Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Baja No Pinch Tire Tool Review

I saw great reviews for this tool and purchased one hoping it would make tire changes easier. I have changed a bunch of tires with spoon style levers, and it's not that hard if you get the bead in the drop center of the rim. But tool claimed to make things easier so...

I tried this tool for the first time over the weekend and was very unhappy.

Before starting, I watched several videos of the tool being used and read the directions carefully.

But when I tried it, the tool badly cut the bead of the tire when putting it on the rim.  This happened with a relatively stiff tire, a Pirelli Scorpion XCMH. It happened right at the beginning of the installation, when putting the first "bottom" bead over the rim. At this point, perhaps the tool is being used "inside out", as the sharp edge of the tool tore the rubber. But the directions clearly describe it being used this way.
I had to discard the tire and purchase a replacement, which I installed the old way with spoons.
I do not trust this tool and will never use it again.

You can see the sharp blade on the bottom edge of the tool:

And here are the cuts it made in the tire:

This is the approximate position the tool was in when it cut the bead. When I was actually doing this the wheel was under the tire and I was pushing the bottom of the tire over the rim.

Here is a pic from underneath with the tool in the position where it cut the tire. I think it is impossible to have that sharp edge on the tool avoid the tire in this position. The sharp "lip" on the tool is very shallow, and it is going to be right against the rubber.

Obviously many people think this tool is great. Maybe they are using softer tires or just have a better technique than I do. But it ruined a brand new Pirelli for me, and I won't be using it again. Spoons aren't that hard to use, and you need them to remove the tire anyway!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Johnson Canyon, North of Bozeman Montana

I'm visiting Bozeman Montana and brought my KTM.
Yesterday, I had a great ride at Johnson Canyon! It was about 25 miles there and back, and the loop at Johnson Canyon is about 10 miles. The loop starts pretty easy, but near the top becomes pretty rocky and narrow. Again, a bit tougher than I like, being alone and traveling far from home (San Diego), but it was a fantastic ride. The meadows near the top were covered with flowers. And at the very top there was some kind of butterfly bonanza going on, there were hundreds of them flying around. An incredible experience. Frankly, I'd rate the whole experience as one of my best rides ever.
The deceptively easy beginning of Johnson Canyon:

This is a shot at a camp spot early on the Johnson Canyon loop:

Near the top the path became very narrow. Not single track, but tight for an atv and very rocky. What's with all these rocks in Montana?! Stuff like that scares me as going down is much harder than going up, at least for me. A couple turns were tight and there is are drop off at the edge of the path where recovery would be impossible. Somehow I never think to take pictures of the hardest stuff... I guess I'm too busy being scared!

Then there is this is a meadow near the top of the loop. Just a fantastic field of flowers! Still some snow in the peaks in the background. This is near 8000 feet.

I didnt take any pictures at the very top, what I now call "Butterfly Peak". I didn't think I could capture the experience like that, so I just enjoyed it.

From the top down was a workout for me. I just don't have the confidence to let any speed build up going downhill, and those trees on the side of the trail look unforgiving!
And, uhm, are those scratches on the trees bear sign? Gulp. I'm hoping those were made by a passing atv, but many of them seemed too high and not really on the trail side. I ate my energy bar quickly and go moving again.
Another shot of the trail:

Once out of the canyon it's an easy ride through the farmland back to Bozeman:

Here is a link to the track: on google maps

Friday, July 11, 2014

Twin Air Bio System Review: I'm not happy.

I got this because of the idea it's "bio - friendly". Supposedly that means you can wash it with water with their special soap. I bought the whole kit: As the Twin Air site says, "The system includes BIO Liquid Power filter oil (1L), BIO Dirt Remover  (1L), a cleaning tub with cages, an oiling tub, gloves and contact cleaner."

