. In this article, it will be looked at, how your drivetrain can be completely silenced, cleaned, and made almost frictionless, to create a nicer riding bike!

Check It Out First

A common misconception is that creaking always comes from the bottom bracket. However, more times than not, the creaking will be coming from another component on the bike. While the BB can be prone to creaking, they can be expensive to replace, and are often more robust than you would think! Try rocking the wheels side to side, checking the frame pivot bearings, cleaning between the handlebars and the clamp, etc. Use your imagination. Sound on a bike can travel through the frame.

Second, check all of your drive-train components. If the chain is worn (using a chain gauge), if the cassette is worn (inconsistent teeth), and the consistency of the front chain-ring. If any of these components need replacing, do so.

Also, check the gear shifting. If you have any problems with even shifting, visit our article on ‘gear adjustments’, for perfect shifting! And with that out of the way, let’s get on with your drivetrain!

Rear Drivetrain

Beginning at the back, remove your rear wheel and set it aside. Begin by checking all the bolts at the rear (derailleur, hanger, jockey wheels, etc). More often than not, thes3e bolts are loose. They need to be watched, and maintained, otherwise creaking, poor shifting, and damage can occur. Once these are all fastened, we can begin cleaning.

Fill up a bucket with clean, hot water and dish washing liquid (or bike cleaner). Also, grab a medium to hard bristle brush, and mix the washing liquid in. Now begin scrubbing the derailleur, and jockey wheels firmly with the hot water mix, and brush. Make sure you remove all the black gunk from the jockey wheels, as this can be a common noise. You can use WD-40, or another degreaser, to clean off these wheels. However make sure it gets washed off after applying. Dry off the derailleur and jockey wheels, and using a thin oil or a multi-purpose lube, and spray all the joints and hinges on the rear derailleur. This will keep the derailleur running silently and smoothly.

Now take the brush, and begin scrubbing the cassette. Make sure you use plenty of soap and water to foam it up. This will clean the components better, and make them shine! Once there is no black grease or dirt on the cassette, spin it a few times to remove the water and soap.

Replace the rear wheel, and the back-side of your drivetrain should be ready to roll!

Front Drivetrain

Moving up to the front, begin by removing the crankset. There are many various ways to identify how this is done, but here is a great video on identifying and removing cranks!

Once the cranks are removed, begin wiping out the bottom bracket. Take a dry cloth, and wipe out the inside and around the bottom bracket. Don’t use any degreasers or solvents, as they can eat away the grease in the bearings. Once clean, feel the bearings in the bottom bracket. If they are smooth, keep them. If not, replace them. Once the bottom bracket is clean, regrease the insides, and leave in bike.

Moving to the front chainrings, take the soapy water and brush, and begin scrubbing the rings on the crank arm. Make sure they are completely clean and soapy before drying. Once dry, take an Allen key and tighten any loose chain bolts. These can often come loose, resulting in rattle or creaking. Also check the pedals. Sometimes its a good idea to remove them, clean and grease the threads, and replace them.

If applicable, take soapy water and give the front derailleur a good cleaning. Make sure its well clean, and free of any dirt or grease. Check all bolts are tight, both mounting bolts and the cable pinch bolt. Dry, and lube the pivots, as done previously on the rear derailleur. Wipe off any excess and work the derailleur back and forth by hand.

Now that the cranks are all tight and clean, as well as a smooth and clean derailleur, lightly grease the crank axle and replace into frame. Make sure there is no sideways movement of the crankset within the bottom bracket, as dirt can work into the bracket and wear components.

Chain Clean

Last component is the chain! This is also a common cause of squeak, groaning and crunching from the drivetrain. Begin by measuring the chain stretch with a chain gauge. If the chain is worn, replace it. You can clean your chain either with a chain cleaner, or just by hand. Use the following techniques;

Chain Cleaner

Begin by filling the chain cleaner half way with warm water. Now spray about 5 seconds of WD-40, and 5 seconds of degreaser to the cleaner. Finish with topping it full with a detergent or bike wash. With this mix, insert the chain, lock it down, and begin cycling it through the cleaner. Make sure the chain is coming out wet, or soapy. Rotate the whole chain through the cleaner at least 15 times.

Once the chain is fully degreased and soapy, remove the chain cleaner, and wipe it off with a cloth or rag.

By Hand

If you don’t happen to have a chain cleaner, you can still clean your chain by hand. However it’s harder to achieve the same results by hand.

Take a brush and begin wiping down the chain with warm soapy water. Be generous with the water, as to soap up the chain well. Scrub the top, sides, and bottom of the chain well. Once the chain is fully scrubbed, work the drivetrain (by pedalling the cranks) a few rotations.

Now that the chain is clean, take your bike to the nearest hose, and begin hosing off the drivetrain. With the hose on a low pressure setting, spray the cassette and jockey wheels while rotating the cranks backwards with the opposite hand. As the components rotate, make sure to thoroughly clean off all the soap from the working parts. Once the cassette and derailleur are clean, move to the chain, then front bottom bracket and chainring(s). Allow the bike to dry in the sun, or by wiping it down. For a full guide to cleaning your bike, click here.

To finish off, apply a generous amount of chain lube to the chain, and let it sit for 5 minutes or more. Wipe off any excess lube before riding, and your done! Your drivetrain should be friction free, silent, and smoothly shifting! If you have any more problems with the drivetrain, take it in to your local bike shop, for a professional opinion!

Servicing, Chain, Sram, Shimano, Clean , Lubricate, Dry, Wet, Silent, Silence, Chainring, Noise

Troubleshooting Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Hydraulic disc brakes are one of the greatest innovations the bike world has seen! They are reliable, powerful, and can be found on a wide range of bikes! These little gems are what makes the bike world what it is today. However, hydraulic brakes have seen their fair share of issues, which are easy to come by when not being careful. Groaning, squeaking, failure to perform, etc. If they’re not properly maintained, they can be one of the most frustrating components on a bike! In the following, we will look at some of the most common issues with brakes, and how you can overcome these issues, and get back to doing what you love!

Noisy Brakes

Perhaps the most common issue with hydraulic brakes is noise! Generally noise can be caused by one of three things. Worn parts, a misaligned calliper, or contamination of the rotors or pads (most common),

Worn Parts

Brakes are worked by 2 pads contacting a fast moving, generally metal surface. This is a lot of pressure on the braking surfaces, and parts will wear over time. Its a good practice to keep an eye on your brake pads, and rotors, to know when to replace them. When a brake pad looks like its almost level with the metal back plate of the pad, it means its almost completely worn, and should be replaced. Likewise, if the rotor looks bent, or becomes concaved on the braking surface, it means it should be replaced (as seen in the image).

Misaligned Calliper

A misaligned calliper is a very common cause of a light squeal when the bike is rolling slowly. This can be diagnosed by lifting the wheel off the ground and spinning the wheel. If a rubbing noise occurs, then the calliper will need re-centring. To do so, put your bike in a work stand, and loosen off both mounting bolts. Pump the brake lever a few times, then loosely fasten the bolts while holding down the lever. Spin the wheel, while listening for any noise. If rubbing persists, loosen one bolt and move the calliper manually until noise decreases. Tighten and repeat to the opposite bolt. Continue this process until the wheel rolls silently, then fasten bolts down.

