10 Hacks and tips for mountain bikers

10 Hacks and tips for mountain bikers

Adjusting the air pressure in your suspension
fork is supposed to be an easy part of routine bike maintenance—but it isn’t always. Air caps have a way of being ridiculously
stubborn. It’s tempting to break out the heavy artillery
in these situations, but the solution is right under your nose. Your shock pump. This can actually be used as a slide hammer
to 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 it
makes use of a tool you already have handy. It also works with most suspension forks. Of course the next time you screw on your
air cap, be sure not to make it so tight. Even the best knee pads have a way of sliding
around, especially if you’re doing a lot of pedaling. If you wear a chamois, you can stretch it
over the top of your pads to hold them in place. I realize that this doesn’t work for all
pads and that some of you are so tall that your chamois doesn’t actually reach your
pads, but for us short people this does an incredible job. I use Dakine chamois and they reach all my
pads. Another hidden benefit of this is warmth in
the Winter months, as it makes for continuous coverage down your leg. As far as bike racks go, it doesn’t get
much simpler than the tailgate of a pickup, and today’s tailgate pads even include straps
to secure your bike. Still, they can bounce around on rough roads. So if you’re on a long trip or doing any
kind 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 hook
the 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 wrap
the strap around each bike, which will keep them from moving side to side. This trick also makes theft more difficult
during quick stops like intersections. These next two hacks come courtesy of Eric
Porter, although these are both old tricks. First, a way to secure the rear brake hose
on your dirt jump or BMX bike. Because these bikes are made for tricks like
barspins, the hose is often left really long so it can wrap around the steerer tube. That leaves a lot of extra hose that can slap
around and make noise. Some people put a zip tie here, but it’s
only a matter of time before it slides down. For a permanent fix, put a zip tie around
the hose loosely, and then pass another zip tie through it and around your steerer tube. This solution is barspin friendly, and costs
only pennies. So in my opinion, it’s about as good as
hacks get. Even mountain bikers who ride tubeless, still
usually carry a tube for emergencies, and if you want that tube to work for as many
bikes as possible, use a 29. You can actually shorten a 29 inch tube down
to 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 achieve
the size you’re going for. It’s a good idea to do this opposite the
valve stem to counterbalance the weight, but in reality you won’t counterbalance anything. This hack is strictly to get you home without
having to walk your bike. Here’s another inner tube hack. Shraeder valves are found on BMX bikes, dirt
jumpers, 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 a
presta valve cap. Just cut it in half, and then screw it on
to the stem upside down about a quarter of the way up. When you install the tube, it should make
for a perfect fit. Although this looks pretty official and will
get you by, it’s still a hack. If you run high pressure this could in theory
stress the base of the valve stem and damage the tube, so be aware of that and buy the
right tube if you can. That said, I did this for a bit at 60 PSI
with no problems. Small multi tools like this one are convenient,
but they lack leverage. If you’ve ever tried to break a pedal loose
with one of these, you know it’s nearly impossible. But assuming your bike has thru axles, you
can use one to add leverage to the tool. First remove your thru axle, and then slide
it over an unused hex wrench opposite the one in your pedal. It should now look like this. In this configuration you can apply pressure
to both the multi tool and the axle, giving you the leverage to crack loose just about
anything. 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 doing
this, but I tried several with no issues or even so much as a mark. but I don’t know how tight your pedals are
or how strong your axle is. So if you have any concerns about this hack,
don’t use it. Now for some trail building hacks, starting
with 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 stump
out of the ground in under minute. Having done this countless times now, I can
confirm 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 still
does work but definitely takes an extra minute or two. When building dirt jumps, you ideally want
soil without any sticks, pebbles, or roots in it. To get perfect dirt, you can use a leaf rake
as a sifter. Just rake some soil into a pile, scoop it
up with the leaf rake, and then shift it around until you’re left with just sticks and pebbles
in the rake. This takes some time, but if all you need
is 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 same
by just raking, but this is more thorough and kind of satisfying to watch. You’re all alone in the woods—the only
human being for miles, or so you think. Pull off trail to take a whiz, and it’s
a 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, share
this video with someone who would enjoy it, and subscribe to see me build a mountain bike
trail in my backyard. Ride safe, and enjoy the fall weather. Thanks for riding with me today and I’ll
see you next time.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. For us tall people, use some self-adhesive tape under the top and bottom seam of your knee pads. the elastic in the tape keeps it comfortable and allows good blood flow while the extra stick from the material will help hold everything in place.

