My Ultimate MTB Tool Kit – Initial Contents List Plan

I’m in the process of putting together my “ultimate MTB tool kit” and I thought it might help folks if I share my thoughts along the way. In this post you will find the list of tools and parts I’m putting together.

https://www.parktool.com/assets/img/product/_productDetail/EK-3_001.jpg
Park Tool’s EK-3 Tool Kit will provide the base

The immediate motivation for this process is that last week my vehicle was broken into and a bag with all my favourite, my daily use bike tools was stolen.

I’ve always had a desire to create a race mechanics travel style kit so as the tools need to be replaced anyway this seems like a good opportunity to do so, a silver lining to the theft.

So ok, lets have a look at my plan and what I’ve ordered so far

Continue reading “My Ultimate MTB Tool Kit – Initial Contents List Plan”

Several New Bike Shops Opening in the UAE

The cranks are very much turning at the moment in the regions cycle retail industry. To my knowledge there are at least 4 significant new stores due to open in the next couple of months. I’ll go through them in the order I think they will open:

I think first will be Micah’s Bike Shop in the area of Al Quoz, Dubai, behind the Oasis Centre. The store is already fitted out and products are on the shelf. Not only do these guys seem to be the undisputed “Kings Of Bling” (check out the range of anodized bling products in glass cabinets) they are also the first store, to the best of my knowledge, specializing in mountain biking. The store is born from a collective from inside the local mountain biking community itself and brands include Ellesworth, Intense, Loaded and Fox. They have a spacious workshop, proven mechanical expertise, free coffee and a very social outlook. Contact them on micahsbikeshop@gmail.com or via their facebook page

Next I think it will be Revolution Cycles based out at Motor City, Dubai. A project set up by Stewart Howison of Cycle Safe Dubai fame, this store will also have a strong community base in the road scene. I don’t know yet what they’ll have in store for the mountain bikers. Stewart is a committed cyclist’s cyclist so there will be no shortage of specialist knowledge and expertise. The best way to follow this project is to ‘like’ their facebook page HERE.

Following hot on the heels of these 2 ‘independent’ are 2 from the big guns of Go Sport and Ride.

I think Go Sport will be first and this is hot news for Adu Dhabi based cyclists. Opening in the brand new Bawabat Al Sharq Mall. Ranging is likely to be similar to the Dubai Mall Go Sports with its pretty even mix of road, mountain and recreational bikes and accessories. Mid to late March 2012 is the expected opening date but I’m afraid I haven’t got any store specific contact details for you at this point in time.

Ride’s new store is likely to be last but by absolutely no means least as it is being touted as what will be the largest bike store in the GCC! This will see a big change in strategy for the Ride Bike stores as they move out of relatively small mall based stores and into some space on the Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. This will give them room to display their extensive brand line up including Giant, Santa Cruz, Top Peak and Mavic as well as decent workshop space to. All they need is a decent clothing brand to go with their Buff offering and it will be a very complete range ūüėČ . Ride are very active on facebook making this the best way to keep up to date with their offering and their group can be found HERE.

So times they certainly are changing in the regions very active cycle scene. To my mind its all very very +ve and exciting.

Hopefully catch at a trail head or in a bunch soon

Ian

Interesting days- Radio Debute and Outdoor Retail Revisited

I’ve had a really interesting couple of days. Firstly my first radio¬†experience¬†on Thursday morning and then a day and a half helping out on the Adventure HQ shop floor. The radio was a completely new¬†experience, the shop floor of an outdoor store was revisiting old¬†experiences. Both were interesting and both great fun.

Continue reading “Interesting days- Radio Debute and Outdoor Retail Revisited”

My Cateye ABS Halogen to Cree LED Project

 
 
I have a plan initially inspired by this post on Singletrackworld: Cutter 3xCree Lumi upgrade – Pics!

 
There are 2 forum threads for this project. 1 on the Candle Power Forums HERE and 1 on Singletrackworld HERE
The starting point for the project is a set of cateye abs 35 lights. The end result I’m looking for is 2 sets of lights that will be suitable for mountain biking on the trails here in North Wales

The starting point

DSC00063.jpg picture by iggs
Cateye ABS 35
Batteries = 2 x (6 Volt 3000mAH) = 36 Watt hours
Low = 15 watt flood = 2.4 hrs
Med = 20 watt spot = 1.8 hrs
High = 15 watt flood + 20 watt spot = 1 hr
Weights
Cateye abs 35 = total 1.15kg (approx)
2 x batteries = 0.75
2 x head units inc bulbs = 0.25kg
1 x cable set = 0.15kg

The bulb holder is the key element in this and here are a couple of photos

DSC00064.jpg picture by iggs

DSC00065.jpg picture by iggs
 
The plan is to split the system in two and create 2 lights from it. I’m intending to use the Cree MR11 from Cutter with the Maxflex driver.