If rubbing still persists, watch the rotor roll through the calliper, looking for any sidewards movement. If the rotor is bent, the noise may not be able to be silenced. Consider replacing rotor, or having it straightened.

Contamination

When owning a bike with any form of brakes, its always important to keep the pads and braking surface completely free of any oils. The oils in your fingers can be enough to cause contamination to occur on the braking surfaces. Other common contaminants can include WD-40, degreasers, chain lube, grease, or braking fluid (generally found when bleeding brakes). Once an oil such as these have come into contact with the pads or rotor, the pads become what we call contaminated. However, do not fret! With the right gear, we can generally save the brakes.

Cleaning Your Brakes

To thoroughly clean your brakes, remove the wheel. Now take a clean cloth, and wipe over the rotor braking surface. Keep going over, and checking the cloth for dirt and oils. Once dirty, use another section of the cloth to continue wiping. Repeat this until no dirt is seen on the cloth. Now take some rubbing alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol, and wipe over the rotors. This will remove any final contaminants from the rotor.

Next, remove your brake pads. Set a cloth on a flat surface, and begin rubbing the pads clean on the cloth. Repeat with both pads until mostly clean. Now take a gridded sand paper (grouting sand paper works best), and set it on the cloth. Begin rubbing the pads on the sanding paper with reasonable force. By rubbing the pads in a figure 8, you will prevent uneven wear of the pads. Don’t rub for too long, as you may wear through more of the pad than you need to. Once clean, wipe off once more, and replace into the calliper.

Your pads and disc should be completely clean! If your brakes persist to squeal, the parts may need replacing, as sometimes they have had oil on them too long. The contaminants can bed themselves into the grooves and any imperfections in the components. Other methods of cleaning can involve burning the rotors and pads, to burn out the oils. however, this method is not recommended and can be more harmful than helpful!

Brakes Don’t Lock Up

Brakes that don’t lock on can be one of the most frustrating things about disc brakes. If something isn’t tuned, bled, or maintained correctly, it can lead to a poorly performing brake system. Some of the most common causes for brakes not being able to lock up are;

Contamination

Contamination of the brakes means an oil, or lubricant may have entered the brake pads or brake rotor. This can be fixed most of the time. (See ‘contamination’ and ‘cleaning your brakes’ to learn how to troubleshoot this problem)

Poorly Bled Brakes

If your brakes feel spongy, inconsistent, or haven’t been bled in a while, you should consider this! As fluid ages, it can absorb moisture through the brake lines, through seals, and other openings in the braking system. This causes the fluid to become thicker, and less reactive to braking. Giving the system a bleed will refresh the fluid, remove any blockages, and any air from the lines. By refreshing the fluid, the brakes will fill firm, consistent, and hopefully lock up the brakes!

With Shimano brakes, insert the funnel into the lever (after a bleed), and fill it a third full with new brake fluid. Keep pumping the lever, and look for any black or old fluid working its way out, into the funnel. This black stuff can sometimes remain in the system after one bleed. By pumping it out, you replace it with fresh fluid. Seal the plunger, remove the funnel, the drip a little fluid into the hole, to ensure the system is absolutely full!

Worn Parts

Like anything on a bike, if its worn, it won’t perform how it should. Check the pads still have a decent amount of life in them, to ensure they aren’t the problem. If they are, replace them. Likewise with the brake rotors. (read the ‘Worn Parts’ section above).

Other Braking Issues

There are stacks more issues people have with their brakes.

Avid Brakes Wont Bleed

If Avid brakes aren’t bleeding, first check that your contact adjuster knob (if applicable) is rotated in the opposite direction of the arrow. Sometimes, the little Allen screw located on the inside of the lever, needs to be screwed counter-clockwise, in order to bring the lever in, This can also allow the fluid to flow through much easier.

If they still don’t bleed, it could be a broken seal, or old component. Remove the hose from the calliper, and the lever. Attach the 2 syringes, full with air, to each end. Begin pushing each, one at a time. See if air will pass through each of them. If id doesn’t pass through one, then consider replacing that piece (generally the lever). If it does pass through both, try pumping an air compressor through the hose, to remove any blockages. Now reinstall, and bleed again.

Squishy Noise at the Lever

Sometimes, especially with Avid, there can come a squeak, or squishing noise at the lever, when compressed. Depending wether its a seal, or a rubbing sound, it can be fixed. If its more of a rubbing sound, try spraying a little WD-40 into the lever joints, then wiping off. Work the lever to disperse the WD-40 into the lever. This should silence the squeak. If however, it’s a seal, this can’t easily be replaced. Generally this can indicated a seal is either worn, or out of proper position. Consider replacing.

GMBN have a great video on improving braking performance.

For information on bleeding Avid and Sram brakes, click here for a full, professional tutorial!

Contaminated XTR XT Shimano Avid Sram Elixir R New Old Guide RS R Ultimate SLX Mechanic Mineral Dot Glazed Glaze

The Evolution of Road Bikes

The world is run on innovation. When something is created, it just gets better and better! From day one, we have seen massive changes in bikes! With new technology, improved materials, greater understanding of physics, and the increasing popularity of the sport; massive improvements have been made in bikes! In the following, we will take a look at some of the most popular road bikes, and what has been done to increase their potential over the years, as well as some of the first bikes ever made!

Origins of the Bicycle

With a widely debated beginning, the first ever recorded 2 wheeled, man powered transport, was a ‘running machine’ made by a German inventor (named Drais) in 1817. The bike was sat on, and propelled by using your legs, as if running. Drais invented the bike in hope to create an alternative to horses, as 1816 brought a drought which lead to the death and starvation of many horses. Drais’ design consisted of a predominately wooden frame, Iron wheels, and brass bushings, and weighed around 22kg. This design caught the attention of a few British cartwrights who released an ‘improved design’ called the ‘velocipede’ in 1818. The velocipede was similar to Drais’ invention, and all following bikes were built on the similar desing/principles.

Years later, in the 1870’s, the High bicycle, or ‘Penny Farthing’ was invented. The bike offered cranks, which allowed the wheel to spin without contact with the floor. The Penny Farthing is a well known design, which was widely accepted and used for a long time after! However, for obvious reasons, the technologies improved a while after. Hence, why we don’t see Lance Armstrong cruising down the roads 70km/h on a Penny Farthing!

Road Bikes in the 1900’s

Jumping right into the 1900’s, the first road race bikes were designed! In the 1960’s, USA came out with a road bike, which was one of the first of its kind. Right till the late 80’s, where no real changes had been made to bikes, they were still at the same design as the 60’s, with very minor tweaks.

Coming into the 90’s, where road bikes saw a bit of a change! When bike manufacturers saw that the bikes needed to be improved, companies began experimenting with more aggressive geometry to put the rider in a more aerodynamic and powerful position. Such as a raised seat, and lower handlebar height, the rider was forced to be lower, and more evenly weighted over the bike.

Another change that the 90’s brought was clipless pedals! Where the foot is virtually fixed to the pedal. Again, this brought about some more bio-mechanical changes.

Heading towards the late 1990’s, where ‘bike fitters’ would help riders find the bike size which fits the individual, as well as seat height adjustments, handlebar roll/height changing, and other personalization changes to help the individual get the maximum out of their bike!

