Sportsmith Blog

How To Restore or Maintain Leather Indoor Cycle Brake Pads

This video will show how to restore or maintain your leather indoor cycle brake pad.

( Note ):  If your pad looks glazed over and will not accept lube try roughing them up with a wire brush. If the pad is too worn down they will need replaced.

These are the most effective ways to prolong the life of your indoor cycle brake pad.
We begin with the pad removed to show the most effective procedure.

Method 1:

  • Soak the leather pad in a vessel with Three in one oil for one hour.
  • Wipe the pad before placing them back on the bike.
  • With the pad back on the cycle, spin the flywheel and engage the brake several times.
  • Wipe off the excess oil from the flywheel before returning the cycle to service.
  • This will prevent excessive lube running off the pad.

Note: The following two methods will need to be done regularly to prevent squeaking.

Method 2:

  • With the leather pad on the indoor cycle. Apply lubricant directly to the flywheel.
  • Spin the flywheel while pressing and releasing the brake. This will load the pad with the lubricant.

Method 3:

  • With the pad on the cycle load a rag with lubricant and hold it on the flywheel by the brake pad.
  • Rotate the flywheel while pressing and releasing the brake to lubricate the leather pad.

Additional Resources:

Indoor Cycling Brake Pads

3-n-1 Multipurpose Oil


How to Program the Concept 2 PM5 Monitor


What is the cause for static on my treadmill?


static on my treadmill

If you are a frequent user of the treadmill, it is most likely that you have received a shock from it once or repeatedly. Treadmills are powerful machines capable of generating static electricity. This static electricity is responsible for the shocks and, even though they won’t hurt you, they may damage the treadmill’s electric components.

Most cases we receive regarding static electricity on treadmills are in the winter season. But the good news is, you can easily overcome static build-up on the treadmill to reduce the risk of being shocked and have a comfortable workout session. Here are some of the sources responsible for static problems and their suggested solutions.


  1. Problems that the gyms have control over;
  • Worn out motor brushes, belt and deck. If any of these parts on the treadmill are worn out, replace them. A motor brush should be replaced if it has cracks, nicks, signs of wire wearing through, or if it’s less than a ½ inch length. Determining whether your treadmill’s walking/running belt is worn out can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for. Common signs that the belt requires maintenance or replacement include discoloration, fraying edges, sluggish belt movement, and loosening. Check your treadmill deck for signs of wear or cracks and have it replaced. If the problem seems complex or severe, always consult a professional to have the machine professionally serviced. Replace belt and deck together.


  • Lubrication maintenance. Lack of, or poor, lubrication maintenance of the treadmill can result in excessive friction created by the repetitive motion. This friction creates static electricity leading to shocks. However, with proper lubrication on the belt, deck, as well as all the moving parts of the treadmill, this static electricity can be controlled. Loosen the belt. Then lift it up to apply the lubricant on the deck as per the instructions on the bottle. Always refer to the owner’s manual for the type of lubricant recommended by a manufacturer. Place the belt back to its position and re-tighten the screws. Turn the treadmill on and allow it to run for 5 minutes at a low speed. This allows the lubricant to evenly penetrate into the moving belt.


  • Lack of Humidity in the air. Dry air in the workout area leads to a bigger risk of static shock. And that is why you are most likely to feel the slight sting of static when working out indoors or in areas with dry climates. This is because indoors, air conditioners and heaters suck out all the moisture in the air leaving it dry. Therefore, the only way to banish static shock is by placing a humidifier in the room to bump up humidity levels. A humidity level of 40 to 60 is recommended.


  • Dusty Climate. Dry and dusty environments amplify the presence and intensity of static electricity on treadmills. Treadmills that are not cleaned regularly experience dirt buildup and increase your chances of being shocked. To prevent this, add a weekly cleaning routine to your workout and this will not only prevent static buildup but also increase the lifetime of your machine. The clean-up is simple. Just remove any accumulated dust from the belt using an anti-static duster. Dust around and beneath the treadmill to avoid any buildup. Then wipe down the belt with a slightly dampened cloth and dry with a paper towel. Ensure that you rotate the belt to reach the entire tread surface effectively.


