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  1. #1
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    Black Magic; Tips and Tricks

    I rode solo most of my life and then I started riding with my LBS guys. Learning little tthings here and there took me from a gangly kid with beat up shins to a good rider. From How to ride over slick rock and roots to changing a tube in 48sec I picked up the tricks that every one should know and then one night at the bar after a ride it happened...I graduated to "Grand Master MTBR" and the older guys told me about graphite in cable housings, WD40 and turtle wax so mud doesn't stick, balancing wheels, and he importance of the right grease on the right part.

    From one guy I got a copy of a tire pressure chart written on 3 hole paper that had documented the tire {make&Model},condition,psi, and performance of every ride he'd been on since 1989!

    I realized the recipes and tips being betrayed to me represented lifetimes worth of R&D, trial and error...millions of man hours and $. Every rider has a little bit of black magic up his sleeve and we all want t here it There are a lot of little gems to be picked up. I'm asking you to share your best trick.
    (a proven one not some "I always thought ____ would work better for ____")

    A time proven and tested trick. Could be anything as small as "How to patch a tube with the wheel on" to "The Key to keeping you're seat post in place" Use a business card in the clamshell of the seat clamp! better than glue!

    Soooo...Post 'Em up! Whats that secret trick for getting stripped crank off, or truing a wheel on the fly. Anything will do.

    I'll give you my best kept gem...ready for it?....Vactra 2!

    How to cure a sticky fork

    Vactra is used to lubricate way bars on machine tools. Its the cats pajamas and eliminates stic-tion in your forks. Move over Cannondale needle bearings! it costs like $9 a pint and that will last you a year or two.

    Clean your forks with WD40 and wipe dry with a paper towel,
    (make sure your hands are SUPER CLEAN)
    and squirt on 3/4" blob of Mobil's Vactra 2 way oil. smear it around with your finger and cycle the forks up and down a few times until it gets silky smooth. clean up any excess. this will last for a long time...should it look like it's gathering dirt...repeat
    ( I do mine about once a month. Vactra 4 stays on the stanchions longer because it's thicker and stickier but I find it gathers too much dust. you can do the same to your rear shock to make it smoother)
    Last edited by leshaghal; 07-20-2011 at 02:41 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by leshaghal View Post
    ..."The Key to keeping you're seat post in place"[/I] Use a business card between the post and frame! better than glue!...
    eh...I use a seatpost clamp. Sorry, not good enough for me to spill my "secrets".

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by fotu View Post
    eh...I use a seatpost clamp. Sorry, not good enough for me to spill my "secrets".
    Sounds like you don't have any.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bretthn View Post
    Sounds like you don't have any.
    Ugh, fiiiinnnne. I will share one of my secrets, comparable in value to the jewels of wisdom posted above.

    For tires that are difficult to seat, old crappy 10-speed Schwinn tires for example, I put a thin layer of rhinoceros ear wax along the bead of the tire, and then inflate as usual. It works WAY better than the typical "shop tricks" including WD40, 2-stroke oil, or frumunda cheese. We call it rhine-ax, and it is totally free. Just need to catch a rhino. Mature males will have enough wax to seat roughly 12 bikes worth of tires.

    In fact, I was at a Wald-bike trade show, and the Schwinn rep told me that is how they used to seat ALL of their tires before they moved production down to Tennessee or wherever it was it went. They had to switch over to frumunda cheese because that was what was locally available, rhinos being less common South of Macey-Dixie as they used to were up in Chi-town.

    There you go, if that aint a gem of a secret, ya'll can kiss my butt.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by fotu View Post
    Ugh, fiiiinnnne. I will share one of my secrets, comparable in value to the jewels of wisdom posted above.

    For tires that are difficult to seat, old crappy 10-speed Schwinn tires for example, I put a thin layer of rhinoceros ear wax along the bead of the tire, and then inflate as usual. It works WAY better than the typical "shop tricks" including WD40, 2-stroke oil, or frumunda cheese. We call it rhine-ax, and it is totally free. Just need to catch a rhino. Mature males will have enough wax to seat roughly 12 bikes worth of tires.

    In fact, I was at a Wald-bike trade show, and the Schwinn rep told me that is how they used to seat ALL of their tires before they moved production down to Tennessee or wherever it was it went. They had to switch over to frumunda cheese because that was what was locally available, rhinos being less common South of Macey-Dixie as they used to were up in Chi-town.

    There you go, if that aint a gem of a secret, ya'll can kiss my butt.
    Im sure the sarcasm police will be along to berate you for your post, but I for one just wanted to say thanks, that was pretty darned funny!!
    Guy.Ford

    I'm not really an @sshole, I just act like one online.

  6. #6
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    Har har har...you're Soooo funny

    I was pretty vague there, When you have a seatpost that can adjust the angle of attack (nose high, nose low) often times an older one will lose the little aluminum ribs that keep it in place. You can go back over it with a file or hacksaw blade and attempt to make new ribs where the old ones gauled up, but if you slip a business card in between the upper and lower and haul away on the bolt it holds great.

    (speaking of animals; jewelers and gun smiths used to use Walrus leather for ultra fine polishing belts. walrus roll in the sand and only the smallest particles hang up in their rough flesh, and of those only the most jagged are retained. learned that little gem from Jack Haugh Natures own pre-preg.

    Also: in old uranium bombs (two pucks in a tube collide and go critical) the only lubricant suitable for long term storage while still possessing the necessary properties for greasing the cylinder where the two pucks collide is Sperm oil. Old nuclear subs also used it because it never freezes. The us government has upwards of 3,000 gal stored at Crane Naval station)


    Velodrome racers in the 70's would spray their tires with windex to make them extra tacky on the boards.

    I had an old guy at a DINO race tell me he slit his tire with a razor blade for better traction, I'd seen dirt track racers do it on motorcycles but never on bikes?

    P.S. mountain men use wolverine fur to line the hoods and cuffs of their parkas because it doesn't freeze either.

  7. #7
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    Black Magik will bite you in the azz, 3 fold.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by leshaghal View Post
    ...Also: in old uranium bombs (two pucks in a tube collide and go critical) the only lubricant suitable for long term storage while still possessing the necessary properties for greasing the cylinder where the two pucks collide is Sperm oil. ...
    Yeah, I know you are a Mountain bike Master, but you shouldn't believe all those old stories. Robert Oppenheimer was a notorious sexual deviant and this is just the kind of excuse he would come up with when getting caught "greasing the cylinder". Sperm oil. Yeah right.

    Let me ask you a question, who would win in a fight: McGyver or Sheldon Brown?

  9. #9
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    None. Chuck Norris would kick both`s asses first.

  10. #10
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    Cleaning anything with WD-40 is a terrible bit of advice(especially a fork); unless you're getting sticker residue off.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmxconvert View Post
    Cleaning anything with WD-40 is a terrible bit of advice(especially a fork); unless you're getting sticker residue off.
    Hows that? it's an oil that's mostly mineral spirits. Enough solvent to break down real oils for wiping but not aggressive enough to eat the seals, thin enough to carry off dirt and be wiped clean fairly free of residue , and enough water displacing oil to prevent rust.
    In my opinion Cleaning is the only purpose it's suited for!

    Vactra's main strength is it's sticking power, unless you clean it off with solvent it will be there for a VERY long time. WD is the only solvent I trust not to melt the seals on my stanchions. you lads laugh at this all you want. it works! No bull$hit. just thought I'd share.

    You can clean adhesives with any solvent from soft stuff like lighter fluid to the heavies like acetone&MEK (aka Butanone or methyl-ethyl-ketone)
    Clean up lacquer thinner can be bought in 5 gal cans a any Sherwin-Williams it's a great all round solvent but it devours most plastic and rubbers...it should be noted it also fogs clear coat.

    If anyone has any real knowledge about grease, I'd be interested to hear what they have to say. Some guys use soap base, others lithium. I've met people who swear by "green grease" and other who say "no moly no dice" I use good old fashion shell retinax. dunno if it makes a difference?

    When you get into big honken' and heavy tire/rim combos you may notice the wheel is out of balance and seems to "lobe" beneath you as you ride (anyone who has used a "slime" tire in the cold knows what I mean) use a piece of lead wire wrapped around a spoke to bring it into balance and save your arms/ass.

    I'm not a "mountain bike master" but I've spent most of my life working in composite and machine shops as a project engineer.

  12. #12
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    Rim Brakes: Go to your local motorcycle shop and get air filter oil ( the type that isn't soluble in water) put some on a small sponge and paint your rims with it (this is messy wear gloves) now your brakes are like an on off switch. this will stay on for a long time. I advise only doing it to the rear. Picked this up from a trials guy over the weekend.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by leshaghal View Post
    Rim Brakes: Go to your local motorcycle shop and get air filter oil ( the type that isn't soluble in water) put some on a small sponge and paint your rims with it (this is messy wear gloves) now your brakes are like an on off switch. this will stay on for a long time. I advise only doing it to the rear. Picked this up from a trials guy over the weekend.
    Sorry, but I really don't want my brakes to have zero modulation as that will simply lead to a whole lot of skidding and loss of traction, especially on the rear that is already easier to break loose. That setup work great for trials riders because they need to have brakes that grab really quickly and hold tight in order to do some of their tricks properly, but that is a very different application that trail riding where you're using your brakes to modulate your speed.

  14. #14
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    I get how brakes work it's just something I thought I'd share.

