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  1. #1
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    Extra Fat - How do I adjust and service the rear shock

    I bought a used Merlin Extra Fat. I know nothing about the rear shock other then it's a Moots design. How do you adjust it? How do you servce it? It's making a squeaking sound so I am wondering if it needs some type of lube. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Extra Fat - How do I adjust and service the rear shock

    Hi. Congratulations on buying one of the rarest and most beautiful bikes ever made. Since it's a very rare bike there is very little information concerning anything about it, esp. the rear suspension. If you do not want to disassemble the rear suspension to service it and just want to get rid of the squeek what I have done is loosen the 2 set screws on the dark gray collar that holds the rubber slider wiper and pull it back which will show the metal (titaniun?) slider tube that slides into a plastic (nylon) tube. The nylon liner is a permanent part of the frame and should never be removed. That is probably where the squeek is coming from. Turn the bike upside down and using a light oil add a few drops where the slider tube inserts into the plastic nylon tube. Let it seep in and wipe any excess that doesn't penetrate. Repeat this several times and your squeek should disappear.

    For a more labor intensive and more permanent fix you might have to disassemble the rear suspension. That requires a bit of muscle and will make you understand the reason why they are able to use the titanium chainstays as a suspension member.Titaniun is STRONG! Let me know if you need to because it might require the help of another person depending on how strong you are. There is a bit of manhandling involved.

    I've done it several times by myself, but it would have been easier if I had some help.

    Try the oil first and see how that works. If you want to do a complete overhaul, and regreasing the spring and slider, then let me know and I can help you with the process.

    I hope that works for now. Chris.

  3. #3
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    Is there a weight limit? It feels like I am bottoming out. I weight 190 lbs before gear.

  4. #4
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    You are not over the weight limit @190 lbs. For your weight, a yellow spring should be installed. Most bikes, I think were shipped with a yellow spring. I'm almost positive only the smallest sizes were shipped with, I believe was, a red? spring. I am not sure what the weight limit is, but I have experienced the bottoming out feeling that you mention, too. The springs don't really wear out they are VERY heavy duty. The Merlin Extra Fat should be treated as a hardtail. You have to remember that the rear suspension only has 1" of travel as stated in the Merlin brochure. Don't try to fix the situation by changing springs and spending money to try to remedy the "problem". I've tried. It won't work. You can't expect a plush feeling from such a limited amount of travel. Even the new Moots YBB has some people experiencing the bottoming out. The suspension does what it is supposed to do, smooth out the sharpest bumps. My feeling about riding the Extra Fat was that it made me wish I was riding a full suspension or a hardtail. The rear suspension is what makes the Extra Fat unique, but is also it's Achillea's heel. It's a great concept, but it has it's limitations.

    Chris.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the info. It's been very helpful. I understand the limits of the suspension. I was worried I might do some damage.

    A couple of other questions. Does the slider need to be replaced periodically? Can you buy replacement parts like the spring and slider? As a true dyed the wool mountain biker I want to take it apart. How do I go about that?

    Thanks again for the info.

  6. #6
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    Hi. Parts are extremely hard to come by. Every once in a while parts will be up for bid on E-bay. I bought what was probably the last set of V-brake studs that was available from Cambria Bicycle. You might want to give them a call and see if they have anything stashed away in the back that doesn't appear on their website. Parts are rare!!! The slider and spring on my bike is probably the original that was on the bike when it was first built and it was still in good condition when I serviced the rear. Keep in mind that I took the suspension totally apart degreased, cleaned, and regreased every part and I couldn't tell I had done anything. It felt exactly the same. If you still want to do it. Here's the procedure from memory from when I did it last month.

    Remember most of the parts on this bike are irreplaceable and only procede at your own risk. If you don't feel comfortable doing it then don't. I like a challenge and also service my own Headshoks, too


    -Wear eye protection. Sometimes the circlip will go flying.

    -You will need a pair of circlip pliers, don't use 2 screwdrivers, use circlip pliers, new allen wrenches, a large flat bladed screw driver. I'm not sure of the allen wrench size, 4 or 5mm.

    -Install a saddle that you don't care if it gets damaged or not. You will be using the saddle for leverage. Make sure seat post is tightened securely.

    -Turn the bike upside down on preferably a carpeted area.

    -You will see the slider holder it has a slot on the bottom. The slider holder is held in place by the seat stay binder and the circlip which fits into a groove around the bottom circumference of the suspension assembly.

    - To make it easier to remove the circlip. Loosen the seat stay binder bolt. While pulling up on the seat stay bridge (the part where the Merlins are engraved) and stepping on the backside of the saddle, for leverage, push down on the slider holder with your thumbs. Once depressed, have someone tighten the seat stay binder bolt. This will take tension off of the circlip.

    _Now remove the circlip with the circlip pliers. It might go flying. Be careful not to lose this. Maybe have someone hold their hand over it or put a rag over it.

    -Once the circlip is removed loosen the seat stay binder bolt. The seat stay will spring inwards a little once you do this

    _The slider assembly will probably stick and won't want to come out. Use the large flat bladed screwdriver and using the slot to turn the slider holder. You can loosen it further by pushing gently on the chainstays. Not too much, though. Just enough to grab onto. Use a rag to pull the slider holder out. It will probably be greasy and the rag will give some traction.

