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Added a comment about feature How To: Connect Your Dropper Post to a Shimano or SRAM Front Shifter 3/26/2015 9:11 AM
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We are both right. The Covert Thomson post puts the head at the post end and the standard version of the Thomson dropper puts the head at the switch. Sorry about the confusion there, we don't sell too many of the standard versions these days.

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Added a comment about video How-To: Wash Your Bike 3/23/2015 9:43 AM
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Rage, good call on the citrus compatibility and lube concern. We recommended spraying the chain with your regular bike cleaner after reinstalling for just this reason. Dishwashing liquid mixed with water works fine, and we have no problem with it. Using a pre-made bike wash simply reduces your prep time. Sounds like you've got a happy bike!

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Added a comment about video How-To: Wash Your Bike 3/23/2015 9:37 AM
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Hi Beef. You're correct, using a mist or "sprinkle" setting requires some extra effort with a brush, as shown in the video. However, the consequences of blasting water past seals makes it worth it in our opinion.

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Added a new video How-To: Wash Your Bike 3/18/2015 4:31 PM
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Just as crucial as performing day-to-day maintenance procedures, keeping your bike presentable is a sure-fire way to increase the service life of your components and stay on top of any issues that may develop. Regular washings provide a chance to look for cracks in the frame, keep an eye on drivetrain wear, and notice any loose parts. Remember; a clean bike is a happy bike! Waterless Put the bike in a stand and take the wheels off. Put plastic bags over the brake calipers and use rubber bands to hold the bags in place. These will protect your pads from contamination. Better yet, remove the pads.

Spray a mild all-purpose cleaner or dedicated bike wash liberally all over the bike, being careful not to spray directly at bearing seals or electrical connections. Then spray a bit on your rag and wipe the bike down. Take care to get the underside of the downtube and bottom bracket. Both of these areas accumulate a ton of gunk and are frequently missed. Be sure to wipe off gunk and old dried up drink mix that accumulates on external cables and cable guides.

Although this is something you should do as part of your regular maintenance, make sure to wipe off fork seals and pivots. When wiping fork stanchions always wipe side to side rather than up and down. Vertical scratches provide a pathway for oil to get past seals. To clean your wheels, apply bike wash to your rag, and then use the rag to wipe off the dirt, rather than spraying the cleaner directly on the wheels. If bike wash gets on your rotors and stays there, it will contaminate your brake pads and make your brakes unsafe. If you have to clean your rotors, use isopropyl alcohol and a dedicated clean rag.

If you want to go the extra mile you can apply Bike Lust or a similar product to make the bike shine. These polishes have the added benefit of preventing dirt from sticking to the paint.

To clean the chain, either keep the chain on the bike and use a chain cleaning machine, or remove the chain and let it soak in citrus-based solvent. Drop the chain in an old water bottle and fill with enough solvent to cover the chain. Shake it up and let it sit for a while. Then extract the chain, reinstall, spray with the cleaner and wipe off, then lube immediately.

Don’t forget to reinstall your brake pads. With Water The garden hose only needs to be used with caked on dirt or mud. It’s often not necessary except in the rainy months.

After putting your bike in a stand, remove the wheels and cover the calipers or remove the brake pads. Use very gentle water pressure, mist is best, to avoid forcing water into past seals. Use a soft brush to break up any stubborn dirt as you spray the bike. Give a squirt under the saddle.

After rinsing with water, spray the bike down with a dedicated bike wash and loosen any residual dirt with a soft brush. Then, spray more cleaner on a rag and wipe the bike down from shifters to rear dropouts. Hit the bike with some spray polish for shine and to make cleaning easier next time. If you want to give your tires the “wet look,” spray some polish on a rag and wipe down the sidewalls only. Don’t get polish anywhere near the rotors or brake calipers. Clean the chain as previously mentioned.

Don’t forget to reinstall your brake pads. Remember that cleaning your bike regularly isn’t just about looking pro; it is a great way to identify cracks or other damage before they become a bigger problem later.