A new filter is $29 on Amazon. Not cheap. I paid about $80 for the "cleaning and oiling kit. So financially, if you can clean the filter three of more times, it's cheaper to clean the filters than to replace them. And filters get dirty quickly on a dirt bike, so you need to replace your filter often. I bought two spare filters in addition to the one on the bike and planned on cleaning them in batches when dirty. The Twin Air Bio System Kit has enough cleaner and oil to do 5-10 filters, depending on how you do it and how clean you try to get your filters.  I got about 5 or 6 filters cleaned and oiled before I used up all the cleaner and oil. If you want to do a good job it takes at least an hour to clean a filter, and then it has to dry at least an hours (overnight is best) before oiling. And then the oil needs to dry at least a couple hours (again, overnight is best).

I've used this "Twin Air Bio System" kit about four times now (sometimes I cleaned two filters at a time).  If you are willing to spend an hour cleaning your filters, you can get them "mostly" clean. Use smoking hot water and all the detergent they recommend, which is a lot (100ml detergent for 3 liters of water). For two filters I used 6 liters of water to mostly fill the bucket and 200 ml of detergent. Squeeze the filters in the boiling hot water  and soak and then do that again every 15 minutes. Repeat until "kind of" clean. But an hour to clean the filters? And then you have to dry and oil them of course.

And I'll note; the top cage in the kit, that is supposedly used to keep the filter submerged? Doesn't work. The cage just slips up the inside of the bucket and the filter floats to the top.

I'll also note this bio cleaner is caustic. Meaning it will burn your skin. Gloves and protective eyewear are required. And it smells pretty sharp too. Be careful!

"Bio": What does that mean? It requires gloves to handle the stuff! The MSDS says: "Do not allow to enter sewers/surface or ground water." "Must not be disposed together with household garbage. Do not allow product to reach sewage system."
So what am I supposed to do with the gallon of this stuff that remains after every filter cleaning?

Here is a picture of the inside of the filter after TWO separate one hour cleanings with hot water as per the directions. All those green drops are oil left behind after the cleaning.

And here is a closeup of a patch of oil and dirt at the edge of the filter I just coundn't get out no matter how much I scrubbed.

Here is the outside of the filter, it still has some oil in the seams but it looks OK:

Filter after drying for 24 hours, oiling and drying 24 hours again:

After installing the filter, if the bike sits for a week I find green spots under the bike from dripping filter oil. And it's really tough to clean off the frame tubes. I really do squeeze all the the oil out of the filter I can and I even press it between paper towels. And then I let it dry at least 24 hours before installing it. But it still drips when the bike sits:

The kit comes with a special smaller tub for oiling the filters. The idea is you can keep the tub full of the oil between uses. However, the tub lid cracked. This oil contains volatiles, to keep it thin to spread throughout the filter. But the cracked lid will let the volatiles evaporate and escape, leaving you with oil that is too think to be effective.  If the kit had been used a lot or was many years old, I'd accept the crack. But it's only a year old and has been used only 4 times.

So the negatives:
- if you want a really clean filter, it takes work. Say an hour, and it won't be clean like new, just mostly clean. You will still have oil stuck on the filter in streaks and at the edges. And then add 2 overnights to dry the clean and then oiled filters.
- it's caustic. Be careful.
- the top cage in the kit doesn't really work to hold the filter submerged.
- "Bio": total BS.
- Drips out of the filter while the bike is parked.
- Lid cracked.
- How do you dispose of the caustic and oily cleaning solution after use?

I'm sick of this stuff. It doesn't work well for me, takes lots of time and is caustic.

Maybe I'll try "No Toil"...

Thursday, May 15, 2014

EEZOX vs Frog Lube CLP: Drop of Sweat Test

I've been testing a few firearm lubes and protectants. These work on tools as well as guns. A recent excellent test on The High Road showed excellent results with Frog Lube. Frog Lube claims to have natural ingredients and to be safe to handle. See the MSDS here.

I decided I wanted to test Frog Lube CLP against my preferred protectant EEZOX.

