Surrey Hills MTB


Bike Maintenance

Shimano XT M8000 brake issue

I wrote recently about a deeply satisfying weekend spent fettling my Bandit of which part was a second bleed of my front brake.

I have Shimano XT M8000’s front and back and I have to say, I love them. They are reassuringly powerful when needed but precise when full on anchorage is not required. However, on returning from Morzine this year I’d noticed my front brake was palpably spongier than my rear. Not horrendously so, but enough to cause the occasional “heavier pull” on the levers.

So I bled them with a slight improvement but it didn’t last. Working on the principal I’m mechanically incompetent (tis true…) and therefore must have stuffed up the first bleed, I bled them again last weekend, fitted new pads and spent a good 30 minutes bedding them in on a nearby hill.

All seemed well until Thursday night’s TFIT when I had the very unpleasant sensation of ‘lever back to bar’ as soon as a sharp pull on the brakes was required. Thankfully that ride was forgiving enough that I could get away with mostly rear brake action to slow me when needed.

Anyway, this morning I headed off to Cycleworks in Haslemere to see Tom P to see if he could offer any advice on the issue. And he did! Apparently there is a known warranty issue with the lever of certain batches of N stamped (mine is NF as shown below) M8000 brakes. Check out this forum thread and see the post by Buck aka ‘Oh My Sack’ on MBR here

Shimano batch sticker

Apparently Shimano just ship out a new brake so I’ll slap it back on as soon as it arrives. So if you have Shimano XT’s – check the little silver sticker on it for a batch number and if it’s an N and you have brake pump up issues – that could be a cause.

And I’m feeling at least 32.5% less mechanically incompetent…




Therapy needed

So I spent a deeply satisfying weekend fiddling with my bike. Thankfully just new gear cable, new pads and a front brake bleed required which aside from the indexing of gears was mostly trouble free.

However when I noticed the “immeasurable, deep and utter satisfaction” I got from lining up my cassette bits in order I decided to stop there. Immediately.

And in case you’re wondering, the answer is yes, I also line my skittles up before I eat them.


It must be Autumn

Yeah, I’ve decided… it’s officially Autumn.

This has nothing to do with the weather which is still officially most pleasant at the moment. Case in point, we even managed most of last night’s post-TFIT pub session outside.

No it’s because my bike bits are all reaching a state of “terminal demise” all at exactly the same time.

Flipping typical.

It’s always the same. About this time of year I’m usually contemplating the “shiny bits I might like to put on my bike next year” which up until last night was limited to a new set of riding specs. But as I was getting the Bandit ready for TFIT I noticed that my gear cable has just about frayed right through at the shifter (which would explain why I’m not enjoying the 11 of my 1×11), my front brake needs a damn good bleed and I need new rear brake pads as they are as thin as a roadie on a diet.

Now maybe it’s the Yorkshire man in me (you know, we’re like the Scottish except with all the generosity squeezed out) but it grates soooo much that just as the weather is about to turn the trails into “gloopy-puddles-of-gloop-with-super-component-destructing-powers-of-death” I end up putting new kit on which I just KNOW is not going to last through to spring next year.

I personally suspect the engineers at Shimano are so clever they construct their things to self-destruct just when you least want them to. And all at the same time. And usually a week before I get paid. I’m telling you, it’s a conspiracy and just remember you heard it here first.

So I guess I will be LBS bound this weekend for some supplies of gear cables, brake fluid and brake pads.

And I suspect a chain.

And possibly a cassette.

And how’s that rear-mech looking…?


Sometimes you don’t miss what you’ve got until it’s gone

A handful of weeks ago, whilst we clattered down Fatboy 4 on the Punchbowl. As we hit terminal velocity over a few roots, my chain uncharacteristically dropped. Pulling over as everyone else hammered past with a few “you ok’s” but with no real intention of stopping unless I’d lost a limb or snapped the bike in half, I noticed the primordial grey ooze that had come out of the rear shock.

Being a bike expert I realised straight away that is not right, so upon sitting back in the saddle I knew (with relief) that I could still ride the remaining few miles to the pub. The rear end now resembled a bouncy castle style journey as all the damping had gone from the shock.

As I mentioned, being a certified bike mechanic I called Steve from so he could fix the problem. A week later and £120 lighter my refurbished bike returned, I’d even forgotten how different the three switching modes should have felt. What impressed me was just the level of detail and care they take when servicing, they even give you a little bag of all the broken bits and bobs they replaced.

So suffering for one ride on the hardtail whilst all this took place made me vow to service all the shocks and bearings on an annual basis. Lesson learnt.

Steve F

Maintenance is nothing but trouble

So Dave D sent me a text this weekend demonstrating why pre-ride maintenance is highly dangerous!

Personally I prefer the ignorance is bliss approach – but that is mostly because I’m crap at fixing things. It would also possibly explain why I have had more ‘long and lonely walk home’ days than most people.

However, I should note that the cracked spoke hole did NOT stop him actually going for a ride (and an 18 mile 1,300 ft ride at that!) – well done Dave


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