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Added a new video How-to: Train without Training 2/2/2015 5:01 PM
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You want to be faster right? Unfortunately, “just riding more” is not going to win you any races; you’ve got to push yourself. Dedicated training, however, requires both time and monetary resources that not all of us have. Luckily, there are several things you can do on your regular rides to noticeably boost your fitness and skills. They won’t always be easy, but they work. Plus, you can do them on any ride, and no one will be able to accuse you of actually “training.”

Remember, there is the potential for injury with any training technique; if you don’t feel comfortable doing any of these things, don’t do them. I’m not a doctor or a physical therapist, and your health is your responsibility.

No granny gear - Start by telling yourself your largest cassette cog is off-limits. That means all the time, on any climb.  It will hurt at first and you might have to stop a few times, but you will eventually be able to ride all of your trails without the granny gear. Then, if you can, take away the next largest cog.

No Resting - If you have a chance to pedal, do it. Rollers, flat sections, and easy declines all invite you to take it easy and conserve energy, but don’t. Keep your heart rate up and your power on. Eventually you’ll build up the fitness to pedal hard every chance you get, and your buddies won’t stand a chance at keeping up.

Minivals - Minivals are a few intervals thrown into your regular rides, as opposed to dedicated workout days focusing on intervals. A time-tested technique to build fitness and strength, intervals get results quickly.  For timed intervals, simply go as hard as you can for twenty seconds and then soft pedal for forty seconds. Repeat this three times in a row and call it good. Intervals take a lot more out of you than it seems. Gradually increase the time under effort while decreasing recovery time, and/or add more intervals to your ride.

Seat Down Challenge - It’s easy to cheat on this one if you have a dropper post, but don’t. Put your seat down and leave it down for the entire ride. You’ll be forced to stand more, which engages your whole body, working muscles you don’t usually work while seated. This one can be hard on your lower back, so make sure to stretch before and after.

Chainless Downhill - Flow, cornering, line choice, and effective braking are all enhanced with chainless downhill training. Without the benefit of pedaling out of turns, you’ll have to maintain momentum through them by staying off your brakes and planning your attack. Instead of actually removing your chain, shift into the lowest gear so if you forget to not pedal, you won’t gain any forward momentum.

Incorporate these techniques into your rides and you’ll soon enjoy more speed and endurance without having to admit you are training.

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Added a comment about feature How To: Connect Your Dropper Post to a Shimano or SRAM Front Shifter 1/19/2015 8:55 AM
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The Southpaw works for the newest version of the Integra, but not the first generation version where the cable head anchored into the bottom of the post.

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Added a comment about feature How To: Connect Your Dropper Post to a Shimano or SRAM Front Shifter 1/16/2015 9:44 AM
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Won't work on a Thomson because of their requirement to affix the cable head to the post, rather than the remote.

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Added a comment about feature How To: Connect Your Dropper Post to a Shimano or SRAM Front Shifter 1/16/2015 9:42 AM
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We have those for sale too. http://www.artscyclery.com/Kind_Shock_Lev_Southpaw_Remote_Lever/descpage-KSLEVSPR.html

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Added a new video How to: Modify SRAM Left Shifters For Use as Dropper Post Switches 1/14/2015 11:16 AM
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A large percentage of riders with dropper posts are also running 1x10 or 1x11 drivetrains. That means that there are a thousands of front shifters lying around doing nothing, and there is an empty spot on the handlebar next to the left brake lever on each of these 1x bikes. In this video we’ll show you how to modify that old SRAM front shifter in your parts bin to work as a dropper post switch. There are a ton of different shifters out there from SRAM, and they are all a little different, but the general internal designs are very similar.

Before you dive in, make sure that your dropper post will work with this type of switch. You need a post that is made to have the cable head installed in the switch, rather than in the post. Examples of compatible posts are the Kind Shock LEV and the 2nd generation Kind Shock LEV Integra with this style of cable attachment assembly at the bottom.

Now let’s look at the shifter we’re modifying. In this example we are using a SRAM X7 2x10-speed front shifter, but any SRAM front trigger shifter can be modified by using essentially the same instructions.  There are a few ways to convert a shifter like this one into a dropper post lever, but I’m going to show you the easiest way to do it. Some of the other methods will result in a lighter switch, but this method is quicker and doesn’t require any additional parts, washers, or tape to make it function like a pro level component.