  2. I have made a chainstay protector from a piece of durable fabric and some velcro, I sewed the velcro on to the fabric and thats it. Its pretty good. I recommend it.

  3. I secure my knee pads from the other end. What I mean is I wear long football socks. They hold my knee pads in place and also protect my lower legs from nettle stings and stuff.

  4. well i got problems now. alfter i come home from school ic watch you videos, but arent actually a mtb-rider. once my friend borrowed me his dirtbik, after getting a feel for the bike and jumping way bigger jumps i had ever imagined to jump at the firts time riding. my friend told me that i was like destined for this. now my problem is that i want it so badly, but buying an bmx is only an option if there is any kind of dirts nearby. BUT here in Germany there are not!

  5. Hey seth I’m moving to Pennsylvania soon and was wondering if you’ve ever rode there and what kind of mountain bike should I get

  6. Here’s a hack to keep mud & crud out of your water bottle nozzle. Slip a beer cozy over the top and it’ll stay clean as a whistle. Weighs nothing and is “dirt” cheap

  7. Hey Seth, I've got a hack for you! It's loosely MTB related 🙂
    Recently I was cleaning out my PC, and I decided to use my Topeak Booster Pump as a compressed air can. It worked marvellously. Needed a hand from my husband to turn it on and off for maximum efficiency from each blast, but it did the job and it did it even better than normal compressed air in my opinion! I also got blasted in the face with dust haha…

  8. Hey seth, have you thought of doing a video going over some moves for beginners to learn to better their ride ie: bunny hops, poper landing forms etc. I think it could be a great thing to go over to help more people want to ride!

  9. Hack-when you have muddy shoes and don’t want to wash them and wait for them to dry just walk through some wet grass and should do the job

  10. Can I get tips on hitting berms rockers/jumps I have the temptation of sitting down I’ll the time when I ride.

  11. Im looking into getting the giant reign 2 as my first bike. Is that a good choice? i plan on doing a decent amount of bike parks and also just some trail riding at home.

  12. Go pro hack
    To make a camera mount to put on your bike just take the thing you put your phone in on a selfestick and zip tie it on your bike

  13. The shock pump "slide hammer" stuck air cap hack is a good one. To help keep them from getting stuck in the first place, I've learned to thoroughly clean and grease the cap threads once in a while.

  14. Please make rus subtitle можешь делать русские субтитры канал который делал на тебя озвучки перестал их делать а твой видео очень интересные

  15. Hi Seth. I just watched your bike dungeon video. are you still wanting to find a home for that trials bike? I only just got into mountain biking and I have found that I love to hop around. I hope i don't sound desperate Will you help out a fellow mtb rider as funds are low. – thanks

  16. Can you do a review on the diamondback bicycles overdrive 2016 version so I can see if I what to get for Christians it because I trust you

  17. Schrader valves are superior in every way. Larger diameter allows easier filling of sealant and the valve cap doubles as a valve core remover. I can inflate my tyres at any servo without needing an adapter and they are tougher when dealing with impacts. So if my rims have schrader sized holes then I’m not going to use a puny presta.

  18. Please don’t use a component on your bike that is safely critical as a lever for your little Allen key, instead use the correct tool and tighten to spec🙄

  19. Just had a major crash don't remember it at all need a good helmet for jumping and doing tricks any recommendations
    I am ok btw

  20. Might be obvious with other parts but put a little lube on the threads of the air cap and stop tightening as soon as it bottoms out – much easier to remove it this way.

  21. Hey Seth why don't you post every week? Me and my friends always have you channel pulled up during school watching for you latest video on Thursday and Friday! We are big fans!!!

  22. hack suggestion #1 from mwa . try using a hedge trimmer on the root stubble it should make short work of a tedious task. I LSBH

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *