Rookie MTB questions!

pivots are just bearings, but some need special tools to push out and/or press in. I don’t know about Scott, but Santa Cruz sells the tools necessary for each frame.

Here’s a general idea for what it looks like, the guy does everything, but it looks like he just regreases some bearings instead of replacing.

Also, if running DT Swiss hubs, you may need additional tools to remove things like lock rings and what not, for those bearings.

I can’t recall which size specifically, but this should work. I can’t recall which size for RockShox SID, I think it’s 24mm? Anyhow, notice the lack of a chamfer, compared to a regular socket. 6 point (always six unless you need 12 for some reason), but suspension always 6.

But, a whole set, if you change forks.

I’ve got a whole slew, depending on what I’m doing.

In general, my normal lid is the Giro Montaro MIPS. I don’t use a XC lid, just don’t seem the need for it, as I rarely XC race. Even my son uses the Montaro for XC racing. He has the same complement of lids I have, but he hardly ever uses it. He knocked out 2 teeth at age 12, and scarred his face with face plants. I keep pointing to that MET parachute helmet and say, you’d have no scars and a full array of teeth without glue, if you would only…

I also use a full face for DH runs,

For more gnarly, but not full on

Also, body armor.

I use these, knee and elbow. Mostly knee for more gnarly stuff, elbow now and then. Leatt AirFlex Pro. I use the older version, but these are the most comfortable ones I’ve used, and have reasonable protection for normal riding.

I have back protection for Northstar, but don’t use it otherwise. I do use these at Northstar too, but something harder, and with more coverage area, would be better for more risky riding.

Not specifically, the user manual is best to learn what knob does what. The video gives you a run down on the “how to” in terms of what to look for when adjusting. What to look for, and what to feel for. Even though it’s titled Fox Float X2, it gives the “how to” for what to look for, and Jeff Kendall Weed is a totally rad rider. You can learn what he does and then adjust for your own needs.


I believe it should look more like these. Front vs rear.

The through axle at the front requires a different tool that engages with cogs on the outside of the lock ring. (From memory it’s the same tool I use on a shimano BB).
Ignore the DTSwiss branding as I have other wheels with similar Shimano lock rings. They both do the same job.

That pic of yours looks like the previous owner used multigrips to tighten the lock ring.


A lot of good answers above.

Tyre pressures - the figures on the tyre are not the recommended pressures but the maximum. The starting point with tubeless is: your weight in pounds / 7 then add 1psi for the rear and subtract 1psi for the front. That’s just a start, the benefit of tubeless is that you can run low pressures, keep lowering the pressure until the tyre feels like it’s squirming and going to come off the rim then add 1 or 2 psi. It’s an easy thing to play around with.

Rotor sizes, generally the bigger the better assuming your fork/frame can take them, a smaller rotor tends to cause the pads to glaze as there’s more heat. I weigh 86kg and run with 200mm up front

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Looks like most/all your questions were answered above. I’ve had a Spark RC 900 World Cup for 3 years and do most of my own mechanics work. I’ve taken that XC bike around the Midwest, East Coast, Colorado and a MTB vacation all over Scotland. I’ve put my Spark through terrain where most others are on trail and enduro bikes. The Spark can handle quite a bit very well. Additionally, I race XCO expert class and MTB 100s.

So, you have a great and very capable bike, now it’s just dialing in the fit, settings, pressures and components as others have mentioned above. Which will change depending on where you’re riding and if the conditions are significantly different than where you’ve been riding. If you have any specific questions along the way let me know and I’d be glad to help. Also, I’ve found this forum to be the best on the internet and possibly MTBR if you’re looking for a specific technical issue. However, MTBR can have a quite different culture so carful with advice given.


Just thought of something else, you might want to run tyre inserts to protect the rims.

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Since you asked about gloves for hot weather, I really like the POC Tectal Race Spin helmet for XC. It’s light and breaths well. The downside is that it doesn’t play nice with some sunglasses.


Over time, air gets into the hydraulic lines and your brakes/levers are less response. Your levers should feel crisp and actuate with little effort/pull. Indicator that you need a bleed: your brakes feel less responsive and you have to pull the lever closer to the handlebar to get any braking action.


I disagree with this. I am about 202 and I run carbon rims on my XC rig. I run Enve rims on my Nomad, too, FWIW. I’ve raced XC at 198-205ish and the only rim I’ve ever tacoed was an aluminum one. But that crash would’ve destroyed anything.
I ride 25mm Berd rims/spokes with I9 Hydra hubs. Been very happy with them. I’m on 2.25 in tires normally. - Utah racing mostly.

I second having a proper brake bleed kit. Not something you do all the time, but having the proper tools to do this procedure makes it 1000% easier in my opinion. I find that I end up bleeding my brakes at least once a year, sometimes more if issues arise (has happened from riding in bad conditions).

Welcome to riding MTB @Dr_Alex_Harrison! Can’t wait to see what epic adventures you and @michelleihowe end up on! I typically use Bontrager Circuit gloves. I think it will come down to personal preference, but the material on top of hands is thin enough to allow for my hands to not get too hot but also has gel padding for long days of gripping, which I like (but not too much padding).

