All posts by mtbegypt

How to make your own DIY tubeless tire valve stems!

With tubeless wheels and tires becoming increasingly popular in mountain biking for the added benefits of running lower air pressures, puncture resistance and a more supple ride, the need to know how to properly set-up and maintain your tubeless system becomes  essential for the do-it-yourself bike mechanic.

One important component of the tubeless tire system is the valve stems, which are often sold for overpriced prices for what are essentially very simple components! This guide shows you how to very easily make your own tubeless valve stems using things that you will probably already have: inner tubes and a cutting tool!

Things you will need:

1- Inner tube (Presta or schrader valve depends on your preference and your rim valve drilling. This guide shows a presta valve). Any old/new or punctured tube will work as long as the valve area is intact. I find it better to use a tube that has a longer presta valve stem (like the the one in this guide, which is around 42mm long) for a better valve-pump interface with deep rims and with a removable core for ease of adding tire sealant, but any functioning valve should work.

2- Sharp utility or exacto knife.

Thats all you need!

How to make the valve stem:

Step 1: Lay your tube flat with the valve stem area up on a workbench or a surface suitable for safely cutting on. There is a small circle of thicker rubber around the valve.

Step 2: Using your utility knife, cut the tube on either side of the tube as shown.

Step 3: You will now be left with the valve stem section of tube as shown in the picture. Cut the section open from right below the valve stem to flatten out the rubber as shown in the next step.

Step 4: Place the flattened out section of tube on the workbench as shown, and proceed to Step 5.

Step 5: Trim the rest of the rubber from around the valve stem area while being careful not to damage the rubber right underneath the valve. You want it thin enough so as not to block the rim bead hook when mounting your tires.

Step 5: And here is the finished product!

MTB Egypt’s rider of the month: August 2013

Name: Eissa Allam

Age: 31

Where are you from?: Maadi, Cairo , Egypt

What do you do for a living?
I work in the Oil & Gas field as an Instrumentation & control Engineer

When and why did you start cycling? I started cycling 2011 , Actually my childhood was almost spent on bikes, and it popped into my mind that I should be back especially when I joined MTBEgypt group on Facebook on 2010 , it was part of the motivation that I could be back on the bike.

Do you ride mountain bikes exclusively? I started riding both road and off-road, but I didn’t like road biking unless I use it for transportation inside maadi

Tell us about your bike(s)!: The first bike was Orbea Dakar 2011, I ride this bike for 8 months , then I switched to Specialized FSR XC 2009 that I bought from a colleage at work. I’ve made some good upgrades on the bike , I’ve upgraded the fork to Rockshox Reba RL 120mm travel and switched from V brakes to Shimano XT disk brakes which both made a huge difference in riding in the wadi.

Favorite ride(s): Short technical ones in general are my favorite in addition to Wadi Hof ride, which I really like.

Do you practice other sports?: Yeah , Jogging , Diving , used to play lots of squash but can’t find anyone anymore to join me 🙂

Tell us about your cycling-related injuries/accidents:
The most famous one was when I fell off that narrow steep descent before the balcony, I couldn’t raise my arm more than half the way for about 2 months , I had pain in my ribs and clavicle for 6 months.
I also crashed once after the final descent which made lots of bruises in my body till the moment but I was able to ride normally right after.

Anything else you want to tell us about yourself?
I love mountain biking and I love MTB Egypt riders.

MTB Egypt rider of the month: July 2013


Omar Adel  Soliman


Where are you from?:
Maadi, Cairo ,Egypt

What do you do for a living?
I am still an undergraduate student ( not for so long hopefully ) , I study Economics at MSA university.

When and why did you start cycling?
I never had a bike when I was a child and I always wanted to get one ,but my parents were too protective of me, so I got my first bike behind my parents back when I was 19.

Did you start riding road, off-road, or both?
I started as a roadie till I forgot my headphones on 100 km ride and that’s when I figured out that life is too short to be doing this ,so  after that someone introduced me to MTB and since then my tires only rolls on dirt.

Tell us about your bike(s)!:

My first one was a Chinese mtb bike , I exchanged that one 1 month later with my friend’s hybrid bike, later on when I started mountain biking I got an Orbea Compair (my current bike) , which a decent hardtail equipped with Formula RX hydraulic brakes , XT rear derailluer and a Rockshox Tora fork.

Favorite ride(s) (road or off-road):
Quarry , Blade Runner and extended loop

Do you practice other sports?:
MMA , tennis and football.

Tell us about your cycling-related injuries/accidents:
once I was trying to KOM the short loop and had a flat tire just before the final descent and I didn’t notice at first ,  then near the end of the segment I crashed and fell to the left , ended up with a missing tooth . Also there’s my famous Wadi Hof ride accident  when the wind pushed me off a ridge sand I fractured my wrist and had to ride my bike with one hand  for 22 km to get back to the gate.
Anything else you want to tell us about yourself?

I am very happy and grateful that I found out about MTB while I am still young and also for making a lot of cool new friends on the trails.

MTB Egypt rider of the month: April 2013

Name: Dave Haik

Age: 39 Where are you from?: New Orleans, Louisiana USA originally.

What do you do for a living? Aircraft Maintenance Engineer.

When and why did you start cycling? I started at age 7. It’s about the closest thing to flying that you can do under your own power. What kid doesn’t like the feeling of speed & distance?

Tell us a bit about your bike(s)!: Over the years, I’ve had “big box store” BMX’s, roadies, & MTB’s. Now I have a 2013 GT Aggressor 1.0 hardtail, stock accessories except for the Weirwolf 2.3 tires.

Favorite ride(s)/trails? Extended Corporate Loop, Wadi Hof, Tour de Wadi.

Do you practice other sports?: Fishing, weightlifting, swimming.

Tell us about your cycling-related injuries/accidents: As a teenager on my road bike, one of the brake levers fell off & went into the front wheel spokes, immediately stopping the bike. I went otb in the blink of an eye onto the concrete, scraping up my hands & breaking my new Swatch. Another time, I was riding full speed on my road bike & went mouth first into the back of a car, rearranging my front teeth. The worst was when I was 12 years old on my BMX. I hit a dip hidden by high grass. The bike stopped & my knee hit the bars, splitting it open to the fascia.

Anything else you want to tell us about yourself? I’ve lived in Cairo for 6 years…good times, good times…it’s been a blast! I am married with three children. It’s been great riding with the MTB Egypt gang. I stumbled onto MTB Egypt on the internet & was hooked after my first group ride. I really enjoy the people, the laughs, & the wide variety of terrain in the Wadi Degla. I’m in the best shape of my life since MTB Egypt introduced me to serious mountain biking. Rule number 5, Baby!

MTB Egypt’s suspension guide: Part I

Mountain bike suspension technology has taken some fairly big strides forward in recent years. When you buy a new mid-range or high-end suspension fork or rear shock, the technology inside these components is comparable to technologies inside modern motorbikes and sports cars, only in a much more svelte and lighteweight package, which makes it all the more impressive. As mountain bikers, we now have an increasingly broad spectrum of options in terms of type, adjustability and tunability  of our mountain bike suspension components. That said, getting the most out of your suspension is as straightforward  as it sounds, with a multitude of knobs, buttons, levers and adjustments that can be very confusing for beginner and even intermediate and advanced riders. This multi-part guide is intended as an introduction to mountain bike suspension technology and should help you get started with exploring how to tune your suspension to suit your riding style and terrain.

There are many articles on the internet that offer information on how to setup your bike’s suspension, and there is a wealth of information in mountain biking forums on setting up, tuning and servicing specific suspension components. All that in addition to the manufacturers own official guides, of course. This multi-part guide is intended to present information on mountain bike suspension fundamentals in a useful, organized format that will be published here in bite-sized posts.

This guide will be structured as follows (forthcoming parts will be posted on a weekly basis):

1. Introduction: The purpose of mountain bike suspension and a short glossary of terms.

2. Basic set-up: Finding the optimum setting for your weight, terrain and riding style.

3. Trouble-shooting: solving problems with your front or rear suspension.

4. General suspension maintenance and advanced tips and tricks.

The first art will be published by this weekend. Stay tuned!