Each light system will be like this

systemoutlinedrawing.gif picture by iggs

here’s an incredibly dodgy drawing that shows how the led’s, optics and driver should sort of fit into the head unit

Drawing.gif picture by iggs

This should give me 2 pretty good lights with useful run times

LED Vf = 3 x 3.5 Volt LED’s = 10.5 Volts

Battery = 6 Volt 3000mAH = 6 volts x 3 amps = 18 Watt hours

@ 1000mAH
1.0 amp x 10.5 Vf = 10.5 watt + 20% inefficiency = 13.125 watt draw
18 watt hours / 13.125 watt draw = 1.37 hour battery life

@ 750mAH
0.75 amps x 10.5 Vf = 7.875 watt – 20% = 9.84375
18 / 9.843 = 1.8 hour battery life

@500mAH = 2.75 hour battery life

@350mAH = 3.9 hour battery life

The weight should be in the half a kilo area

I’m planning of using one of these switches


as made by the team thats put together the stunning Min-T. See here http://candlepowerforums.com/vb/show…=172053&page=5

Dom from CPF answered one of my queries with this photo

 
Here is the size of the Cutter optic and MCPCB

I’m going to mount the MCPCB onto a 42mm dia disk (made from an old trangia pan I think) so that the bezel with hold all the optics in securely. This will either work perfectly or be a bit crap. I’m going to use Artic Silve thermal epoxy. Porbably sourced from Cuttter at the same time as the Cree kit

 
Not sure at the moment how I’m going to secure the Maxflex board in the housing. Options are either to silicone it in place or to wrap it up in something and leave it to rattle around a bit

These head units seem ideal for the purpose. I brought a replacement for a damaged one a year ago for £20. They are aluminium so should conduct and disipate heat pretty well. The mounting brackets for handle bars (inc oversize) work well (I also have a plan to adapt one to make a simple helmet mount) and spared are available

 
Bit more info, this time on costings of this project if starting from scratch

Light head unit
£20 РLight Housing
£ 5 Рhandlebar mount
¬£50 – Cutter’s Cree MR 11 with (+¬£5 with Maxflex)
£10 + p&p РRemote switch
£10 Рbits and bobs including heat paste, heat shrink and cables

£95

Battery and charger РNiMH about £30 (14.4volt 2400mAH)

 
Because the Maxflex from Taskled is a boost driver (takes the voltage up, in this case from the battery at 6 volts to the 3 leds in series 3 x 3.5 = 10.5) there are some issues with heat generation and maybe needing to disapate the heat out of it via heatsinking in some way.
 
Text from the maxflex manual: "If the power dissipation of the MaxFlex board exceeds about 1W it is recommended to affix a heatsink or copper tab to a heatsink to the exposed area."
 
George from taskled gives advice on this issue on the Candle Power Forum HERE
 
Here’s the maths
 
@ 1000mA
3 x 3.5 x 1 = 10.5 Watts
Say 90% efficiency = 1.05 Watt being disapated by the maxflex board

@ 750mA (my planned high rating)
3 x 3.5 x 0.75 = 7.875 Watts
90%= 0.7875 watts

So at 750mA no problems, at 1000mA its on it’s limits. Thats ok and fits with my plans at the moment

 
UPDATE-
 
The light is built and working, and working well. The housing worked out as planned, the switch I’m planning on using finally hasn’t arrived yet but I’ve made something up from some bits from Maplins and a bit of heat shring thats working well
 
Here’s a photo of the head unit, battery and switch
 
  DSC00070.jpg picture by iggs

Next, just the head unit showing the optics 

 DSC00072.jpg picture by iggs

 
And here’s the switch (very pleased with this Open-mouthed)
 
 DSC00071.jpg picture by iggs
 
 
All mounted on the bike. I’m really into bits of recycled innertubes at the moment and they’ve proved handy for keeping it all neat
 
 DSC00073-1.jpg picture by iggs
 
 
And the switch again, mounted using inner tube mount Open-mouthed
 
 DSC00075-1.jpg picture by iggs
 
 
And some helmet cam video from this evening on you tube
 

  

 
 

Tubeless update – Front tyre is tubeless again

Previously blogged:
Following problems with the front tyre and rim combination blowing out a couple of times and converting the tubeless set up back to a tyre and inner tube set up for a while I eventually decided to give Just Riding Along a ring to ask about the benifits of steel vs kevlar beads and how this compares to UST tyres when used with UST rims.
 
