Podcast – “In the Dirt”: Gravel Bike Maintenance with our partner, The Gravel Ride

podcast gravel bike maintenance

Our partner in podcasting, The Gravel Ride Podcast, recently began a little offshoot series known as “In the Dirt”. We’ll be featuring these podcasts once in a while. With that said, the podcast this week tackles gravel bike maintenance 101 with the goal of equipping you with tips for daily, weekly and monthly habits that will keep your gravel bike rolling well in the dirt.

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Automatic Transcription by The Gravel Ride (please excuse all errors)

00:00:00 – 00:05:02

Hello and welcome to in the dirt from the gravel ride podcast I’m your host Craig Dalton. I’ll be joined shortly by my co host Randall Jacobs this week’s episodes brought to you by you and your continued support I’ve appreciated everybody who’s visited by me a coffee dot com slash the gravel ride to support the podcast and cover some of our ongoing overhead and production costs. It means the world to me for those. You have the means to support the podcast to your messages and points of encouragement over there. Your thoughts on the podcasts and different subject areas we should cover are greatly driving the direction of the podcasts and as you may remember from an earlier. Episode we’ve created a facebook forum, a group that you can join for listeners where you can share your thoughts and ideas for future episodes. So search out the gravel ride podcast on facebook and join us today. This week we’ve got an amazing episode focused on gravel bike maintenance one. Oh, one, I’m hoping it’s the type of episode that you’re just going to save and revisit as you continue your journey and gravel cycling and learn more about the things you should look at and the tools you should acquire over time to make sure your gravel bikes stays in tip top shape. So with that said, let’s dive right into the conversation with Randall Randall, how you doing today? I’m doing well Craig. How are you? I’m good greetings from the west coast my friend. Yeah. It’s I’m in Boston right now as you know with family actually just outside in Waltham and. We don’t have the smoke that you have were you are though it’s coming our way. There’s a little bit of it in the year. Now it’s a total bummer that all the West Coast fire is gonna blow smoke across the country I think at some level. I think the the silver lining on that is that Everybody has to be reminded about what we’re doing to our planet. So not just those who are right in the middle of the the wildfires. Absolutely, there’s a ton of truth in that I was fortunate that the other day we just SORTA got a break one morning I woke up and I started looking at the numbers, the air quality index numbers like we’re all accustomed to do here on the West Coast right now and I started to see it drop and I’m like it’s go time. So I I did a a an early evening mountain bike ride and then got up at six am and got on my gravel by the next day thinking I. Don’t know which way the wind’s turning. But if it’s green, I’m role and yeah now I saw your pictures on on the the interwebs. Craig Craig got his fix I’m glad. I’m glad he’s you know getting out and taking care of himself. Yeah Knock Knock on wood it’s been study. So hopefully, we’ve got at least a weekend riding and do. Whatever power above willing the fires will start to die down and the wind will take all the smoke away and we can get back to just enjoying some consistent bike riding out here. Yeah. We’re cool. Yeah. Speaking of which was sort of stuck inside in front of my computer I, notation that a mountain bike event I did call the Trans rockies which was at the time a seven day stage race. It’s actually been going on for twenty years and it was an absolutely epic experience up in the Alberta Province of. They just announced they’re doing a four day gravel stage race. Next year is this is this in Banff. It’s a little bit south and west of Banff if I’m getting it correctly, it ends in. Fernie and starts in Panorama and goes to NIP IKA. All super cool parts of that area and I can I just remember the big climbs from the mountain bike race and some of the the nice fire roads we’re on next to a river being so gorgeous. So it really like excited me that that they’re putting their same mindset against a gravel event because the organization there was so good. You camped every night and they moved all your gear sue just as really kind of out there experience where it was it was tough on you but it was also a huge adventure every. This sounds pretty excellent. How how many miles a day was? Was it when you were doing it? I don’t I don’t actually recall I know I looking at the specs on the gravel race and it looks like it’s fifty miles, fifty miles, sixty miles and seventy two miles and hovering between four thousand and seventy five hundred feet of climbing per day. Okay that’s I mean that’s like challenging but not so challenging that you’re not going to be able to recover the you know can enjoy the scenery or spend time eating food with people in a socially distant way. After stage is it? That’s what happening now. Yeah. So it’s they’re setting it for August next year when I first saw it as like it might be too early to announce this kind of stuff but registrations opening on the twenty first of September and it’s not until August of next year.