Road Bikes of the 2000’s

In 1999 – 2005 Trek came out with their Trek OCLV (Optimum Compaction Low Void). This bike won Lance Armstrong his first Tour de France in 1999. This road bike was one of the first great carbon fibre bikes, which sold like no other! Throughout the next 10 years, bikes were slowly tweaked, shaped, modified, and lots of research conducted to bring us the Specialized McLaren S-Works Venge in 2011! This bike held one of the most aero-dynamic frames, most durable carbon designs, a sleek look, and an extremely light weight build! All together creating a well known and loved bike which is still used by many of todays riders!

The Future of Road Bikes

Throughout history, we see lots of changes coming, and they are still presenting themselves through bikes today! Now we see electronic gear shifting, wireless pedometers, cadence sensors, and weights we thought were impossible! What will the future bring? Companies such as Specialized, Trek, Giant, and many others, are today working on frame geometry and materials to increase comfort, control, and an all round better bike!

See about some of the latest mountain bikes by clicking here! Want to know some hacks to improve the quality of your ride? Click here to have a read!

Tags: Road Bike Bicycle Bikes Adelaide Mechanic S-works Specialized Tour de France Down Under Cyclist Cycling Avanti

Giant Trance 1 (2017) Review

One of the greatest value trail bikes of all time? Let’s take a look at the 2017 Giant Trance 1!

Trance 1 Specs

The Giant Trance is an upgrade to the 2016 model, Giant Trance 1 2017as it now features 140mm of rear maestro suspension system, on a Fox float elite. Paired with a Fox 34 performance elite fork with 150mm up front! Coming standard with 760mm Giant contact SL bars (from memory), and 80-90mm reach contact SL stem (which we swapped out for a 40mm Truvativ Descendant stem). Stock built with a contact saddle, and a 150mm contact dropper post, with plenty of travel for nearly anyone! Giant has teamed this Alloy model with the Giant Composite TRX 27.5″ 33mm wide carbon rims, laced on Giant super loud DBL hubs, which are insanely tuff and light! Over all, the 2017 model is an all round beast, which is highly capable, and extremely playful. Braking and gearing is taken care of by Shimano with Deore XT hydraulic breaking and 1×11 drivetrain (11-46t), which is extremely quiet, and generally great shifting!

Fox Suspension

For the 2017 Trance, Giant went with fox, front and rear! A great choice, and we have been loving every moment on the bike! From climbs to steep downhill, this bike has taken everything that’s been thrown at it! I weigh 78kg, and have the rear shock set to 185 psi, and front fork at 75 psi. I have it all set a little firmer, as it helps the bike feel plush on steep rocky terrain, as well as a little stiffer on tough, prolonged climbs. The front fork is a Fox 34 performance elite, with 34mm stanchions which are more than capable, as well as keeping the weight down! They have open, traction, and locked control to allow for all situations on the trail! An air chamber in the left stanchion allows for extreme customization with just a suspension pump! paired with the Fox float at the rear, the bike feels completely comfortable and capable. With open, traction and locked settings on the rear too, the bike is 100% customizable. Again, with an air chamber, the shock can easily be pumped up to suit your riding style, weight, and preferences!

Giant TRX WheelsetGiant Trance - On the trail

The Giant TRX Carbon wheelset is an extremely capable set of wheels, made to endure the greatest drops, and the rockiest paths. The wheels have remained completely true throughout the 4 months of hard riding we’ve given it! Running the wheels tubeless (front at 18 psi and rear at 22 psi), they offer fantastic rolling ability, great shock absorption, and outstanding agility! With such a light wheel under the frame, the bike takes corners like an absolute beast! Laced on the DBL Giant hubs, they are super high rolling, and the free hub absolutely squeals down the fast descents! However, the engagement on the rear hub isn’t great.

There is a fair gap between coasting, and pedalling before the cassette actually engages. While not a massive disappointment, I think it would have been a great finishing touch to add a few extra teeth to the rear hub ratchets.

Shimano XT Braking & Gearing

The breaking on this bike is unbelievable, and extremely reactive, After being on Avid Elixirs, Shimano takes the cake! With their XT series, the braking is easy, firm, and offers decent modulation. With reach adjusters which can be adjusted without tools, it is suitable for any size rider. Paired with Ice-tech Shimano 180 mm rotors, the system stays reasonably cool, and offers unmatched braking power! However, on occasion squeaks can develop in the handle lever. To troubleshoot this, just spray a small amount of soapy water, or a very small amount of WD-40, to clean and lube the workings of the lever.

The gears likewise, are a smooth, and quiet system. Offering a large cassette (11-46t), the gears cover just about all bases! However, with a small 32t chainring at the front, it could use a 34t for extra speed on the downhills, as 32t seems to run out faster than it should! However, it still reaches massive speeds on the downhills (in testing this bike on a 32t chainring, reached 64.1km/h). The shifter has a nonslip pattern on both levers, and have a great feel! The shifter can be used both ways on the shift down the cassette, and with the thumb on the way up for maximum versatility.

LikesGiant trance 1 2017

The bike overall is definitely liked as a whole. The following are a few of our biggest likes about the bike!

Design; The design of the Giant Trance is extremely simple, and loveable. With popping colours, smooth curves, and a mean design, it is very well designed!
Light-weight; The bike, for an alloy model, is extremely light weight. With a carbon rocker, and carbon wheels, the bike has reduced weight in almost every way it can. The light wheelset provides the bike with an exceptional agility.
Components; Just about all components used on the Giant are top quality! Just of race specs, everything is solid, comfortable, and user friendly!
Customization; The bike has 3 settings of firmness on front and rear. So no matter what style rider you are, you can find your sweet spot with no worries!
Price; The bike is priced at $4,999 AU, which is a bargain for what you get!

Dislikes

There aren’t many dislikes to this bike, however a few precautions to take!

Noisy; One thing I like about my bikes is keeping them running silently. However, this bike needs a lot of maintenance done to keep it running so. Some noise is often found from the seatpost.
Stock Stem; The stem that the Giant comes with is a 60mm reach stem. The stem is way too long, looks ugly, and is just unnecessary. We have swapped it to a 40mm truvativ stem, which works 100 times better, and feels great on descents.

Overview

Overall for $4,999, this bike does it all! Climbs effortlessly, descends aggressively, is durable, looks great, and has high end components. The bike is light weight, and suits just about all users. Weighing just under 13kg, the bike is going to suit any strength rider, and will be comfortable for all!

For more product reviews, see our OneUp EDC Pump Tool Review here! For how to keep a bike nice and clean, click here!

 

Tags: XT XTR Shimano Avid Elixir TRX Wheelset Giant Contact Dropper Carbon Rocker Strength Mechanic Bearings DBL Hub Ratchet Sunrace

OneUp Components; EDC Pump Tool Review

Perhaps one of the most talked about multi-tool on the market; the EDC Pump from OneUp. It pumps, fixes, stores, and looks great! To examine this tool, we purchased one and gave it a go!

OneUp EDC Pump

The unique factor about this multi-tool, is that it is one of the only tools to be included/stored in a pump (without taking any extra space). The high volume pump comes in 70c, and 100c models, which relate to the air volume exerted with each pump. At Bike Shack, we have tested the 100c model, and loved the experience!