The outcome of the conversation was that they likes the kevlar tyres and found them to work well. Partly this is to do with the way they sit well on the rim when they’re deflated helping them get the inital seal to allow inflation.
 
The solution they suggested to my problem was to put a rim strip on the tubeless rim.
 
So thats what I’ve done and it seems to be working well. Its great running tubeless on the front again, I’m back running the lower pressures and getting the grip that that gives me.
 
As and when the 819 rim I have on the front needs replacing I won’t replace it with another UST rim. Wheel builders don’t like them as they are a faff to build and work on plus they are considerable more expensive.

Tubeless update – front tyre problems

Thought I’d update my experiences with my tubeless tyre experiment.
 
 
I’ve had a few problems with my front tyre. Its blown out a couple of times now and I’ve had to put an inner tube into it. This is the 819 rim and kevlar bead single ply High Roller combination. Its happened when the front tyre has hit something at an angle. It happened in the Alps when I caught a root, it burped some air and I made the mistake of not topping up the air and it blew all its air out on an off camber corner when the tyre was put under a lot of pressure. It happened today at an uplift day at UK Bike Park¬†when my front tyre clipped a tree and it just blew out.
 
I’ve had absolutley no problems with the rear wheel which has the home made tubeless kit on a 719 rim and a wire bead single ply High Roller.
 
I think the problem is caused by the kevlar bead being just to prone to stretching which, when its really pushed, causes it to burp some air, sometimes all the air.
 
Its a bit messy popping in an inner tube but its only a case of removing the valve from the rim. I’ve been not bothering to remove the wheel milk (sealant) because next to the trail its just not worth the faff. Like I said its a bit messy, the sealant comes out of the valve hole in the rim a bit for instance but its not too bad. Any sealant that has escaped soon dries and peels off anything its got onto, hands and wheel for instance.
 
So conclusion and what next- The kevlar tyre just doesn’t seem compatible with the tubeless system so I’m going to run the front tyre with an inner tube until I can justify replacing the kevlar bead tyre with a wire one.
 

Just gone tubeless – first ride and everything I’ve learnt along the way

 
I’ve just¬†made the jump to tubeless on my mountain bike¬†and I thought I’d collate everything I’ve found out along the way into a single post.

Firstly thanks to everyone who has answered my questions in posts on STW, the help has been much appriciated.

I’ve just been out for my first ride on the new set up and first impressions are extremely +ve. I went over to the dragons tail section of the marin first off as this has been a real pinch flat hotspot of mine, I had 2 there the other day within 20 metres. I rode it as hard as I could and came out the other end with full tyres. I then went over to the top of the final descent and pootled down that. I had a snakebite there last week 2. Again no punctures but what was noticable was how much grip I had. being able to run the tyres at about 2 bar give unbelivable amounts of grip in the corners, it was like having dh tyres on.

If your thinking of going tubeless here’s what I’ve found out, where I found it and what I’ve done on my bike.

Original set up

Tyres: Maxxis High Rollers 2.35 single ply
Tubes: Maxxis down hill 2.3/2.5 (heavy as hell and the only way I’ve previously been able to keep snakebite within acceptable bounds)
Rims: 819 front, 719 rear.

For a great how to do it guide look at this http://www.allankelly.info/als_half_tubes.html
Websites
http://www.justridingalong.co.uk check out the links on the right of the page for rim/tyre/kit info. Also supplies all sorts of various tubeless bits
http://www.xcracer.com/content.php?pid=2249 info written by Jon from JRA
http://www.tubelesskit.com/2005/ENGLISH.html Manufactuter of DT swiss tubless kits. Hace a look at the video, link in menu on left
http://www.notubes.com manufacturer

Ok then here’s what I’ve done.

I have 2 different rims, my front one is an mavic 819 (ust) rim so didn’t need converting, the rear is a 719 so needed a kit of some sort. I decided to go down the homemade¬†‘ghetto’¬†route just because of cost. I needed a bmx inner tube with a presta valve, ideally with a removable core as it would make putting sealant into the wheel easier and less messy. Apparently you can get bmx tubes with presta valves from Decathlon. I found them on Wiggle and they DO have removable cores – Schwalbe Inner Tube Presta 20×1 1/8-1.50 COOL!!

