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Wet Weather Mountain Bike Hacks | MTB Tech Tips For The Rain


– Here in the UK, as you probably guessed we get to ride in wet conditions quite a lot So we thought we'd share some of our top tech tips to get the most from your bike and your gear, and more importantly to stop wreaking havoc on your bike because this stuff can be pretty nasty at times

(chill electronic music) Riding the mountain bike in wet and muddy conditions is inevitable and like always keeping your bike as clean and lubricated as possible is the key to it working well, especially so with suspension forks Your forks are typically a telescopic design which means during their operation, firstly, they need to be well lubricated to operate correctly, but also due to that telescopic nature they do ingest muck and grit into them, so it's really important to keep an eye on your stanchion tubes These are the upper tubes, clean and they don't have scratches on and if possible, if you're up to it, get some lube under the seals here There's a few ways you can do this, you can use a spray like a silicon sprays, they're safe to use on the suspension components, they won't interfere with the seals But again, I wouldn't recommend spraying it directly onto the leg unless by chance you don't have your brakes on the bike

The best way is to apply it with a rag and then compress the fork a few times And you'll notice that you will see some grime and stuff lifting out of those seals, clean that stuff off, give it another little coating of the spray and then go and hit the trails However, if you want to go the whole hog and you want to do this a little bit more detailed, lift off the garter seal, that is this silver spring here You can do this using your nail Lift that away and then using the rounded edge of a cable tie, just open the seal and you can apply some suspension safe lubricant directly into there

Now some people choose to use things like a chain lubricant, I prefer to use a dedicated suspension lubricant In this case Fox 20wt Gold That is designed for the job on these Forks to do that lubrication Super simple job to do Again, the same thing, compress the fork a few times and it'll draw out some of the grittiness in there, and more importantly provides a nice oily seal there to really keep that moisture at bay

Knowing the right tires makes a huge difference how you can ride in wet conditions Now we say wet conditions and people might automatically think muddy and of course, in mud you're going to want a very open tread tire The reason for that is, A, it's going to clear that mud out to continue giving you grip And B, those lugs can cut in and give you grip, just like this front tire here However, quite often in really wet conditions, you're going to get a lot of exposed rock just like this

Note how there's a bit of mud but there's loads of rock here and in conditions like that, the rock basically could split the tire carcass itself because of that open tread So you do need to take that into account If you're riding in conditions that are going to be wet and rocky, perhaps you want something with slightly more closed design like my rear tire Now you notice that I'm running two types of tire on the bike I wanted to have the open tire on the front for control, because there is a lot of mud where I ride locally and you do need that to get the traction and compliance

There's also a lot of this sort of stuff, and because I'm quite tall and quite heavy it does mean from time to time, in the past I've managed to split tires It's been quite annoying when it's happened, so I tend to run a tire that might not be as good in the mud but it's a bit tougher Also there's quite a cool thing with the tougher rear tire I'm running, the knobs being closer together also means it rolls slightly faster, so it has got an up side But a couple of things to take into account with tires So the actual size of the tire that you go for, I'm running 2

35s here, it's UK winter, and the reason for that is quite simply, it's going to cut through the mud and access the grippy stuff underneath If I'm going to be running big volume tires, quite often, you'll slide around on the top Also add into that equation, that certain types of mud are going to stick to the tire, if you've got a big 26 tire and it's a tire that clogs up with mud, it's going to pick up all that mud and you're suddenly going to be going really slow with really heavy tires It does make a big difference, so just factor those things in and you can have a lot more fun out on the trails

Okay, so the next tip is to not take your paint work off when you're cleaning your bike Now like most people, I've been using a bucket for years but I'm also very careful how I use that bucket Some people might think a bucket is a bucket right? Well, not necessarily You're cleaning, you're scrubbing your bike, you're returning your brush into the bucket, what are you doing? You're putting that brush straight back into that gritty water Now if you're look in here, you'll see the color of this water, this is just from one pass around a bike with that

There's actually a filter in the bottom here, you can just about see the black rim around the bottom there, and that traps all that stuff So when I'm dipping a brush back in, I'm not just smearing around all the bad stuff on the bike So if you're not going to have a bucket that's got a filter like this, and you're going to use a good old fashioned bucket, make sure you take that into account And just take water from the top, don't dunk all the way into the bottom where all that silt is going to sit It's your paintwork, got to look after it at the end of the day

