Mountain bike maintenance DVD review

This article was published in 2008, in Newsletter 77.

The latest DVD from drivenandridden.com covers maintenance and repair for mountain bikes.
Image as described adjacent

Drivenandridden.com have produced a new DVD on maintenance, aimed at mountain bikes this time. Subjects run from removing and replacing tyre and tube to wheel-building and bottom-bracket replacement, so this is even more broadly based than the previous offering. Strangely, though puncture repair is not covered, the section on ‘repairing a flat on the trail’ simply replaced the old tube with a new one. The terminology gives one clue, and the stern warning from the F.B.I. about $250,000 fines for piracy is another, that this was not produced in the UK.

A range of bikes are used for demonstration, all well-used but spotlessly clean, and the idea that any repair should start by cleaning the area of work first is not mentioned, even when bleeding hydraulic brakes is shown. On this topic there is some bad advice too, the complicated syringe kit used for bleeding Avid brakes is said to be cleaned with water afterwards, but Avid use conventional car brake fluid and contaminating it with water is bad news if the brakes get very hot.

For a demonstration video it has to be accepted that nuts and screws have been loosened beforehand, but the presenter, Jeff Dustin, shows a lackadaisical attitude towards tightening them afterwards, such that anyone using this DVD as their only reference for repair work is set dangerous examples. Quick-release levers are flipped open and shut with minimal effort, well below the force that it should take to operate them (described by one large bike manufacturer as “If you can fully close the quick release without wrapping your fingers around the fork blade for leverage, and the lever does not leave a clear imprint on the palm of your hand, the tension is insufficient.”). When replacing the cranks after replacing the bottom bracket one securing bolt is described as “snug” and the other as “very tight”. The actual torque recommended is 40-55 Nm or 30-40 lb-ft, which is definitely very tight using a normal size spanner, so could we have them both “very tight” please, Jeff.

The sections on replacing brake pads could be useful for those with reasonable skill, but for beginners there are some dangerously misleading examples

As with the first DVD the viewer is told that getting the correct spoke-key is important, but not how to find out which one is needed. Presta and Shraeder valves are mentioned, but no mention of which is which for the inexperienced.

For someone with reasonable skill the sections on replacing brake pads in various makes of disk brakes could be useful, but much of the rest is too basic, and for the unskilled there are too many advanced topics and dangerously misleading examples shown. This DVD is only available as a complete package, and at £12.99 from Drivenandridden.com is not good value.

Mike Causer