00:05:02 – 00:10:04

So again like if if we can get people to pay attention to social distancing and wearing masks maybe we can get back to having cool events like this. Yeah and given my you know the my understanding from that I’m getting from my medical in epidemiology. there is a a reasonable expectation that such an events could be put on responsibly in the future especially something where it’s largely solo riding and you’re keeping your distance and things like that. So that’s something to look forward to yeah and I think there’s some lessons learned that are just going to be carried forward about germs etc, and handwashing I remember when I was in. South Africa last year doing a mountain bike stage race. They had a hand sanitizing station outside the food tent and literally had people manning it to require every single single individual that move through that door to have sanitize their hands because in previous rations, they had had some flus go through the Peleton and in a nine day race, you have the opportunity to catch a flu and. Have it manifest so Important and I suspect we’ll see that going forward just like an enhanced sensibility about when we’re in these group events for the next eighteen months or so just kind of being a little more cautious when I observed I lived in China for a number of years and in the in the Asian Cultures East Asian cultures that I have been immersed in. There’s this practice of like if you’re sick, you stay home where you wear a mask. and. We don’t have the mask wearing even pandemic as a widespread you know while the agree to commitment we we make to our own well-being in the well being of others, but then this other element of staying home. In our culture you have to go to work, you might lose your job or you might be viewed as like, Oh, you’re not doing. You’re not keeping up a lot of people don’t have like sick leave and things like that and I think all of these things hopefully. Will Change be realized that in fact that which we extract from Each Other? Ends up costing US more. So even purely self interested terms we don’t win but there’s obviously better reasons to better motivations for doing doing right by each other. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense while in the meantime no racing for me and no traveling I know on on your side, you like a individual adventure or with with a riding buddy do you have anything planned in the near future? So yeah, I’m a big fan of the group ride My original intention for this year was actually to travel around the country living out of my my converted Toyota Prius and like linking up. With some of our riders, many of whom are like ride leaders and so on and actually I’m doing next weekend hopefully with our friends up in Kingston New York Joe Congre shout out to you. Joe is one of our writers up there and he’s the founder of an organization called old positive, which is a festival that brings doctors and nurses and dentists, and so on to the community to provide free services for artists, musicians, and painters, and so on and the musicians and painters common provide music they. They’ve they paint murals. So Kingston is full of you know gorgeous gorgeous art. It’s really a place that’s worth visiting. And you know you get this festival atmosphere and then the community members who are there to to attend you know there’s a recommended donation for entering but if you don’t have the means, then it’s still like you’re still welcome here So Joe is a pretty spectacular person. He was We’re going to be doing a bunch of riding on the local trails there, and then he was recently given the ability to help develop the old IBM headquarters up. There was a four hundred thousand square foot facility where his proposal is he characterize it to me was. We’re going to bring in a bunch of artists and entrepreneurs and creative types, and in six months, we’ll figure something out and get back to you and apparently the local authorities were like yeah. Okay. Well except that idea. That’s awesome. Yeah. That’s next weekend. Wish Yeah. Can’t wait to hear about that speaking of community. As you know, we’ve set up a new facebook forum for gravel ride podcast listeners, and it’s really starting to gain some steam and people are starting to kick questions in there. There’s a lot of interaction. So a listeners please join. We’d love to have over there but be this week’s episode is really driven by a couple of questions that came in there and also a listener Howard over in Maryland that I’ve been talking with about his new. Salsa Warburg that we just helped them pick up and kind of what’s next. So the questions are really around how often do you wash your bike and what are some? Icicle maintenance tips and tricks and rituals that we should all be bringing into our lives. So thought those were that’d be great subject matter for us to talk about today. Sure. Yeah and I know we were talking about this a little bit yesterday. Teased out some some some best and worst practices on this this’ll be a fun topic.

