PLUGGING THROUGH 5000+ MILES
Many people who buy a mountain bike, whether traditional or pedal-assist, are lucky if they put a few hundred miles or so on their bike per year. Don Kelley is not one of those people.
Don’s been a life-long motocross rider. He loves the dirt. He was introduced to electric mountain bikes a couple of years ago, and now he is hooked! He bought a Haibike Xduro Nduro Pro in 2016 and started riding it all the time. He and a group of friends ride together at least three times a week, sometimes four, covering 12–20 miles or more per ride and often carrying a spare battery for longer rides. To date, he’s racked up over 5,000 miles on this bike.
CHANGING IT UP
As with most any mountain biker, nobody runs the stock setup for any length of time. Don started changing parts to match his needs and riding style almost as soon as he brought the bike home.
The first thing he did was swap the front 14t sprocket on his Bosch Performance Line CX motor from the stock 18-tooth. The older generations of CX motors have a sprocket that rotates 2.5 times for every time the crankarms rotate, so going to a smaller sprocket in the front makes climbing hills easier. He and the guys he rides with keep their bikes closely spec’d because they’re a competitive bunch. The more level the playing field, the more fun they have.
Other modifications include rebuilding his Fox fork with a Push ACS3 kit, replacing the air component with a spring. That took him a couple of tries, because the first spring he put in was too light, bottoming out too easily. He’s also replaced the handlebars with Fasst Company Flexx bars that retail for over $400 to ease some of the stress on his hands and wrists from big hits and drops. After that, he learned that he’d have better results with RevGrips, a type that allows a small amount of rotation that accomplishes the same thing for less than a quarter of the cost. “Those RevGrips are crazy good!” says Don.
“Not only is that annoying, it’s a sign that the bearings need to be fixed or replaced.”
He swapped the stock wheels for a set of DT Swiss 240 wheels. The 240 hub has a ratchet system that’s not only more durable and dependable than a traditional pawl setup, it also engages quicker.
Since Don’s group frequently goes out for night rides, he runs two (one on his bars and one on his helmet) Serfas USL-1200 lights, each putting out a blinding 1200 lumens. He says it makes him go faster at night than he usually does in daylight because he has less visual distractions.
He uses a Park Tools chain checker to let him know when his chain is worn to .75-percent stretch, then he replaces it. He also replaces his sprockets every 500 miles, but replaces the chain two to three times during that interval.
REBUILDING THE MOTOR
After he’d put a couple thousand miles on his bike, the motor began to get noticeably louder. Though it’s fairly well-sealed, between all the dust and dirt and the occasional stream crossings, the bearings inside the motor get dirty and start making noise. Not only is that annoying, it’s a sign that the bearings need to be fixed or replaced.
Thankfully, Bosch realizes this and makes a kit that comes with a new side case, new bearings, nylon gears, lubricant to extend the life of the motor and, in some cases, the warranty. He’s used the kit multiple times on his bike and helped friends with theirs. He originally watched videos online to show him how to do the rebuild. The kit costs around $165, and a Bosch-certified shop can do the rebuild or riders can do their own, though the latter may affect
The guys do night rides some nights, so he’s come up with a great bike light mount to deal with the location of his Intuvia display.
It’s great to see that a well-maintained machine can handle over 5,000 brutal miles and still keep going. You can definitely see signs of wear on some parts of the bike, such as the crankarms are nearly stripped of their black anodizing from his shoes wearing against them. Don’s proven that proper maintenance can keep a bike rolling along well for many miles and years.
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun.