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10 Hacks and tips for mountain bikers

Adjusting the air pressure in your suspensionfork is supposed to be an easy part of routine bike maintenance—but it isn’t always.

Air caps have a way of being ridiculouslystubborn.

It’s tempting to break out the heavy artilleryin these situations, but the solution is right under your nose.

Your shock pump.

This can actually be used as a slide hammerto knock the air cap loose.

Just brace the handle of the pump on the cap, and then use the body of the pump to initiate a precise impact.

This won’t scratch your air cap, and itmakes use of a tool you already have handy.

It also works with most suspension forks.

Of course the next time you screw on yourair cap, be sure not to make it so tight.

Even the best knee pads have a way of slidingaround, especially if you’re doing a lot of pedaling.

If you wear a chamois, you can stretch itover the top of your pads to hold them in place.

I realize that this doesn’t work for allpads and that some of you are so tall that your chamois doesn’t actually reach yourpads, but for us short people this does an incredible job.

I use Dakine chamois and they reach all mypads.

Another hidden benefit of this is warmth inthe Winter months, as it makes for continuous coverage down your leg.

As far as bike racks go, it doesn’t getmuch simpler than the tailgate of a pickup, and today’s tailgate pads even include strapsto secure your bike.

Still, they can bounce around on rough roads.

So if you’re on a long trip or doing anykind of over landing, you can use a ratchet strap to hold several bikes in place at once.

Just use the tie downs in your bed to hookthe strap over the bikes, and then crank it down just enough to hold the bikes in place.

If you want even more security, you can wrapthe strap around each bike, which will keep them from moving side to side.

This trick also makes theft more difficultduring quick stops like intersections.

These next two hacks come courtesy of EricPorter, although these are both old tricks.

First, a way to secure the rear brake hoseon your dirt jump or BMX bike.

Because these bikes are made for tricks likebarspins, the hose is often left really long so it can wrap around the steerer tube.

That leaves a lot of extra hose that can slaparound and make noise.

Some people put a zip tie here, but it’sonly a matter of time before it slides down.

For a permanent fix, put a zip tie aroundthe hose loosely, and then pass another zip tie through it and around your steerer tube.

This solution is barspin friendly, and costsonly pennies.

So in my opinion, it’s about as good ashacks get.

Even mountain bikers who ride tubeless, stillusually carry a tube for emergencies, and if you want that tube to work for as manybikes as possible, use a 29.

You can actually shorten a 29 inch tube downto just about any size.

Just push down on the tube with your thumb, and pull it back so it folds over itself.

You can then keep pulling it down to achievethe size you’re going for.

It’s a good idea to do this opposite thevalve stem to counterbalance the weight, but in reality you won’t counterbalance anything.

This hack is strictly to get you home withouthaving to walk your bike.

Here’s another inner tube hack.

Shraeder valves are found on BMX bikes, dirtjumpers, and unicycles, while presta valves are found pretty much everywhere else.

Install a presta tube in a shraeder wheel, and it sits off center, flops around, and allows for dirt ingress.

But you can solve all these issues with apresta valve cap.

Just cut it in half, and then screw it onto the stem upside down about a quarter of the way up.

When you install the tube, it should makefor a perfect fit.

Although this looks pretty official and willget you by, it’s still a hack.

If you run high pressure this could in theorystress the base of the valve stem and damage the tube, so be aware of that and buy theright tube if you can.

That said, I did this for a bit at 60 PSIwith no problems.

Small multi tools like this one are convenient, but they lack leverage.

If you’ve ever tried to break a pedal loosewith one of these, you know it’s nearly impossible.

But assuming your bike has thru axles, youcan use one to add leverage to the tool.

First remove your thru axle, and then slideit over an unused hex wrench opposite the one in your pedal.

It should now look like this.

In this configuration you can apply pressureto both the multi tool and the axle, giving you the leverage to crack loose just aboutanything.

On hex thru axles you can use the hex head, and on quick release thru axles you can use the hollow end.

Some may worry about damaging their axle doingthis, but I tried several with no issues or even so much as a mark.

but I don’t know how tight your pedals areor how strong your axle is.

So if you have any concerns about this hack, don’t use it.

Now for some trail building hacks, startingwith one we’ve used on Berm Peak: Removing small stumps with a reciprocating saw.

For this you want to use a pruning blade, and just cut around the stump in a circle.

For a little shrub this can get the stumpout of the ground in under minute.

Having done this countless times now, I canconfirm that it does no harm to the saw itself, but it will put a little bit of a hurtin’on your blade.

For slightly bigger stumps, this trick stilldoes work but definitely takes an extra minute or two.

When building dirt jumps, you ideally wantsoil without any sticks, pebbles, or roots in it.

To get perfect dirt, you can use a leaf rakeas a sifter.

Just rake some soil into a pile, scoop itup with the leaf rake, and then shift it around until you’re left with just sticks and pebblesin the rake.

This takes some time, but if all you needis a top layer on a little jump like this one, it works great and leaves you with perfect, chocolaty soil that compacts like it’s supposed to.

With a little practice, you can do the sameby just raking, but this is more thorough and kind of satisfying to watch.

You’re all alone in the woods—the onlyhuman being for miles, or so you think.

Pull off trail to take a whiz, and it’sa scientific fact that you’ll get run up on immediately.

It’s just the way the universe works.

So use this to your advantage.

The next time you need some local knowledge, just summon a local.

I hope you found these bike hacks entertaining, and I’m pretty sure you realize they’re just hacks.

There are proper ways to do all of these things.

Nevertheless, leave a comment below, sharethis video with someone who would enjoy it, and subscribe to see me build a mountain biketrail in my backyard.

Ride safe, and enjoy the fall weather.

Thanks for riding with me today and I’llsee you next time.

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