00:10:04 – 00:15:00

Yeah. It’d be a little bit of back and forth because. Anybody follows me on instagram knows I’m sort of notorious for letting my bike get really really dirty before I washed it. So let’s kick that off. How often do you? How often do you wash your what your ritual around that? Well so I’m a fan on this type of bike of having a nice dirt. So I don’t I don’t I don’t consider dirty I consider it like that’s how it should look if I’m writing it right and if I’m using more of my time to enjoy the ride rather like making my bike look pretty for other people. So that kind of thing and I say that like I used to be the guy who always showed up with his bike looking immaculate because I was trying to get a company off the ground and look legitimate and all this other stuff. Now it’s just like no. The legitimate thing is like you show up in your bike is dirty because you wrote it, I mean come on. So. If I’m being honest I’m in in the if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So there is a certain level and particularly around like when we get a heavy fog and sort of our dusty dirt, it really depends to stick to the bike and that’s that will usually get me washing the bike but I’m I’m probably an every couple or three week a bike washer guy. Yeah I think that it depends on your condition’s obviously you’re writing in mud and so on. Things are getting caked on. You know you WANNA get that off. But if you’re writing in dry conditions and you just get a little bit of dust accumulating in, it’s not like sticky grime or tire sealant. That’s GONNA congealed in like get nasty. Then you know I just I do it when it becomes too much now that that’s the. Overall bike. But of course, like you get into drive train and things like that. That’s a different story. I am very much on top of that and that’s actually a critical element. Yeah. Me Too. We’ll dive into that in a minute with the bike wash setup I mean for me I’ve been fortunate that I invested in a bike stand a long time ago, and is probably twenty years ago. That bought a proper bike standing it. It was a pain spending the money at that point, but I love having it. Now because I basically just put my bike, the bike stand and I put a little water from a hose, not being careful not to like nail the bearing any bearing areas with any high pressure, and then my setup is I use a little bit of simple green in a water buckets and I have sponges and some sort of specific kind of wire not wirebrush. hairbrushes that I can get in some of the small part. So I kinda go over with it with that and then give it a rents and then I get into the Lubang is that it? You know what’s what’s your process like? Well, the you mentioned the brushes like these automotive style, a feather bristle brushes work really well because they do not overly. Abrasive in and they clean off well and and get a lot of soap in there and so on. simple green works well, and it says non toxic but then it has a bunch of stuff ingredients on there that you can’t pronounce I’m a big fan of like pure casteel soap. So I’ll use just a little bit of Dr Bronner’s. And it has this nice. You know camomile or minty fresh smell as well. But you really if you’re going to go this route, it is essential that you use a soap that doesn’t have any moisturizers and he’s sort of waxed car washes out in the reason for this is that it will deposit material particularly on your rotors that will cause rotor pad, contamination, square breaks, poor poor performance, and so on. So you really need a soap that is like. A pure soap in Dr Bronner’s pure Casteel soap is is excellent for this sort of thing and just general cleaning outside of bike. Actually am I correct in that Dr Bronner’s or something like I might have seen in our ai for camping Oh, certainly. Yeah. debited trader. Joe’s and things like that. It can be it’s pricier than you know the store brand in the national brands, but it’s also vastly more concentrated so you don’t use it straight up it’s like Tend to one sixteen to one ratio and I use it for everything from cleaning my bike to cleaning my countertops and so on. I like more natural approach to to Washington and it cuts through Greece really effectively. And as much as I may like push off washing my bike. I have to say I do like it after it’s done that first day when I’m gleaming again with showroom pride. Yeah well, and let’s talk about keeping it in that showroom condition what we’re here. So you know one of the things that you really want to be on top of and this is something that that we instituted internally in in that really you WanNa do yourself make sure that your your bicycle has the appropriate frame protection on it? So what do? I mean, by this this is like three M’s SCOTCHGARD. Clear. He’s film cut to cover the bottom of your down tube your chain, stay both where the chain made hit on the top and bottom. But also on the insides where tire caked in mud might rub and wear through the paints and potentially the carbon of the insides of the fork blades. The head Tube. If you’re GONNA have a bar bag upfront in particular because that that front brake hose may rub which I’ve seen a number of times and it’s really sad and it’s just like well, you know I told you that this.

00:15:00 – 00:20:07

This would happen you. You want that frame production on there. I’m trying to think where else if you’re doing frame bags and he should’ve bag system on your bike wherever that back systems attaching again, apply this film and it’ll just keep your bike looking great for really really longtime. Yeah. Want to highlight one of the things that you talked about because I remember after the mid South event riders complaining they had gone. It was so muddy that they were dragging mud through their frames and scratching as you’re describing, scratching the inside of there fork and the inside of the you know the rear part of the frame so that I think it’s a good protest. You just pay a little attention there and you know I know I got some of the three M film Pretty readily, I just got a big block of it and I’ve been cutting it in appropriate shapes for wherever needs to be augmented, and then I’m also a big fan just for the mainly for the style. But also for the protection, there’s a company, all mountain style. That’s got some really cool decals on it that you might have seen on my bike. That I really love if you’re looking for not only protection but a little bit of a Flair to your bike and you know you know I like a little bit of flair, Randall? Yeah. Well, enough met those guys before I. Think Amendments Theater like a couple of years ago when that was still a thing to do in public and do in person in. Seem like a good crew over there as well. But yeah, definitely a way to both protect into accessorize. Yeah. So there’s also those things like azure cleaning, your bike or even really when you put it into your garage or wherever it’s housed each night to think about before your next dried looming the chain is obviously a key component of keeping the bike running. Well Yeah and before we jump into losing your chain, I wanted to throw out after you’ve washed your bike a product like bike lust wiping over all the surfaces and so on. Not Not only will give it that extra bit of shine, but also will help to prevent. Mud and so on from taking on again So it it also helps you to maintain it longer. So when next time it gets muddy, you can actually just blasted with the hose and it’ll come off interesting. I, heard about I, think it was Amanda Nomin told me that she was experimenting with that prior to mid South because she knew it was gonna be incredibly muddy the next day and I forget what she put on the bike but she was like the goal whether it works or not. It was such an s show at the end of the day but goal was to make the the frame a little less likely to hold the the the mud when it came through. Things, it just provides a surface that things don’t onto as well as say the clear coat of paint. So it’s good in that regard, but let’s let’s dive into chains because this is like the single most important thing that you can do to save yourself. A lot of expense because chains are cheap and Jane Lube is cheaper and cogs near chain rings and cassettes they’re expensive. So if we want we want to be doing is staying on top of chain maintenance, which means I at before and like before or after any ride I’m wiping my chain. So any excess material that’s on there I wanNA. Get off because even even lubricants that is on the outside, it’s not anything lubricant only works between the pins in the rollers and the moving parts of the chain. So anything else is just out on the surface accumulating schmaltz. Yeah I think that’s the interesting thing not only is it not useful? It actually has a negative effect of of accumulating stuff. Yeah. Yeah, and then then this gets into looming and I know that you have a preference on on Lube. That’s a bit different than mine. I’ll bring up we can talk more about this moment, but I’ll just bring up the one that I like which is is protocol squirt, which is a water based Wax Lube, but the water as the these solvents and the penetrates, and then that delivers the wax deep into the chain, and this is kind of the next best thing to a like getting your your chain. In a wax and so on with people, you know have these elaborate processes the that go through and it works really well, but it’s a lot of work. This is the next best thing and then you wipe off whatever lube you’re using, you wipe off the excess. So what I’ll do is I’ll put the bike between my legs from the back, and then I will turn the cranks backwards with one hand out grabbed the chain by the the Lower Pauley with cloth. Spin it through my hand, wipe wipe all the excess stuff off. Then I’ll go in the same backwards direction and apply the lube from that same place, and then I’ll run through a few times. I don’t need to run through the gears lubricating the only lubricating the chain, the between the pins and rollers, and then I’ll wipe off the excess at the end of that process. Before my ride yes. Pretty similar. My process I I like a lube called t nine and I’ve just found that it works well across all conditions and it tends to not accumulate a lot of crap along the way from the trail. So I follow similar processes I said, I’m I’m really just focusing on the inside of the chain wiping off any access on the outside of the chain.

