Bleed kits are something we don’t tend to think about until we have some sort of problem, something like a leaking calliper or spongy brakes. Oh, or we’re lucky enough to have a new bike with crazy long hoses!
When we do need one it’s probably not something we want to splash the cash on and it’s easy to consider all brake kits to be created equally. I mean they’re just a few syringes, pipes and some brake fluid, right?
Searching for bleed kits online you can spend anything from a fiver for eBay’s finest right through to £40 plus for the manufactures offering. Truth is some of the OEM products aren’t much better than the knockoffs but at least you have the reassurance of genuine bleed fluid!
Step up Total Bleed Solutions (TBS) who in 2015 started out on the mission “To produce great value bleed kits, built by a biker for other bikers”
6 years on TBS carry bleed kits and genuine bleed fluid for Avid, Hope, Magura, RockShox, Shimano, Sram and may more. But do they hit the mark?
What do you get?
I tried the £14.99 Magura option. This includes next day delivery and 50ml of Maguras Royal Blood, more than enough to do 2 full bleeds and have some left over. There is a 100ml and a ‘tools only’ option available as well.
In the letter box sized package, you get:
• 2 X Mineral oil-specific bleed syringes.
• 2 X Lengths of bleed tubing.
• 2 X Custom made bleed adapters with o-rings.
• Universal bleed block and rotor adjustment tool.
• 2 X Custom designed MT series bleed blocks.
• 2 X Torx adapters.
• Magura Royal Blood brake fluid. (50ml)
• Safety Gloves.
• Catch Bag.
• Tie wraps.
• 2 X Tube stops.
• TBS Frame Sticker.
• Complete easy to follow instructions.
Pretty impressive given the £40 OEM kit comes with 1 syringe, a bleed bottle (even though Magura don’t advise gravity bleeding) and 100ml of fluid. All good and well but does it work?
First step of any bleed should be to remove your pads and put the bleed blocks in. TBS supply 2 blocks to do this. I couldn’t get them to stay in the calliper so just used the Magura ones that came with the brakes.
The extensive instructions provided tie up well with Maguras online videos and both suggest a process of moving fluid through the system from the caliper to master cylinder (MC) and back using the syringes, hose and bleed adapters. The adapters in this kit screwed into the MC and caliper perfectly and didn’t leak during the process. However, I found the combination of lock syringe and slip syringe problematic due to the hose sliding off the slip version when I wasn’t giving it 100% of my attention.
Happily, as I tweeted the process someone for TBS pointed out that the slip syringe can be used straight into the master cylinder, similar to Shimanos bleed cup. Using this method for the second brake meant I couldn’t draw fluid up through the system like a vacuum but controlling it from the master cylinder produced a better bleed and left less mess during the process. Job done!
My Maguras have been bled more this week than they probably will for the rest of their lives. I have done pressure and gravity bleeds as well as top ups using variations of syringes, tubes and bleed cup style processes. No matter how hard I’ve tried I haven’t faced any issues other than my attention span!
If I was being really picky, while they would do in a pinch the bleed blocks are a bit fiddly as you really need a zip tie or band to keep them in place. The hose clips are a nice addition but I’m not sure they are really necessary; I always find them fiddly and they just get in the way.
For the price and considering Total Bleed Solutions only use genuine manufacturers brake fluids, give you everything you’re likely to need right down to torx bits I’ve not used a better bleed kit. The Syringes are top quality and didn’t leak, the custom bleed adapters go in first time every time and the instructions are spot on – a true great value for money product.
If all of Total Bleed Solutions kits are as good as this, which I have no reason to doubt there really is no reason to look anywhere else!
January 2021: James Sloggie