mountain bikes apart mountain biking podcast

Ask Us Anything, part 1 | The MBA Podcast

In this penultimate episode of the MBA Podcast, we give some answers to your listener questions!

Thank you to everyone who submitted questions for the show and we’re really looking forward to having some regular Q&A in the next season of the podcast.

In this episode, we answer a few queries from Neil Turner, Nolan Taylor, Orm Arnarson and Tatsu Kiriyama. We hope our answers and musings on the show provided some guidance and spurred on some further questions for the future!


Neil: “Any tips on selecting the right gears for your needs?”

Gearing nowadays has become both simpler and a little more complex all at the same time!
With many riders moving to less overall gears, like 1x 10/11 setups, gearing is becoming more streamlined, with less moving parts. The idea is to give a similar range to that of a double or triple chainring, but use a bigger cassette that negates the need for a front mech, shifter, cabling etc.

This means less moving parts, a lighter bike and less maintenance and chance of failure.

Colin and I offered a few ideas for Neil to find the best gearing setup for him.

The first was to try and ride some bikes with a few different configurations. Trying a friend’s bike, or heading to a demo-day that a shop is hosting is a great way to do this.

The second is to use an online gear ratio tool, like this one: This will allow you to model what a particular setup will give you and give you more insight into how certain gearing will work for your riding style and surroundings.

Nolan: “Minimum bike repair kit for a couple hour cruise on the trail as well as for an overnight bikepacking trip?”

Nolan asked a few great questions and one of them was concerning what level of tools and spares you should bring with you on different kinds of rides.

We both agreed that for a couple of hours cruise, you can usually get away with travelling fairly light, as it’s unlikely you’ll be too isolated or far from home. As a minimum, we’d always take a multi-tool with a chain tool, a spare tube, as well as tyre levers, a puncture repair kit and a quick link for your chain. This should usually be enough to get you home.

On longer trips, we definitely recommend taking a few extras. These are things like a spare gear cable, a mech hanger, a more comprehensive tool like a Leatherman, as well as some handy bits like zip ties or some strong tape. A spoke key is also a good bet.

For safety concerns too, packing in an emergency blanket and plenty of food is really important. As Orm suggested too, adding a first aid kit to your pack can be a real lifesaver (pun intended) so always put one in for those epic rides where you might find yourself caught out.

Check out the show for some of Nolan’s other questions, including what might be the cause of his freewheel problems and what our take is on chain lubricants at different times of the year and in different riding conditions.

Tatsu: Changing wheel sizes (26inch, 650B and 29er)

Less of a question and more of a comment, Tatsu provided us with some details on the bikes he is riding at the moment and got us thinking about what advice we’d give to riders thinking of getting a new bike.

As Tatsu mentions, he chose 27.5inch as it seemed like a more gradual step up from the 26inch wheels he was used to and also a better size for a shorter rider too. We largely agreed with this and I speak a bit about riding a 27.5inch or 650B wheel too.

If anyone else has got questions or comments on anything to do with wheel size, please leave us a comment or even better a voice message, and we’ll pick it up in next season’s shows, where we want to answer your listener questions in every episode!

More Q&A next week!

In the final episode in Season 2 of the MBA podcast, we’ll answer some more listener questions and cover topics like bike brands, getting back into riding and starting racing.

As always, get in touch via the website or drop myself or Colin a tweet! Colin is @colinmcgray and I’m @bytombell on Twitter. See you on the next show!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *