Hack It Like A World Cup Mechanic – 8 top tips to try at home

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Last time, we picked the brains of pro World Cup and World Championship mechanic, Carl Geeson of Bikelove, and were treated to some pretty nifty ideas. Having plied him with even more coffee than before, Carl has once again opened up his tool box of secrets and let us peek into the world of pro racing mechanics.

1. Inner Tube Hack #1

Is this an inner tube I see before me? Yes, actually, it is. Instead of throwing out your torn to shreds inner tube that has rather unhelpfully exploded like a gunshot mid-ride, take a sharp knife and cut it along its length. Wrap it tightly around your chainstay in the same manner as you would wind bar tape around a bar. Cinch down either end with either Gorilla Tape or zip ties (or both if you like!) et voila! A cheap and effective chainstay protector to appeal to your inner recycler.

A slice of inner tube cut diagonally.
Start at the back and wrap it like bar tape.
Keep it tight as you wrap.
Here is one we made earlier!
Just add Gorilla Tape to finish things off.

2. Inner Tube Hack #2

Is that another inner tube I see before me? Oddly enough, yes! It’s a curious thing that mountain bikers will spend a fortune on dropper seat posts and happily run them throughout the winter with all manner of clart and mud being thrown up on them without a second thought. Well, until they fail at which point they may pause to reflect on said mud and clart. If you aren’t a fan of mudguards, take a length of sliced inner tube and attach one end to the bottom section of your dropper and one to your saddle rails by cutting two small holes near the top and attaching with zip ties. It should be taut at full extension. It’s not pretty but neither is a bill for £100 to fix your dropper post.

A dropper post in its naked state.
Measure by eye.
Cut along the length of the tube.
Punch it, Chewie!
Zip it!
Zip it and snip to fit.
Et Voila! Smile for the camera!

3. From Ginger Beer To Calliper Guard

101 uses for a can of ginger (Part 2). Last time, we used a section cut from a can of ginger to act as a simple but effective shim for a slipping seat post. This time, you’ll need to get the scissors and file out again as this tip will really get you into pro territory. If you are a disc brake user, you’ll know that when the trails become wet and clarty, it’s only a matter of time before your discs start to rub against the build-up of trail filth on the pads. One way to help alleviate this (which also works brilliantly for stopping snow getting in) is to fashion a disc pad cover to fit over the calliper. TRP already provide this idea as standard on their Spyke range of brakes but you can do it on the cheap. Just make sure that the cover when stuck on with Gorilla Tape doesn’t foul the pads in any manner.

This was once a Coke can. Other makes are available!
Roughly measure by eye.
Mark the bolt holes with a marker pen.
Punch it again, Chewie!
Undo your bolts!
Bolt down one end.
Snip down to size. Be sure to allow for the rotor to pass through.
Tighten the second bolt.
Spin the wheel to ensure everything runs freely.
Cover it in tape to avoid slicing your leg open!
Reinstall your cover.
Give it a quick once over.
Big thumbs up!

4. Mud Guard Hack #1

Run your Crud Catcher (or other brand of down tube mounted mud protector – other brands are, of course, available) the wrong way round on your skinny tyred road and cross bikes. Down tube mounted Crud Catchers are great but when it comes to drop bar machines, the flared design at the front often catches the front wheel. By reversing the mounting, not only do you eliminate this but you get greater protection from trail gloop being kicked up by your front wheel.

Crud Catcher fitted the wrong way round (allegedly!)

5. Mud Guard Hack #2

Run a Crud Catcher on your seat tube. Now this might seem like an odd idea but even with a rear mud guard, you will find the back of your legs getting soaked on a wet ride. Mounting a crud catcher on your seat tube, just above the bottom bracket reduces the filth that is thrown both onto you and the awkward to clean drivetrain and front mech area. As such, your shifting will stay crisper for longer and your legs just that little bit dryer.

Crud catcher on the seat tube (and mudguards everywhere else, for that matter!)
Simple but very effective!

