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EDITORIAL

Where The Rain Gets In - A Fall Service Story

Words Andrew Major
Photos Dave Smith
Date Sep 16, 2019

Holier Than Thou

Steel is real. And sometimes, it's a real pain in the butt. I've seen some beautiful examples of ferrous fine art rot straight through and those preventable casualties inform the persnickety steps I take in caring for my own bikes. Yes, even my bikes that aren't likely to develop pin-holes in the tubes.

Any conversation I have to preface with the words "I genuinely wasn't trying to be an ass" isn't likely a win. Two pints into a conversation a friend-of-a-friend notes that thanks to the impressive reliability of his Chris King bottom bracket and Manic dropper post, he hasn't had his cranks or post out of his bike in a decently solid two-plus year of riding. Before I can stop myself, I say "I wonder how much water is sitting in your frame." Ouch, if looks could maim.

Once the seat post was removed and the bike turned over there was a decent sized puddle on the floor. Thanks to the internal architecture, removing the bottom bracket (threaded thankfully) yielded another smaller wet spot. That's 1 gram per millilitre weight weenies.

After truly wet rides, I remove the seat post from my bike and hang it up.* I notice it makes a big difference in the amount of moisture accumulated in the bottom bracket shell when I do swap out cups & bearings.

*Hanging a bike is ideal as it helps keep the seals and bushings lubricated, except with inverted forks

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Step one is to remote from my bar so I can get enough slack to pull my post out.

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Step two is to remove the seat post. Then I hang my bike as so until it's time to re-insert and ride.

Removing a seat post is not an epic endeavour. I have to loosen four bolts - including my dropper post remote - as well as my seat post QR to get it out and it's still a three minute job. Maximum. On most bikes this means at most a minute less time surfing NSMB.com on the can before that warm post-ride shower.

Whether lucky enough to get out in daylight, or riding alone in the dark, if you're tackling the wet and greasy this winter please don't forget to let your bike breathe!

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Comments

D_C_
+2 Vik Banerjee Andrew Major
DMVancouver  - Sept. 15, 2019, 11:09 p.m.

What if your bike has a drain hole in the bb shell? Is pulling the seatpost still necessary?

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Shinook
Andrew Major  - Sept. 15, 2019, 11:28 p.m.

Can't remember the last time I saw a new bike with a drain hole in the BB. I guess it depends on size; not certain honestly if a little hole is sufficient for moisture to escape.

Reply

Shinook
+1 Andrew Major
Shinook  - Sept. 16, 2019, 6:26 a.m.

My Sentinel has a drain hole in the bottom, so did my Smuggler (both carbon models) and an Intense I recently put together for a friend of mine. 

Seems like that'd be a mandatory design feature for carbon bikes, otherwise you'd have water sloshing around in there and I'd expect that could create long term problems.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2019, 7:46 a.m.

How big is the hole on the Sentinel? I’ll have to have a peak next time I see one.

Reply

sospeedy
+1 Andrew Major
sospeedy  - Sept. 17, 2019, 4:41 a.m.

Just checked my Patrol...it’s a good size, a 3 mm hex key fits in with room to spare. Seatstay holes are smaller but also work well when hoisting the bike onto its back wheel.

But the Strega has no apparent drain hole in the BB...and guess what came out of the seat tube when I flipped the bike over?? Great tip Andrew, thanks!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 sospeedy
Andrew Major  - Sept. 17, 2019, 7:33 a.m.

One of those little details buying from a PNW brand riding in the PNW? 

Definitely now interested to check out what bikes have drain holes vs don’t.

Cheers!

Andeh
+1 Andrew Major
Andeh  - Sept. 16, 2019, 6:32 a.m.

My Transition Sentinel has a drain hole in the BB.  It is possible for water to accumulate there still, so after a wash (we don't know what rain is here in California), I pop the bike up onto the back wheel and give it a few bounces.  That helps get the water down to the BB to drain out, and drains it out of the chainstays.

Reply

IslandLife
+2 Cr4w Andrew Major
IslandLife  - Sept. 16, 2019, 11:30 a.m.

New Knolly Fugitive LT has a drain hole.  But an extra note of precaution from those with vinyl wraps on their bikes... even the extremely well thought out full frame "RideWrap" did not have a hole in the vinyl that corresponded with the drain hole.  I cut one... but some riders may not notice or think about it when applying protection.  Also if you had a shop or RideWrap themselves wrap your bike, they may have covered the hole, good idea to check.

Also, I have one of their very early wraps and RideWrap is a super responsive company, continuously evolving their product.  They may have already solved this issue by now...

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 IslandLife
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2019, 2:44 p.m.

Great point re. covering drain holes.

Reply

sospeedy
+2 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major
sospeedy  - Sept. 17, 2019, 4:43 a.m.

