silicone
Be MTB Santa in 2020

Cam's Gifts for Meticulous Mountain Bikers

Words Cam McRae
Photos Cam McRae (unless noted)
Date Dec 4, 2020
Reading time

*Cover Model: Jeff Bryson

Creating our own wish lists (Dear Santa!) was kind of fun, but not very generous. It would have felt particularly selfish this year so we've turned the whole thing inside out so you get to be Santa, and we get to help. If you have a rider to buy for, of if you need ideas for a mountain biker who got stuck with you as their secret Santa, we hope to be of service. It seems to me life would be a lot easier if I only had mountain bikers to buy for, so making this list is much more fun than the actual shopping I have to do.

The choices below are the sorts of things I'd appreciate receiving and putting to use. And some craft beer could be added to any of the choices below if you'd like to put a little frosting on the stocking.

4 Ideas For the Meticulous Rider

1.Cleaning Brushes

Someone I know had a brush similar to this and he called it a motorcycle brush, or something like that. I scoured the internet and eventually found this: the Big EZ Detail Brush.

Big-EZ copy.jpg

The US-made Big EZ Detail Brush is quite likely the best of the bunch. Photo - the internet

The shape allows you to get into most of the small nooks and crannies on your frame and scrub hubs with ease. I use it on everything but wheels and tires which require something a little more heavy duty. The bristles are soft but they don't absorb most debris found on a bike. If you use the brush on something oily or greasy you can clean it with solvent because it's chemical resistant. It's an amazing tool that takes a lot of the hassle out of keeping a bike clean. These aren't a bad deal if you are stateside, but in Canada you'll either have to pay shipping plus 23 USD or get it on Amazon for 40 CAD.

wheel-brush.jpg

You can pick up something like this at virtually any automotive supply retailer for 10 bucks or less here in North America. The one I use came from Canadian Tire and it's great for cleaning rims and tires. Just hold it in your hand and spin the wheel with the other for rims and spokes. Knobbies take some scrubbing in some cases. Photo - the internet

I found another that appears to be a bargain, however. It looks very similar to the Big EZ, which is made in the U.S., but this one costs only 17 CAD on Amazon and is almost certainly made in China. There are also similar ones priced at 2 for $25 north of the border. If you give one of these to riders who spend the time to clean their bike(s) regularly, they'll almost certainly yank you under the mistletoe. Consider yourself warned.

generic-brush.jpg

This likely won't last as long or resist contamination as well as the Big EZ, but I bet it'll get the job done nicely as long as you aren't servicing a rental fleet. And for 16 CAD or two for 25, it's a nice gift for a great price. Photo - the internet

2. Polishing Fluids

There are a bunch of different soaps you can use to wash your bike, and the stuff you use to wash your car will do, but the finishing touches make all the difference. To make your bike shine like new, apply a light coat of silicone, followed by a polish with a nice soft cloth. The beauty of silicone is that it works equally well on metal parts, paint, plastic or even rubber. It's sort of like ArmorAll for your bike, only better. A bonus is you can use it to lubricate your stanchions or even a squeaky brake lever. It'll even work on a door hinge if such pedestrian concerns are on your radar. The rider on your list may have know idea about the magic of silicone spray, and you can say, "just try it and let me know how it goes."

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I've been using this Silicone Spray from Motorex of Switzerland, and it's been excellent. As Jeff Bryson says, the silicone treatment will add $300 to the price of any used bike. And it only costs around 20 bucks, depending of course on where you live. My hunch is that the cleaning fluid is mostly silicone, but I was unable to find a data sheet with the ingredients. Go with the silicone anyway.

3. A Front Fender

If you ride all year in a place that has actual weather, a fender is a god-send. It'll keep mud off your face and keep your kit and your bike much cleaner. My favourite, either bolt on or attached with zip ties or velcro is made by RRP - Rapid Racing products.