Let’s get started. First, remove the top cover and remove the secondary return spring on top of the shifter mechanism. At this point it’s a good idea to use a set of vice grips to clamp the shifter mechanism to the shifter body so that it doesn’t separate, otherwise you may have to rebuild the bottom end of the shifter as well if it falls apart. Then use a pair of 5mm Allen wrenches to remove the bolt that is holding the shifter internals to the cable uptake lever.

Now remove the plastic cable pulley assembly. At the base of this assembly is a metal plate with teeth on the edges that serve as the indexing mechanism in the shifter. These teeth need to be removed. Remove the metal plate from the shifter. Now use a bench grinder or a file to remove the teeth on this side, including this lobe. Be sure to wear safety glasses while doing this work and be careful when you are clamping the part with a vise or vise grips that you don’t mar the finish. Once you’ve removed the teeth and lobe, deburr new edges so that they don’t cause drag when moving inside the shifter.

Now we can turn our attention to cutting off the cable release button. This next step isn’t necessary, but I like to do it to make the finished part look a little more pro. Remove the pivot pin holding the release button into the shifter. Then pop the button up and out of the top of the shifter. Clamp the shifter into a vice and then use a hacksaw or Dremel cut off wheel to cut the button flush with the shifter body. Clean up the cut edge with a bench grinder or a file. Then reinstall the switch being careful to put the return spring back in the way it was so that the button doesn’t rattle. Then slide the pivot pin back in.

Now we can finish reassembling the top-end of the shifter. Reinstall the plate onto the plastic cable pulley and apply grease to the plate so that it slides smoothly inside the shifter. Line up the wide slot in the plate with the tab protruding up from the cable uptake lever. Then reinstall the main bolt followed by the secondary return spring. Check your work to make sure it functions smoothly without any rattles, and then reinstall the shifter cover. Check it again with the cover installed.

You now have a killer dropper post switch that didn’t cost a dime and that you can be proud that you made yourself.

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Added a new video How to: Modify Shimano Left Shifters For Use as Dropper Post Switches 1/14/2015 11:50 AM
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A large percentage of riders with dropper posts are also running 1x10 or 1x11 drivetrains. That means that there are thousands of front shifters lying around doing nothing, and there is an empty spot on the handlebar next to the left brake lever on each of these 1x bikes. With these video you'll learn how to take that useless old front Shimano shifter in your parts bin and turn it into an awesome dropper post switch for free!

Of course this will void your shifter's warranty, so after you make this mod, do us a favor and don't try to warranty it when you either do it wrong or decide you don't want it anymore!

Before you dive in, make sure that your dropper post will work with this type of switch. You need a post that is made to have the cable head installed in the switch, rather than in the post. Examples of compatible posts are the Kind Shock LEV and the 2nd generation Kind Shock LEV Integra with this style of cable attachment assembly at the bottom, and all versions of the Specialized Command Post.

Here’s a Shimano Saint M810 shifter that we’ve already modified. We’ve removed the pawl responsible for preventing cable that has been reeled into the shifter from being let out again without pressing the cable release button on the shifter. Whichever model of Shimano shifter that you are modifying, you need to locate and remove the pawl responsible for this process. In the case of this Saint shifter it required grinding off the head of the rivet holding the pawl in, but your shifter may be different.

Take this Shimano XT M780 front shifter for example. With this shifter you’ll need to first remove the gear indicator or upper shifter cover along with the cable port plug and barrel adjuster. Then remove the screws on the underside of the shifter. For a non I-spec version like this one, we have to remove the handlebar clamp as well before the shifter’s upper cover can be removed. Now remove the plastic plate that guides the gear indicator. Even if your shifter did not come with a gear indicator installed, this part will be inside the shifter. We now have access to the shifter’s internals.

The pawl that needs to be eliminated is right here. It is held in place by a clip that can be removed with a modified flathead screwdriver. Be careful not to lose this clip as you are removing it. Pry up the upper steel plate on the shifter mechanism and then use a pick tool to push the spring and pawl up and off of their pivot. Keep in mind that the barrel adjuster is held by this plate and can fall out while prying the plate up. If that happens, don’t worry, it’s easy to reinstall.

