How to Clean a (Rumble)fish.

In just a bit, I’ll post a review of my Trek/Gary Fisher Rumblefish…but for now, I’ll start with a winter tune-up.  I last rode the ‘fish a couple months ago, and it got put away dirty.  I had wiped down the chain, but nothing more.  In anticipation of the upcoming spring, I wanted to take a few minutes and do a full clean/tune/lube job.  On a full suspension bike, that is no small task.

The Rumblefish has a lot of suspension pivot points.  There are all of these:

And there’s also the pivot for the chain stays (just above and behind the bottom bracket) and the Active Braking Pivot (ABP), where the chain stays and seat stays pivot around the rear skewer.  So if you add it all up, you get 2 pivot points at the shock, 2 pivot points on the top link that the shock attaches to, a pivot at the chainstay/seatstay junction, and a pivot point at the bottom bracket.  Mission for today was to clean and check out all of them.

Starting with the shock, a 5mm allen wrench will loosen the 2 bolts that hold the shock to the frame.  At this location, the bolts go through the aluminum mounting tabs, with plastic washer/bushings that locate the shock.  The bolts thread directly into threaded openings on either side of the shock.

In that picture, you can just see the white bushing on either side of the shock.

Then, go to the other side of the shock.  This side has a bolt that goes through the mounting tabs, and through an aluminum spacer that locates the tail end of the shock, threading into a nut on the left side of the bike.  Again, a 5mm allen wrench does the trick.

In this picture, you can see the shock pulled out of the mounting tabs–the aluminum bushing attached to the shock mount directly against the aluminum tabs.  The actual pivoting occurs between the bolt (threaded into the bushing) and the shock.

This next picture shows the top of the upper link of the suspension.  There is a bolt (again, 5mm allen) that goes through this sealed bearing, into the frame.  Incidentally, if you look at the pictures above, you can see small text on each bolt/nut.  That text, rather conveniently, provides the torque values for each fastener.  I pulled apart the links that have bearings just to take a look at the bearing, and to put a very thin film of grease on the fasteners.

But as you can see–the bearings look perfect, and are clean.  They had no stiction on rotation.  I pulled one apart to confirm that they were lubed, and they were.  All of the pivot points were disassembled in the same fashion.  Bushings were lubed, and bearings were checked and lightly lubed.  Reassembly was done with blue locktite, as recommended.

All fasteners were tightened to snug with an allen wrench, and then torqued to spec with a beam torque wrench.

The top and bottom of the upper link of the suspension both had sealed bearings.  The bottom of the top link is shown here:

The pivot point at the bottom bracket also utilizes a sealed bearing.  It can be accessed on the non-drive (left) side of the bike–a 10mm allen wrench goes into the middle of the bolt that holds everything together, and a 20mm box wrench holds the surrounding nut.

The picture below shows the ABP at the connection of the seatstay/chainstay; as you can see, the skewer goes right through the ABP.

This is the drive side of the rear skewer.  Because the skewer goes through the pivot, you cannot simply loosen the skewer and drop the wheel out.  The skewer has to be completely threaded loose, and then pulled out to the side before the wheel will drop out.

The hole in the middle of the picture is the part that the threaded end of the skewer threads into.  One benefit of this system is that the rear end of the bike is a bit more solid feeling than a bike with a normal QR skewer–the wheel is pretty solidly locked into place.  The ABP pivot point also incorporates a sealed bearing:

In the front, it runs a 15mm Maxle:

Again, the Maxle adds a lot of strength and stability…but must be completely unthreaded to remove the front wheel.

As with past cleaning projects, I disassembled the drivetrain and lubed everything, including the idler pulleys in the chain tensioner/rear derailleur.

Not too terribly dirty, but still in need of cleaning.

If you look in the center of this derailleur, you can see that unlike the SRAM drivetrain on the Schweet Mukluk (which has sealed bearings), the idler pulleys on the rear derailleur of this Shimano drivetrain (SLX Shadow) just have bushings.  So…clean everything off, lube it up:

Then, reassemble, clean off the excess grease, and torque to spec.

The Rumblefish originally came with a triple chainring (3×9–chainring was 44/32/22).  I dropped the big ring in favor of a bash guard.  Specifically, a BBG Bashguard.

Why run a bash guard?  It’s nicer to my calves when I wipe out.  And…..I wouldn’t want to do this to a chainring.

Another step on this bike was cleaning up the threads on the cranks.  I had loaned the bike to a friend who swore he was going to ride clip less…but ended up swapping on some old platforms he had.  Lesson learned–be selective with bike loaning.  Anyhow, he had bunged up the threads a bit.

Actually–that’s the good side.  Other side was the bunged up threads.  Broke out my handy-dandy Park thread taps…

Threaded them in and chased the threads clean, with a light coating of oil…

And then put a light coating of grease on the Eggbeater pedal threads, and threaded them in.  Next, because I’m a bit A/R, I checked out the Eggbeaters to confirm they were properly lubed.  Unscrew the end cap with a flat tip screwdriver:

And then loosen the internal locknut with a 5/16 nut driver.

The Eggbeater then slides off the spindle.  Clean, lube, reassemble in reverse order, and torque to spec.

Follow it up with a good cleaning job everywhere else, lube the drivetrain, and call it good.




4 thoughts on “How to Clean a (Rumble)fish.

  1. I feel guilty. I don’t clean or lube my FS bike. The Nomad is entering year 4 of year round riding and hasn’t been taken apart the VPP rear end. I’ll probably just get a pro kit from Santa Cruz and replace all the wear items after this year.

    It’s good to see some folk look after their bikes properly!

    safer riding,


    • Man…I’ve just been reading your blog and going through Sedona withdrawal. I had to do something bike related, and the little princess was asleep (which precluded a ride), so bike maintenance it was.

  2. Pingback: Rumblefish for Sale | ridingagainstthegrain

  3. Pingback: The Rumblefish Ad (For sale…one niiiiiice Rumblefish). | ridingagainstthegrain

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