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I attached this version of the RRP Proguard with velcro, but zip ties are more secure. Both of these shown are the larger size versions, which make the most sense to me.

rrp-pro-guard-bolt-on-ajbarlas-150620-01764.jpg

Forks that have threads for a bolt on fender are becoming more common, and you can often get a mudguard from the manufacturer, albeit one with less coverage than either of these. RRP. Bolt on Proguard shown. Photo - AJ Barlas

4. RideWrap

If the mountain biker in your life has a new bike, frame or fork, or there is one on the horizon, RideWrap would make an amazing gift. It's a protective film designed to protect

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It's incredibly satisfying knowing your frame is protected from your klutzy buddies. A kit tailored to the make and model of choice costs around 115 CAD. Installation is extra, but you can do it yourself.

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I wrapped this fork myself and was relatively pleased with the results, despite my ham-fisted efforts.

Bonus: Consumables for the Rider who has Too Much Stuff

My favourite things to give and receive later are things that will be used up and then disappear. I want less stuff in my life not more, despite evidence to the contrary. Lately I've been using several products from Whistler Performance Lubricants. My favourite thing about these products is the absence of toxic materials or those harmful to the environment, like PTFE (Teflon) which is used in most lubes for bikes and is known to be toxic, carcinogenic, and highly persistent in the natural environment, meaning it remains for centuries without breaking down.

whistler-performance-lube.jpg

Three products from Whistler Performance Lube, all made without toxins, PTFEs, or Petrochemicals. So far I've been very pleased with the performance of each.

Instead WPL makes their lubes, sealant and cleaning products out of seed oils, natural oxidants, and oleochemicals derived from plant and animal fats. This makes them non-toxic and biodegradable. I've been using several WPL products with success. Fork Boost is a stanchion lubricant which is also said to extract dirt from dust seals and prolong seal life. I've been applying the Wet Chain Lube after every post-ride bike wash and I've been impressed by the performance and lack of residue. It's actually designed to resist water from rain or puddles but to dissolve when it encounters high pressure water from a hose, making the post ride clean much easier. So far so good with both of these products and WPL's grease. I don't have enough experience with WPL’s sealant to recommend it just yet, but again, it's biodegradable and non-toxic. Sealant in general is however a great present for a keen mountain biker because we’re always running short.

I have a bunch more ideas like buying a lesson or clinic, no matter what level your target rider is at (I can't recommend this enough), a pair of waterproof socks, or a small beer cooler for post-ride refreshments.

Happy holidays to all. Stay safe and keep on riding!

Tags: Mountain Biker Gifts
Posted in: Features, Gear

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Comments

Vikb
+2 Mammal pedalhound
Vik Banerjee  - Dec. 4, 2020, 6:14 a.m.

Front and rear fender! It's so great ending a wet muddy ride and not having a filthy skunk stripe up your butt/back, having dry underpants and clean dropper/shock.

Reply

mammal
0
Mammal  - Dec. 4, 2020, 8:10 a.m.

This is my first rear-fender offseason on the hard tail, and I'm just loving it. I've had the ultra huge RRP front for a couple seasons now, so I'm obviously not too arsed about the looks department. Not being completely saturated with mud is so civilized!

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Dec. 4, 2020, 8:14 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

Ouch
+1 Jerry Willows
Ouch  - Dec. 4, 2020, 6:53 a.m.

I tried the Mudhuggers front and back, the front didn't keep much more mud off compared to small ones most people use and the rear portion of the front fender would catch the treads on harder hits. The rear fender I just couldn't get used to......it looks dorky and I constantly had to check that it wasn't wearing through the frame protection were it attached to the seat stay. Piece of inner tube worked the best.

I see the RRP is flanged up on the rear portion on the front fender, that looks like a better design, wouldn't get caught in the treads and catch the spray better. What RRP rear fender like? Is it effective for spray?

Reply

fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - Dec. 4, 2020, 11:34 a.m.

I have both MH and RRP extra long.  RRP gets my vote.  I don't wear goggles and barely get mud in my eyes.

A few riding buddies have rear MHs and while they do look dorky they work really well.  I'm getting tempted.

Reply

Vikb
+2 Skyler Jonas Dodd
Vik Banerjee  - Dec. 4, 2020, 7:26 a.m.

I prefer the RRP front fender to the MH front fender, but I'd rather have either than a little front flap. I use the Mudhugger rear fender on all my bikes. I've been using fenders so many years I have the install pretty dialed such that they rarely need attention. I actually like the way they look, but even if I didn't coming back from a ride not being plastered with mud and wearing soak shorts/underwear is 1000% worth looking geeky to me.