    P.S. When your plunking&hoping your way through a Creek bed or Boulder field Strong ON/OFF rear brakes can be a lifesaver! Obviously they would suck on your local single track though. like a said just a tidbit that might come in useful?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by leshaghal View Post
    Hows that? it's an oil that's mostly mineral spirits. Enough solvent to break down real oils for wiping but not aggressive enough to eat the seals, thin enough to carry off dirt and be wiped clean fairly free of residue , and enough water displacing oil to prevent rust.
    In my opinion Cleaning is the only purpose it's suited for!

    Vactra's main strength is it's sticking power, unless you clean it off with solvent it will be there for a VERY long time. WD is the only solvent I trust not to melt the seals on my stanchions. you lads laugh at this all you want. it works! No bull$hit. just thought I'd share.

    You can clean adhesives with any solvent from soft stuff like lighter fluid to the heavies like acetone&MEK (aka Butanone or methyl-ethyl-ketone)
    Clean up lacquer thinner can be bought in 5 gal cans a any Sherwin-Williams it's a great all round solvent but it devours most plastic and rubbers...it should be noted it also fogs clear coat.

    If anyone has any real knowledge about grease, I'd be interested to hear what they have to say. Some guys use soap base, others lithium. I've met people who swear by "green grease" and other who say "no moly no dice" I use good old fashion shell retinax. dunno if it makes a difference?

    When you get into big honken' and heavy tire/rim combos you may notice the wheel is out of balance and seems to "lobe" beneath you as you ride (anyone who has used a "slime" tire in the cold knows what I mean) use a piece of lead wire wrapped around a spoke to bring it into balance and save your arms/ass.

    I'm not a "mountain bike master" but I've spent most of my life working in composite and machine shops as a project engineer.
    Actually, BMX convert is right. And every decent bike mechanic and anyone who knows a fair bit about bikes will tell you that WD40 is one of the worst things you can do to your bike...

    More than a lubricant, WD40 is a water displacement spray (hence WD). It displaces water as well as everything water based off of where its sprayed, and most of the lubricants on our bikes are water based...

    Cleaning bike parts with it will only be bad for them, as when you relube your parts after cleaning them with it, the WD40 will still be active and will remove the lubricant from the part, causing excessive wear..

  16. #16
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    Any mineral spirit/solvent will evaporate away (even gasoline) so with WD all that remains is a super thin water displacing oil.

    Water based lubricant? Who the hell uses a water based lubricant. Water based would imply water soluble, which would intern mean if you rode in the rain any unsealed lubricated surface would be diluted until you were lubricating with H2O.

    Water baised Like water based greases and oils??? get real. water based petroleum products. HA.

    WD40 spray it on the forks....wipe clean...apply a high viscosity thin film oil like way oil.

    WD40 is mineral oil and Hexane (or naphtha in the EU ) Read about evaporation rates of various hydrocarbons.
    I'd never Never use it to lubricate! but as a cleaner its pretty primo. if you're afraid of the residual solvents breaking down your newly applied lubricant use something more along the lines of "G96" its a thin cleaner oil that lubricates in the same micron range as WD40, a bit thicker than WD means it will lubricate in film form for 30days +/- a day or two.

    Certain oils emulsify...(like old German "Ballistol" which does everything from help to heal bruises to treating wood&leather. Since it emulsifies it can lubricate when it comes into contact with water by effectively turning the water into an oil colloid suspension. It looks like milk. A suspension means some water will contact the surface and rust it, and over time the water will fall out of suspension back to the bottom making full contact and causing rust. so you have to reapply anytime the surface sees moisture.)...WD emulsifies but not as readily as the aforementioned...

    You spray WD on a surface containing moisture, the hydrocarbons boil off (mineral spirits are now gone) then the remaining oil emulsifies, albeit some what poorly with the water, the water evaporates before it can fall from suspension , leaving the oil behind. naturally with too much water this doesn't work, the WD is simply flushed away (which is why we're using Vactra2)

    Read this http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=25179
    And this http://www.mobil.com/USA-English/Lub...ed_Series.aspx
    The Vactras are THE deal here...pony up and embrace that even though it's a cross over from another industry and, god forbid, it isn't sold at your LBS it is THE answer for forks and shocks!

    Do you know what Cannondale uses on the machines that make their leftys? Vactra!
    The mills that make the molds and dies for Shimano components? Vactra!
    The vertical lathes that built the Saturn V? Vactra. (though an older formula)

    I don't care if you clean your forks with cat piss, just try Vactra on them and then write me a PM saying, "Thank you!"


    All the science aside WD, it makes a great flushing agent! spray it on, wipe or blow it off, apply real lubricant...Eh hem Vactra!

    I will not comment further on WD40.

    P.S. DO NOT PUT VACTRA ON YOUR CHAIN. it is too thick and sticky and in 4 weeks of riding will be more akin to a polishing compound than a lubricant.
    Last edited by leshaghal; 07-20-2011 at 02:39 PM.

  17. #17
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    Vactra sounds like some kind of yeast infection treatment. Why would I put that on my chain? It goes on the va - jayjay.

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