For my rear wheel I then went through the process as described and photographed by Allan Kelly on his website except I was able to put the sealant in via the valve because the valve has a removable core.

TOP TIP: make sure your knife is sharp, it will need to be. If it is its easy.

The front rim didn’t need any faffing with

I brought the sealant from http://www.justridingalong.co.uk their wheel milk. I brought 2 bottles, 1 small which I’ve used as measurer and applicator through the valves, and 1 x 500ml which is apparently enough for about 8 wheels/refills. As well as being used as an applicator the small bottle can be used for sucking up the sealant when changing tyres. This reduces wastage and mess.

Another TOP TIP: be ready to be able to access an air compressor when the time comes to inflate the tyres, a track pump just doesn’t get the air in anywhere quick enough.

I inflated the tyres first without sealant to seat them properly (air was coming out all over the place blowing bubbles with the soapy water, several old thorn punctures were obvious too) then deflated them, put the sealant, in via the valve and then blew them up again to about 40 psi. I put about 70/80ml of sealant in as it was the first time the tyre had been sealed I thought I’d err on the side of caution. I had a schrader adaptor that had come with the mavic 819 when I had it fitted. I don’t know where you’d get one from I’m afraid as its not something I’ve had to do yet.

The white sealant bubbles out anywhere where the seal is poor. Various places around the rim and any old puncture sites. I’d watched the video on the Eclipse site and used the same method as the guy in that to distribute the sealant around the wheel. Spinning the wheel did mean sealant did flick up my front a bit
I then held the wheel in front of me, one hand on each side holding the tyre and flicked the tyre backwards and forwards to distribute the sealant around. You can hear the stuff moving around in the tyre. I then turned the wheel 30 degrees and did it again and again until I’d done it for the whole tyre circumference.

The sealant works quite quickly and all bubbling and gurgling had stopped within 60 seconds, even the old punctures. It was like some sort of magic unfolding before me.

That was it, job done. All I had to do was trim the excess off the inner tube as described by bedmaker and go for a ride.

Things I need to do

I’ve got a couple of valve core tools ordered. I didn’t get one with my ust rim and they would make removing valve cores easier, with pliers its a bit of a faff.

I need to give this set up a bit of time and see how it goes. I’ve heard that tubeless set ups can lose air and need checking/topping ride on ride. This might be a faff.
I need to see how long the ‘milk’ lasts before drying out. This could also be a faff.

I’m off to the Alps next weekend which will be the ultimate test for them. I’m not sure how I’m going to tackle packing it to go on the plane. I don’t want to end up with a wheel bag covered in sealant. I’d also need to find a garage with an airline to inflate them if a let them down which is all just a bit of extra faff.

Conclusion: you need tubeless in your life. Though this is a bit early to be making such sweeping statements it does seem that you can have your cake and eat it. With the bmx inner tube set up its pretty cheap (about 4 to 5 quid a wheel), you eliminate punctures almost completely, you can run your tyres at a lower pressure which improves cornering grip unbelievably while also lessening rolling resistance and makes the bike more comfy (could help on the hardtails). You may even save some weight if your running heavy inner tubes, All up I’ve saved about a pound in rotating weight.

Cons:

It makes faffing with your tyres a bit messier and adds a cost to it as you have to add more sealant. I’ve been in the habit of changing my tyres around as I use dual ply dh specific tyres for uplift days and dh racing and single ply tyres for everything else.

You need to use a tyre with a pretty robust sidewall. Not nessasarilly UST but some will just be too thin. Check out the JRA website for info.

If I do cut a sidewall or they ‘burp’ or puncture its going to be a bit messy and faffy to sort out on the trail

One of the useful things I’ve learn’t is that in the future I won’t fork out for a ust rim, if i bend the 819 I’ll replace it with a 719 and a cut up innertube. The UST rims are more expensive and more difficult for the wheel builder to make up due to the way the spokes work. Thats as long as the homemade approach works as well as it seems to be at the moment

Total cost of converting a non ust rim and suitable tyre

1 x Inner tube from wiggle £3.99 Рany discount
1 x 100ml JRA Wheel milk £2.90

So about 5 quid a wheel. I’ve also brought this 1 x 500ml JRA Wheel milk ¬£9.25 to get me going

Once again thanks to all those who have posted to the various threads along the way, much appriciated.

I hope you find this info useful

Ian

 
Next installments:

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