    -Once the slider assembly is removed you can now take off the dark gray rubber wiper collar. The rubber wipers fit around the slider and keep most of the grease inside the assembly. Very mportant to remember to put them back on after cleaning.

    -That's about all that can be removed. There is a nylon (plastic) liner that is part of the frame and can not be removed. this what the slider slides in.

    -Chances are that the parts are still in workable condition. The plastic liner keeps friction to a minimum. Clean and degrease very well all your parts including the frame tube and the bolt from the seat stay binder and the threads that the bolt screw into. Make sure everything is dry before reassembling.

    _TO RE-ASSEMBLE

    I'll share a tip with you that will keep the assembly clean longer. I install a 1.95"-2.1" or larger inner tube cut to fit over the suspension assembly. The rubber wiper doesn't work all that well and it will attract a lot of dirt. This makes it easier to keep clean and keeps out water also. When you need to lube the suspension just pull the tube back oil and cover with the tube.

    -Install the inner tube pushed up out of the way.

    _Use a neutral colored grease like Finish Line and grease everything! The plastic liner, the inside of the frame assembly, fill the spring with grease, the frame member where the slider holder is inserted. Everything! You want this to last and by lubing everything it will make it easier to disassemble next time you do it.

    _Install the dark gray rubber wiper holder and make sure that the rubber wipers are centered inside the holder and won't get in the way of the slider when it is inserted back in.

    _With the bike upside down install slider holder assembly (greased spring inside nylon tube inserted into titanium slider) into the greased frame member tube.

    _Now do the same as removal and step on the backside of the saddle and pull up on the seat stay bridge while pushing down with your thumbs on the slider holder and have someone tighten the seat stay binder bolt when there is enough clearance for the circlip to be re-installed in the groove.

    -Install the circlip and loosen the seatstay binder bolt and the slider will rest against the circlip. Now tighten the seat binder bolt.

    -At this point you can pull the inner tube over the entire assembly to keep your hard work cleaner longer. It's a tight fit but it works.

    Whew!!! There you have it - easy as pie.

    Since you're going to all this trouble you might want to think about completely re-furbishing the frame yourself. I've done it and the results are worth the time. That's one of the benefits of an unpainted frame. You can make the frame look brand new with just a little effort and not too much money.

    I hope this helps. Chris.

  7. #7
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    I've seen the early Merlin Echos having an alligator sticker on the softail mechanism. However the later ones don't have these. I would then presume Merlin got some kind of permission to use the spring/bumper thingy the Moots have. Do you know if they are the same thing and if we can order replacement parts from Moots?

  8. #8
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    Hi.

    I was looking for a replacement slider and spring a few months ago and I called Moots and was told that the slider will work, but that the springs are totally different. The springs have an elastomer and don't seat in a plastic cup and are longer if I understood Cassie? at Moots correctly. I was also told that the springs are custom fitted to each Moots frame. The Moots suspension travel is 1.125" and the Extra Fat is only 1" of travel. It was also suggested that I send in the entire assembly to Moots to analyze and see if they can come up with a replacement spring and slider assembly. I was told that when the YBB was first introduced that the design wasn't patented and a few companies used different versions of the same concept, but Moots seems to be the only company using the YBB suspension now. I think that Merlin changed the suspension enough to differentiate it from the Ybb so that there wouldn't be a design infringement, if I understood correctly

    The cheapest price for a slider that I have found is to buy it directly from Mootson their website store. If you want more than the slider give Moots a call and they can probably help since they are the only company making a softtail closely related to the extra fat. They were very helpful and as nice as I've heard them to be. If the frames were brushed titanium instead of the bead blasted, I would buy a Moots. At the moment, it's just my personal preference, but they seem to make excellent bikes with a very high customer satisfaction.

    I hope this helps somewhat. I guess other Merlin owners are trying to keep the Extra Fats and other rare models on the trails as long as they can just like I've been trying to do. It can get expensive though. It takes a few phonecalls and some research to keep them going. But it's worth it.

    Chris.

  9. #9
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    I haven't had any real maintenance issue on my ExtraFat but I wash/clean ithe whole bike after every ride and at this point everything seems to be okay. It is also my go to bike and gets to be ridden most. When I feel bored doing the same route with my roadbike, I change to 26x1 as it also spells fun on the road.

    Thank you for posting *how to disassemble/assemble*. This will come handy when the time comes for me.

  10. #10
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    reassembly tip

    I have a 1st gen echo - the spring in the rear is exactly the same length as the Moots spring - when I last snapped a spring (oh yes it's possible) I did a spare-moots-to-merlin swap.

    Anyway during the reassemby with the merlin and the fernickerty circlip: once you have everything nicely greased up slide the slider into place as much as you can with your hands. Now deflate the rear tire and place a small socket head twixt tire and slider (remember to place the circlip around the socket head). Slowly pump up the tire and the socket head gently forces the slider up into the triple clamp, increase the pressure until it's just above the groove for the circlip. Insert circlip into the groove and reduce pressure a touch in the tire to seat the slider onto the circlip, then tighten the bolts on the triple clamp and bish bosh bash you're done without a) breaking a sweat or b) trashing a saddle. Hope that helps.

    Enjoy soft tail merlin - they're a delight - I swear it's smoother than my Moots, I can't for the devil figure out why but even with identical setups the Merlin's peachier.

    Since there are nowhere nearly enough pictures in this forum........
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Haworth; 09-20-2008 at 12:22 AM.

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