The Mountain Bike Life

Category: Workbench

The days are short, and your daily window to ride is growing shorter. A night ride may be the only option to get you out on the trails. If you are like me, the thought of trudging through the darkness, aided by light, cool fall air surrounding your swift direction is enough to get you through the week, but you may run into a problem when shopping for the necessary luminary aids- they can be incredibly pricey. This was definitely…

With the temperatures now around zero on most days. And out comes the first phase of winter riding…knee warmers, wool socks, and of course the old school Roach Indy vest for winter riding. Knowing how winter was last year other questions come to mind. Do I keep the current mountain bike the Samurai rolling or do I put it to rest for the winter? Sure the Samurai is fun but when it gets colder there isn’t as much to ride…

The Work Bench….the place where I solve problems. The spot where some times a part will sit for a long time while I wait for a creative solution is found. The place where I fabricate true solutions not just throw it out. It smells of glue, oil, Mineral Spirits and Beer. Never clean and covered it metal shavings. Though sometimes all it is is just the place to rest the post ride beer.  

We all love our bikes, but you can take care of the bike until the cows come home and it will still have issues once in a while. Some things are easy to diagnose and easy to fix (flat tires), some are easy to diagnose and hard to fix (seized forks) and others take more thought, but can be fixed quickly if not let on for too long. Recently in a race I suddenly had a chain skipping predictably every…

In the quest to keep costs down I have asked over the years what others used to keep their bike chains running smoothly. Heard of everything from Olive Oil to Chainsaw Bar oil. After years of trying various types of lube, I have been using this formulation for a number of years. And will share the formula for my dirtbag chain lube with the readers of The Mountain Bike Life. 1 Part Mineral Spirits 3 Parts Motor Oil 1 Large Plastic…

Having not yet mastered the craft of changing a tube using the ‘hands-only’ method, tire levers come in handy when a tire goes flat. I never leave home without them…until a few weeks ago when on a morning bike commute to work I got a flat and discovered my tire levers were not in my pannier. It took a 45 minute walk-a-bike to work and an hour wait until the LBS opened to have a simple solution pointed out to…

Santa Cruze Nomad

Having recently dropped huge sums (for me) of money on a Shiny New Bicycle, and subsequently having that shiny new frame crack, I participated firsthand in my bicycle company’s Warranty and Crash Replacement Program. In my case I was lucky. I bought a frame from a reputable company with a 20 year history, known for quality and customer service, with a clearly defined warranty and the added bonus of a Crash Replacement Program. These things happen, and for the record…

There is something I have noticed on a lot of bikes that is often overlooked. You can see it on random bikes at the trail head, your buddies bikes, or even your own. It can even be seen on brand new bikes sitting on the show room floor. I am talking about cable routing. A lot of the time how and where you route your cables and housing sounds as if it is such a simple and inconsequential thing. I…

The one place on the bike that is most important for weight reduction is the wheelset. This is also the single most expensive upgrade you can purchase short of a new fork. Lightweight wheelsets range from $400-2000 and can be made from some pretty exotic materials. About the only way to get the cost down a little bit is to order all the parts yourself and lace them up in your basement. This is not for the faint of heart…

As anyone that’s ridden in the cold season knows, the proper clothing can turn your ride from “death wish” to something worthy of at least two free beers. The key to surviving winter rides is actually pretty simple: layer your clothes! It’ll keep you warmer to begin with, you can take some off if you’re working hard, and it’ll keep you from freezing to death if you fall down somewhere wet. It’s important to note the skid mark trailing down…

1 2 3 5