Probably simple tech questions, please help!

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  • Probably simple tech questions, please help!
  • number18

    So, I’m supposed to be meeting some mates at Llandegla tomorrow at 0900 so I went out to the garage to check the bike over (Ghost ASX 5500). I decided the rear pads needed replacing so set on with that.

    I always find it a massive pain to push the pistons sufficiently back in to allow enough space for the disk to fit back in. What’s the simplest and easiest way to do this? I always feel like I’m going to break something it takes that much force! (I have Avid Elixir 3 brakes.)

    I got the wheel back on but it wasn’t rotating freely so I decided to have a bit of a bez on it and a few hard brakes to see if the pistons would move in a bit but it didn’t work, still not rotating freely.

    I’d appreciate any help with this.

    However, it isn’t my main concern! Just at the point at which I decided I would just live with it and hope it would get better as I ride in the Welsh hill tomorrow, I noticed a ******* spoke has come loose, ie away from the little bolt it fits in to at the ‘rim end’.

    Now, if you haven’t already guessed I’m pretty shit at knowing how bikes work. Does anyone know if the bike shop at Llandegla will be happy to fix this as soon as they open the doors tomorrow? How long might it take to fix? I’ve had a few spokes go recently so I know it is about £10-£15 to fix which is obviously fine, and I really want to ride tomorrow!

    (Does the fact that I’ve had a few spokes go recently mean I need a new rim? Already had 2 visits to LBS, first time was 3 spokes second time was 2.)

    Premier Icon tmb467

    I use a ring spanner to push the pistons back in again – if you can get some grease or brake fluid or oil on em with a cotton bud it helps but don’t use something that’ll damage the seal (so know what fluid is in em)

    Dunno about the spokes but I’d wager it’s just a shit wheel build. Either get a new wheel or get that one rebuilt properly but your rim is isn’t the problem – it’s the spoke tension. It’s flexing cos one side is loose and snapping the other spoke – tho as I said someone with more knowledge might disagree


    Forget it, sounds like you need a new bike!

    Seriously tho. Brakes: I either use a flat screw driver pushing on back of pads (not the pistons) or if the pads are out I slide a flat object (park tool chain checker) and push the pistons back, doing it this way means the pistons won’t twist and get wedged. You can buy a specific tool (park do one) to push pistons back, but I don’t have it.

    Spokes: sounds like a bad wheel build, get the whole wheel checked rather than spending £10 per spoke! You can tighten spikes yourself tho, just need a spoke key.

    Premier Icon oldnpastit

    I use a great big in-your-face cold-chisel and lever them back (having first removed the pads), but any long flat thing would do. However, I’ve found that the Avids can be a real pain to push back. I don’t know why this should be, but I once had to resort to removing the reservoir cover before it would go back (perhaps the fluid had expanded somehow?).

    For the wheel, as others have said, your wheel wasn’t put together very well. You can tighten up the spokes yourself if you’ve got a spoke key (probably there’s one on your multitool). There are lots of guides on the interweb, and even if you have no idea what you’re doing it sounds like you will at least make it no worse, and probably better.


    i would leave the old pads in when levering


    Sounds like the problem with the brakes may be that they have too much fluid in them. If you bleed the brakes when the pistons aren’t fully retracted, and follow the avid procedure which is to give the syringe a firm push at the end of the process then this will happen.

    I’ve never seen a spoke come completely loose at the nipple – normally they break.

    Premier Icon sandwicheater

    big flat screw driver (Shimano XT) with the pads removed. Tis a two second job.

    Dot Fluid absorbs water – so there’s often more fluid in the system when the pads wear down than there was at the start. When replacing pads in my old Avid Juicys, I often had to open the bleed screw (was a little Torx screw on the lever on Juicy, not sure about elixirs) a quarter tuen, then the pads would go back easily, and a tiny bubble of fluid would come out of the screw.


    Best tool I’ve found for the job is an old blunt hunting knife, they’re tapered so you can ease them in the smallest of gaps without removing the pads or damaging them, thick enough blade so it’s about the same width of a disc once fully inserted, and they’re made of fairly tuff stuff so can easily handle a bit of gentle levering. Wouldn’t recommend you take one out with you though, that just looks dodgy.