Ride Wrap that went on my Patrol this year had cut outs for the BB and seatstay drain holes.

Reply

Tadpoledancer
+2 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major
Tadpoledancer  - Sept. 16, 2019, 10:28 p.m.

My carbon Ripmo has a little hole as well under the BB. 

I think preventing water ingress is a big pro for having tubes in tubes internal cable routing. Won’t stop it all of course, but certainly better than having port based internal cable routing.

Reply

Vikb
+1 Andrew Major
Vik Banerjee  - Sept. 16, 2019, 6:03 a.m.

All my bikes have drain holes in the bottom of the BB. If they didn't come that way from the manufacturer I'd drill a hole there myself when I first got it.

I do run a Mudhugger fender on any bike I use in the winter and that really limits the amount of water throw at the top of the seattube where it can drip down to the BB. Keeps the dropper, shock and me a lot cleaner as well.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Cr4w
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2019, 7:29 a.m.

I bought one of those fenders a few years back. The shop guy who sold me on it (hi Rick!) told me ~ “sure it’s ugly, but you never see it while you’re riding.”

That’s not true of course. You see it in the faces of your fellow trail travellers. Right after mounting it the visual reactions from strangers made me wonder if I had dog poop on my chin!

On first seeing it, two of my friends who are French-French made faces like they’d just seen The Predator and then stopped calling me for rides!

Reply

Vikb
+1 capnron
Vik Banerjee  - Sept. 16, 2019, 8:26 a.m.

I love 'em and I think it's cool to come back from a sloppy winter ride without a soaked groin and a skunk stripe up your back, but to each their own. I personally like the way my MTB looks with fenders front and rear. If anyone I ride with has had a negative reaction they haven't told me or made it obvious and the number of Mudhugger equipped bikes in our extended riding group grows by a significant number each winter. The main discussion point I encounter from other riders is "Where do I buy one of those???"

That said it doesn't bother me at all if someone prefers to ride without fenders. I don't have to do their laundry or maintain their bike. ;)

It also doesn't bother me one bit if someone I meet riding thinks my fender[s] are F-ugly.

Reply

flowrider
+1 sansarret
flowrider  - Sept. 16, 2019, 11:47 a.m.

Mudhugger is the best rear fender there is. I got mine from Rick too.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2019, 2:44 p.m.

For the record, there’s no doubt in my mind they’re the best at keeping water off. Especially on FS bikes. And, damn quiet too. I was not disparaging their functionality!

Reply

tashi
+4 capnron Andrew Major Mammal Pete Roggeman
tashi  - Sept. 17, 2019, 9:09 a.m.

Fenders on a mountain bike generally look freaking terrible.

I run three in the winter.  

Life is better when you're dryer, cleaner and don't care what people think of your look.

Reply

D_C_
+1 Andrew Major
DMVancouver  - Sept. 16, 2019, 11:12 a.m.

I have drilled a hole in the bb shell on steel and alloy hardtail frames that didn’t come with them. It solved my problem of having bottom brackets seize.

I’ve also had issues with water sitting in the head tube and seizing the lower headset bearing. The solution to this might be to tip the bike back so it drains into the downtube (assuming the headtube has an opening into the downtube).

I think your take-home message is that it’s important to be aware of water getting into the frame and to make sure that water is evacuated in some way.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 DMVancouver
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2019, 2:47 p.m.

“I think your take-home message is that it’s important to be aware of water getting into the frame and to make sure that water is evacuated in some way.”

Cheers

Reply

GiveitsomeWelly
+1 Andrew Major
Karl Fitzpatrick  - Sept. 16, 2019, 2:12 a.m.

Capillary action will be cancelled out with a hole diameter of at least 5-6mm. I've never done it myself (drilled a hole that is) but I do spray the insides of my steel frame with CRC Lanocote once a year. The bottom bracket might get wet but it's still as shiny as the day i got it...

Reply

wishiwereriding
+1 Andrew Major
John Keiffer  - Sept. 16, 2019, 11:33 a.m.

How do you hang your bikes? Just using cheap hooks?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2019, 2:48 p.m.

I have used a mix of systems from Saris trays to $1.50 hooks from CanTire. Whatever works in the space I’m hanging bikes in.

Reply

earleb
+2 Perry Schebel Andrew Major
earle.b  - Sept. 16, 2019, 12:17 p.m.

In rust we trust. Don't go talking bad about rust, it's a beautiful creature.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2019, 2:51 p.m.

You seem to be painting all your new projects these days... bit of a blow to your rustvangelism n’est-ce pas?

Reply

earleb
+1 capnron
earle.b  - Sept. 17, 2019, 2:16 p.m.

We all have weak moments in life that we regret.

Reply

xy9ine
0
Perry Schebel  - Sept. 17, 2019, 10:22 a.m.

praise patina!

Reply

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