  • Bad Ground. Failing to plug your treadmill into a grounded, dedicated outlet can also increase the risk of static shocks. Check the ground where the machine is placed to see that the power cord, power outlet and drive motor are fine. However, the metal and electrical systems of the machine may be well grounded, but the rubber tread is a good insulator and therefore the static charge may build up because the tread itself is not grounded. Another common grounding problem would be in relation to motors. If you experience static shocks, consider adding an additional ground wire to the motor of your treadmill.


  • Treadmill placed on carpet. A treadmill placed directly on carpet is more vulnerable to static electricity. Static electricity could build up as you get on and off the treadmill. A great solution to this problem would be to install a rubber treadmill mat under the machine. This mat will not only protect your treadmill, but also the carpet under the unit from scratches and dents by the unit’s feet.


  1. Items that the gyms have no control over;
  • Dehydration of the user. If a user works out a lot and gets dehydrated, their skin dries and this poses a chance for static energy to build up. Dry skin increases the friction generated between the user and the machine when running or holding onto the treadmill rails. Encourage users to take in more water to avoid dehydration.


  • Dry skin of the user. Encourage the users to use an adequate amount of lotion when coming for a treadmill workout. Lotion softens the skin and acts a lubricant when they are holding on to the treadmill surfaces. It reduces friction and thus lowers the risk of static electricity buildup. Ask the users to combine this strategy with higher water intake so as to keep their skin hydrated.


  • Use of wool or synthetic materials when working out. Materials such as nylon, polyester and spandex are more susceptible to static build up. Synthetic fabrics build up more static charge than clothing made from natural fibers. So, if a user complaining of shocks has been working out with such gear, ask them to change. Recommend to them clothing made of cotton or any other natural fibers.


  • Run pattern of the user. The running pattern of a treadmill user can contribute to static buildup. If a user is shuffling their feet instead of having a smooth stride, they are likely to generate excessive friction which results in the creation of static electricity. They are most likely to get shocked. If you notice such, advice the user to change their running pattern to smooth strides.


  • Shoes. Advise the user to always check their shoes before hopping onto the treadmill for a run. Tell them to clean the bottom of their shoes to remove any dirt, dust and other items they may have collected on their way to the gym. Such materials create more surface area for friction to buildup and give you some static shocks. Also encourage the users to wear good fitting shoes. Old shoes may be too worn out and hence cause friction buildup. Users should also avoid shoes without nylon mesh.

If all else fails, consider using an anti-static spray that you can apply to your clothes and the treadmill’s running belt. The spray moistens the area and hence helps to diffuse static shock. It also makes the surface area less conducive for electrical charge build-up.




Why Your Treadmill Belt Maybe Slipping


With a treadmill, one of the most common issues people experience is a belt that's slipping. There are a few reasons this might happen. Luckily, there are also a number of fairly simple ways to fix this issue that you can do on your own, without calling anyone to service the machine.

Why Your Belt Might Be Slipping

There are actually two belts on a treadmill - there's the belt most commonly talked about which is the walking / running surface of your treadmill. And then there's the drive belt which connects from the motor to the front rollers. In this case, we're discussing the walking surface of your treadmill.

There may be a few reasons why your belt is slipping. Before trying to figure it out on your own, or even with general instructions like these, you want to check the manual produced by the manufacturer of your machine.

This is especially important if your machine is newer or still under warranty because the warranty may limit what repairs you can do yourself. Many warranties specify that only a repair service authorized by the manufacturer can perform certain repairs, so that's something to keep in mind before moving forward.

  • Too Much Friction. In some cases, the belt may need to be lubricated because the friction may be causing the belt to slip. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for the compatible lubrication.
  • Tension. Most often this is just a case of needing to adjust the tension of the belt. With use and age, the belt can naturally stretch, losing some of the tension and causing the belt to slip. There are a number of methods to correct this which we'll discuss in detail below.
  • Drive Belt. In some cases, the running belt may be stopping because the drive belt needs to be tightened on some models. This can be performed at home, though you'll want to check your manual. This type of repair will usually void the warranty if there is one.

Adjusting the Tension in Your Running Belt

If your belt is slipping, it's usually a matter of adjusting the tension. There are three different methods to repair this issue, which work on new belt installations as well as repairing existing running belts.

