Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Black Diamond Spot User Guide (manual)

I’m swearing off Wirecutter. Again.

It’s not that their recommendations are awful, they’re just kind of inexpert. They don’t actually use the products they recommend, they just test them.

Like the Black Diamond Spot headlamp. I needed something for an upcoming trip and it wasn’t mission critical, so I used the Wirecutter recommendations. The Spot actually works ok, and seems well made, but it’s ridiculously complex. The Spot is what happens when you give bored Chinese engineers some chip space.

Serious climbing headlamps have maybe two settings — basic and high. This has at least 6 settings based on combinations of switch press, hold and side tap. My brain looked at the directions and shut down.

And those directions — they go on for pages and pages in many languages, but the core is a small series of pictures. Sure to be lost, essential to reference, and not available online.

So here’s my scan of the part of the Black Diamond Spot User Guide that matters

You’re welcome.

Here are all the friggin modes (I put them in a note on my phone). Die Wirecutter, Die.


Not Powered On (why it needs a lock mode)
- press and release 1x: turn last active light on
- press and release 2x: toggle between spot and wide angle light
- press and release 3x: strobe
- press and hold 2s: red light on
- press and hold 3s: always turns on spot light
- press and hold 4s: toggle lock mode (small blue light blinks for a few seconds in lock mode)

Powered On
- press and hold: goes to bright then dims as hold
- 3x: strobe

(light tap when powered on)
- activate BOTH spot and wide angle

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Best way to get Scrivener content into a blog post

After various experiments the best way I’ve found to get Scrivener content into a MarsEdit blog post is to complete to HTML then copy/paste the rendered HTML into MarsEdit.

Everything else messes up paragraphs.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Mountain bike dropper posts, a very quick review

A public Facebook group featured the best review of dropper posts I’ve read, by TB R-A. Reposting here so it’s not lost...

I’ve owned the RockShox Reverb, Fox Transfer, Specialized Command, Bontrager whatever it is called, and 9 Point 8 Fall Line. Of them all the Fall Line has had the best actuation and has been the best performing.

The Reverbs are a pain because they need bled. The bleed process is easy enough, but still a pain. Also, if the line would be damaged or cut out on a long ride you’re SOL. You can’t fix it in the field.

The Transfer worked well enough, but it makes a sucking noise at the top and bottom and drove me nuts.

The Specialized was a bit finicky, I don’t remember much more about it. The Bontrager was OK, but not nearly as nice as the Reverb in terms of quality or performance.

Right now I have the 9 Point 8 Fall Line on both of my bikes. Performance has been flawless and you can easily repair it on the trail should you need to. The upgraded lever made by WolfTooth is really nice, good ergonomics and you can just replace pieces of it should something break (which happened when I loaned my bike to someone). You can release the rail from the head on one side to access the air valve, it’s pretty slick. So, the Fall Line is my choice. I replace the seals annually on it, which takes about an hour. Aside from that nothing really needs done.

Dropper posts are expensive still, though the cheap clones are emerging. I like the idea of the wireless rockshox, but it’s $800 for now. The Bontrager is less costly than the 9 Point 8.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Bleeding Avid (SRAM) XX/XO 2012 hydraulic mountain bike brakes (scan of manual)

I’ve now bled my front and rear 2012 Avid XX brakes. I did the front first and got an excellent result. I did back twice, the first time it sucked the 2nd time it was good but not as good as the front.  Tricky business! You really need to follow directions fairly precisely.

Want to get some quick notes out here mostly for my use. Maybe later I’ll fill in the rest.

  • If you’re going to bleed brakes buy a set of fresh pads to insert. No sense bleeding with old pads.
  • The Avid/SRAM (SRAM bought Avid) kit I bought for my 2012 XX vintage brakes is amazing. Full of bits and pieces. For bleeding only need a few. Everything feels surgical quality. The procedure felt more like a medical procedure than a bike procedure.
  • The brake block for my Avid XX 2012 is the one in the manual with the prongs. You can use it with the prongs and the pads in place, or with the pads out and the thick end. There’s a right and wrong way to insert, all the cutouts and notches have a purpose. You’re supposed to remove the pads for and use the thick end, but I’m not sure it isn’t better to use the prongs with fresh pads. You’re running risk of getting fluid on pads, that’s supposed to destroy them and the bicycle and surrounding neighborhood.
  • The 2012 manual that came with the kit I used is excellent. I couldn’t find a copy online save from scurvy services that vacuum up PDFs and reserver them. The 2019 manual isn’t as good. It’s sad SRAM didn’t keep this one around, I’ve uploaded a brake fluid stained scan of my copy.
  • Take your wheels off so they don’t get brake fluid on them or tires.
  • They describe the brake fluid as quite toxic. First time around there were drops on the ground and I really needed a clean lint-free rag. Would be easy to get in eyes. Wear eye protection. Wear latex gloves. If you’re sloppy wear crappy clothes. Do it outdoors.
  • The kit includes a small Torx wrench. If you have a magnetic torx bit driver you’ll be very happy.
  • They are serious about that 75-80mm lever distance.
  • You should have lots of isopropyl alcohol around to clean with. I washed my bike with soapy water.
  • Make a copy of the directions so you don’t get brake fluid on your only (paper) user guide
  • The clamps on tubing were super stiff at first. Needed pliers to close clamp. Gets better after use but still a pain.
  • There are lots of online directions and videos but for me the old manual worked best.
  • I think you need the bike somewhat horizontal, don’t have it in a stand where the brake lever is lower than the caliper.