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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 2.6
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.

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