Stomp Test on Front Roller

The stomp test is a great way to test the retention on your running belt and repair an existing belt that's slipping.

  1. Check the rollers and underneath the belt to make sure there is no debris or wax buildup.
  2. Verify that belt centering is correct or true.
  3. Stand on machine and set to 3 mph.
  4. Attempt to stop the running belt from moving by bracing your feet on the running belt and your hands on the bar.
  5. If the belt slows or slips and the rollers are still moving, your tension needs to be adjusted. To do this, turn the adjustment tools on both sides of the rear roller to tighten, about a quarter of a turn to start.
  6. Repeat test and adjust until the rollers stop moving when you stop the belt.

Using Belt Gauges

For most belt replacements, using calipers would be a preferred method. It can be done without gauges, though this does make the process slightly simpler. Gauges can also be used to adjust machines with existing belts.

  1. Using belt gauges or calipers, you're going to stretch the belt according to the manufacturer's specifications.
  2. This method is usually used on  a new belt but can be performed on a machine where the tension just needs to be adjusted. In the case of an existing belt, you need to release the current tension before applying the gauges.

Without Using Calipers

  1. In the case of an existing belt, release the current tension before proceeding.
  2. Using a tape measure, put two marks on each side of the belt, 36 inches apart in the length.
  3. Then adjust the side bolts on both sides to 36 and 3/16 inches.
  4. Test the machine and adjust if needed.

There are a few reasons that your treadmill belt might start slipping. It could be a simple matter of age and use. A lot of activity on the machine or heavy running can also cause the belt to stretch faster than moderate use might. Armed with this information, you should be able to diagnose the issue. Some repairs may be more advanced than what we've detailed here and it's always advisable to check the manufacturer's manual before attempting any repairs.

Additional Resources:

Treadmill Running Belts




How to Use a Multimeter for Electronic Testing

Digital Multimeter

A leading cause of failure in fitness equipment is insufficient power to the internal components of a machine or no power at all. Knowing the basics of using a multimeter will be a great help in your troubleshooting efforts.


How to Use a Multimeter for Electronic Testing

Digital multimeters come in a variety of forms for use in electronic testing. For most situations be sure your multimeter can handle:

  • DC and AC volts
  • Ohms
  • Continuity
  • AC and DC current

Manual range meters are the most common, but auto range meters are easier to use. You need to set your meter to the correct setting, on manual range meters. The scale will adjust automatically to the necessary range for the values you wish to measure, on auto range meters.



If your multimeter has settings or symbols different to the ones we discuss, consult your owner's manual to verify its ability to test the circuit you want to test.

You need to know what circuit you are testing and the value you want to verify. Otherwise, you may damage the circuit or your meter. Never touch the exposed metal part of the probes or any metal surface that may be carrying a charge.


Continuity Testing

Continuity is a good way to test for any shorts in a circuit. Continuity testing shows whether there is or is not a complete connection. To indicate a connection, the meter will indicate:

  • “beep” and/or any value other than 1 on left of display.
  • no beep and/or 1 on left of display

This test should be done while the circuit is disconnected from any source of power. Be sure the red lead is plugged into the continuity socket. If your meter doesn't have a continuity socket, use the Ohms socket. The black lead should go into the Com socket. Some meters only have two sockets. Connect Black to the Com socket, and connect Red to the other socket.

If you cross the leads, the meter will show a low value or beep. This means there is continuity. It does not rule out the possibility of shorts.

EXAMPLE: If you have a piece of wire that you want to test for breaks, this can be done easily using the continuity meter, you can test for breaks by touching each end of the wire with a probe.

Suppose that same piece of wire is a wire loom, meaning several pieces of wire are inside the same insulator. You can use your continuity meter to check that the wires are continuous. You can also check for any shorts by touching both ends of any conductor. Touch both ends of each wire with your probes. You should hear a single beep or see a value displayed.

  • No beep & no value = circuit is not continuous
  • Beep & value = a short


Resistance Testing

To test for resistance; be sure the Red lead is in the Ohms socket, the black lead is in the Com socket, and the meter is set to Ohms.

IMPORTANT: test the resistor with one end disconnected from any circuits.