00:20:08 – 00:25:01

I’ve found that it. It stays on a while I’ve had similar good success with squirt. Actually I used that in South Africa quite a bit one little pro tip I will give you if you’re writing. A ride that’s longer than four hours or something bring a little bottle of chain Lou though yeah you. You would be amazed at the feelings of jealousy anybody around you will have as you re lubricate your chain I. It’s kind of Akin to when I’m writing a bar bag in the winter and I bring out a second set of gloves for a descent that aren’t sweaty anymore. Those neat things that’s like why not you know a tiny bottle of lube and they’re available in sample size is so small to carry and packed such a great benefit. And I’m just going to throw out You know it brings up an idea at some point. Maybe we talk about things to bring on the ride and so if anyone wants to hear that conversation about like little pro tips like this of stuff to bring on the ride let us know in our facebook group and if we get enough people that want to hear it, we’ll definitely dive in the weeds on that as well. Yes. So our number one is definitely lube your chain like just stay stay on top of that never ever dry right a dry chain, but there’s other parts of the bike that we want to be looking at. There’s some that are going to give us very specific feedback that they need to be replaced but others are maybe a little bit more subtle. So let’s kind of knock out a few those well. So before we get away from chain. Chains should be checked often. So there is a very cheap tool. I don’t say Ronald don’t what I’ll say it don’t say it. You know I don’t have that tool. Yeah. So eight dollars tool, I can’t remember the one that I have it’s made by park tools. It’s you know it’s whatever we’ll. We’ll try to find the name for it but these are like dirt cheap tools and basically it’s a go nogo tool you put it in the chain you grab. One, the lengths, and then if if the tool drops in between the links on the other side, you know that the chain has elongated such that it is causing excess where on your cogs and so that change should be replaced. My philosophy is like replace, keep on top your chains who doesn’t wear prematurely and then replace it long. Before you have any elongation and it’s not stretch. It’s just the pins in the rollers are wearing and that’s what causes the. Gate and change like you can get a a decent chain link chains that we do stock on our standard bike you can get for like fifteen to twenty bucks. And the cassettes that we that we stocks back like those are like eighty to anywhere from two hundred, fifty bucks, and then the January is going to be fifty bucks like how many you can get through three or four chains many many thousands of miles without replacing your cogs if you stay on top of lubrication and checking it and replacing it often in fact, I would say if you. Don’t have a chain right now in like at your house ready to go when the time comes into chain checker go you know go ahead and pick that up now and save yourself the hassle and the expense of waiting until everything wears down is that chain checker? Is it a binary thing? I mean just looking at it and saying, okay I’m Warner Not Warner’s Eric Radiations on it. They’re the one that I have has two different measurements and I think it’s like so so When in doubt go with the more conservative one like replace it more often than than necessary, and you can spend a bit more money on chains that have like super hardened pins and rollers, and and there is some data that suggests that they wear will wear longer But the single biggest thing that’s GonNa make an impact on the durability of your chain Now that you’re checking it is the lubricant staying on top of that keeping it clean which is why I like the wax based stuff because it tends to have the lowest friction associated with it, and that friction is a proxy for where. Interesting that makes sense yeah. Yeah All right. So we’ve we’ve gone. We’ve gone deep nerd on chains can probably keep going, but we should probably pull out at this point as well. I think. I think we should move on. All right. So we talked about chain rings and cassettes and that will be like you know if you ever won by changing, they’ll actually go quite a long time but if you can pull the chain off the ring and like have. It can be harder to gauge I don’t have I don’t have like a conclusive way of saying that you need to replace it other than if your. If your if you if you’re chain got super long gated before you replace it, there’s a very good chance that when you put the new chain on, it’s not gonNA shift properly, it’s going to sound like it’s grinding. It’s only it’s how can only going to be engaging one or two teeth at a time because the chain you know the teeth are worn in a way that doesn’t allow all of them new engage at once. So. So that I would say as a frame of reference him and I’ve probably replaced my chain three times and I haven’t had to replace.