Reinstall the clip on the pawl pivot post with a pair of pliers. Now you can check to make sure that the shifter functions without getting hung up at any point in the lever sweep.

Now we can remove the cable release lever. This isn’t necessary, but it makes the switch look a little more finished while making it a little lighter. You can wait to do this until after you have finished reassembly to prevent metal filings from getting in the shifter, but it’s a little easier to do a clean cut on the lever without the shifter fully reassembled.

Clamp the cable release switch lever into a vice and use a hacksaw or Dremel cutoff wheel to sever the lever. Then clean up the cut edge and make it flush with the shifter body. If you want to go the extra mile you can use a sharpie to make the missing switch just a little more invisible.

Now we can finish the reassembly. Reinstall the plastic gear indicator plate. Then install the upper shifter cover and the screws that hold it in place except for the screw that interfaces with the handlebar clamp or i-spec assembly. Now install the handlebar clamp followed by the final screw on the underside of the shifter. Then install the barrel adjuster and the secondary shifter cover or gear indicator. Double check the switch’s function, mount it up to your dropper post and enjoy your new, free custom-made dropper post switch!

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Liked a comment on the item How-To: Bike Lubes 12/18/2014 1:10 PM

Thanks!

Liked a comment on the item How-To: Bike Lubes 12/18/2014 1:10 PM

Also, cool video series. I think folks will learn lots.

Liked a comment on the item How-To: Bike Lubes 12/18/2014 1:10 PM

Thanks for that zip tie trick. Ill be sure to pass it on to customers that may benefit from it.

Added a comment about video How-To: Bike Lubes 12/18/2014 9:36 AM
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Ideally everyone would service their forks at the interval suggested by the manufacturer and lube their seals at that point, but let's face it, virtually no one does that. So, for people who don't service their fork on time (or ever in some cases) Formula D can offer some real benefits.

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Added a new video How-To: Bike Lubes 12/12/2014 2:17 PM
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Just like you want to ride with speed and flow, your bike should be silky smooth as well. Proper lubrication is a critical part of maintaining your bike, and should be performed on a regular schedule. Anywhere metal contacts metal will benefit from lubrication, although different parts require different strategies. Here are the crucial procedures to follow and the reasons behind them. Let’s start with chains. There are a few ways to go about lubing chains; however, the most effective and efficient method we’ve found is to take your time and go link by link applying the lube to each roller on the chain. With this method your chain will stay cleaner, be better lubricated—so you don’t have to lube it so often, and you’ll use less lube, which will save you money. When it comes to lubing bearings, we are fans of Shimano Dura Ace grease. It’s thick enough to stay where it should while keeping bearings rolling nice and smooth. To apply this grease to cartridge bearings you’ll need to use a knife to pop off the seals and then use a degreaser followed by WD-40 to clean out the old grease and then blow out any residual water and degreaser. Wipe the bearing down and then apply the Dura Ace grease. There’s no need to jam pack hub bearings for summer riding, just get enough in there to keep everything coated well. For the wetter part of the year, go with heavier waterproof grease like Phil Wood and fill the bearing to the brim. An extra coat of grease on the outside of the bearing seal can help to prevent water from getting past the seal. For suspension cartridge bearings, super thick grease is the way to go. These bearings rarely turn as much as a quarter inch during operation, which puts nearly the entire load on just a few bearings, so they need all of the protection they can get. Thick grease like Pro Gold EPX is great for this application because it not only keeps them turning under heavy loads, it does a good job of keeping water out. When you do go to lube your suspension bearings, be sure to get them turning again before you start, as they tend to get stuck after turning and 1/8 of a turn for a million cycles over a few months of heavy riding. Many components require assembly grease and thicker greases work great here too. A good example of this is headset assemblies. Crown races, bearing races, and compression rings all need grease applied to them to minimize wear and to keep them working quietly. Using thick grease will extend the amount of time required before relubing. Fork seals should be cleaned and lubed or replaced when indicated by the manufacturer. A great way to keep things lubed in the meantime is to apply a fork seal lube like Formula D Suspension Syrup. Wipe the seal clean with a rag, then slide the pointy end of a zip tie between the seal and the stanchion to open up a space to get the lube into the seal. About 10 to 20 drops per seal is all you need. Then cycle the fork and wipe off all of the excess lube. Derailleur pivots and clipless pedals can be lubed with a light chain lube like TriFlow. Just a drop or two at each contact point within the assembly is all it takes. This lube should be done about once a month. Shifters should be lubed about twice a year. A quick half-second shot of Boeshield T9 is all you need to do to keep them shifting smoothly and accurately.

