How to customize your mountain bike

fat tire mountain bike single speed

Well there really isn’t a rule on how to do this. But if you’re happy with your component group, then start making some changes on how your bike looks. A lot of people will change out the color of their grips, bars, stem, seat and etc. Changing out those items is a sure fire way to give it a personal touch.

Personally I like to accentuate some of the subtle colors that the bike has. For example, if my frame is orange, but the graphics like the logos are white, then I’d go with a white saddle and grips. If the bars and stem are black, I’d keep it the way it is.

One of my bikes had a pretty blue frame with white letters. So I made sure I got white wheels and a white saddle as well as a white seat collar(eventually).

Titus Rockstar 29er mtnbikeriders.com

The Moe followed the same idea with one of his older bikes. At the time there was a tire company called Sweet Skinz that sold these colored tires. They had a variety of designs that could make your bike’s appearance pop.

My newest bike in the stable is all white with black logos. I decided to go with a USA theme with it. I ordered red bars, white grips, blue water bottle cage,  USA flag water bottle and a frame bag that is black and blue. I thought about getting star stickers to make it more patriotic, but I’ll probably do that later on.

Gravity Single Speed Fat Tire moutain bike
I decided to go with a red white and blue theme.
wake best bicycle handle bars
Wake Best Bicycle 780mm bar and short stem.
fat tire bike
White grips
gravity fat tire single speed mountain bike
Though my frame bag doesn’t match my cage…I’m ok with it because not every shade of black on this bike matches with each other…right? I’m going to put my snacks in there!
 Ahren's WiseCracker bottle opener
Last but not least, my Ahren’s WiseCracker bottle opener

So that’s about it…customizing your mountain bike can be as easy as changing out the colors of your accessories. Unless  you get your frame painted or Plasti-Dip it, then you’ll have to work with what you got, and that’s what makes it fun!

When should you stop eating before a ride?

carb loading

For years I’ve heard of people “carb-loading” before a big ride and or a run. Not really sure if that’s really a thing or if it’s a myth. Personally, I use it as an excuse to eat a lot of spaghetti…which happens to be one of my favorite foods.  Some people say it works for them and others it doesn’t.

But if you’re anything like me, an average mountain biker who happens to be too short for my BMI, then let me share with you what I do. If you’re one of those super fit XC guys that loses weight when they sneeze or fart, then click on the back button or better yet, go for a ride.


Alright, now that it’s just us REAL Mountain Bikers, let’s get to it. For me, if I know I’m riding in the afternoon around 5pm, then I usually stop eating anything around 1:30pm. If I put anything in my stomach, even a drink after 3:30pm…then it just makes me feel sick when I’m riding. All that gloop is sloshing around in my belly and eventually, it will want to come back up…eew nasty. There’s nothing worse than the feeling of nausea when you’re riding…especially if you’re trying to climb a hill.

If for some reason I do get hungry before my ride, having a piece of fruit helps. I usually will chase it down with half of a Redbull. Anything more then I’ll be feeling it during my ride.

Ok so far we’ve learned that about 3.5 hours before a ride should be the cut off time for food. But if I get a little hungry, small fruit. Taking these precautionary steps helps me have a better time riding. That means I don’t have to carry any food on me just in case I bonk. All I have to do is bring a water bottle and myself. Here’s a pro-tip: carry some non-perishable candies in your saddle bag or hydration pack. Nothing crazy, or anything. But in the event you do hit the wall or bonk, you can easily consume some simple sugars to get you back on the bike.

Candy!

How to strip paint off your bike-Revisited

how to strip paint off a bicycle frame

The original article was published back in 2007 when aluminum frames were more abundant than carbon frames, so that means you should only do this DIY on steel or alloy frames.  This process used a simple chemical spray remover that could be bought at Walmart. To learn how to strip paint off your bike frame, simply click on the link HERE!

how to strip bike paint

*Remember, don’t get this stuff on your skin, it burns!

Clickity click…click…slip click

So you’re out riding, and you put some force down on the pedals and clickity slip! Ugh. You try again, but click…clickity slip! From my experience that usually means my drive train is worn out. If you’re anything like me, I usually look for the best value in parts. I tend to shy away from anything super high end because all this crap wears out anyway. So I might as well save money when I’m replacing parts.

Personally I like to go on Amazon or Ebay to shop for my parts. I’ve been doing this for years. Ya I know that we should all support our LBS, but I’ve got to support myself first. Anyhow, I ordered some value parts and it came in within a few short days.

What you see is the following:
KMC X10.93 10-Speed 116L Stretch-Proof Bike Chain fits SRAM Campagnolo & Shimano

Sunrace CSMS1 11-36 10-Speed MTB Bicycle Cassette 11-36T fits SRAM/Shimano Black

Red Derailleur Pulley Set Upgrade for Shimano & Sram 9/10 Speed Derailleurs

drive

I went with the KMC because I’ve used this brand before and I’ve never had issues of them snapping. This is my first run with Sunrace. I honestly bought it because it was black. Then I needed some new pulleys since mine are cracked in half. I bought these, not because they have ceramic bearings, but because they were cheaper than the SRAM brand and they were red. My total spend was $66.35 with free shipping. If I had spent the money on SRAM branded stuff it would have been over $90, so going with the value parts I was able to save $23.99.