00:25:01 – 00:30:02

Rings or cassettes. I’ve been riding the same changing in cassette since the prototype that I started the company with know that also is a commentary on me not maybe getting quite enough riding in but I I ride a fair amount I ride hard and in the dirt. So I’m very much on top of my chains and also This is where like having chain rings and cassettes that are made out of hardened materials comes into play too. Yeah the the other area that I tend to blow through just because we’re we’ve got steep terrain here are my. DISC BRAKE PADS yeah it’s a area of constant frustration when I have to buy disc brake pads actually listener pinged me and said there’s a company that I can buy in bulk from I can get one hundred, fifty pads or something or another one, hundred, fifty it was like fifty pads. And I was like Gosh I wish I had made that decision the moment i. And just had a stockpile in the garage because. Yeah I hate buying brake pads but I tend to burn through them pretty quickly. Yeah, and. It’s like thirty bucks, brake pads really really, and it comes with more packaging in terms of like mass volume than the pads themselves to somehow. Give you the sense that it’s worth that. These things causing a buck to make. But yeah, that’s that’s the way. The game is right now but pads. Is actually something to be said here. Stay away from Italic go with semi metallic, which are half metallic half organic or if you live in a dry area, you can go with organic, which will wear more quickly. But kind of you optimum braking force in modulation, the semi-metallic tends to be kind of the balance between the two and that’s what I tend to run. But you can. You can see pads out there that are metallic and you’re just not going to get the breaking power that you want out of them. What are the telltale signs that you should be looking at your brake pads? some of them will actually start to squeal and so on. But if you see like you can look just flip your bike upside down and look through the pads and you’ll see look at the pads and you’ll see that the materials warn almost to the point where like the spring that is the separator spring that’s keeping the pads apart. Is. Almost being. Coming in contact with the rotor and you want to do it before that happens zoos that comes in contact with the rotor your now grinding down. The rotor. Yeah I. Think if you’re if you’re a a new district bike on or you may not have taken the moment to look at your rotors prior to starting to ride which is fine. But when you do replace the the brake pad when you do replace the Brake Pad, take a look at it because as you’re saying, you know you sort of see like a millimeter. So pad and then it becomes pretty apparent when you look at it again, how much has worn down and? Now, I can be a little bit ashamed to admit I’ve definitely looked at it and it’s gone all the way down to the metal on the last ride before I’ve replaced the pad, which is awful for the rotor but I gotTa break somehow on my way back to my house. Another pro tip for everybody extra brake pads in your kid I, bring an extra set along with my tiny little thing of Lube and an extra derail your hangar in a little bottle of sealant. Man You you are prepared I mean I think that advice for me holds true when I’m out on an adventure or tour or I’m traveling to a foreign country, you gotta bring all the supplies and I would say, yes more and more I’m starting to think like having an extra set of brake pads. And at all times as a good thing, I just hate the feeling of like being out on a big ride and then knowing my brake pads or warns it’s like Oh. Now, I have to baby my you. Now he can’t go shred this stuff the way that I want to and it’s it’s actually taking away from my experience in the moment. So I’m not going to be slowed. Down by ten grams, but I am going to be slow down by nonfunctional breaks at are now rent a we’re gonNA have to figure this out on the trail but if you’re stopping me and telling me, you’re GONNA, change, your brake pads I’m going to put a timer on you because I’m not gonNA, want to sit around as long as it takes me personally to change a breakdown. Wanted on the. Tip and the toolbox just remember about pads is keeping those bright orange kind of space is the brakes may have shipped with or lawyering those if they didn’t come with the bike are critical when you’re swapping the brake pads on because as I understand it and I’ve experienced know the caliber piston is going to move in and adjust as the pad wears when I go to put the new set of pads in the Pistons are pushed in a little bit so. Stick, the rollback through there it’s going to be rubbing tightly. So unless you have one of those plastic blocks to kind of help move the pads out You know you can be in a lot of trouble and frustration the home repair. Yeah and to help people visualize this most calibers are designed with a square seal going around the Piston and when you when you break that square becomes a parallelogram in the piston goes back where it was.