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Added a comment about feature WIN BIG! IXS MTB Pads Up For Grabs - Presented by Art's Cyclery 11/20/2014 3:20 PM
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You can also enter by email. Just message info@artscyclery.com with the subject IXS Giveaway to be manually added into the sweepstakes!

Thanks and good luck!

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Added a comment about feature WIN BIG! Art's Cyclery Troy Lee Designs Sweepstakes 9/2/2014 11:14 AM
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Hey guys, if you want to enter the contest not through Facebook, send an email to info @ artscyclery.com with the subject 'VitalMTB TLD Contest' and include your email in the body of the message and we will manually enter into the sweepstakes.

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Added a new video How-To: Race Preparation, Bike & Gear with Art's Cyclery 7/27/2014 9:43 PM
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Our favorite sport is all about competition. From trying to pass your buddy in the middle of a rock garden to World Cup downhill racing, the desire to be faster than the rider in front of us is always present. Let’s take a look at how, and how not to, get your bike and your kit ready for race day. Begin your race prep about two weeks before the race, so you have time to break in new parts and make sure they don’t present any new problems. Start with these maintenance procedures: Give your bike a good wipe down. A careful cleaning will often reveal damage that went unnoticed before. • Check torque on all bolts • Make sure suspension pivots are moving freely and are in good working order • Install new cables/housing if more than a few months old or if shifting has been poor • Bleed brakes if necessary. • Install new brake pads if necessary and bed them in correctly. • Check drivetrain for wear, including derailleur pulleys, and install new chain if necessary • Straighten warped rotors • True and tension your wheels A few days before the race do the following • Re-check torque on all bolts, including your pedal cleats OR loctite flat pedal traction pins • Make sure your tires are trustworthy by inspecting them for wear, cuts, or leaks • Top off tubeless tire sealant level • Lube chain and check for damaged links • Check wheels for true again Don’t forget to take potential weather conditions in mind as you get your bike dialed in. If there is a possibility of wet weather, make sure you have a set of sintered metallic brake pads and a pair of mud tires on hand. The night before the big day do the following: • Lube chain • Check shifting • Wipe your bike down one more time Race Day: • Inflate tires • Relax, have fun and pin it! Now that your bike is primed and ready to take you to the podium, let’s go through what should be in your gear bag. If you don’t usually wear one, you’ll also have to decide whether or not you’ll be wearing a hydration pack. If it’s a shorter enduro race with timed sections around five to ten minutes or so, it might not be worth carrying extra parts since if you have a mechanical, your race is effectively over. For multi day races with longer stages, then making up time is a possibility and a stocked pack could be a good idea. Multiple 4X World Champion Jared Graves carries “…every spare that is easy to carry that could break, and every tool for that job…” including a derailleur, hanger, cables, spokes and nipples, duct tape, and chain lube. In order to make sure you are comfortable, fueled up, and ready to deal with any bike problems that arise, make sure you are bringing a well-stocked gear bag. Nutrition items for on the bike fuel and recovery • Gels/bars • Recovery drink Real food • If it’s a multi day event be sure to bring enough food and cooking gear to prepare it. Clothing • Depending on how trustworthy the weather forecast is, pack cycling clothes for every condition you might encounter on the bike. Bring a fresh kit for each day if you have it. A nice clean chamois will make you feel much better. And bring plenty of clean socks. • Don’t forget clothes for after the race, again paying attention to the weather forecast. You want to be as comfortable as possible at all times. • An old pair of shoes is good to have on hand just in case a buckle fails on your current shoes. • Don’t forget your helmet and sunglasses or goggles Bike and Race Specific Items • Floor pump • Basic bike tools • Chain lube and cleaning rags • Spare tubes and patch kit • Spare chain and master link • Cables • Cleat bolts • Duct tape • Zip ties • Wire cutter • Safety pins

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