Now obviously, a massive wet weather tip is to have some kind of eye wear Now I've told everyone for years that I prefer using clear riding glasses for 99% of my stuff, but sometimes where needs must, there's nothing better than a set of goggles, because they effectively lock everything out A, it stops your eyes watering which is brilliant when it's cold and wet And B, you could just keep your vision good when you're riding through this sort of stuff However, goggles aren't always the best thing to ride mountain bikes in all day long

Glasses allow more ventilation to get behind the lens, so they're not going to fog up as easily Now, if on glasses and goggles you are struggling from lenses fogging up, consider some anti-fog solution Now this stuff works miracles, but it's really important to say that the lenses need to be really clean and preferably not have any scratches on for it to work its best Now in the winter months when it's wet and muddy just like this behind me, I tend to carry some goggle cleaner with me The anti-fog stuff is really good but I don't tend to use it to clean the goggles, I just use it as a coating to basically stay clear, it's good stuff

Now modern-day smartphones do tend to be splash resistant and waterproof However, I tend to carry mine inside a little Ziploc bag And if my jacket has like a Napoleon style pocket here, I would always keep it in that chest pocket, it keeps it away from most spray that you're going to get off the back wheel and other areas And the real top tip is to make sure you've got a screen protector on there It's super easy to crack your phone screen on your bike and I've actually got a glass screen protector on here, it is cracked, funnily enough from falling off my bike recently

Now also another thing to add into that equation is, fair enough the phones are quite good, you might have insurance, you might argue these sort of things, but when you're using your phone when you've got wet and muddy gloves, you can scratch our screen and scuff it quite easily So it is worth having protection there And while I'm at it, I just want to say, get yourself some of those glass protector screens if you've got any sort of action cam as well As you can see on this one, these are cracked, but thankfully that's not the lens and that's not the screen on the back It's the sort of stuff you do have to deal with in wet conditions

It could just slip out your hand, it could have happened from muddy gloves, any number of things, it's worth having some protection And the next top wet weather riding tip is got to be experimenting with tire pressure Now, tire pressure, I think has way more difference on the feel of your bike and the traction it has than even picking grippy tires You could be running a really grippy tire, but if you're running at 50 pounds or 50 psi, you're not going to get any conformity, the tire's going to bounce around no matter how good that compound is, it's not going to do its job properly If you've got a very average set of tires and you master your tire pressure, you can access a whole realm of new traction you didn't think was possible

For that reason, get yourself some sort of tire gauge This is a digital one, but you can get analog ones as well, doesn't matter And go out and spend a day experimenting No need to change the tires on your bike you have, keep them on, go out with what you think you have in your tires and then play around a bit Now you have to bear in mind that heavier riders, you're not going to be able to go super low on the rear for obvious factors, there won't be enough support on your tire, unless you're running a heavy duty tire

And also the fact that you can do damage to that tire and damage to the rim as well, so there will be a limit So try and stick within the guidelines of what your tire manufacturer suggests, but definitely have a play with it, you'll be really surprised how much difference even three psi can make, like significantly You think what the tire is supposed to do, it's supposed to track and conform over obstacles on the terrain, to give you that sure-footed footprint If it's hard, it's going to bounce off things and actually make things quite uncontrollable Tire pressure I believe makes the biggest single difference to performance on a bike, and it's something you can experiment with totally for free

And of course something else to take into account is the softer your tires are, when you get out to hard surfaces, let's say you have to ride on some tarmac to get back home, your bike's going to roll really slowly So my final little top tip to go with that is, bring a mini pump with you, so it means you can top it up if you need to just to make getting back home that little bit more bearable Regular rags that don't cut it Now this is something I only learnt fairly frequently I've always survived on old t-shirts being my rag of choice just to clean the bike down afterwards, to wipe it, maybe put some polish on the frame, but actually, they're not the best thing at all

The best thing is having a microfiber cloth, the reason for that quite simply, is they pull the moisture away from the bike much quicker and they lock it away in the cloth, instead of having it at the surface of the cloth where you're just going to be rubbing any sort of grit that might be left on your bike on your paintwork, you don't want to be doing that You want to make sure that your bike is going to look pristine afterwards Just another tip on the bucket things, if you invest in a bucket that's got a filter, they normally come with a lid, which means when you're done washing your bike, can bang it in there, especially good if it's a mobile setup Now this tip is really important, know when to lube your chain After a muddy ride like this, some of you might be keen to get some wet lube straight on the chain, you must avoid doing that at all costs because all you're going to do is put a layer of lubricant over that muddy, gritty, nasty grinding paste, it's going to wear out your transmission