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Okay super rookie question here: where does one find a user manual?? Happy to read cover to cover!

This page only goes up to 2019.

Love it. That’s what I was hoping we’d find with the Sparks.

I’ve decided against joining any other forum. This thread has been immensely helpful so far.

Will consider! Especially for me. @michelleihowe is likely to be a little less rough on things.

Okay what’s with MTB helmets having “bills” (the sun blocker thing on forehead)? Every time I see that I think “that looks non-aero and not light.” but enlighten me!

Good to know. I’ll probably end up on 2.35-2.4 at least, and will keep the carbon rims for now.

Are these universal? Got a link?

Awesome. Thank you!!

What are multi-grips? Safe / useful for me to use? Got a link for clarity? Never heard of them and would love to understand the application to my front wheel. Here’s the front wheel that I’ll actually be taking the rotors off of, and replacing with 180’s.

I swear it looks like the lockring tool from shimano should fit but it doesn’t…

Visors are cool! Come on man! :grin:

Honestly, I’ve never understood. It makes way more sense on a road bike (where we would never wear one) if you ask me.

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Helpful when riding on a trail into the sun (sunrise or sunset). Without something blocking the sun, you can end up slowing to a crawl cause you can see anything.

I ride west facing descents in the evening, and this problem is very noticeable.

Here’s an example:

You can get various kits based on if your brakes use mineral oil or DOT. I believe your model has Shimano XTR brakes, so you’re looking for the mineral oil kits. Large collection based on what tools you need to get the job done. There are plenty of kits like this on Amazon, might search around if you don’t need all the tools (like the allen keys and wrench)

I’ve not personally used this kit, I originally just purchased the kit Shimano offers and the mineral oil separately (could definitely save money buying a different brand on Amazon) Shimano Tl-BT03-S Disc Brake Bleed Tool | Jenson USA

The front through axle requires a different type of lock ring. The one in your pic is for 10- 12mm only.

15-20mm like a front axle requires one of these.


Not recommended for working on your bike, but probs the only way you’re getting that thing off.

Multigrip teeth marks from a bodgy install.

+1 for the POC tectal race spin. It’s a comfy fit on my melon and the ventilation is pretty good for my climate. (POC Ventral for really hot days).

The visor is for more than simply blocking the sun. It’ll also help with getting whipped in the face by low hanging branches. It’s a simple tilt of the head with a visor most times.
Once you hit less ridden trails (or it rains) there can be loads of low hanging branches and you can get scratched up before you know it. :grinning:

In regards to bleeding your brakes, my Spark is a 2018 model and the brakes still work perfectly. My other MTB is from 2017 and only the rear brake has started to go spongy if I flip it upside down. YMMV.

Go to the manufacturer:

RockShox Suspension Setup and Tuning Guide

RockShox SID Ultimate (not sure if year is correct)

RockShox Deluxe (2018-2020 Service Manual which I assume is what you have)

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You had way too much pressure in the tires. (For reference, I weigh 190 lb and run 24 psi) Tubeless tires (setup tubeless) generally blow off the rim at 45-60 psi. The actual number depends on tire and rim. You’re lucky they didn’t blow off the rim while pumping them up or riding. The failure was at a weak point in the casing that gave way. Make sure you use tires and rims that are both tubeless ready.

Also, a word of advice. Bike setup and handling skills are far more important and complex on a mountain bike than any other type of bike. It’s best to build good habits from the start instead of trying to correct them later on. Lee McCormack (Lee Likes Bikes) is a great resource (used by TR guys) for proper bike setup and technique, via his website and books. There’s also lots of videos on YouTube, but quality of advice will vary greatly.

Lots of things could happen here. Did you pump your tires up inside and then go outside where it was warmer? How accurate was the pressure gauge that you were using? Heavy breaking equates to warming up the tire which increases the internal pressure. All of this is speculation but sounds like you were over maximum.

Ignore any minimum pressures indicated. You just need enough to not roll the tire off the rim or have rim strikes. Rim strikes can be partly mitigated with tire liners, but I wouldn’t bother with those yet. You have much bigger fish to Fry for now.

The force on a wide tire is much higher for the same pressure as a narrow tire. So it’s the max pressure that causes failure of either tire or rim (!). Don’t go above 35 psi with tubeless MTB tires, there’s no need and it’s generally not safe. Good tires and proper pressure are the most important bike setup item (second is suspension setup). The right tire pressure is usually as low as you can go without damaging your rim or burping your tires.

The tires of terrain you will encounter will vary greatly throughout the country (even within a given county). What tires and suspension setup works great one place might not be great in another. This is the problem with generic online advice.

Since I see you are living the nomad life, you will benefit greatly by finding the local mountain bike association, which you can usually find through the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA). The local organization will have details on local trails and may have forums, a Facebook page, etc with trail conditions and where you can ask details for setup that works in the local area.

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Great advice.

There’s also an app called Trailforks that’s awesome for finding new places to explore.