10 Seth bike hacks for mountain biking and beyond

Everyone's favorite hacker Seth doing what he does best

How To Video

Energy gels at more than $1 serving? What about honey, nature’s most perfect food.

Here’s Seth doing what he does best, bike hacks. We love this edition for the handy tips on and off the bike. That background music, though. Not so much.

1. Master Link Storage

One of the best ways to make a quick chain repair is with a master link. Just remove the broken part of the chain, join it again with the master link, and you’re on your way. You can keep a master link in your backpack but storing it on your bike means it’ll always be at the ready. I stuffed two links into my bar end and left a piece of string dangling to pull them back out with. What other ways can you think of to secure spare links?

2. Bottle Opener

Have you ever been stuck without a bottle opener? Platform pedals seem to have been designed for the job. Just hook the lip of the bottle under the cage and pry it off. I’m sure there’s a spot you can do this even on clipless pedals.

3. Chain Cleaner

In the comments of a previous video someone said that you can clean a chain by tying two toothbrushes together. Let’s try it. I’m assuming that you fasten them at the base so they meet here and pedal the chain between them. Actually, not bad. Using a solvent would help too. If you do this, make sure to clearly label them so you don’t mix up your toothbrushes.

4. Frame Protection

On some bikes, the cables rub against the frame and cause damage to the paint. After a while it can wear it down right to the metal. Velcro pads will not only stop this from happening, but eliminate the noise caused by the cable hitting the frame. If you don’t want to stick Velcro to your frame you can also just stick it to the cable. Velcro is available in different colors to match your bike.

5. Brake Rotor Cleaner

Keeping your rotors clean is essential for good braking power. In fact, the oil from your skin can make them practically useless. You can clean them with alcohol and paper towels, but on on the fly these prep pads are really easy. This whole box was $1.50, and the pads can be kept in your travel toolbox, car, or backpack. It’s even good to do this after taking your bike off the rack with all the grime from the road.

6. Honey

Energy gels, or goo packs, are quite useful. They’re basically disgusting syrupy packages of pure calories that you can suck down while training or racing. In a pinch, you can use honey instead. It’s 100% natural, available in packets, and not nearly as disgusting. In fact it’s awesome. In many cases, it’s also much cheaper.

7. Cardboard

If you have a pickup truck you can carry a bike like this, but protecting your tailgate is essential. They sell really good products that do this, and they even hold the bikes in place, but there’s a cheaper way. Just get a piece of cardboard and cut it to size. You can even customize it to look just like real ones. Fold it at the top, and lay it over your tailgate. Function, economy, and style.

8. Citrus

Even a nice clean hydration pack will have that rubbery taste and smell. You can freshen up your reservoir with a drop of citrus. Lemon or lime juice is sold in bottles but you can also use the real thing. Now, you enjoy nice lime-infused water for your ride instead of rubber. Do avoid dropping whole fruits in there though, as a CamelBak sangria will ruin your reservoir in a hurry. A drop won’t though.

9. Ice

Even good hydration packs make your back sweaty, but you can take the edge off with some ice. Fill the pack partially with water, and fill it with air. Lay it in the freezer and take extra care not to block the water outlet. Once it’s frozen solid you’ll have a nice layer of ice right along the back of the reservoir. Top it off with water, and it’ll stay icy cold. This will melt way slower than ice cubes, while still providing enough meltwater to drink as you go.

10. Hub Cleaner

More than one commenter said that tying a zip tie or string around your hub can keep it clean, and I’ve seen this on cruisers and novelty bikes. Out of curiosity, let’s see how well this works. Maybe it would work eventually? Yeah, a bigger piece of string, leather strap, or zip tie might work better, but let me show you a better way.

So there you go, 10 more bike hacks. To keep doing these videos Seth needs the readers to tell him your hacks below. If it’s one he hasn’t done before, you could see it here in the future.

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • colby says:

    you can use a longer bolt and two nuts taped to the frame as a way to true your bent tire. screw the bolt in and out for ultimate precision. works pretty well cause you’ll be able to hear and see where its hitting, in my experience it doesn’t damage the rim at all either as long as you do just a little at a time.

  • dan says:

    Buy good maple syrup (costco is best) and put in $2.99 flask that holds 5 servings. Pennies on the dollar compared to the prepackaged stuff like Ben King’s unTapped and no discarded wrappers.

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