P.S> You can follow us on twitter to get updates, or “like” our Facebook page.

MTB Egypt rider of the month: March 2013

Shams Rashad
Where are you from?:
Alexandria, Egypt.
What do you do for a living?
I am an electrical Engineer who is currently a stay at home mom.
When and why did you start cycling?
I have been riding when I was young with my brother like all kids, then I returned to cycling as a transportation method in Europe in 2001. I was spending a summer in Germany where everybody cycles to and from work. I also did some traveling on bike back then. This brought cycling back into my life and ever since, whenever I get the chance to bike I go for it.
Then we found mountain biking and the trails of Wadi Degla last summer and I have been hooked ever since, my husband is the one who sold me on to it 🙂
Road, off-road, or both?
Now mainly off-road but I don’t mind road cycling around the house. I love cycling anyway.
Tell us about your bike(s)!:
I ride a 2013 Specialized Safire Comp. It is a full-suspension 120mm travel woman specific bike. I love it.
Favorite ride(s) (road or off-road):
Wadi Degla’s “Long loop”, extended Long Loop, half Tour de Wadi and of course Wadi Hof because it is challenging. I am still ‘mentally unfit’ to ride the very narrow ridges but I am getting braver every time.
Do you practice other sports?:
Tennis and Zumba.
Tell us about your cycling-related injuries/accidents:
Well so far I’ve had minor falls and injuries because I am too careful, which is something I am trying to change but I guess it is an age thing 🙂
Anything else you want to tell us about yourself?
I come all the way from 6th of October with my husband 2 to 3 times a week and I have to leave my baby at home sometimes for 6 hours to come to the trails. I am always worried and feeling bad that I leave her behind for long hours and stay far away from her. I guess this is what proves to me that mountain biking is important to me and that I enjoy it to a large extent.
I would like to say that all mountain bikers I met so far are very nice, funny and decent. I am happy I got to know a lot of them. I enjoy the ride and the company:). MTBing is one of the very few things I feel passionate about. I am really happy I found it:)

XTR pedals are failing en masse and Shimano isn’t issuing a recall

Shimano XTR trai pedal: pedal body came off axle without warning!

Yesterday I had my 2 year old Shimano XTR trail (M985) drive side pedal suddenly come off its axle. My GoPro was  on and I have some footage of the moment it happened:

Now, I am a big fan of Shimano components, especially their top of the line XTR if only for its 3-year warranty. I would have simply considered this to be a fluke incident considering the reputation of Shimano SPD pedals being super durable. However, I decided to post this because it seems to be a widespread and known issue of this particular model XTRs that Shimano is not officially acknowledging (but they are honoring the XTR 3 year warranty according to several reports on various mountain biking forums. I have submitted a warranty claim and still waiting for a reply from the retailer I bought them from). A quick Google search reveals that this is definitely NOT an isolated incident:

…if you google something like “XTR pedal failure” many more forum threads will turn up. You’ll get a sense of how prevalent the problem is.

Some of the forum posts about this issue are dated more than a year ago, and at the time of this writing Shimano has not issued a recall. Considering how the problem appears to be endemic to PD-M985 and PD-M980 models, there are clearly serious manufacturing defects with these pedals. This is a dangerous thing to happen on a ride, especially while bombing down technical, rocky trails. I reached out to Shimano via their Shimano MTB facebook page, but yet to receive any response.

Update: Shimano DID replace the faulty pedals with a brand new pair in June 2013, but there was never an official acknowledgement of the problem from the company. Maybe XTR is still worth buying if only for the extended warranty!

MTB Egypt rider of the month: February 2013

Name:  Hassan Choucri

Age: 35

Where are you from?: Cairo, Egypt.

What do you do for a living? I run a stock brokerage company .

When and why did you start cycling? Like every kid I rode a bike but living in Cairo didn’t allow my riding to endure. I took it up again in Dubai for fitness purposes. I bought a mountain bike because it is more comfortable than a road bike then just rode it on the road. I have spent a lot of time in Wadi Degla in my teens and early twenties which obviously begged the idea of “why don’t I ride in Degla”.I asked around and someone mentioned “MTB Egypt” to me. I tracked you guys down and the rest is history. Needless to say riding in Degla ruined road riding for me for good.