The pump effortlessly pumps up your tyres, and is simply pushed on to the valve, and pumped. No locking levers required. Unfortunately this pump is only currently suitable for presta valves. The pump is a water tight, solid build, which makes just about any other mini-pump look cheap! The textured finish, metallic green, and slim design don’t leave your bike looking heavy and messy. Over all, the pump its self is a great, strong unit.

As an added bonus, OneUp include a cage mount, which allows it to be mounted tot eh frame via the bottle cage screws, or under your existing bottle cage! The free cage too feels of great quality, and a secure design. There is very slim to no chance of it ever falling off, with its added elastic lock string for added security!

OneUp EDC Multi-Tool

Now down to the part everyone wants this tool for… The multi-tool inside!!! This hidden gem is a fantastic little tool, and will get you out of almost any trouble on the trail. The tool includes; 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6mm hex keys, 8mm hex key function, EDC top cap tool, chain breaker, tyre lever, chainring bolt, presta valve core, 0, 1, 2, 3 spoke keys! The handy tool also has the ability to break free quick-links, using the top cap tool, and the Allen key next to it! With all this compacted into the small multi-tool, there is no reason to carry any other tool.

The tool is stored into a mini capsule, which fits into the pump perfectly. Also on this capsule is a quick-link storage, and a water proof small storage compartment, which can be replaced with a 20g CO2 cartridge.

Pros

There is a massive list of pros for this tool. Its compact, handy, replaces a back pack, mounts to nearly any bike, looks stylish, and is extremely user friendly! The tool overall is just a great addition to just about any bike. The product is also of extremely high quality, and I don’t see it breaking any time soon! And the fact that you can store cash in the small compartment, as well as a small key, or any other necessity, makes it just too good to be true!

Cons

The tool, while extremely compact, is a little on the heavier side. Weighing around 227g, the pump is quiet a solid build. However, in comparison to the weight of a back-pack, it is definitely a lot lighter. Also, the pumps pressure. The pump reaches around 40psi, before it starts to struggle! It will continue to pump, but does require a bit of force. Lastly, the price! To buy my EDC pump and multi-tool, it cost around AU $100 for the pump, and AU $80 for the multi-tool. At $180, it is definitely an expensive product.

Overview

Over all, the pump is quality, compact, and saves on wearing a back-pack. If you are looking for 1 unit to do it all, the OneUp EDC Multi-tool Pump is the way to go! While expensive, I believe it will last me as long as I ride. After using the Allen keys, and tyre lever a few times, I have noticed exceptional quality, stiffness, and strength. Over all, a must-have for any style rider!

For where to purchase, click here for great prices and offers!

Need more tips on maintaining a clean and smooth bike? Why not check out our “How to clean your bike” step-by step guide!

Top 10 Tools for Bike Riders

Buying a bike can be a big commitment. Generally when you spend a decent amount of cash on a bike, you want it to last you a longer time, and to run smoother. By having the right tools on hand, this can be achieved. The following will look at what tools every bike rider should own, in order to keep their bike well running, and smooth, in order to get the most out of each ride. Keeping in mind, a good mechanic should always have good tools. Buying cheap tools can cause premature wear on component, and generally wont last nearly as long. Brands such as Park ToolBBB, and BikeHand are some of my go-to ‘bike specific’ tools, who offer extremely high quality tools! Note: all pictures show the brands of each tool that ‘Bike Shack’ use in the workshop.

10) Chain Gauge

A chain gauge is a cheap and “easy-to-carry” tool, which is extremely useful for saving you money in the long run. It simply is placed on top of the chain, and will fall between the links if your chain is stretched, and needs replacing. By knowing when to replace your chain, you can do so before the old chain begins wearing out other components such as the cassette, and the front chain rings. For around AU $8-$15, you can purchase one in a bike shop, or online.

9) Torx Key Set

A torx key set isn’t as commonly used for bikes, but is essential to a few vital bike components on modern bikes. Most brake rotors are held on with torx bolts, and need checking regularly. Also, bleed screws on hydraulic brakes, and sometimes other mounting bolts on components require various sized torx keys. By having a multi-tool with a few sized torx keys (generally T-10, and T-25 are found on bikes), you will be pretty safe! A good torx set (multi-tool style) generally retails for around AU $20-$35.

8) Needle-Nosed and Slip-Joint Tools

Needle-Nosed Pliers
Needle nosed pliers are not an essential, but are very handy for pulling tension on gear/brake cables, squeezing on and off crimp-caps, opening gear/brake cable housing, bending brake pad pins, or just generally picking up small pieces. They aren’t a specific ‘bike tool”, but are an extremely handy tool to have. Also quiet small – if you wanted to take them on a ride with you. A good pair can be purchased for around AU $20-$40.

Slip-Joint Pliers
These are a less commonly found item in most work-shops. However, in my experience, they have saved me dozens of times. They offer massive grip force on seized parts, can loosen stripped components, and are virtually indestructible. These are on the lower end of the spectrum however, as they aren’t an essential. While being very handy, a cyclist can get away with other tools! A down-side to these is that they are generally very heavy, and take up more space than most other tools. A good quality pair can retail anywhere from AU $35-$75.

7) Rubber Mallet

The good old, trust mallet (rubber hammer), I own a cheap one, and it does the job fine. This is one tool that you don’t really need a high quality one. The rubber mallet can be used for any job; from removing seized parts, removing old bearings, removing cranks, and tones more. The beauty with the mallet is that the sky is the limit! It wont mark or chip your components, and it offers massive amounts of force. Generally these retail anywhere from AU $10-$35.

6) Chain Breaker

The chain breaker is also not an ‘every-day tool’, however cannot really be replaced or “bodgied”. A chain breaker is very precise, and if done right, should last forever! I own a Park-tool chain breaker, which is smaller for carrying with me, as well as a BikeHand chain breaker, with bigger handles and grips for added force. Both of these are high quality and strong, offering replaceable pins (in case one snaps). When buying a chain breaker, try getting one with replaceable pins, and get a good brand! I started off with a cheapie, and after 2 uses, the ‘non-replaceable pin’ snapped… and the tool was no longer useable. A good chain breaker generally retails for around AU $40-$70.

5) Cable Cutters

Cable cutters are just about on every ‘top 10’ list of bike tools. I went a long time without them, and got along okay, but never got a completely clean cut. Along with a BikeHand tool kit I bought, came a good pair of cable cutters, which I use just about daily. They deliver a faster, cleaner, and more even cut. Leaving no stray fibres on a cable, these also should be purchased from a quality brand. A cheap pair will often become blunt fast, and wont always cut evenly. Generally retailing for around AU $50-$90, these are a little more expensive. However, they are definitely worth it, if you plan on cutting cables!

4) Adjustable Wrench/Spanner

The adjustable wrench is perhaps my go-to ‘rescue tool’. If a bolt wont loosen, the leverage and strength of this tool will break free anything! With the adjustability to fit nearly anything its given, it is an essential to any riders tool collection. Another great use for this tool is rotor straightening! I have done this many times, and works just as well as any specific rotor tool! Also coming in a much smaller version (around 2.5 inches long) is a great second mini tool, for taking on rides with you! This little one is a handy little tool for cable clamps too! Thirdly, I own a 2mm thick one too, which comes in handy for forks and cone nuts! Retailing for between $15-$40, it is best to grab a decent quality one, as the cheaper ones can tend to have a little play. This can make it easy to strip bolts and other components.