Once I get these bits on Madea, I’ll post a quick assesment on how they did. In the mean time, here’s a video to keep you entertained.

Cheaper Alternative to Energy Gels

If you’ve ever bonked or on the verge of bonking, quick energy might be the thing that saves you. For the most part mountain bikers will carry energy gels like Gu or the like. They work really well because they contain sugar that your body needs. The problem with these energy gels is that they can be pretty spendy. One gel pack can be as much as $2.00 and eventually that money cuts into your beer money. So here’s an alternative that saves you some money, gives you energy and it tastes great. Take some Nutella, a tablespoon and a zip lock bag. This 26.5oz jar costs about $6 at any grocery store. nutella mountain biking Next step is to scoop in one or two tablespoons into the bag. Gu packets have about 2tbsp of…Gu in it, so we figure we’ll do the same. There’s a trick to getting that gooey goodness in. When you scoop it, turn the bag inside out, use your fingers to get the Nutella onto the bag. nutella mountain bike Once you get all of it in, close the bag and try your best to move the Nutella into one corner. This makes it easier to consume while you’re on the trail. To eat the Nutella, all you do is tear off the corner and squeeze the contents into your mouth…enjoy the chocolaty yummyness, drink some water and then get back on the bike!photo 3 (1) You take this bag with you the next time you ride. Keep it in your hydration bag or jersey pocket and bust it out during your rest breaks. So before you start judging how effective Nutella is Vs. Gu, let’s look at some facts. 2 tbsp serving of Nutella is 200 calories, (100 cal if you do 1 tbsp) first ingredient is sugar. 1 packet of Gu Chocolate, 100 calories, first ingredient is Maltodextrin…

The idea of this DIY is to get you some quick energy for very little cost. You figure the cost of Nutella is roughly $6.00. For the same price you could get about 3 packets of Gu. That jar of Nutella can yield you about 51-1tbsp servings, which by now you should be able to see the financial benefits. Another benefit to this method is taste. I’m mean, c’mon! It’s Nutella for Pete’s sake! This stuff is soooo yummy! Anyhow, I’ve showed you how to package your own energy gel of sorts for a fraction of the cost. If you don’t like this method, Nutella does have individual serving packets that you could buy for about $1.00 a piece, still a savings over energy gels.

Sho-Nuff, The Shogun of Harlem is here!

So I’ve got this new project bike called the Shogun Prairie Breaker II. I’ve decided to name it “Sho-Nuff” in honor of the bad guy from The Last Dragon. If you’ve seen the movie we all know that Sho-Nuff gets beat up and all that jazz. But the name is so cool that I had to use it for this project.

Ok what you see here is an 80’s era ATB. It’s in bad shape, the rear axles are loose, rear wheel needs truing, drive train is rusty, needs new tires, new seat, new cables and housing.
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Oh yeah, I also have to replace one of the friction shifters. Lucky for me, I actually have a brand new one!

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So the plan with this bike is to keep it as original as possible, with the exception of the parts that need replacing. Once I’m done with it, I’d like to use it mainly for the Fullerton Loop and see what kind of riding it can handle. I’m really tempted to upgrade parts here and there, but I’ll only upgrade things if they break.
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We’ve actually made some progress on this project. Just last night we replaced the cables and housing as well as the tires. But we found out the bottom bracket is wiggling. Looks like we’ll have to bust that part open and repack the grease in there too. I’m hoping the chain will hold up, if not, I’ll have to get a new one.

Smell My Fingers!

Um…your fingers stink and it’s all because of your gloves! Seriously, when was the last time you washed your gloves? If you haven’t in a while, it probably explains why you smell funky! Think about how gross your gloves are. You ride with them, so that means they’re covered in trail dirt, what about the time you dropped your chain…now they’re covered in grease. Oh remember when you did a snot-rocket, ya, now they’ve got mucous on them. What about those times when you wiped your sweaty face with them…man just thinking about it paints a clear picture in my head that your gloves are probably grosser than a 3 month old dish sponge that’s been sitting at the bottom of your sink full of dirty cereal bowls.
wash your smelly gloves
With that in mind, wash your gloves every few rides. I typically will throw them in the washer with my regular laundry, but hang dry them. Doing so, keeps my hands and fingers smelling so fresh, so clean…clean.

Simple tip to keep your helmet from getting too stanky

Have you ever sniffed your helmet 2 days after riding it? It’s gonna smell musty and it’s going to have some stank in it. So here’s a quick little tip for you. Pour some water on it right after you ride. This will help neutralize your sweat and prevent all that nasty stuff from smelling. Seriously it works, I’ve been doing this for a while now and it certainly does the trick. Just make sure you get the pads all soaked. Better yet, hose off your helmet once you get home.

photo 2 (4)