Road, off-road, or both? Strictly off-road. Once or twice a week. Sometimes more 😉

Tell us about your bike(s)!: I ride a 2012 Scott Spark 29er Elite. It is a full suspension bike with 100mm of travel.

Favorite ride(s) (road or off-road): Long loop. Extended long loop. Half-Tour and Tour de Wadi. Would like to do the Quarry again and riding in Sinai mountains is the dream.

Do you practice other sports?: Tennis twice a week and I go to the gym 3 times a week.

Tell us about your cycling-related injuries/accidents: 1- Due to reasons that will not be mentioned here, I fell on an upright handlebar while going downhill that hit the spot where the thigh meets the pelvis. That did hurt. The rest of my fall involved hitting my ribcage against a rock.

2-  This one I was just out of a big downhill where I really let the bike do its thing only to have the front start playing around at high speed. I guess the front wheel did that because my weight was shifted too far back. Right knee has been in pain for a week. It hurts when I run or walk but luckily it doesn’t hurt when I ride.

Anything else you want to tell us about yourself? I am a musician and riding a mountain bike on a trail gives me the same rush I get from playing music. Mountain biking with MTB Egypt is an activity that my wife and I pursue religiously now. MTB Egypt has the highest concentration of cool people that I have seen in any group before. See you all hopefully many more times on the trails. Peace.

In praise of the single ring: why go 1x?

My 1x9 trail riding setup with an E-Thirteen 32T Guidering and XCX chainguide on a Shimano XT crank coupled with an XTR 11-34 cassette.

Although recently given more attention by the launch of SRAM’s XX1 1×11 group, 1x (one-by) drivetrains are nothing new in the mountain biking world. Many riders have realized the benefits of running a single ring drivetrain and have been modifying 3x and 2x systems to go 1x. With 10 and 11 speed mountain bike drivetrains introduced, the advantages of running a single ring are becoming even more apparent. Here are some of the benefits of running a singe-ring MTB drivetrain:

1. Less maintenance: With a 1x system, you lose the front (left) shifter, front derailleur, shifter cable and housing, and at least one chainring (depending if your started out with a 2x or 3x crankset). This means less parts to maintain and/or replace on your mountain bike. Chainrings are one of the quickest-wearing parts on your bike, and replacing a single ring is always cheaper than replacing two or three.

2. Less weight: because you will no longer need the components mentioned above, you are saving some weight from your bike. While gram-counting and extreme weight savings are not something recreational riders should worry about too much, a lighter bike is always welcome, especially if you ride in a rather hilly terrain. You can loose as much as 400 grams from your total bike weight by going 1x.

3. Less thinking: With a traditional 3x or 2x system on modern mountain bikes with things like adjustable suspension and dropper posts, things can get too complicated with brake and shift levers to push/pull, seatpost buttons to press to drop/raise your saddle and knobs to turn to drop/raise your fork or lockout/open up your suspension. When you want to concentrate on picking good lines and going faster, it could be too much technology to deal with in the saddle. Taking front shifting out of the equation definately contributes to simplifying things. On my bike, the left-hand side of my handlebar has the front brake and the dropper seatpost button, and the right-hand side has the rear brake lever and the rear shifter. Things are simpler, and I can concentrate more on the riding.

4. Less chainslap: You know it, you hate it and you’ve learned to deal with it: chainslap: 2x and 3x systems have to have a relatively long chain to fit the wide range of teeth counts on the multiple rings and rear cogs. More chain=looser chain=more chainslap. With a single ring on the front, you can run a mid or short-cage rear derailleur and shorten your chain. A tighter chain across your gear range means significantly less chainslap. (with the new clutch type rear derailleurs from Shimano and SRAM, an even quieter drivetrain is possible)

Shimano's medium cage XT Shadow Plus clutch rear derailleur

5. Less chainsuck/drop: on multiple chainring setups, the chain is often forced to run at uncomfortable angles, which increases the opportunity of annoying things like dropping the chain, chainsuck and also makes for a less efficient drivetrain (the straighter the chainline, the more efficient your drivetrain is). As mentioned, things like clutch rear derailleurs, coupled with simple top-only chainguides (like the E-Thirteen XCX or MRP 1x) can significantly increase chain retention and enable you to go faster on rougher terrain without worrying about the chain coming off. SRAM’s new XX1 group’s chainrings even has special tooth profile that are claimed to prevent chaindrop without the need for a chainguide.