Reply

mammal
0
Mammal  - Dec. 4, 2020, 8:12 a.m.

Agreed. RRP front and MH rear has been awesome for me! I'm absolutely shocked on the rare occasion that a droplet of spray/mud gets past the full-sized front RRP.

Reply

DanL
0
DanL  - Dec. 4, 2020, 8:52 a.m.

I completely forgot to put goggles on whilst riding on some really wet post-downpour days, that's how little spray came back from my front wheel.

One thing though - don't get the standard length if you use a SteadyRack bike hangar (another product I fully endorse) as the last 2.5" inches of the fender hit the lower section

Reply

jonas-dodd
0
Jonas Dodd  - Dec. 6, 2020, 9:09 p.m.

What's your advice for installation and zip tie size on the MH rear?

Reply

D_C_
0
DMVancouver  - Dec. 4, 2020, 7:47 a.m.

What happens if you get the silicone spray on your brakes? Is it an issue? Probably not the best.

Reply

T-mack
+3 Cam McRae AJ Barlas Tremeer023
T-mack  - Dec. 4, 2020, 7:58 a.m.

I use the Maxima SC1, I buy it from Holeshot Motorsports in Langley but I'm sure any moto shop has it. I cover my calipers and rotors in a plastic bag when I spray it on because it will wreck your brakes. The finished product is amazing though and mud falls off the bike. When you spray with water it beads off like rainex on a windshield. It also smells like bubblegum :)

Reply

rolly
0
rolly  - Dec. 6, 2020, 10:09 a.m.

Can you use SC1 on carbon frames?

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Jan. 5, 2021, 12:19 p.m.

You bet. Carbon is always covered with either paint or clear coat so it would be no different than using it on a steel or aluminum frame. I doubt it would cause problems on even bare carbon though.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Dec. 4, 2020, 8:17 a.m.

Definitely not recommended. I either pull the wheels off or apply the spray with a cloth instead of straight from the bottle.

Reply

DanL
0
DanL  - Dec. 4, 2020, 8:55 a.m.

For sure - if I approach my bike with anything that gets sprayed, the wheels come off and the calipers get plastic bagged and moved up out of the way. Even a little bit of wind or just droplets hanging from a nearby spray can get into the worst places. Silicon is the devil for most mechanical parts.

Reply

hotlapz
0
hotlapz  - Dec. 4, 2020, 10:51 a.m.

Does WPL Fork Boost work? Is it a suitable replacement for regular lowers maintenance? I'm wondering if it's acceptable to just do one major fork maintenance and use Fork Boost the rest of the year.

Reply

shoreboy
+5 khai Cam McRae cedrico Agleck7 Matt Lee
Shoreboy  - Dec. 4, 2020, 11 a.m.

It works to help clean and lubricate your seals. Put some Fork Boost on your stanchions, cycle the fork, wipe away the excess that has pulled some of the dirt from your seals. It also gives some lubrication to the seals for a short period of time.

It is NOT a suitable replacement for regular lower maintenance in my opinion. You still need to do oil changes and thorough seal/foam ring cleaning.

Reply

Brumos73
+1 hotlapz
Brumos73  - Dec. 5, 2020, 6:10 p.m.

I just use good old TriFlow lubricant, the same one used for lubricating the chain. Don't see the need of having 2 products when one can do the job perfectly fine.

Reply

mammal
+1 hotlapz
Mammal  - Dec. 6, 2020, 10:38 a.m.

I use silicone spray (canadian tire brand) for cleaning/lubing my fork and dropper seals. Never had an issue in years and years. Andrew Major has been fairly vocal about Triflow being harmful to fork bushings (upper bushing is probably the only one at risk) if you clean your seals with it, so I usually tell people to avoid that.

Reply

Bad-Sean
+1 Cam McRae
Sean Chee  - Dec. 5, 2020, 6 a.m.

Anything motorex makes is shit hot. Try their 2.5w fork oil some time. I know I shouldn't, but I even run it in my wp xplor forks on my ktm. It's ridiculously good stuff.

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