Testing for DC Volts

  • Connect the black lead to the Com socket
  • Connect the red lead to the Voltage socket
  • Set the dial to DC voltage (one range above value you are checking for)
  • Do not to cross the leads - it will short the circuit

If you get a zero reading, check the setting on your meter, as it may be set to AC.

You can check voltage without disconnecting it from the machine if you have a battery installed. To do this, probe the positive and negative ends on the battery.


Testing AC Volts

Set your meter to the AC Volt setting and range (one range above the reading you’re looking for). Insert the red lead in the “V” socket, and the black probe in the “Com” socket.

Do not short the leads during testing. It will short the circuit and may damage your meter.


Spin Bike Maintenance Means Happier Customers

Keeping your spin bikes up and running smoothly requires a daily, weekly and monthly maintenance schedule.  This will help save time, money and will help keep your spin bikes running at optimal performance resulting in happier customers for your facility.

Tools and supplies needed:

Tool kit with various wrenches, sockets and screw drivers.

Equipment polish

Chain degreaser

Lubricants such as silicon spray and chain wax

Daily Maintenance:

Once spin bike classes are finished this is an optimal time to wipe all the equipment down. Sweat is very corrosive and may cause long-term trouble for parts replacement later in the month. Wipe down the seats, frames and handlebars to remove excess sweat from these areas.

Pay special attention to the seat post; handle bar post and chain guard.  Next, get on the bike, engage the drive train, and pay attention to any vibrations felt through the pedals.  If vibrations are felt, you may need to tighten the pedals, bottom bracket, or adjust the drive chain tension. Lastly, you should torque the pedals. You will need a pedal wrench.  Tighten the pedals until they are secure.

Weekly Maintenance:

Weekly maintenance requires tightening down hardware and inspecting various moving parts. Inspect the pull pin frame fittings making sure the fittings are snug. Loose frame fittings over time may strip out the threads causing sever damage. Second, clean and lubricate the pull pin assemblies by pulling on the pin spray a small amount of lubricant onto the shaft. Third, torque the seat hardware making sure the seat is level and centered.

Fourth, brush and treat the resistance pads.  Remove any foreign material that may have collected on the pads and spray the pads with a silicon lubricant.  This helps in reducing noise caused from friction between the pads and the flywheel. Finally, visually inspect the bottom bracket, top clips and toe straps.  If any of these items are loose or disconnected re-attach and re-tighten.

Monthly Maintenance:

Monthly maintenance is a time for re-lubricating most moving parts and a basic hardware check. First, recheck all hardware such as water bottle holders, flywheel nuts, chain guard bolts, brake caliper lock nuts and brake caliper tension rod nuts are secure. Second, lubricate the drive chain.

This is accomplished by using the red straw on the chain wax can and looking for a small hole towards the back of the chain guard on the top side. Rotate the crank slowly while lubricating the drive chain. This will help to distribute the lubricant more effectively. Third, clean and lubricate the brake tension rod while inspecting for signs of wear such as missing threads.  Finally, clean and lubricate the seat post, handle bar post and seat slider removing any build up of foreign material at the point of insertion.

In summary, this is only general information about maintenance items that should be performed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

A qualified technician should perform any maintenance procedures. Always check your manufacturer’s recommendations and maintenance materials before performing any work on the equipment.

Additional Resources:

Indoor Cycling Parts

Indoor Cycle Felt Brake Pad Restoration


9 Tips You Can Use Now to Keep Your Club Clean

Fitness & gym equipment wipes

In spite of all the specialties and styles of gyms, there are really only two types of clubs: the dirty one and the clean one. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to keep your club clean and healthy. You can further trust that the great members you want in your gym can also tell the difference. From a business perspective, a clean, healthy club is going to draw members who stay and provide success over the long term.

Fitness & Gym Equipment Wipes Free Shipping

The Sign-Up Process

Cleanliness starts when a new member joins the club. This is because, ultimately, your gym won’t stay clean if your members don’t participate and keep it clean. As part of the sign-up process, make it clear what your expectations are for each new member: to take responsibility for themselves and to keep themselves clean according not to their standards, but to everybody’s expectations. Make it clear their membership fees are to lease exercise equipment, not hire a mommy to clean up the mess they leave.

