At TPC, we keep a massive inventory of parts in-house, which allows us to fully service and repair nearly any bike. But many modern bikes use proprietary parts, and there’s simply no way for us to stock every single thing we need. Often, that means we have to order parts from the manufacturer or a distributor to get certain bikes up and running.
That was the case with this 2023 Trek Top Fuel. It arrived in decent condition, but at some point during its travels, a couple of pieces of proprietary rear suspension hardware went missing. While normally this bike would get shelved while we wait for parts to get delivered, we found some 20 minutes away at a local Trek dealer. Sounds like a good excuse for a field trip!
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Sometimes We Have to Go to Local Bike Shops Too
The biggest complication with fixing this 2023 Trek Top Fuel was a missing D-shaped nut and spacer. This proprietary hardware secures the main pivot bolt of the rear suspension (so it's very important!), and since we don't carry these parts, we had try and source replacements from the manufacturer or find them through a distributor. Unfortunately, neither had the parts in stock.
We don’t like broken bikes hanging around for extended periods, so Chase, our Consumables Coordinator, started calling local Trek dealers to see if any of their service departments had the necessary parts in stock.
As luck would have it, a Trek dealer in Boulder, just 20 minutes down the highway from our headquarters in Louisville, CO, had exactly what we needed. They only had one available, so Chase decided to act fast and pick the parts up the same day.
To combine a couple of tasks into one, he loaded up one of TPC’s Sprinter vans with a dumpster’s worth of material to take to Boulder’s CHaRM (Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials) facility, which we regularly do to reduce our waste, and scheduled some bike pick-ups at a couple of other Boulder-area bike shops.
When Chase returned with the necessary parts, the Top fuel was able to be passed on to one of our master techs, Carl, who would complete the repair.
The "missing" spacer was re-discovered, but it was broken.
While disassembling the main pivot, Carl discovered that the “missing” spacer was actually still hanging on to the main pivot bolt. It had just broken and split in half, so it still needed to be replaced.
Before moving forward, Carl inspected the main pivot hardware and bearings. This Top Fuel is the new 2023 model, so unsurprisingly, everything was still in great shape. He cleaned and re-greased all the parts to reassemble the main pivot.
Carl adds a dab of grease so the spacer stick to the frame for easy reassembly.
The spacers for the main pivot sort of “float” in space, sitting in between the chainstays and the mount on the front triangle. They aren’t actually connected to the frame, so Carl showed me a trick he uses to keep everything together during reassembly. Instead of fiddling around trying to hold all the small pieces together, he just places a dab of grease on each spacer and uses that to stick them to the frame.
Then, to make things even easier, he inserts a hex wrench to keep the bolt holes aligned and to guide the main pivot bolt back in one move.
I wish I had been smart enough to do this when doing a linkage service on my own mountain bike at home. I nearly lost my mind after dropping a set of similar small spacers over a dozen times while trying to hold my rear triangle in place long enough for all the bolt holes to line up so I could re-insert a pivot bolt. Well, I’ll remember it for next time!
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