    Thanks all.

    I’ve had about 5 spokes go in the same way over the last 6 months and it is my LBS who have ‘repaired’ it. Needless to say I won’t going back for them to do that particular job again!

    As for brakes, it just doesn’t seem to be a 2 second job with my brakes. I’ve had the flat head screwdriver levering against the old pads and used a lot of force but there’s still not quite enough room.

    I think I’m going to get it fully serviced as it is due one. Hopefully this will iron out a few other niggles. I am incapable of doing this myself!

    I’m on the verge of getting Leisure Lakes to do it in Bury, as I’m going over there today anyway to get a few clothing items needed for my commute which I’m about to start riding 2 days a week.

    Someone please tell me taking it to Leisure Lakes Bury isn’t a stupid idea for a service and wheel build!

    They have quoted me the following (includes VIP discount);

    £108 Gold service
    £43 wheel build
    £37 mavic 521 rim

    £188 total

    My bike really needs a service, are LL any good?

    I’ll probably also spaff about £75 on clothes. Am I stupid?

    Welcome to the world of Avid. I’ve had similar problems with various models. I’ve even seen a set where I had to remove a little fluid to allow the piston to retract.

    It is frustrating, but I’d follow the advice above that tells you not to apply pressure directly to the pistons and to loosen the bleed screw slightly. Always force them apart before removing the worn pads.

    Premier Icon tmb467

    What do you need em to do? Don’t bother getting the brakes fixed – just buy new deore ones instead

    Edit- is the wheel front or back? For 80 quid you could get something decent


    Is it not a good idea to get your bike serviced once in a while, especially if you’re not tech minded and new to biking? My bike has had some hammer since I bought it in Feb last year and I think a service is overdue, just to have someone ‘who knows’ thoroughly check it over.

    The cost of replacing brakes is prohibitive, as I’ve decided it needs a service.

    Question is, are Leisure Lakes up to the job?

    Premier Icon mcnultycop

    Where are you based? If Oldham side Bikanics in Greenfield are spot on.


    I’m between Huddersfield and Wakefield. Bike is now with Leisure Lakes for service and wheel rebuild using existing rim. Spoke to Joey there and he was reassuringly knowledgeable and helpful. Hopefully a few new spokes and a careful rebuild and the wheel will be fine.

    As part of the service they will strip the bike entirely and thoroughly check all aspects of the brakes, so they should be fine once complete.


    Never had an issue on my Formulas, push the piston back and poop the new pads in, takes about 2mins. However, my former GF had Avid Juicy 3s like the OPs, took three hours to change a set of pads, had to resort to bleeding them and it still wasn’t very good. Put me off Avids for life. Also put me off attempting to try to change the rears too.
    As for the spokes, a full rebuild should sort it, my LBS build wheels for £25 so strip it down completely and take all the bits into your LBS, give them a week or so to get it done. TBH if it’s just one spoke gone you should be fine for riding tomorrow, shouldn’t effect strength too much, just check the wheel is still straight enough not to catc on anything.


    I will often swap just one pad at a time on avids. Let that one wear over a few rides, then swap the other one. Seems to avoid the issue with the gap not being large enough.

    Obviously you cant do this if your pads are already worn to the metal!


    Good idea swapping one pad at a time, I’ll be doing that from now on!

    Mary Hinge

    From the description of the spoke problem, I wonder if it might be alloy nipples failing>

    I had a wheel with alloy nipples a few years ago, and after about 18 months, one by one, the nipples just crumbled away.

    I just swapped them for brass/chrome ones and tensioned the wheel.

    Fortunately I’m pretty handy with the spanners. I don’t think I could afford to ride if I didn’t do all my own work.

    And to the OP, I’ve not used LL Bury, but have bought a few bikes from their Nottm branch. All have been very nicely put together, so I’d expect them to be good.


    A friend of mine does all his own work on his bike but he’s never happy with it, any niggle and he wants to fix it straight away. Whereas I don’t even notice if there’s something a little bit wrong and ride stress free! At some point it will bite me on the arse when I have a big bill. LL told me today that at some point soon the stanchions on my Fox forks will need replacing as they are starting to wear…

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