Build the Community Atmosphere

After the sign-up process, introduce members to each other. Everybody in your gym doesn’t have to be BFFs who skip part of their workout to chat on sight, but people who know each other with amicability are going to act differently than strangers. When the community works together to keep the gym clean, you’ll wind up much cleaner than when random people come through at different times of the day with no care for what they leave behind.

Incorporate Interesting Signage

A colorful sign with scientific pictures of bacteria, silly cartoon drawings of somebody who is sick, and a graphic of somebody washing their hands is going to be talked about by your members — as they wash their hands. And that’s the point, exponentially. Your members aren’t only washing their hands; they’re enjoying washing their hands and are thereby associating a little light laughter with their workout. You can move signage around and replace it regularly to keep your members talking about cleanliness while trying to figure out which signs will be where each week. This will likely lead to their continued active membership; they have a side project to check in on in addition to their scheduled exercise.

Incorporate a No-Cold Policy

Nobody wants to catch the flu, but that is rarely a problem since people who already have it aren’t in the mood to come work out. Colds, on the other hand, can be a bit different. People in general — and this especially holds true for people who care enough about their health to work out, tend to deny that they are a bit sick. It can be difficult to enforce a no-colds policy, since nobody really knows just how sick somebody else is, but there are ways to inspire your members to adhere to the rule. If your club uses a points system, offer to comp a daily amount of points when somebody calls in sick. Alternatively, you can give one day of membership fees when somebody calls in sick. You can trust that any long-term loyal members who actually build up 30 days of sick leave are deserving of a free month at your gym.

Provide Antibacterial Body Wipes

Your members often use towels to wipe off sweat, so they won’t complain about using cool, moistened wipes that feel good and have antibacterial properties. It’s a simple matter of getting your members to do it.

Provide Fitness Equipment Wipes

Cleaning equipment after use is one of the most essential practices for keeping a clean gym. You don’t want your members wiping equipment with some dirty rag they brought from home, and they won’t wipe it with a clean towel if they have to walk across the room to get one. Wipes impregnated with cleansing solutions are needed in close proximity and easily accessible to each machine in your gym. This encourages people to use the wipes and makes it easier for someone to speak out if they see someone failing to wipe down a machine after use.

Use Antibacterial Towelettes for Hard Surfaces

At the end of the day, after the customers have left and the gym is closed, somebody has to do a thorough cleaning of the entire area. This process can be made much easier by using specially designed antibacterial towelettes for the appropriate hard surfaces. This not only keeps the gym looking nice, but it also kills germs before they have a chance to fester. A good, thorough cleaning every day is what keeps the gym safe and healthy, which is, after all, the whole point of coming to a gym in the first place.

Use Easily Accessed Dispensers

No matter how great the cleaning materials you provide and how much you encourage your members to use them, nobody is going to work toward keeping the club germ-free if it’s a pain in the neck to find and use them. Easily accessible dispensers have to be strategically placed throughout the gym to encourage everybody to wipe down and stay clean. Dispensers placed on stands between pieces of equipment are integral to keeping a clean gym.

Fitness & Gym Equipment Wipes Free Shipping

Actively Enforce the Rules

Enforcing the rules is arguably the hardest part of the process. As uncomfortable as it to watch somebody being nasty, it’s even more uncomfortable to be the person who has to tell them they’re being nasty. It requires a soft touch from well-trained employees. Public humiliation and shaming is unacceptable and will only drive customers away, defeating the goal and purpose behind your gym. Remember that the people who aren’t adequately cleaning behind themselves are probably not aware of the fact. Usually it only takes a gentle reminder and a bit of teaching for people to happily start cleaning to your standards before, during and after their workouts.

Click here for additional information on Fitness equipment and Gym Equipment Wipes

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How to Replace the 95Xi Crosstrainer Rocker Arm

  • Tools used:
  • Snap Ring Pliers with Tip Kit
  • 5/32” Allen Wrench
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • T25 Torx Driver
  • T45 Torx Driver


  • Remove the outer dead shaft covers, the handlebar and the outer lever joint and rocker covers as seen in the appropriate Sportsmith videos
  • Using the snap ring pliers and proper tips, remove the retaining ring securing the rocker arm to the dead shaft


  • Remove the washer after the snap ring


  • Remove the torx screws securing the pedal rocker shaft to the pedal lever
  • Then slide the pedal rocker shaft out of both the pedal lever and rocker arm
  • Carefully slide the rocker arm off of the dead shaft
  • In reverse order, install the new rocker arm

Addtional Resources:

Life Fitness 95 xi Cross Trainer Parts


How to replace the treadmill belt and deck on the Matrix T3X

Tools Needed: 4MM, 5MM, 6MM, and 8 MM Hex wrench and a Phillips screwdriver.