3) Screw Driver

The trusty screw-driver, making an appearance at number 2. Useful for cock-pit components, and an essential for good gears! I own 2 screw drivers. One long thin cheapy, and a Stanley adjustable ratchet screw-driver. Both come in handy in different cases, however the long one would be my first go-to screw driver, as it is more universal. Easy to get into tight, hidden places! Retailing for anywhere between AU $10-$70, depending on style you go for.

2) Bike Work-Stand

A bike work stand! Another essential for any bike work, repair, or maintenance. When working on a bike, a stand makes all the difference. You don’t have to balance the bike at the same time, you can get under it, spin the wheels, use the gears, test the brakes, and anything else you want! A good work stand is one of just about any bike mechanics favourite tool! Owning a cheap one still does the job, however the more you pay, the easier and better it will hold. Cheap ones can tend to not lock in place as well as a good stand, but will still allow you to do the same work! Retailing for AU $80-$400, you can spend as much as you want! The more you spend, the stronger and more user-friendly the stand. Brands such as Park Tool, BikeHand, BBB, all do higher end stands, which are all great quality! Then brands such as Nitro offer decent quality stands, for more budget styled stands! But as the saying goes, “you get what you pay for”.

1) Allen-Key Tool Set

Coming in, at the top of the list… ALLEN KEYS!!! If I could only have one tool, it would be a set of Allen keys! You can use them for tightening/loosening components, adjusting headsets, removing cranks, installing new parts, unclamping cables, and stacks, stacks more! I would use them on at least 99% of bikes I work on. You can buy cheap sets for around AU $15, however a good set will last you heaps longer, and shouldn’t strip any bolts if used correctly. I have 3 sets, which are all ball point hex keys. The ball point allows you to get into the bolt, on an angle. This is extremely handy for bike work, and is an essential to any riders tool box! I would always go for a Metric set, as most components are made using metric sizing. However, I do own a slightly cheaper set of imperial keys too, just in-case! A better set can cost between $40-$200! There are sliding head keys, ball point, rubber coated, T-handle, and more. A lot of workshops tend to go for sliding head, or T handle, however a smaller set can come on a ride with you.

All in all, these are the most used and useful tools, used in the official “Bike Shack” workshop. Remember to keep your tools dry, and clean; to prolong the life of them! For more great tips on keeping your bike well maintained, click here for “how to wash your bike”.

Tool Parktool Park Bicycle Bike Maintenance Tips Advice Kit Tools Stanley Servicing Adelaide

Top 10 Bike Hacks

Today bike riding is becoming an increasingly popular sport. With this popularity comes a lot of information. As you progress in your journey as a bike rider, you begin to learn little shortcuts and tricks to improving your riding, saving money, or getting your bike fixed quickly. All these tips and tricks can ultimately add up to making you a better rider. The following is my top 10 bike hacks to save money, get you back on the bike, and make your ride a whole lot more fun!

10) In The Handlebar

On most bikes, the handlebar is one of the best ‘long-term’ storage compartments there is! Simply pop off the end plug, and store whatever you want inside. Some good ideas include-

Money;
Some people store money, in case they may need an entry fee into an event, get stuck with no food, get thirsty on a ride, or need to buy a spare tube/tyre. In just about all cases, money is a handy thing to always have on you. Maybe consider wrapping a rubber band around it, or putting it in a zip-lock bag, to avoid any movement/losing it down the bar.

Chain Quick Link;
A Chain quick link is also another great use for the free space in the handlebar. By putting it in a zip-lock bag, it will sit securely in the handlebar, without falling in to far. If your chain snaps, you always have a “quick” way out!

A Note;
This seems like a funny one, but it isn’t a half-dumb idea to keep a paper note in your handle bar (or more commonly, seat tube – to avoid it getting wet). Take a piece of paper, and write on it your name, your address, your phone number, and any additional details. That way, if your bike gets stolen, you have some form of proof that it is your bike! Believe it or not, but this has gotten dozens of people their bikes back.

When you need them, you can just pop off the end plug and have instant access to anything in there!

9) A Touch of Lemon

If you have a hydration pack, you’ll know the taste I’m talking about, Sometimes your pack will develop a disgusting taste or smell. o=Other times it may just be the heat! Either way no-body likes the taste. Next time you fill up your hydration pack, try squeezing a quarter of a lemon into the pack of water with a few ice cubes. You’ll be surprised at how much better the water tastes. Also, the lemon will do the water pack good, as it acts as an acid to the bacteria in the pack. You’ll be left with a cleaner, and fresh smelling water supply! Just make sure you rinse and wipe out the inside of the pack after you ride.

Pro Tip: Keep your pack in the freezer when you’re not using it, as the freezer is an environment where bacteria cannot possibly grow! It will keep your hydration bag nice and clean!

8) Chain-Stay Protector

The chain-stay is the part of the frame which runs along-side the chain. As a result, this part is known for getting scratched up, due to chain bounce. You can buy a chain-stay protector for around $10-$20 Australian dollars. But why not make use of an old inner tube?

Simply remove any air from an old bike tube, and use scissors to cut longways Tube Hacks - Chain Protectoralong the seam of the tube to open a flat rubber surface. Once you get to the valve, simply cut crossways to remove it. Now, simply wrap it around the chain-stay diagonally, keeping firm tension on the tube. Starting at the back of the bike, and working your way towards the front. Once you reach the front chain-ring, cut it square just shy of the largest cog. Then, simply use a zip-tie or some electrical tape to secure the end to the frame. Wallah! Your chain-stay is protected!

Click here for a tutorial video on this hack.

7) Quick Link = Quick Fix

An essential to every bike rider is the quick link! For generally under $8-$10 AU, you can purchase a 2 piece joiner link, which can get you out of just about any broken chain situation. Simply, install the quick-link onto the 2 ends of the broken chain. Occasionally you may need a chain breaker tool to remove any chain links which may have not fallen off, but more or less, you can generally pull off the old broken chain links by hand. Just make sure you buy the right size link. To check, count the number of chain-rings (gears) you have on the back, and buy accordingly.

6/7/8 speed = All same size
9 speed = 9 speed link
10 speed = 10 speed link
11 speed = 11 speed link
12 speed = 12 speed link
Single speed = Single speed link

6) Fork Hacks

A lot of the time, suspension forks will build up quiet a lot of air within the fork lowers, and can cause the forks to not feel quiet as reactive to small rocks and bumps. One of the best hacks I’ve learned is to release the air that builds up with a cable tie (zip tie). Begin by taking a cloth or rag, and wipe the seals until they are completely clean. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THE SEALS ARE CLEAN! Now, take the rounded end of the zip tie, and softly try to squeeze it into the seal where the fork uppers meet the fork lowers. Once the tip is in, press it until you hear a release of gas/air. Don’t force the zip tie in any further than that. BOOM! Your forks are released!

5) Recycling a Tube

One of the less known hacks on the list, but a very useful one! Just about all road bikes use bar tape. Some riders will even wrap a second layer around the first, to add more cushioning and comfort. However, there is a cheaper alternative. Take an old inner tube (works better with a thinner road tube) and cut out the section with the valve. Now, begin wrapping it, as you would standard bar tape. This not only is just about free, but also just as comfortable, and offers even better grip!