6. Stick It All Together With Tape!

Gorilla Tape – the miracle tape for mountain bikers. Not only is it great for fixing punctures in an emergency but it can also be used as a highly sticky and strong rim tape when you realise you’ve run out and don’t have time to nip down you your local bike shop. The small roll of electrical size tape is pretty much perfect for this. If you are one for running ghetto tubeless, have a search online to see how you can use Gorilla Tape for this too.

Gorilla tape! Mmmmmmm!

7. Cover It All Up With Tape!

Protect your frame, tape it up. Helicopter tape has long been the choice of champions when it comes to protecting a frame and parts that suffer from rubbing issues. However, Gorilla Tape now markets an extra thick, clear adhesive tape which is just as effective and weatherproof for less money. By now, you are probably thinking that I am in the pocket of Gorilla Tape. Sadly I’m not as it would save me cash! Of all the products I have tried over the years, their tapes are the ones which I have found to be the most effective and durable. So this isn’t less than subtle product placement but a genuine endorsement based on my own experience. There may be other great tapes out there. I’ve just yet to use them!

Also available in clear!

8. Inner Tube Hack #3

Still have some left over inner tube? Cut it across its’ length and you have some handily sized rubber bands which can be used for wrapping round your inner tubes (make sure that you take a tube that you haven’t cut into!) or from stopping your mini tool from opening up in your ride bag.

Home made rubber band.
No more flappy inner tubes!
Happy tool!

So there you have it, more tips to keep you riding like the pros.

Big thanks to Carl at Bikelove for sharing his top tips with us.



David Gould

Singletrack Contributor

By day, Sanny plies his trade as a Chartered Accountant and Non-Executive Director. By night, however, give him a map and the merest whisper of a trail "that might go" and he'll be off faster than a rat up a drainpipe on some damn fool mission to discover new places to ride. Rarely without his trusty Nikon D5600, he likes nothing better than being in the big mountains, an inappropriately heavy bike on his back, taking pics and soaking up the scenery. He also likes to ride his bike there too although rumours that he is currently working on his next book, "Walks with my bike", are untrue (mostly).

Fat biking, gravel riding, bikepacking, road biking, e biking, big mountain adventures - as long as two wheels are involved, you'll find him with a grin on his face as he dives off the side of a mountain, down a narrow lane or into deep undergrowth in search of hidden trails and new adventures.

His favourite food is ham and mushroom pizza and he is on a mission to ride all of the Munros, mostly as it allows him to indulge in eating more pizza.

He has no five year plan, is a big fan of the writing of Charlie Connelly and reckons that Kermode and Mayo's Film Review Podcast is quite possibly the finest bit of broadcasting around.

Comments (12)

    Okay, tip #8 is actually a keeper 🙂

    The clear gorilla tape stuff is good but is an absolute complete and utter pain in the arris if you ever want to remove it. Leaves behind a whole world of sticky residue which takes ages to get off with nail varnish remover .

    Aldi do an adhesive remover that would be just the job if you want to remove tape residue.


    Damn, I ‘invented’ that seat post inner tube guard all by myself last week. I felt proper pleased with myself until now.

    No you didn’t – I was running that three years ago! I really am quite a tightwad.

    Obviously the folk at STW are easily impressed

    #8 is an old one, heard them called ‘Dunlop straps’ years ago by an old boy in my MX club and the name has stuck for me!
    Different size tubes give you a range of ‘strap’ sizes, longer cut lengths give you sleeves for stuff. Endlessly useful.

    …also, for #2, a thin wall roadie size tube stretched onto the post over the seat clamp (or slid on from the bottom if you’re really keen) and zip-tied in place makes a really neat, fully sealed gaiter.

    what decade are these hacks from?

    Yeah – all those uses for torn/used etc. inner tubes, haven’t we all been running tubeless for years now ?

    Better material for a caliper guard would be that plastic that some companies (Michelin, for example) pack their tyres with.
    No need to faff around with duct tape then…….

    Solving problems I didnt know I had

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