6. Better ground clearance: With a smaller ring on the front, your chances of bashing it on trail objects is reduced. Modern mountain bike geometry is leaning towards slacker, lower bikes for more stability at speed, but at the expense of ground clarance. You can counter this by going 1x and even adding a bashgaurd for additional protection if you ride aggressively in a particularly rocky area.

Single ring setups often have improved ground clearance and put your chainring further up and away from harms way.

7. Stronger legs: Contrary to popular belief, going 1x will not cause you to lose a lot of gear range compared to 2x or 3x systems. You only forgoe the lowest gears (granny) and highest top-end (big ring), which are gears that you rarely use anyway (for most riders). Also, a lot of your 2x or 3x gear combinations are duplicate or crosschain gears that you do not use anyway. You will also deal with not having the granny by pushing a slightly longer gear on tough climbs, which only means that you’ll become a better, stronger rider!

Final words:

I have been running a 1×9 system for sometime now and very happy with it, and the only thing I would miss sometimes is the upper end of the range on fast, wide open (not too technical) descents (you can always run a bigger chainring to suit the terrain you are riding). Converting your existing setup to 1x is easy and reversible (you can always go back to 2x or 3x if you don’t like it). With the introduction of dedicated 1x systems such as SRAM’s XX1 with it’s massive cassette range and 1x-specific chainrings, multiple chainring systems are loosing their appeal for the majority of mountain bike applications.

MTB Egypt rider of the month: January 2013

Name:  Nader Mahrous

Age: 27

Where are you from?: Maadi, Cairo, Egypt

What do you do for a living? Owner of an interior and woodwork company

When and why did you start cycling?

After the revolution (everything seems to be related to revolution now?), it was a method of commuting around Maadi. Then the odd morning ride. It wasn’t fun enough riding between traffic and through pollution. I run often in the Wadi so decided to start biking there. Went twice, on the third time met a nice fellow who told me about MTB Egypt and haven’t looked back since (or down in the case of some our trails).

Road, off-road, or both?

At the moment strictly off-road. But still the odd commute around Maadi I would do.

Tell us about your bike(s)!:

I bought a silly Egyptian Rodeo bike that didn’t last more than a couple of months.

Then decided to upgrade to a Bianchi that again lasted less than a handful of months until I decided I wanted bigger gear.

Spring 2012, after more than 5 months of research, finally acquired a Yeti SB66 medium in it’s most flamboyant color. A beast of a bike:

A 150mm travel up front and back, with Switch suspension platform technology aired by Fox RP23
2011 Fox 32 Float fork 150DT Swiss Tubed X1600 wheels (soon to go tubeless)
Truvativ Boobar 780mm handlebars
Schwalbe tires – Hans Dampf
Full SRAM X7/X9 drivetrain
Kindshock i-950 dropper seat post
Shimano DX flat platform pedals

Favorite ride(s) (road or off-road):

What’s dubbed the Advanced Corporate Loop and Puppy Canyon

Do you practice other sports?:

Squash, football, basketball and running

Tell us about your cycling-related injuries/accidents:
I am glad I don’t have any nagging injuries from all my sports (knock on wood, please). I have had one spectacular biking accident where I lost a chunk of my stomach to it and picked up a dozen of scars all-over.

I have had several other accidents that haven’t really left much scars behind.

Anything else you want to tell us about yourself?

Getting into mountain biking has been some sort of transformation. It’s a great sport, albeit a dangerous one, and very addictive. I would love to somehow one day be involved in expanding it in Egypt and promote it.

A deserved mention for MTB Egypt as a great group of help, ride partners and people in general.

My motto in MTB: Go big or go home.