00:30:02 – 00:35:07

But then if it goes past a certain point, the Pistons slips. In in that kind of resets, the zero, and so in this case, you put in new pads, you need to push the Pistons back to the beginning of that progression that brought them in as the pads war, and so that’s what you’re using for. It’s also great when you’re traveling with your bike to put them in there so that the pads don’t come together So if you’re packing your bike for an adventure, which which I you know do it recently that’s a good thing to have around as well. And one prototype again is never grabbed the brake lever when you don’t have the wheel installed with the disk because that can bring the bring those Pistons in. In a way that you could have just been trying to move the biking accidentally grabbed it and all of a sudden, you have to put a lot more effort into get those Pistons back in the right position one it’s bad enough when the pads are in there, but you can usually pry those apart if the pads aren’t in the Piston, we’ll go right past the seal and now you’re really screwed sometimes he ended up either like the service to fix that can be more expensive than a new caliber. Yeah exactly. So like that tip of. Like sticking those little plastic things in when you’re traveling with your bike is critical because inevitably as you bring in your bag your bike out of your bag, you might grab the brake lever by mistake All right. So I think we covered that pretty comprehensively and then Reuters you know rotors or something wear I’ve I almost never replaced rotors and even like made the mistake of leading the the spring, contact them in grinding it out. Usually I find that if I clean the rotors in clean, the the pads with some replace the pads. Clean everything up with a a high purity ISOPROPYL alcohol that can eventually wear down the road or again such that I’m not getting any chatter and things like that. So he basically wear it. You replace it when it’s totally screwed or when it’s one to a point where it’s it’s so thin that like it it’s time and they’re a little ages that you can get for that. That mimics my experience. I mean I think the only time I’ve. In recent memory replaced, the rotor is when it got bent and shipping and I felt like I couldn’t bend it back safely. Yeah. is its own art being able to true a rotor I do I can do it there tools for this I can do it with a flat flathead screwdriver on the side of the road. But Yeah. Don’t give up on a road that’s warped. You just need someone who really knows what they’re doing to show you how to do it and you can learn that yourself over time. Shall we keep going yeah. I think we should. I think we should talk a little bit about tires because obviously we’re we’re all gonna wear our tires and Most of US riding to bliss. Obviously, we tire sealant that we got to consider inside. Now, what are the thoughts on tires and sealant? So depending on the publicity of the tire and the sealant itself, you know if you like we we have we were running some dubbed by Wayes on our bikes. Initially, we now use a venture which has a similar casing those tires tend to be in. It’s the the Tan Wall which tend to be more porous. So it makes a tire that already is somewhat porous that much more porous, and so the sealant is actually sealing the tire All the Mike reports the tire, and so right off the bat like you’re gonNA WANNA use more sealant than than maybe like what would have been recommended I actually always recommend putting more see on because why not and you know I would check after if it’s a new tire after no more than you know two months. You’re probably GONNA want to be reopening the if you don’t have anything that is liquid and able to slosh around a little bit. That’s a good indication that that it’s time for more sealants and the thing is like you know when you’re riding, it’s not like the sealant is sloshing around ton. CENTRIPETAL forces pushing it to the edges of the tire, and it’s coating it and it’s not really materially effecting your efficiency on the bike. So put some extra sealant in there. it’s not a bad idea I actually bring a little sixty milliliter bottle with me anyways. Just in case I ever problem or somebody I’m riding with has a problem because I always end up being that guy who’s prepared. For that reason. which I like to be. One of the things that I was I highlighted in my notes about tools that I it didn’t initially have when I started writing but I I find indispensable disappoint our valve core remover. Yes. Forestalling to see on so you can take out kind of the little tip of oppressed valve that gives you a direct line into the tire and most tire sealants come with type some type of two or otherwise receptacle. Kind of push the sealant directly in you don’t have to remove the tire sealant in. Yeah and this is like this tiny little plastic or ideally metal kind of thing that often gets thrown away that comes with a lot of wheel sets and things like this. They cost I mean I, think we pay like five cents to throw them in the box with our wheel. So it’s not only get cost much. But yeah, it’s a good thing to have A lot of tools actually that have that Valve Co remover, and that’s that’s kind of a mess Even my favorite tool doesn’t have that this crank brothers The t fifteen is like my my favorite tool the bunch yet, and it doesn’t doesn’t have this little this little core remover.