For my test, I use a plain steel plate that I stripped with a rotary 3m pad and then cleaned with contact cleaner.  I then marked two sections with a punch. This is similar to my previous test here.

First, I dripped the protectants/lubes on the test areas and smeared them with a finger (carefully replacing nitrile gloves to prevent contamination). I let this heavy coat sit for 4 hours in my 95+ degree garage.

After 4 hours I carefully wiped off the sections with separate paper towels. I then applied a thin layer of protectant / lube to each section and smeared it with a gloved fingertip. I made sure this was a thin but completely covering coat. I let this coat dry for 24 hours.

After the 24 hours I carefully wiped off the sections with separate paper towels. I then used a single small Otis gun patch to apply a couple drops of protectant, just as I would to my rifle. I took a video to show this:

After 24 hours I inspected the plates. The EEZOX side looked to be dry and the Frog Lube CLP side seemed to be shiny and a bit thicker than I would typically leave on a real weapon or piece of equipment. I had collected some sweat at the gym...

And I put a single drop of sweat on each test panel. On the left panel you can see how the drop on the EEZOX protected metal immediately spread out.  On the right panel the drop on the Frog Lube protected metal stays as a small bead.

It has been hot in San Diego, it was over 95 degrees and 20% humidity, so the drops evaporated quickly.

This is 1 hour later...
The EEZOX has dried all white. I'm guessing this is the salt and minerals.

And this is the Frog Lube. It is a bit brown on the edges, I assume this is a bit of rust.

At this point I added a second drop of sweat to each panel. Here is a video of me adding those drops:

The next day I took some pictures of the results. EEZOX on the left and Frog Tube on the right:

Close up of the EEZOX side:

Close up of the Frog Lube Side:

At this point I decided it was time to try and clean the plate to see what stain / corrosion would come off easily. I used a paper towel to wipe off the sections and polish the sections:

Here is a close up of the EEZOX side after wiping and polishing:

Here is a close up of the Frog Lube side after wiping and polishing:

With the plates wiped and polished, I decided to add a third drop. Here is a video inspection of the third drop after it has dried (several hours after the drop was applied). You can see the marks from the first two drops after polishing compared to the untouched third drop.

And then I tried to clean the sections with the respective "CLP" products:

And now on to the final results. It was over 100 degrees in the garage!

1st picture of the final cleaned EEZOX side:

2nd picture from a different angle of the final cleaned EEZOX side:

1st picture of the final cleaned Frog Lube CLP side:

2st picture from a different angle of the final cleaned Frog Lube CLP side:

Neither the EEZOX nor the Frog Lube CLP completely protected the steel plate. Both left rings of corrosion even after polishing with a paper towel and cleaning with more of the product. The products did perform differently; the EEZOX let the drop of sweat spread out and dry more quickly leaving a ring that appeared white. The Frog Lube CLP kept the drop as a bead and it dried more slowly and left a brown spot of corrosion.
Personally, I prefer the EEZOX as it is a dry protectant and did not allow any "brown" corrosion. I did like that the Frog Lube was more "green", but I did not like the oily feel to the coating or minty smell.

Four and a half years later! (November 29, 2018)

In the past 4-1/2 years we moved and the test plate was placed in a box in storage for about 2 years. I found that box about 6 months ago and took the plate out and left it sitting. I'd estimate that the plate was in a box half the time and the other half sitting on a shelf. It hasn't been a perfectly handled  test case, but I have tried to keep my fingers off of the test areas of the plate.
You can see what you think of the pictures below, but the areas where the sweat was dropped have continued to rust a bit even though they had been cleaned with Eezox/Frog Lube CLP. It IS interesting how the rust continued. You can also see just a slight general patina of rust on the whole frog lube side (on the right side of the plate with two punch marks). In my opinion, the EEZOX side has held up a bit better.
Here are some pictures as of today (11/29/2018):

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Metal and Gun Protectants, revisited: The plain steel vs sweat test. Preventing Corrosion and Rust on Guns and Tools.