This video will demonstrate how to replace a belt and deck on a Matrix T3X treadmill. Though the video is specific to this treadmill it is very similar to most treadmills in the market.

1. Using a Phillips Screwdriver, remove the lower shroud and both end caps as seen in the video.

2. Next, using an 8MM hex wrench, remove the two rear roller bolts then remove the roller.

3. With a pair of pliers disconnect the drive belt tension assembly spring as shown in the video.

4. Use a 6mm Hex wrench to remove the two front roller bolts, and then remove the roller.

5. Now, with a 4MM hex wrench remove the side rail frames. There are two bolts on each of them.

6. Next remove the side rails. To do so you will need to move the rail back and forth until it is orientated over the mounts shown in the video. Once you do so, the rail will lift straight up off the unit.

7. Remove the deck bolts using a 5MM hex wrench. There are four on each side of the deck.

8. Slide the front roller out of the unit.

9. Grab the deck on each side and remove it and the running belt together.

10. Thoroughly clean the entire unit and both rollers. This step can dramatically extend or the life of a belt and deck. Not doing this can shorten the life significantly.

11. Install the belt onto the deck as shown in the video and then slide them in place on the unit and align the belt and deck with the holes in the frame.

12. Install the front roller. Make sure you install the drive belt. Center the belt on the front roller then start both of the front roller bolts. Once you have started both bolts, tighten them.

13. Install the drive belt tension spring.

14. Install the eight Deck bolts.

15. Install the rear roller and make sure that the end of the bolts goes through the hole in the frame for the roller alignment as shown in the video.

16. Now tension the rear roller. For more information on the belt tension process click HERE.

17. Re-install the side rails and rear roller cover frames.

18. Install the rear roller covers and lower shroud.

Additional Resources:

Matrix treadmill parts

Fitness Equipment Tech Support Center


How to Align a Treadmill Walking Belt


One of the most commonly reported issues that treadmill owners run into is that of the walking belt gradually slipping off of one side of the track. This may lead to the belt feeling loose under your feet while running or walking. The dislodged belt may also be visibly set off to one side while the treadmill is in motion.

It's important to keep treadmill walking belts properly aligned for a number of reasons. For starters, if a belt becomes poorly aligned, it could actually pose a danger to the person using the treadmill. After all, a belt that's not properly aligned won't have the right amount of tension, which could lead to loosening and make walkers/runners more prone to slipping. Furthermore, if the belt isn't re-aligned, this could also lead to premature wear and tear on the machine itself. Fortunately, aligning a walking belt on a treadmill may be easier than you think; read on to find out how to perform this repair.

For Rear-Roller Adjusting Belts

Many treadmills have belts that can be adjusted using the rear roller, or the one furthest away from the controls of the machine itself. Therefore, it's important to note that this tutorial will focus only on rear-roller adjusting treadmills.

If the Belt Slides to the Right

If the walking belt has begun to slide off to the right side of the roller, use an Allen wrench to either tighten the bolt on the right side of the roller or loosen the bolt on the left side. Be careful, though. When tightening and loosening bolts, less is more. Perform only a quarter-inch turn at a time. Test your work by turning the treadmill on to its lowest possible setting. If the belt seems to be properly aligned, your work is done. If not, you may need to adjust further; just be sure to do so in small increments.

If the Belt Slides to the Left

If you find that the belt slides to the left of the roller while the treadmill is turned on, then you'll need to follow the same instructions above with one exception. Instead of loosening the bolt on the left and tightening the one on the right, you'll need to loosen the one on the right and tighten the one on the left. Maintain the same gradual, quarter-inch turns and check your work carefully.

Additional Resources:

Treadmill Walking Belts