4) Tyre Wear

Tyres aren’t cheap. So when you have a pair, you want to get the most out of them. Most commonly, riders of all sorts will realize that the rear tyre tends to wear (in some cases) twice as fast. Once you see the rear is starting to wear down, swap the rear and the front. by doing this, you should (in theory) get twice the life out of them. Also, regularly check the tyres for small thorn ends, bits of glass, etc. that may be sitting in the tyre. If possible, try and remove these as often as you see them, as they can work their way further and further in to the tyre, and cause premature wear.

3) Weight Watchers

If you’re like me, then you like a nice light bike. While this isn’t necessarily one of the  ‘hacks’ on the list, it provides some un-thought of ideas to save weight on your bike!

Rotor Bolts-
On a bolt-on rotor, there are 6 bolts to each rotor. Many pro mechanics remove 2-3 bolts from each rotor. While this doesn’t save much weight, it makes it easier to remove, install, and work on the rotors. As well as saving a few grams, it is just one of many steps that may take off that little extra weight.

Seat Tube-
Another handy weight loss is the excess length of your seat tube. Buy a pipe cutter, and cut off the length of seat tube you don’t use. Take care to not remove too much, leaving enough room for at least 2 inches of seat tube in the frame at all times! This can be a bigger weight saver

Bar Ends-
This is one for the mountain bikers (or flat bar roadies). Like the seat tube, consider the length of your handlebars. Are they longer than they need to be? Generally for mountain biking, 740-750 is plenty. As the riding style progresses to more aggressive, the wider the bars, the better control and confidence. So don’t go cutting too soon!

Stem Caps-
Another measly little weight saver… stem caps. Do they really do anything? Carbon Handlebars - Weight HacksYes, they can look pretty, but over all they really only give one more step to pumping up your tyres. Unless your running tubeless (as these stems are a bit annoying to replace), you don’t need them! Save yourself the time and weight, and ditch the caps!

Cable ends-

Yet another small saver, but all these add up. Clip your cables shorter at the ends. You only need an inch of over hang with cables. Any more, and its only more dead weight to carry around. Remember, a gram saved… is a gram saved!

Carbon Parts-
Yes, carbon has made its first appearance! Carbon is a stiff, bump absorbing, light weight, strong material, which in most cases is ideal! On the road, jumping off rocks, jumping onto rocks, carbon is a great weight saver. Components such as handlebars, stems, seats, seat posts, wheel-sets, and stacks more, can be replaced with carbon components as massive weight savers. However, they do take a beating to the bank. When purchasing carbon, avoid cheap Chinese carbon. Some of the cheaper carbon has been known to snap from time to time. Brands such as FSA, Race Face, Enve, Renthal, Truvativ, and stacks more, make extremely stiff and high quality carbon components!

2) A Clean Bike is a Happy Bike

The saying “a clean bike is a happy bike”, could not be more spot on. Washing it regularly means your bike should be faster, smoother, quieter, and will last you a thousand times longer. Click here for a complete guide on safely and thoroughly cleaning your bike.

By maintaining a clean bike, components have a longer life span, and are less prone to premature wear and unwanted noise.

1) Foam in the Frame

In almost all cases, if you can keep your frame light and clean throughout a race, it should perform smoother and overall better. One pro riders tip is to stuff foam into any dips/holes in the frame. Stuffing foam under the rear shock, up the steerer tube, under the seat, or any other places where mud might get, will prevent mud sticking to the frame. Mud on the frame results in added weight, and can, in some cases, cause failure of components. Placing soft foam in these places is an almost weightless alternative to a dirty and heavy bike. Perhaps one of the most used hacks at UCI!

And there we have it! 10 bike hacks to keep your bike running smooth, get you out of trouble, or to improve your riding quality. Have some more hacks we missed? Feel free to write to us your favourite hacks for a future ‘top 10 list’! For more great articles such as “Top 10 downhill bikes of 2018“, or “Best downhill trails in Adelaide“, click the links! See you on the trails!

Tags: Adelaide SA South Australia Elizabeth Best Hacks Hack Bike Top 10 Weight Saving Hacks Bicycle Best Pictures Mechanic

How To Adjust Bike Gears

There is nothing more satisfying than a bike which is smooth, silent, and works well! One major component to a good feeling bike is the gears. Here is a full tutorial from start to finish on how to adjust your bike gears like a professional! Some of the following tips I have picked through my experience, and will hopefully help you too!

Gears come in a range of qualities, sizes, shapes, and types. However they all follow the same basic principles. The following article will cover gear cables, derailleur alignment, problem troubleshooting, and maintaining the shifting quality from here on out! But first, it is always easier and more pleasant with a clean bike. For a professional guide to cleaning your bike, please read our article on ‘how to properly wash your bike’, then come back!

Step 1: Free the Cable

Begin at the shifter, start clicking the gears right down to the smallest chainring (highest gear). Once done, go down to the rear derailleur and look at the little Allen bolt which is pinching the end of the cable. This needs to be released by undoing the Allen bolt. Note: Only unscrew the Allen bolt enough to release the cable. Once cable is free, remove the cable from the bolt (taking note of how it came out). Pro Tip: Once the cable is loose, pinch the end of the cable with your left hand. Pulling with a little bit of tension, use your right hand to hold the shifter. Shift up and down the gears, maintaining tension on the cable. If the cable moves freely through the cable hose, then you shouldn’t need to replace the cable or hose (skip to step 3). If it has trouble shifting back out of the hose, keep reading.

Step 2: Replacing the Cable

If you need new cables or cable hosing; Depending on the quality of the end of your cable, you may need to snip the frayed end off the cable. Do so, then go up to the shifter and look for the other end of the cable. To find out how to get to the opposite end of the cable, search the shifter model in Google or YouTube. It should look something as seen along side. Generally on Shimano it will be hiding behind a small plastic screw.

Pro Tip: To extract the cable, pull the plastic hosing near the shifter away from the shifter, to expose the cable entering the shifter. You should be able to push it through from there.

Once the cable has been extracted, replace with new cable. Do this by feeding the cable through the small hole in the shifter where it came from. Once the cable has gone through the shifter, feed it the rest of the way through the cable hose. Pro Tip: If the cable wont go through different folds/gaps in the hosing, softly pull and push it without too much force. Sometimes you need to pull off the small end caps from the hosing, and feed the cable through by hand. Now pull from the bottom of the cable, to make sure the bead at the top of the cable is properly seated. Then seal up the shifter, and your cable is installed!

Step 3: Setting the Limits

High Gear

Now that the cable is sorted, stand behind the derailleur, and spin the cranks to watch the chain roll. Make sure the jockey wheels sit directly under the smallest chainring (as seem alongside). If not, we need to set the high limitation screw tighter or looser. Begin by locating the L and H screw. They should be on the body of the rear derailleur (labelled with a H for high gear and L for low gear). If the chain sits towards the next biggest chainring, screw the H screw anti-clockwise. Stop once chain is sitting below the small chainring. If it is sitting closer to the outside of the bike, screw the H screw clockwise. Stop once chain is sitting below the small chainring.

