I guess there is some debate about whether it’s a pro move to flip a bike upside down on the trail to say fix a flat tire or lube a chain. One potential issue is this can scratch handlebars, mess up controls, and destroy a GPS, among other things.
There’s an upcoming Kickstarter for a product called “Backflip” that’s designed to protect mountain bikes in this situation. Basically, there are special bar end caps that have a slot for clipping little stands onto the bars, raising them off the ground. The saddle still sits on the ground, which could be bad for the cover, depending on material and the ground surface.
Anyway, what do you think: do you like turning your bike upside down to work on it? If so, would you use the Backflip product?
Updated with link: https://www.facebook.com/HerbsteinComponents
I flip mine upside-down when it’s convenient, when in the shop I always put bits of newspaper or cardboard under the contact points (seat, bar ends) but it isn’t really necessary.
When on the trail I simply make sure there’s nothing sharp underneath the seat when I flip the bike. Contact with dirt or grass isn’t going to significantly shorten the life of my seat or grips. I don’t have a bar-mounted GPS and my controls are all underneath the bars so there’s nothing delicate to contact the ground.
For my part, I don’t have a use for the Backflip product. For me, it’s the solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. And those bar plugs are hideous!
With tubeless tires so prevalently used today, putting in a tube is becoming an outdated need for flipping one’s bike over, that doesn’t seem like very good marketing. That being said, I personally am flipping my bike over all the time. In Mongolia it is normal to flag down a car to catch a ride somewhere. If someone is heading in your direction, they will take you wherever you need to go. I often “hitch a ride” to the trail, so I can start at one point and finish at another, and not have to worry about getting back to the car/starting point. It only costs about $0.50 a mile ($0.33/km) (local currency 800MNT/km … that’s Mongolian Tugrik if you are interested), and I never pay more than about $5-6. There is tons of trail to be discovered within 10 miles of my place. When I do catch a ride, I invariable have to take off my wheels … … thank mtb engineers for quick release wheels … … and of course, in the process I flip my bike over. And yes, every bike I have ever owned has had scratched up levers on top and grip ends — of the fancy grips I like to buy but probably shouldn’t pay the money for. =)
When I’m making on trail repairs (with trees) I try to find a low branch and hang my bike by the saddle. A GPS and light can be quickly removed. I’d like to avoid damaging the shifters and gear indicator windows. If I had to fix a chain where there’s no trees I’d probably rest my handlebars on my camelbak. There are lots of cool lightweight gadgets out there And I’ve been a sucker and bought a few of them. My camelbak gets full and heavy with them. I end up leaving most gadgets in the Jeep and only take the essentials. The backflip would never be an essential in my book.
My old bike came with them, at the time when they were popular. I liked them. Gave another grip option, actually protected my hands from branches, and kept the bar/controls off the ground when upside down.
Like Scrappper mentions, when bar ends were ‘cool’, they were great for keeping shift levers and brake handles off the ground when flipping your bike over. I do still flip my bike over on the trail when necessary, but alas, don’t have those bar ends anymore. 🙂 The Backflip idea seems it may have merit, but I’me not too big on more parts to drag along on the ride. Although, it may be minimal. To be honest, the need to flip bikes for repairs happens infrequently these days compared to 10, 15, 20 years ago. I remember a time when it happened just about every ride. Now… maybe a couple or three times a year. Thanks to much improved tire tech, as well as better bikes and parts in general.
I have no problem flipping my bike over – I do it all the time. At the trailhead, I always carry a couple of old towels that I’ll lay down before I flip the bike. On the trail, you just need to be cognizant of where you put the bike. If you ride solo as I often do it is extremely difficult to check shifting on trail without flipping your bike over. The only time I don’t flip the bike is when I am working on it at home where I use my stand. As for the backflip, my ODI AG1 grips don’t have end caps and I have no interest in swapping them out.
I usually do flip it over on trail fixes. Only reason not to is to index gears, it doesn’t work well then for me because the chain is sagging the wrong way and when I flip it back over its still not indexed correctly. I keep the bars clear of electronics so that’s not an issue.
I flip mine to do trail repairs and also flip it in the lot after a ride to clean it up a bit with brushes. As long as I’m careful when I do it, there’s no danger to the controls on the handlebars, since they don’t touch the ground. Considering the beating the bike takes on the trails, flipping it (with TLC) doesn’t seem like a big risk.
Edit: I should also mention I don’t have anything extra, like a GPS or light, attached to the handlebars.
I do in the odd instances where I have to fix a flat trailside (thank you tubeless!!!) I can’t remember ever damaging a grip or doing anything more than scratching a lock-on ring, or I should say adding scratches to a lock-on ring…