You need to make sure you do things in a very specific order, you need to clean, you need to protect and you need to lubricate Vital with chains how you do this, because of the fact that even at a glance if your chain looks clean, you still shouldn't just put some lube on it, because of the fact that could be grit on the inner workings of the chain and because wet lube, generally, it's quite thick and viscous, it's just going to keep it all there, so that muddy stuff you're riding through your whole ride, you're trying to lubricate it to do something good to your bike, you're actually going to make it worse So make sure you clean, you protect and you lube Now you might notice despite this huge disgusting crap filled puddle behind me, that there's not that much on my face There's a few speckles, so obviously the goggles are keeping that out of my eyes, but the reason for that quite simply is I have a mudguard on the bike

Now mudguards on modern mountain bikes like this one are not what people might think They're not there to keep you clean They're there to keep the mud and the spray away from your face, so your vision basically stays clear Now although I've ridden through this a few times now, I can still see, I don't need to clean the goggles yet, so I'm actually going to leave them as they are Now this is a quite a small fender, there's a lot of different options available in the market, there's the Crud XL, there's the RRPs, There's loads of different ones out there

Some of them you might find visually offensive, but quite often they're the best ones The biggest ones that have the best spray protection This particular one is a midsize, it's pretty good, although the longer one is much better for conditions like this In summer months, I tend to not run mud guards like this, I use just the flap style mudguard, they're a lot smaller, a lot neater and I just kind of like it that way I don't really want to have all this stuff on my bike

However, for riding in winter and riding in wet, you need a mudguard Now, one of my favorites which I have mentioned before in another winter video, is get an old pair of socks This is an old pair of my ancient GMBN socks, that still smell to be honest Get yourself some silica gel Now you can get this online, it's quite cheap stuff, and I filled these up, and basically, you pop them inside your wet riding shoes afterwards and it draws out all the moisture

Now when they're soaking wet, all you got to do is chuck them on the radiator afterwards and they dry out real quick, and they're good to be used again Now the top tip for when you're buying silica gel, is a lot of flower arranging shops sell that stuff in bags, but the bags you tend to get online do cost a bit of money Hunt around though and you can get these sorts of things, which designed to put on car dashboards and in the boots of cars that are leaking and stuff like that to absorb moisture The amount of silica gel that you get inside these compared to what you can buy as the raw stuff, it ends up being cheaper to buy these So I always buy these, snip 'em and use that in socks and other things to make the most of the stuff, it's really good and also you get these little packets that come when you buy things, any sort of packaging will have silica gel on the inside

This stuff is amazing to put inside your riding bags especially like me, if you have a sort of cameras or GoPros and stuff like that in there In the occasion that they do get wet, it's going to start drawing the moisture out And also from the camera point of view, it stops them misting up, really useful stuff Another great common winter tip especially for wet and muddy conditions is to apply some polish to your frame Now a theory behind this, is it helps stop mud sticking to it

It doesn't always do that, but it can definitely reduce it The thick stuff can slide off that a little bit easier Mud of course, it is heavy, as well as wearing components out, it weighs you down Best places to apply this, underside of the downtube, under the bottom bracket shell, even on the rims themselves, although never do this if you have rim brakes Only do this if you have disc brakes for obvious reasons

Now there's various different polishes available, some of the slippery stuff is Silicon Shine, be very careful how you apply it, always recommend applying it directly to a rag or a microfiber cloth and then polishing your bike with it If you spray it directly on there, there's a good chance you'll get some misting near the disc brake rotors Don't need to tell you this but that will interfere with how well your brakes work, and of course, you need your brakes to be working otherwise you're going to be riding straight to the dentist And my last tip actually is rider care Looking after your goggles, looking after your glasses, looking after your helmet

So obviously the helmet pads on the inside are going to soak up loads of moisture Now you can wash these in the washing machine, if you do that, put them inside your goggles or your glasses bag, so they don't disintegrate But another tip that I've been using, is these silica bags, chuck it on the inside and when you drive home from the trails or you can just basically leave it inside in your workshop, it soaks up all that moisture The same applies to the foam backing on the back your goggles, it's really really good stuff If you want to go one step further, you can get stuff like Foam Fresh, which quite clearly is to make the inside of your helmet smell really nice

There we go, there's a bunch of our top wet weather riding tips Hopefully you enjoyed the video, don't forget to subscribe, share us around and I hit that notification bell, cheers, guys

Source: Youtube

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