Macgyver
(They won't really change your life but they are good)

6 MTB Hacks That May Change Your Life*

Words Cam McRae
Date Oct 11, 2018

I've learned a lot by reading hack articles online, from cooking, to speed reading, to starting a fire with a plastic bag, or using Doritos for kindling. One of my favourites was titled 'spy hacks' or something like that, and I regularly find it useful. If you are going from a dark room to a light room, perhaps your bedroom to the bathroom in the wee hours, and you want to be able to see when you turn the light off, simply close one eye. That eye's pupil will remain wide open and you'll be able to see adequately when you return to the dark and open it again. Another excellent one is tying your shoes more effectively, and it applies to mountain biking as well if your shoes have laces. After you make your first loop, wrap the other lace under rather than over and your shoes will be much more secure. True story. 

*originally published April 2017

Here are a few of my favourite hacks for mountain biking. Some of these might sound obvious to you. If they all do you may be a genius. And we may have a job for you. Hopefully you'll find some useful information below, and if not I bet you have some tips to share with the rest of us - so please do. 

1. Spin your knee pads to put them on and take them off so the knee cup slides over your heel. When I first stumbled upon this one I felt like an idiot. For as long as I've been wearing slip on pads I've struggled to get them over my heel - both on and off. One time the pad spun before I began to pull it off, and it slipped off like nothing. That part is good already, but the best part may be the reduced wear and tear on your pads. Give it a try and let us know how it goes.

2. Drop your post when you stop, particularly on a steep climb. In the fixed post days if you stopped for whatever reason your only option was straddling a leg over the top tube roadie style. If you are still doing this you are missing out because dropping your saddle allows you to sit with relative comfort. On a steep singletrack climb, it's also much easier to get your first pedal stroke in with your saddle down. 

3. Spin some duct tape around your pump in case of emergency. We all know duct tape can save the day in many situations, from repairing a tire or saddle to holding a cable or brake line in place, or even covering a sucking chest wound. It may hurt coming off but if your buddy survives that open pneumothorax you'll be forgiven. Wrapping it 6 or 8 times around your pump gives you a bonus pumping handle (place it appropriately) and something to MacGyver any repair you may need. 

4. Bend a spoke to ease chain repair. This one is as simple as it gets. Take a short length of spoke, maybe 8 inches long, and bend the last inch of each end past 90 degrees. Hook one end around your chain a few links from the break point and repeat on the other side. You'll have no tension on your chain and it'll stay where you want it for the procedure. 

5. Repair a broken saddle with a tube. If your saddle becomes separated from its rails a tube can be wrapped around and tied to keep it in place. I saw this one in the field and it works surprisingly well. If you are careful you can perform the wrap without damaging the tube. 

6. Toss a business card or other ID into your seat tube in case of theft. If you didn't write down your serial number or if it has been removed, you'll still be able to ID your bike. Imagine the crook's surprise when the cop pulls your name out of the hat.

We'll keep collecting these and passing along periodically. Please share yours below. We'll give you credit if we use it in the next piece. 

Tags: MTB Hacks, Tricks
Posted in: Trail Tales, News, Features

Comments

craw
+2 Cam McRae natbrown
Cr4w  - April 28, 2017, 9:09 a.m.

6 is genius. For #3 you might want to do a couple wraps of black electrical tape too.

Reply

craw
0
Cr4w  - Oct. 11, 2018, 10:32 a.m.

Now that I have a bike with an interrupted seat tube this point doesn’t make as much sense. But a good alternative might be to use a label maker to produce a label with your details printed in a similar colour to your frame with a clear background then stick it someplace inconspicuous.

Reply

Captain-Snappy
+2 Absolut-M Cam McRae
Merwinn  - April 28, 2017, 9:21 a.m.

" Toss a business card or other ID into your seat tube in case of theft. If you didn't write down your serial number or if it has been removed, you'll still be able to ID your bike. Imagine the crook's surprise when the cop pulls your name out of the hat."

Trying to determine if the cops even care enough to look as far as that.

Reply

craw
+2 Merwinn Cam McRae
Cr4w  - April 28, 2017, 9:24 a.m.

It's not so much that as if your bike turns up and you need to prove it's yours then you say 'check in the seat tube, my name's in there'.

Reply

Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - Oct. 11, 2018, 9:45 a.m.

True... true.

Reply

switch900
+2 Merwinn Cam McRae
Andrew Hewitson  - April 28, 2017, 12:15 p.m.

Add medical tape to #3 also.   It has the magic ability to keep it's adhesion even when it's pouring rain.  Plus you might need it to close someones gash in an emergency.  A couple feet wrapped around an M&M minis canister with some first aid essentials inside like some gauze and an alcohol wipe makes an excellent 'enduro' first aid kit.

Reply

luisgutierod
0
luisgutierod  - Oct. 11, 2018, 8:42 p.m.

that M&M can is perfect for some herbal produce

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - April 28, 2017, 12:41 p.m.

Excellent additions!

Reply

motion-macivor
+2 Absolut-M Cam McRae
Motion MacIvor  - April 28, 2017, 5:39 p.m.

A couple zip ties around your seat stays, and cut to the right length, can work as an instant truing stand in the field. No need to ever take them off just twist them out of the way when you are done. Or just buy carbon rims and never worry about truing them again.

Reply

mutton
0
mutton  - Oct. 11, 2018, 8:31 a.m.

