Q: I am new to mountain biking and
recently purchased a Giant Talon 27. 5-3.
My question is, will it damage my fork to
store the bike by hanging it from J hooks
upside down from my garage ceiling?
Enjoy your mag. Looking forward to many
dirty Sundays in the future.
—B. Boice, who is upside down
A: Actually, you might be doing more
good than harm by storing your bike
upside down. When you hang your bike,
the lubrication oil in your fork is allowed
to migrate towards the seals, which
means your dust wiper seals will be super
slick and buttery smooth right out of the
trailhead. Typically, forks take a little
time to warm up and circulate that bath
oil through the bushings before they feel
their best. Since the oil in the fork is very
viscous, it’s not something you can quickly
replicate, and hanging it overnight upside
down before a ride will make your fork feel
fresh earlier than your friend’s fork.
The only concern is that you could
experience issues with your hydraulic
brakes if you store your bike this way. If
your brakes are not perfectly bled with
all the air removed from the system, then
the tiny air bubbles will make their way
into the lines and cause your brakes to
feel spongy. This typically works itself out
as the brake “pumps up” in the first few
miles, but it might not be worth the trade-
off. We recommend bleeding your brakes
properly and storing the bike upside
down. You’ll reap the benefits on the trail.
Q: I got a $100 Visa gift card for a
gift recently, and I am trying to get some
good clip mountain bike shoes. I am
wondering which kind I should get. I have
Shimano XT clips, so now I need the
—Mikhail Meyer, who has money
A: The two brands we would recom-
mend for a pair of shoes for less than a
C-note would have to be Shimano and
Exustar. The Shimano M088 is a bullet-
proof shoe that comes with some really
high-end features, including a buckle clo-
sure system that looks like it belongs on
a $300 shoe. In our experience Shimano
shoes also seem to work for a huge vari-
ety of foot sizes and shapes.
The Exustar SM324 comes in around
$70 and will leave you a little breathing
room for tax and shipping. The SM324
takes a little breaking in, as the upper
is slightly stiff, but it is ultimately a solid
shoe we think you’d be stoked with.