Sunday, 3 November 2019

Fox CTD Remote 2014-2015

In the process of removing the Climb, Trail, Descend (CTD) remote level from Shelley's bike, I have worked out why it did not work very well. For the avoidance of doubt, this is for the remote used for Fox Evolution forks and rear shocks for model years around 2014 to 2015. That remote has long since been superseded.

Shelley did not use the remote and it was getting in the way on her handlebars. It would have been removed, even if it had worked reliably.

The otherwise good instructions for setting up the cables are not clear about some essential requirements.
The main bit, that needs better clarification, is that the CTD shock control knob and the forks topcap, need to be pre-loaded. By that, I mean that the knob needs to be rotated so that the cable is tightened up with the spring tension pulling on the cable.

On both the forks and the shock, this means the pale blue topcap and control knob have to be rotated nearly a quarter turn before the spring tension is felt. It is that tension that returns the remote lever to it's open position.

The above is easy, when you know how. Unfortunately, in my opinion, there is a design flaw with the remote operation when the remote is used for the dual setup of forks and rear shock. The through cable goes to the rear shock but the red rebound control, on the rear shock, tightens the blue CTD control knob so that the spring tension is reduced or completely locked out.

If too much rebound control is applied, deliberately or accidentally, the remote lever will never return to the open position, so both the rear shock and forks do not return to their open positions!

The photo from the instructions, shown above, makes it obvious where Fox expect the cables to go. I have not tried it but in my opinion, the remote might work better if the through cable, clamped with the grub screw, went to the front forks. The opposite of what is shown in that photo.


Monday, 28 October 2019

Bike grease

A few weeks ago, my brother and I serviced a Rockshox dropper post. The recommended grease for the seals within those posts is a product called SRAM butter. We didn't have any of that, so we took a chance and used general purpose, lithium based, car grease.

What I set out to find out is, if the car grease had any significant disadvantages for this purpose and, perhaps, the reverse of that question, what actually is SRAM butter.

I'll start by saying, that I am not in any way qualified to talk on this subject. This is all based on what I have been able to find and, as much as I can, understand from articles and adverts on the internet. Not only that but I still don't have definitive answers to either of the questions that I started with. I do, however, know a lot more about grease.

My conclusion:

I know it's odd to start at the end but for most people all they want to know, is what should I use.
The short answer is, for the price the manufacturers charge, just buy what they suggest, even if the price does appear a bit over inflated.

If you want a choice, for use on the seals on hydraulic shocks, forks and dropper posts, I'd use one of the following:
If I was in the US, I'd probably use Slickoleum.
In Europe, I can buy SRAM butter and Slick Honey which, as far as I can tell, is the same sort of thing as Slickoleum, just sold in smaller more expensive pots. Even then, it does not cost very much and only a little is needed.
There are plenty of other alternatives available in Europe, which the manufacturers claim, do the same thing. Motorcycle mechanics are a useful comparable source of information. They tend to use a generic, Red Rubber Grease, although, that may be a bit thick for bicycle forks, it will probably work.

I liked the sound of :
RSP Slick Kick Grease (Ultra Slick) which is available in 500g tubs. Trouble is, it was more expensive, per gram, than importing Slickoleum from the US!


Two Components

Grease has two major parts which can be made of many combinations of materials to produce a grease that is best suited for any particular application. The major components are, lubricant and thickener.

This can be oil, synthetic oil or any number of polymers. I found a fairly scientific paper that was still clear enough to understand, at least for the basics.

This is where is gets a bit hazy. What I know for sure is that the thickener, in the general purpose grease, used for cars, is lithium. That, however, is just one of many possibilities. In the case of Slickoleum, it is Anhy Calcium.

What to use for each purpose:



Thursday, 26 September 2019

Woodham Walter footpath map

For my own interest I have been working on a map of the village, where I live, and eventually I will extend that to the surrounding areas.

I was surprised at how much good quality mapping data was available to download under open licenses that permit its use.

All of the significant mapping is from the original data sources. This is not a drawn map, it is constructed from the Ordnance Survey (OS) data obtained either directly from OS or via Essex County Council, from the same data used for their online representation of the definitive map.

The coloured background is from an online mapping site, with the OS data overlaid.


High quality PDF version of the footpath map
Copyright and licenses information


Wednesday, 18 September 2019

QGIS clear cache

This is an odd post to start a new project with, however, it is something I got stuck on.

I have started to use a mapping tool called, QGIS.
This is an excellent, open source, Geographic Information System (GIS). In its simplest form, it is used to create maps.

I am creating an up to date, digital version, of the map of our village showing all the public rights of way.

I'm using, as the base layer, the open source map from The link to this is built in to the current version 3.8 of QGIS.

The Problem with the Cache

As I've been going along, I've been updating the Open Street Map site with changes. For example, re-routing paths, removing the former shop and changing the phone box in to a defibrillator.
That was the problem. I made the changes, and they appeared online shortly after, but the old images remained on my base layer in QGIS!

It took me ages to trawl through the menus and options until I eventually found the 'Delete Cache' button. It's under, Settings -> Options... -> Network

There's a section for the cache. It's obvious when you know how but searching, on Google and the QGIS help pages, for 'QGIS clear cache' found nothing.

Before I found the button I managed to find the folder and deleted that. It worked, so the map refreshed, and the empty folder is recreated automatically next time you open QGIS. After having used that work round, I managed to find the built in button.

Data Sources

I have found lots of good sources for UK map data, that are free to use. I would like to recognise and thank those providers.
The following offer data that is freely available to download and under licenses that permit their use in most projects:

I have also found other data sources, also released under suitable licenses, that have been useful:


Sunday, 8 September 2019

New bikes

All the cycling, Shelley has been doing, has inspired me to go out riding myself. That has led to me getting a new bike.

It's the first full suspension bike I have had. So much nicer to ride on the terrain round us, than the hard tail, front suspension only, bike that I have had for the last 14 years.

Shelley has a Merida One-Twenty 7.800, 2015 model year.

I now have a Giant Stance 29er 2, 2020 model year.

I am very pleased with it. We did over 18 miles on Saturday, nearly all off-road. I kept up most of the way but I was struggling with the pace towards the end. A nice ride.

I made a couple of adjustments on Sunday. Most important was a new, more comfortable, saddle. That means more padding.

I shortened the handlebars, from the massive 780mm width down to 720mm.

I fitted a dropper post that my brother, Roy, and I serviced to get it working.
It's all setup ready to go.


Dropper Post
Having tried it for a while, I now know I need one with less than 100mm drop. The one fitted has 125mm drop and that makes the saddle way too tall for me.
I find I don't use it much, so I've removed it for the time being.