Low Gear

Now that this is set, hold the body of the derailleur with your left hand. Holding the pedal with your right hand, begin to pedal the bike. As the bike is pedalling, push the derailleur up to the largest chainring. Now stop pedalling, and wait for the wheel to stop (while still holding the derailleur up). Like before, check that the jockey wheels sit directly under the largest chainring. If the jockey wheels are too far towards the wheel, screw the L screw clockwise. Stop once it sits directly below the large chainring. Likewise, if it is too close to the smaller chainring, screw the L screw anti-clockwise.

Now that your limiting screws are set, begin to pedal the bike with your hand again. Slowly release the derailleur to the smaller chainring.

Step 4: Cable Tension

With the limiting screws set, and new cable installed, it’s time to tension the cable! Begin by going up to the shifter. There should be a plastic knob (barrel adjuster). This is what adjusts the cables tension. It should look something like the picture to the right. Twist that clockwise, until it stops, then one full turn anti-clockwise. Now back down at the derailleur, there should be a similar looking adjuster. Note: Not all models have a second adjuster. If your model has a second barrel adjuster, do the same as to the shifter.

Now with one hand pull the end of the cable with a reasonable amount of tension (ensuring that the shifter is shifted all the way down), and with the other hand, take the same Allen key you used to loosen the cable. While holding the tension on the end of the cable, place the end of the cable back through the bolt and tighten the bolt reasonably tight. Pro Tip: Over tightening the bolt can cause the cable to fray. Don’t over tighten it, only with a medium amount of force.

Now with the cable tightened back to the derailleur, begin shifting through the gears. If the gears struggle to go up through the range to the bigger chainrings, twist the barrel adjuster at the rear (if applicable) anti-clockwise. Pro Tip: Only make small adjustments to the barrel adjuster knob, as it doesn’t take much to start working.Once the derailleur moves smoothly through the gears, take an end cap, and secure it over the end of the cable. Now that your gears are looking good, time to do the front gears!

Step 5: Free the Front Cable

The front gears can be a bit more tricky, but are less often ‘out of alignment’. Begin by shifting the rear gear to the middle of the cassette (gear range), then the front into the smallest ring. Now unclamp the cable at the front from the Allen bolt. Again testing the cable, unwind the cable from the clamp, pull on the end with one hand, and shift through the gears with the other, maintaining tension on the cable. If it needs replacing, follow the same steps as you did with the rear. If it feels smooth, move on to step 6.

Step 6: Setting the Front Limits

To begin setting the limits on the front, shift the rear derailleur to the largest chainring, while leaving the front on the smallest ring. Looking at both the screws on the top of the front derailleur, begin turning the screw marked L on the front derailleur clock-wise, until the cage hits the chain. Now back it off, leaving about 1mm between the chain and the derailleur cage. Pro Tip: If the screw is hard to turn, manually flex the derailleur by hand outward, and turn the screw with the other hand. This takes the tension off the screw, making it easier to turn.

Going up to the handlebars, rotate the barrel adjuster on the front gear shifter as before (clockwise until stops. Anti-clockwise one turn). Now take the end of the cable, back at the front derailleur, holding tension on the end of it, and thread it back through the Allen bolt. Shift the rear gears into the smallest chainring. and shift up the front gears into the biggest chainring using the shifters. If it struggles to go up the front chainrings, add tension to the cable by rotating the barrel adjuster anti-clockwise. Once the chain is in the biggest chainring at the front, and the smallest at the rear, its time to set the H limit screw.

Looking from above, begin pedalling the bike cranks slowly, keeping tension on the chain. As you do so, screw the H screw clockwise until it is just tapping the chain, then back it off about 1mm-2mm anti-clockwise so there is no rub. Once it is clear of the chain, you should be all set, and ready for the last step!

Step 7: Front Cable Tension

Finally, let’s adjust the cable tension at the front, to finish off your almost perfect gears! Rotating the cranks again, shift the rear gears to the middle chainring. Now begin shifting up and down the front chainrings, while still pedalling the bike cranks. If the front is struggling to shift down the rings, screw the matching barrel adjuster clockwise. Like wise, if it is struggling to shift up, screw the barrel anti-clockwise. Pro Tip: Once it is all working smoothly, take the bike for a test spin. Sometimes under pressure, the gears may not work quiet as smooth. While out testing, make fine adjustments at the shifter barrel adjusters to fine tune.

With all gears working smoothly, its time to ride! If there is still something not quiet right, read through the following checklist to work out how to troubleshoot some of your shifting issues. If you need a place to ride around Adelaide, click here to check out our top ranked downhill/mountain bike trails.

Problems and Solutions:

Problem: Shifting is uneven and inconsistent

The likelihood of an issue like this is a bent hanger. This is the metal piece between the frame and the derailleur at the rear. This can be bent back into place with the correct hanger alignment tool, or replaced for around $30 at most bike shops.

Other potential reasons may include worn cassette, derailleur is old and ceased/bent, spring is rusted/old, worn chain, wrong derailleur for the cassette you have, or old cables which need replacing.

Problem: Gears falling off the chainrings

This is almost always due to the limit screws not being set right. If they have however been set right, you may have too long of a chain, or worn parts such as chain, cassette or derailleur.

Problem: Gears are skipping/slipping still

This is almost always due to a poorly tensioned cable. Read steps 4 for the rear derailleur, or 7 for the front derailleur. Another reason can be when a component to the drivetrain is replaced, without replacing another part. For example, replacing the chain, without replacing the cassette. Components wear into each other, and when one is replaced, it is not yet worn in. Try replacing all components at once, or else buying 3 chains at a time, and rotating through them to wear them all in at a similar rate.

Still Not Working?

Sometimes derailleurs become frail, or bent. Some pivots may seize and become less functional. The best bet is to replace the derailler. Consider going through Chain Reaction Cycles, with their massive range, and great customer service!

Still have questions? Shoot us an email, and we’ll be more than happy to help you out!

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Top 5 Greatest Downhill Bikes of 2018

With technology increasing, and Downhill bike racing becoming a popular sport, bike manufacturers are having to meet the needs of downhill riders. Companies such as Giant, Trek, and tones more, have always stayed on top of the game. The following bikes are some of the latest designs, technologies, and materials which have been moulded into some of the greatest bikes we’ll be seeing in the 2018 race season, and beyond!

5. Transition TR11 GX

The Transition TR11 GX is an extremely agile and light weight bike. With less travel at the rear (195mm) combined with the light weight Carbon Fibre construction of the frame, the TR11 is extremely reactive and agile. Featuring Fox factory DHX2 at the rear, and a Boxxer RC at the front, the bike is extremely adjustable and customizable. Coming is small to extra large, the Transition TR11 is made to suit all sizes of riders!

Features;

  • Rockshox Boxxer RC Forks – 200mm travel
  • Fox factory DHX2 shock – 195mm travel
  • E-thirteen wheelset, with Joytech DH hubs 27.5″
  • Raceface atlas/Sram 1 by 7 drivetrain
  • Sram Code R hydraulic brake set

4. Nukeproof Pulse RS

The Nukeproof Pulse RS is not only an aggressive looking bike, but happens to hold some of Nukeproof’s latest and greatest features. Although made of Alloy (6061) it certainly doesn’t fall short! Nukeproof’s Pulse RS comes in small to extra large, with a 63 degree head angle on all sizes, providing a stable, and plush ride. With 10mm more rear travel, improved sensitivity, 200mm front travel, and a greater frame geometric design, the Nukeproof Pulse RS is a revolutionary by Nukeproof.

Features;

  • Rockshox Boxxer WC Solo Air – 200mm travel
  • Rockshox Super Deluxe Coil RC – 200mm travel
  • Mavic DeeMax 27.5″ DH wheelset
  • Sram XO 1 by 7 Drivetrain
  • Sram Code R hydraulic brake set

3. Giant Glory 1 Downhill MTB

The trusty old Giant Glory 1 coming in at number 3, certainly still holds up to its name! The giant glory 1 now featuring 203mm of maestro set-up suspension at the rear, with a co-pivot rockshox R2C shock at the rear, rockshox boxxer team 200mm-travel fork, and a ALUXX SL-grade aluminium frame, the Giant glory is strong, comfortable, and rides like a dream! The Giant Glory 1, coming is sizes small, medium, and large, fits almost all riders, and certainly suits all levels!

Features;

  • Rockshox boxxer team – 200mm travel
  • Rockshox R2C shock – 200mm travel
  • DT-Swiss EX-471 wheels 27.5″ with DT-Swiss/Giant Hubs
  • Sram GX DH 1×7-speed DH-specific drivetrain
  • Sram Guide R hydraulic disc brake set

2. Mondraker Summum Pro

At number 2, the Mondraker Summum Carbon Pro Team makes an appearance!  With a 63 degree head angle, full carbon stealth frame, full fox suspension, 203mm travel, and some of the greatest components out, the Summum Pro certainly deserves 2nd place! Coming in Small, medium, large, and extra large, this speed demon is made for all sizes of riders! Not only is this rig a racing machine, but looks absolutely mint, with Saint cranks, Renthal Fatbars/grips, and a full matte finish!

Features;

  • Fox 40 float Kashima – 203mm travel
  • Fox DHX2 Factory Kashima
  • DT-Swiss 240 Wheelset – 27.5″
  • Shimano Saint Hollowtech Drivetrain
  • Shimano Saint M820 hydraulic brake set

1. Trek Session RSL Downhill MTB

Finally, at number 1, the Trek Session RSL Carbon 2018! This absolute gun just keeps getting better with age. Now with improved stability, comfort, control and a wider variety in sizings; small to extra-large, as well as 27.5″ and 29″ wheels, this bike is style of rider. With front and rear fox suspension, the bike has improved customization of all suspension settings! This particular session has increased the wheel base and reach, giving the bike an overall greater stability.

Features;

  • Fox factory 40 forks – 200mm travel
  • Fox float x2 – 210mm travel
  • DT-Swiss FR1950 wheelset – 27.5″ or 29″
  •  Shimano saint drivetrain
  • Shimano saint brake set

Throughout the coming year, we will see these bikes being ridden by some of the biggest names in downhill racing! For more opinions on the top downhill bikes of 2018, visit RedBull’s top 6 list!

Want to ride your downhill bike locally, but cant find trails? Check out our guide to trails in Adelaide here!

Tags: Downhill Mountain Bike Bicycle Best Top 10 ten 5 Five bikes fox rockshox mtb racing redbull lightest fastest cheapest dh free ride

How to Clean Your Bike Like a Pro

Keeping a clean bike is perhaps the most important thing you can do to your bike as a rider. It helps save money, increase the lifespan of the bike, and keeps things running smooth. A widely debated topic however, is how a bike really should be cleaned. In the following article, it will be looked at, how to safely and thoroughly clean your bike, as well as how often it should be done.

While its good to keep your bike clean, you first need to know that bikes are tough. They are made to ride in harsh conditions and can take a bit of a beating. It’s not imperative to clean your bike after every ride, however it’s important to know when and when not to wash your bike.

How Often Should I Clean My Bike?

Cleaning your bike should be done regularly. In winter, I clean my bike after nearly every ride! If its wet, I clean it. On the other hand, in summer it’s not always necessary to clean your bike. If you go on a short ride, or just a cruise around the streets, there’s not much point cleaning it. Sometimes cleaning your bike too often poses more of a risk than cleaning it less often; as you may eventually force water into bearings/seals.

How Do I Clean My Bike?

You Will Need

  • Tap
  • Hose
  • Brush (with reasonably long bristles)
  • Old Rag
  • Clean Rag

Optional;

  • Bike Cleaning Solution
  • Chain Lube
  • Hose Pistol
  • Leaf Blower

Preparation

Begin by placing your bike, on its stand or up against a wall. Plug in and set the hose to a reasonably low speed. If you have a hose pistol/nozzle, set it to shower, centre, or fan. *NOTE: HAVING THE HOSE ON HIGH PRESSURE OR JET CAN CAUSE DAMAGE TO THE SUSPENSION, BEARINGS BY FORCING DIRT INTO SEALS*.

Hose Down

Now begin spraying the bike frame, forks, rear shock, cranks, wheels, and cock-pit area from about 3-5 feet from the bike. Do so until all mud and dirt is removed from the frame and components. Now turn the bike around 180 degrees, and repeat for the opposite side. If your having trouble removing mud, then take a brush and lightly brush off the mud. Now softly spray the cassette, chainring, and chain, while rotating the cranks, to remove any dirt or grime from the drive trail. Once all mud and dirt has been removed from both sides, turn off the hose. Now your ready to start drying the bike!

Drying

Pick up the bike, and drop it from about 2-3 feet in the air (keeping it upright). Repeat this 5-10 times, until water stops dropping off the bike. Next give the cranks a fast spin backwards, to spin the chain and cassette fast. This should remove most of the water left in the drivetrain. Now simply, take a cloth and begin wiping down the frame. Beginning at handlebars, through levers, down the fork stanchions, the fork seals, moving to the bike frame, both crank arms, and the chain-ring, moving back towards the rear shock, then the rear triangle of the frame.

Another thing I like to do is to remove the seat-post and give it a good wipe down. This isn’t always necessary, but on some bikes water and dirt can slip into the seat tube, causing creaking to occur.

Now that the main body of the bike is clean and dry, take the brush again, and begin scrubbing the rear cassette. A good technique is to brush up and down on the back section of the cassette, as this allows the cassette to spin and lock. Next, rotate the chain slowly, while brushing the chain with the opposite hand. Rotate the cranks about 8 times before stopping.

Finishing Touches

Lastly, take a clean cloth (free of any oils) and wipe down the rotors. Sometimes water can sit on them, and this can corrode the finish on the brake rotors. Make sure the cloth is clean, in order to prevent any contamination of the rotors or pads.

If you have chain lube, now is the time to use it! Begin by setting an old rag/cloth down on the bottom of the rear triangle. Now begin to apply chain lube. (The rag prevents any excess dripping onto the frame)

Now store your bike in a safe, dry place, and your ready for your next ride! For more maintenance tips, see our ‘Top 10 list of tools, every cyclist should own’. For a video on washing your bike, click here to watch GMBN’s guide to a 30 minute bike wash!

Tags: rust cleaning wipe degreaser degrease bearings safely safe high-pressure hose good chain road dirt winter summer jet power