Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Today I worked for four hours at a local bike shop, an audition for the owner to gauge my mechanical skills. The upshot is that if he liked me and he had some hours available, he would hire me to work part time for him when I return from my Kansas gig.

First up, a tour of his tiny shop space. During the "tour" we talked about various things, parts and industry standards and how, very soon, Shimano will only be available to shops through a couple of US distributors. 

Second up, unbox and build up a brand new commuter bike. Sram 1 x 9 drive train; basic (though not sucky) wheels and disc brakes. The owner knew I hadn't worked much on disc systems so he was glad to give me a lesson. Unfortunately, he said, I was being taught on some pretty crappy brakes, 
Tektro's Novela model. 

An example of them can be seen here:

They were a little fussy and the rotors were slightly bent right out of the box. Tolerances were not very close and the brakes seemed, well, almost crude in their feel and adjustability. I was told this was normal for so entry-level a unit. That this is the best you can hope for on a bicycle that retails for just over $600 was really sad. Maybe that's considered a "cheap" bike nowadays, but $600 is still a big chunk of change for a lot of people.

Third up, a simple job consisting of rear wheel and tire swap and a mini-tune, which is basically what we used to call a Safety Check with a little love added on. I wiped the bike down when I was done, which apparently is more than some shops do for even a full tune-up.

The owner seemed happy with my work and will let me know how many hours he can pffer when I get back into town. He wished he could bring me on sooner, but understands that he can't.
It was nice to turn a wrench again.

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