This works great - had wheel issues during Trans BC and did this so i could keep things tight and (semi) straight during the days.

Reply

Cambo
+1 Cam McRae
Cambo  - Oct. 11, 2018, 5:19 a.m.

When you get a flat from a sidewall tear in your tubeless tire and forgot proper tire plugs, tear off a piece of cotton and use that instead! I’ve seen people use anything from shop rags, a fanny pack, to underwear. Cotton works surprisingly well!

Reply

kos
+2 ReductiMat Cam McRae
Kos  - Oct. 11, 2018, 6:51 a.m.

#7. Stuff a few zip ties up into your chainstay, where your internally-routed RD cable runs.  Anchor them to the RD cable with a small zip tie.  You'll forget they are there, and if you need one, just pull it out.

And really, #4 is stupid.  Everybody knows that you use a piece of coat hanger to ease chain repair, NOT a piece of spoke!

Reply

mammal
+1 Kos
Mammal  - Oct. 11, 2018, 8:45 a.m.

Disagree about spokes/coat hangers. I have way more spare spokes lying around than coat hangers.  Spokes can be bent and re-bent many times for different random tools, where coat hangers are pretty much a one-and-done.

Reply

kos
+1 ReductiMat
Kos  - Oct. 11, 2018, 9:31 a.m.

But the tensile strength of the coat hanger is SO superior to the spoke.

Once you go hanger, you'll never go back!

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Oct. 11, 2018, 11:26 p.m.

'Stupid' because I execute the same idea with a different raw material? That seems rather uncharitable! LOL

Totally with you Mammal. I have lots of old spokes, and they have always been more than strong enough. On the other hand hangers, especially the good old time ones that are nice and strong, are in short supply.

Reply

mutton
+2 Cam McRae Mammal
mutton  - Oct. 11, 2018, 7:05 a.m.

To plug a tyre - Use any piece of material and push it in with something small / sharpish. 

I have never used a conventional plug and just carry small pieces of an old cotton shirt and a short section of spoke to push it in (small allen off a multi tool works too)

In a pinch once - after forgetting my tools - I borrowed a multi tool and was looking for some plug material - when i realized my TLD shorts had a tear (from when a friends dog had bitten me when i stood on his tail while trail building)...and i bit a small piece off and stuffed in my tyre. It held until the tire was toast. Ride saved.

PS: leave a small piece of material hanging out to anchor the plug...doesnt affect the plug and has never pulled out

Reply

lister_yu
+1 Cam McRae
lister_yu  - Oct. 11, 2018, 8:10 a.m.

that plug alternative is an excellent tip - thx!

Reply

slimshady76
+2 Cam McRae mutton
Luix  - Oct. 12, 2018, 5:13 a.m.

If  your sealant is latex-based, we've had good experiences with latex party balloons. Just jam as much as you can in the hole and let the latex/latex interaction work its magic.

Reply

1994canucks
+1 Cam McRae
Brett Watkins  - Oct. 11, 2018, 10:59 a.m.

carry cash

Reply

shrockie
+1 Cam McRae
Shrockie  - Oct. 11, 2018, 12:44 p.m.

•14" of commercial carpet off the roll at Ace hardware is great to stand on while you change in/ out of bike gear. Doesn't pick up pine needles like using the floor-mat of the car. 

•Photo copy of license & Insurance card in pack, with ICE contact phone numbers is good to have on solo rides. 

•1/2 Liter platypus folding water bottle on DH Park days. Fill it at the bottom, drink on the lift, fold into your pocket. I drink one each lift ride. Great for keeping you from getting dehydrated.

• Tiny bike park pack. Small tool, C02 and tire Plugs. You won't even know it's there. Could save a LONG walk down.

Reply

Thunderbear
+2 Cam McRae Shrockie
Thunderbear  - Oct. 12, 2018, 9:21 a.m.

I have one of those folding bottles but never thought of bringing it for park days, thanks!

Reply

kekoa
+3 Cam McRae ReductiMat Pizza-Diavola
kekoa  - Oct. 11, 2018, 7:28 p.m.

The kneepad one is genius. Been using since I read this last year and have all my friends doing it too. All one of them.

Reply

slimshady76
+3 Cam McRae Kelownakona ReductiMat
Luix  - Oct. 12, 2018, 5:16 a.m.

This might sound stupid, but after our last alpine trip, it started to make sense: Carry a few extra M5 and M6 bolts in your stash. A friend lost one of his dropout screws after all the rattling from descending over 2000 vertical meters along 36km, and a spare brake adapter screw saved the day for us. It was either that or a 10km walk to our shuttle back home.

Reply

Kelownakona
+1 Cam McRae
Kelownakona  - Oct. 14, 2018, 12:50 a.m.

Get an old 35mm film canister and with a bit of PTFE tape or similar it’ll plug in upside down in the steerer tube from underneath. Pop the lid back on and you’ve got a little hidden stash point. Who needs SWAT.

Reply

JohnF
0
John Forsythe  - Oct. 15, 2018, 11:07 a.m.

The better way to tie your shoes....

Tie your shoe, but use two raps around the loop instead of one before pulling through. Your laces will NOT come undone with this knot. This is superior to any double knot, or over under. (Not my idea, read bout it in a fishing knot book). Probably the most useful as your laces wear out and lose that grippieness that new ones have.

Reply

Please log in to leave a comment.

Trending on NSMB