00:35:07 – 00:40:16

Yeah. I think there’s a number of them that are starting to think about it. One of those things along with them like the Bacon Strips or the sort of. Whole plugs that are coming I’ve even seen like Eh tool that has the chain stretched detector bill to it I. Think it was from Towpik. Coming Out which got interesting. Yeah. I think that’s a great idea because that’s something that actually should be used more often than say the four mill that used to adjust your semi your seat post, you should be checking your chain, every civil rights you know hands down. So that’s that’s smart I like that I, like a lot. Yeah. Yeah. Right on. So yeah, I mean it’s important to keep on top of that and obviously like higher where you’re going to start to see. The knobs down on some of these offroad tires to me. It’s own has been fairly obvious when I’ve kind of taken the tire too far. Do you have any thoughts on how you approach that? Yeah I always put the new tire upfront and then take the front tire and put in the back. Because especially, on a bike, like these, I like a a file tread or a semi slick and the rear anyways and so if I started with a file tread upfront and it becomes a semi slick then great. I got the perfect view tire and then I put, you know a a file tread upfront. So I I I often run like a I think right now I’m running. A Sendero Front and a by way rear. But I could very well run a sendero front and a venture rear in have rear wear down through the KNOBS, and he’ll still be good because I just improve me my role efficiency efficiency as it as it has it goes down. Obviously you know you don’t want to let it go too far because you’re puncture resistance goes down as you start wearing deeper like beyond the level of the the base of the, you know the the tread the cavity between the little blocks but but that can be a good strategy for like getting the most out of your tires. another thing I just throw out is that if you a sidewalk, cut your tires gone like get yourself home with the tube and then toss it if you have a puncture in the main. Tread of the tire. Then sometimes, Dina Plug in some sealant will get that done, and that happens to you just like be extra safe brings some extra sealant with you in a tube on the trail and case that plug or that that know that coagulated sealants fails but oftentimes, you can keep writing that writing out. I like to get as much as I cannot have stuff same. Yeah. Nothing vexes me more than when I flat on a relatively new tire but that’s been my experience. You know the sidewall as you said, it’s Kinda game over I’m just thankful I made it home and I know I’m definitely not heading out on that tire no matter how good I thought the repair was, but I have been able to successfully ride. newish tires that had. Some sort of whole developing in the main area, the tread plugged effectively and I’ve had good success with that Yeah. In actually a final thing on tires that jumps out is. If, you’re not very competence or confidence in dealing with this sort of thing on the trail or if you just don’t want ever have to deal with it, go with tires with a reputation of having a beefier casing. Yes. They’ll be heavier. Yes. They won’t be a supple. Yes. They won’t be as cushy and so on but you won’t have to worry about that. So I tend to push the limits of of Kushner’s but I I also am very careful about the lines I choose. You on that subject next week I’ve got. Yawn a from Rene Air stiers coming to talk and he’s very scientific about his tires and had some really interesting thoughts about sidewalls. They offer four different gradations of sidewalls just blew my mind kind of thinking through what that might look like. But as we know, there’s a lot of race courses out there and types of terrain that are reputed for being super hard on the sidewalls of your tires just because of the shape of the rocks. Out there and Kansas, for example. So you know it’s interesting to think about I would hate to have you know a two hundred mile event in Kansas ruined because I took sidewall cut when I decided I was going to ride something super light versus something earlier and more appropriate for the terrain I was GonNa hit yeah or higher volume because then you’re you’re pounds per square inch or going down which means that the the likelihood of a puncture is going down proportionally assuming a similar case in construction. Yeah. Yeah exactly. So obviously the the you know there’s many other areas of the bike that we could drill into. Is there anything else that you think you’d highlight in terms of sort of a monthly take a look make sure it’s still going well So I mean other things that come up like general lubrication making sure like the interfaces between carbon and aluminum or other metals are Lou are greased or have a friction paste or have an anti sees or something on there that’s GonNa keep galvanic corrosion from causing them to bind and get seized. The last thing is like. You know that I’m a big Fan of mechanical shifting in in a one by application if the cable routing has done well, which is often not the case but if it is done, well, cables housing’s If your shifting is poor, a lot of people come to me like Oh yeah you know my my Schramm Shono shifting is just crap and I need to upgrade.

00:40:17 – 00:45:02

Your housing in your cables in your cable routing is crap or are worn or whatever it is. So you know poor cable routing sometimes you can. You can find a way to route in a in a cleaner more straight path through a frame whatever but just going, you know a good quality cable in housing Senate doesn’t have to be super fancy but like a smooth, you’re a smooth ground cable maybe with the coating on it you don’t really I don’t put lubricant inside the housing’s it’s generally superfluous but yeah, if you’re having shifting issues For. Sure. Oh check your derail your hanger because sometimes you might have tweet the drill, your hangar, and that’s causing the issue on if it’s not that and it’s not the chain, it’s not the cogs oftentimes, it’ll just be. Your shift. Cable and housing, which is causing friction, which is in turn making the lever hard to push. It’s making it kind of catch. So when you hit delete to drop it down, it won’t drop right away it kind of gets vague. Cables and housing’s or something where if you’re noticing shifting issues, assume don’t assume that it’s something expensive that you have to replace other than just cables in housing done by someone who knows how to route it properly. Yeah. I. Think that type of attention and can really just sort of make it seem factory new again Oh yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. Which is nice I mean I think it’s worth saying that gravel bikes probably more. So than any other bike I’ve owned in any other sort of cycling category have tend to tended to require just more maintenance and attention maybe a tensions the right word I am way more on top of chain Lube Than I. Ever Am on a road bike maybe similar on a mountain bike, but don’t tend to mountain bike as much. So for me like I just pay attention to the gravel bike because I want it to be in tip top shape all the time. When I I think there’s also this element of your riding. You’re putting in the miles hours that you would have put on a road bike. On a bike, you’re riding the same similar conditions in terrain that you would have written a mountain bike. So you have the you know the amount of time on, and then you have the exposure so that in that case like, yes, you need to be more on top of it and ideally these bikes should be designed inspecting away that is biased towards you know reduced servicing and improve serviceability. As. Opposed to having them designed like featherweight. Road racing bikes that are for teams that have mechanics. Yeah I think there’s a lot of truth in what you’re saying there for sure. Randall I mean it’s I abused this gravel bike. I love you know that’s what I love it for but I also know that I can. I can go out there and write it on the road and I would hate to have invested an equipment that was more oriented towards you know light use off road and more road our. More Road Action Yeah. No it constrains your experience. If you’re maintaining your bike you’re going like that’s taking away from your enjoyment of the ride. Yeah. Absolutely if you have to maintain your bike. Ultimately do some basic meetings you have to do. Yeah. So well cool. I think as a great sort of gravel bike maintenance one one for the listener, and hopefully this kind of episode or the snippet of the episode which has gone a bit longer than we thought. But I think it was all great stuff for the listener to hear hopefully can just sorta stand on its own and be a reference guide for anybody WHO’s coming into the gravel seeing and gotten a new bike, etc. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Since we’re a bit long on the community side of things maybe. Just wanted to focus our conversation on just sort of one aspect of riding. We’ve talked about how much we both personally value the meditative value of riding Solo and solo rides have been kind of forced upon us in many ways do the global pandemic, but I just wanted to focus our conversation on writing buddies. So maybe as were kind of conscious about the pandemic were starting to add a single ride buddy into our lives rather than a group ride that we’re all missing what do you look for in a riding but because I’ve got some really specific things well. I mean, you’re you’re one of my favorite people the ride with. So a lot of those characteristics somebody who I can connect with not just on this shared experience that we love which is importance in which which I care about I mean obviously built kind of my. My career in a lot of my community around this experience. But actually it’s what I care about is like we will talk about like we’ll talk about what’s going on in our inner worlds. We’ll talk about our families. We’ll talk about you know the the world at large and and really I love to ride with people who have the. Who are there to connect? Not just there to like.

00:45:02 – 00:48:07

Just like having an outstanding experience and like focusing on the ride, I love that too I love going out on, you know fast group rides and and hammering and keeping up and having that competitive element to it. But at the end of the day, you know if I had to choose what to day in day out with you know with on a group, right it would be like let’s have an adventure together. Let’s connect over that adventure. God booths. What I’m looking for personality wise as well as pace ride and. Ride, I’m rarely looking for anybody that I’m just trying to beat up a hill or be beaten by I. Don’t really get off on that competitive element of my gravel riding experience. But as you know like I’m probably a better listener than a talker I probably shouldn’t admit that as a podcast host but do you really enjoy listening size joking with you yesterday that you know them why you’re one of my favorites is like We we can do a twenty, five minute climate. I can let you do all the talking and I’m just listening and and teeing you up. I just got kind of Meta for a second. So why I was invited to host these little sakes statements with. Probably. Did as you know I, did want my voice to be heard a little bit more to listener and cover some topics that I felt passionate about. But at the end of the day I, do enjoy having having good friends you like to talk like you on the pod and just kind of getting in digging into things. All right. Well, I’m going to propose everyone listening if you would like to hear me interview Craig on a future episode in have him in the hotseat Let us know and. Maybe. We can coax him to share more of his story and be the TALKER and I’ll be listening listener to this time around. I think that’s a good idea randall if the if the crowds requested. I will tell my story. But. That’s a great place to end I mean I. Wish we dug in a little bit more on the community, but we’re running a little bit long. Yeah. Definitely. Jump into that facebook former love to hear from you. I, mean, you’re riding buddies and what do you look for as we’re kind of? Adding people back into our riding experiences. You know I’m sure we all have that Goto buddy that we like to go out and pedal with yeah. Yeah Yeah I’m an yeah. Good to talk to you and we’ll talk again soon always a pleasure take care that’s it for another edition of in the dirt from the gravel ride podcast. Thanks for Sharon, partier week with US and I. Hope that all those tips we’ve flushed out in the conversation are GonNa keep your gravel bike in tip top shape over the coming year if you’re looking to support the podcast rating. And reviews are hugely important to us and give us a lot of feedback as to the direction we’re going as a podcast. Also, if you’re able checkout by me, a coffee dot com slash the gravel ride for some of those new perks I’ve mentioned I’m going to be putting new perks in the membership section over time from some of our great sponsors and just some things I’m able to pull together and do as a passionate member of this gravel cycling community. So until next time, here’s to finding some dirt on your wheels.

Craig
The Gravel Ride Podcast

One thought on “Podcast – “In the Dirt”: Gravel Bike Maintenance with our partner, The Gravel Ride

  1. These podcasts are stupid. I don’t think anybody wants to listen to them, and the printed version reads like the bible. C’mon guys.

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