I have an old antique rifle and lots of metal tools, and so the topic of metal protectants interests me.

If you have a firearm, gun or plain steel tool you are probably concerned about corrosion and rust on it. Some people use a special gun oil, a wax or even just a simple spray oil or motor oil. There are lots of tests of metal protectant solutions for guns available on the internet. But they didn't compare the protectants I was interested in. EEZOX has done well in many tests, but many weapon collectors swear by Renaissance Wax. And I've wanted to compare those two. Additionally, I tested some other stuff I had in the garage.
I did a test earlier and learned something interesting. The wax protectants cause any kind of liquid to bead up. This may be to their disadvantage as the bead keeps the liquid concentrated in a spot on the metal until it dries. Alternatively, liquid on metal protected by EEZOX and by some other protectants tended to “sheet off”, and thus didn't seem to be as exposed to the liquid.
For my new test I had several things I wanted to do differently:
  • Equalize the effects of beading, if I can. I tried to do this by using a single drop of liquid on a level flat piece of metal so it couldn't sheet off.
  • In the earlier test I used washers that were zinc plated, this time I used a piece of plain steel.
  • I wanted to apply two coats of protectant this time to ensure good coverage.
  • Also in the last test, I sprayed on a solution of salt water to speed corrosion. But this time I wanted to use something more realistic. It was a bit gross but easy, I just collected a bit of my sweat in a vial when I was at the gym.
  • This test I wanted to leave the test plate inside my garage, instead of outside in the San Diego sun.


I bought a piece of plain steel at my local hardware store, and sanded it down with a rotary 3M pad to expose fresh metal. I then uses a punch to mark off six equal sections. Finally I spray cleaned the piece with contact cleaner.
I carefully applied the product to each section, using fresh gloves and applicators for each product.  I waited 24 hours and then I applied a second coat of each product. Then I let everything dry and age for more than 48 hours before adding drops of the sweat to the panels. The panel was kept level in my San Diego garage, which varied from approximately 60 to 70 degrees.

Products tested in each section

  1. control (bare metal: no protectant applied)
  2. EEZOX
  3. Break Free Collector
  4. WD-40
  5. Renaissance Wax
  6. Turtle Wax Ice

 The Intitial Drop and After 40 Minutes

On April 27, 2014 I placed one drop of my sweat on each section of the test plate with an eye dropper.

In the below pictures, the shot on the left is immediately after placing the drop. The picture on the right is after 40 minutes. 

Frankly, I was surprised at the differences on only 40 minutes.

Control (bare metal)
You can see that after only 40 minutes the drop is turning brown from rust!

Interestingly, the EEZOX wouldn't support a "bead" and immediately the drop of sweat started to spread out. After 40 minutes (right) the drop had well spread out but had not turned brown.

Break Free Collector
The Break Free collector didn't spread out as much as the EEZOX.

The WD-40 also looked OK.

Renaissance Wax
The drop of sweat on the Renaissance wax was looking brown after only 40 minutes!

Turtle Wax Ice
And the Turtle Wax Ice drop was also turning brown.

After 4 Hours

 After 4 hours the drops had completely dried. This is how they looked. I didn't touch them or try to clean the rust... that comes later in this test.

Control (bare metal)

The bare metal piece has a solid rust spot.

The EEZOX has some sign where the sweat had evaporated, but it wasn't clear how much that would polish out.

Break Free Collector
Very similar to the EEZOX, but in a smaller area as the drop hadn't spread out as much.

The WD-40 looked to have a bit of rust.

Renaissance Wax
The Renaissance Wax looked almost as rusted as the control!

Turtle Wax Ice
The Turtle Wax was just as bad as the Renaissance Wax.

After 48 Hours

After seeing the results after 4 hours, I decided I wanted to add another method to the test. Just after I tool the pictures from 4 hours, I added another drop of sweat to each panel to the right of the original drop. And I touched a clean finger to the drop and pressed it onto the plate (I used a new clean finger for each test panel). I was trying to make a sweaty "fingerprint". However, this didn't work very well. Much of the sweat was carried away by my finger, and what was left behind was very inconsistent. On the wax panels, the remnant sweat just splattered around my finger and beaded up after I removed my finger. On the other panels the drop was spread around a bit, but still didn't leave a finger print. Regardless, I then left the plate for 48 hours to dry and here were the results. Remember I still had made no attempt to clean the panels.

Control (bare metal)

 On the bare metal even the "fingerprint" to the right of the dot corroded quickly.

The "fingerprint" on the EEZOX looked like a lighter version of the drop.

Break Free Collector
The "fingerprint" on the Break Free Collector was pretty light and small. Remember the fingerprints left an inconsistent amount of sweat on the panel.

The WD-40 "fingerprint" cam out similarly the the other non-waxes, but was a little dirtier at the edges.

Renaissance Wax
The "fingerprint" on the Renaissance wax beaded right back up after I removed my finger and corroded very similarly to the original drop.

Turtle Wax Ice
The "fingerprint" on the Turtle Wax Ice also beaded back up after removing my finder. Again, remember my finger left an inconsistent amount of sweat behind.

Final Results: After 48 Hours and Wiped

For the final step in the test, I took a clean microfiber cloth and attempted to polish off the marks on the test panels. I rubbed pretty vigorously with pressure. (I rubbed hard enough to be confident the remaining corrosion would need something stronger to remove the corrosion, like a rust remover or a fine brass or steel wool pad.) This was the big test!

Control (bare metal)

As one would expect, the bare metal came out the worst in this test.

After wiping, you can just make out the edges of the splotches on the EEZOX test panel. To my eye, the EEZOX protected the metal very well.

Break Free Collector
The Break Free Collector also did a very good job protecting the metal. Again, the edges of the splotches are just visible.

The WD-40 did allow some easily visible rust/corrosion to form in the drop and at the edges of the fingerprint splotch.

Renaissance Wax
The Renaissance Wax did a poor job or protecting the metal. The drop left a solid patch of corrosion and the "fingerprint" did as well.

Turtle Wax Ice
Turtle Wax Ice also did a poor job of protecting the metal, but seemed slightly better than the Renaissance Wax.


 Here is how I would order the performance of the protectants in this test, from best to worse:
1a: EEZOX (tie)
1b: Break Free Collector (tie)

2: WD-40

3: Turtle Wax Ice

4: Renaissance Wax

5: Control (bare metal)

I was pleased with how the brand name protectants, EEZOX and Break Free Collector worked.  And I was really disappointed with the performance of the Renaissance Wax. I wouldn't really use Turtle Wax or WD-40 has metal protectants as neither is really designed for that.

I should note that EEZOX and Break Free Collector do seem to be much different substances:
EEZOX is a "three part, all synthetic combination of cleaners, dry lubricant and rust preventive that is much heavier than water." EEZOX dries to a non-oily finish. It has a funny smell and the MSDS says it contains trichloroethylene, synthetic esters and is oxygenated.

Break Free Collector is a "100% synthetic oil formulation with multiple high performance anti-rust and corrosion inhibitors".  Break Free Collector is an oil and does leave an oily finish. The MSDS says it contains polyalphaolefin oil and Isodecyl perlargonate.


A couple comments on the test itself.  

I think this test using a drop on the metal (left flat so it could not run off) was better than my last spray test. However, the different protectants cause the liquid drops to bead up differently, or not all all, and that may be having a significant effect on the test. On the other hand, after just 40 minutes the drops on the waxed panels were turning brown with rust, while the still liquid EEZOX and Break Free Collector drops did not turn brown.

Also a full drop of sweat is probably a significant amount of corrosive fluid on the metal. In the real world one might take better care not to leave an important tool or weapon with drops of sweat on it.

If I do another test, I think I would do a long term test without any liquid or drops on the panels and I would leave the panels in a normal environment to see how they survive.