Sunday, 26 January 2014

Trade Day At Core

This years trade day meeting at Core

There was a presentation from Campagnolo with a new crankset "overtorque" and tools required to remove & refit Part No. UT-FC220

Bulk buying KMC 8,9 & 10 Speed chains come with free stand and box's of quick links

KMC Bicycle Chain workshop dispenser 

KMC Wall mounted dispenser

Selle Italia saddle ID Match tools
See more here

Selle Italia bar tape
Into four categories: Smootape Corsa, Smootape Gran Fondo, Smootape Controllo and Smootape Classica.

Workings of Chris King rear hub

Fairdale bike with 80's BMX style frame

Fairdale bikes and display stands

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Apprenticeship in the Bicycle Trade with Training Classes Should be Taken More Seriously

So you like to work in the bike trade and need some training or you own a bike business and your a forward thinker and would like your staff trained to the highest standard.

Knowledge of how a bike works, why it fails, how to build a wheel, diagnose brake & gear faults, deal with customers, look up parts are just some of the things that make a great bike mechanic. But it takes years of experiences to learn all aspects of bicycle repair.

You can open a bike shop with out any training and suppliers will be knocking at your door for you to sell their bikes and products. We all have to start somewhere, I here you say......... its their money and their choose.  As a mobile mechanic business, for trade insurance we are always asked what qualifications we have when getting a insurance cover/quote.

With such a wide range of bicycles on the market, a 2 week course is a good start, but this only shows you about 10% of bike repairs, with the first few days (The so called part 1) covering health & Safety and working in a shop. The rest you will learn in the bike shop, if you are lucky you will work alongside a mechanic who will share his experience with you. Learning from the practical teaching of experts however is no-doubt invaluable.

Skilled workers

In my day an apprentice would work in a shop/workshop to gain practical experience and for theory go to collage one day a week or block training of 1 week every 6 months over 3 years with assessments of work/jobs carried-out in the shop/workshop. You would be paid a small amount of money, until you gained the skill's or qualifications or your boss could see you was a hard worker. Then you could spend your money on buying tools.
This would be a long term investment for the bike shop with both shop owner and apprentice both benefiting.

Advanced training in all areas of the bicycle

This would make a commitment on both sides and a longer lasting relationship and a generation of skilled bike mechanics for the future. Cytech/ATG apprenticeship program.

Other Skilled Jobs In The Bike Trade

There is also a shortage of frame builders with the knowledge of brazing. And this is a growing industry in the UK. As of yet there is no UK qualification in bicycle frame building. In addition to these types of courses, it is advisable to complete a basic gas welding and/or tig welding course, which are often offered at local community colleges, as this will give the student a good basic knowledge of the techniques involved, and perhaps more importantly, the safety implications.

Tutor instruction
The Lane End Oasis Center is a Youth & Adult skills program

You can start to learn by reading resources online, visiting forums and sourcing books.

If you live in London Bring Your Own Bike is a DIY community bike workshop based in Copeland Park, Peckham. Learn to repair and carry out maintenance on your bike with the help of volunteer mechanics.

However, it may be possible to contact an experienced frame builder or a good bike shop and arrange some kind of work related experience.

Other jobs in the bike trade to consider:
Sales rep for trade distributors to dealers, selling parts, bikes & accessories

Train'd Up are a leading National Training Provider contracted by the Skills Funding Agency to deliver Apprenticeship services.  We are currently seeking supportive employers to help us move motivated and enthusiastic young people into employment. 
Our Apprenticeship programmes are aimed at supporting 16-18 year olds and 19-24 year olds who are looking to get their foot on the career ladder and move into employment within their chosen sectors. 
Read more...........

Friday, 10 January 2014

Removing Truvativ X0 Crank Arm, With BB30 Press Fit Bearings

This system is very simple and makes removing very quick.
Can be done after riding in wet and muddy conditions, to clean out any dirt, water from axle and keep BB30 bearings running smoothly and give them a longer life.

First you will need to remove the drive-side crank arm to service or repair BB30 bottom bracket.

You will need a Trox "T55" socket and bar, do not remove the hex nut plastic dust cover. 
The crank bolt is a right hand thread, so turn anti clockwise and the head of the bolt will hit the cover and will extract the crank of the axle, also you will need to remove the chain off the chainring as it comes free from the axle.
You may need to use a rubber mallet, to knock the axle though! 
Clean inspect components and feel bearings for wear. Service or replace BB30 bearing as necessary.   
After cleaning, put a smear of TF2 grease on the axle where the bearing run and re assemble.
The crank bolt should be tightened to  48 - 54 Nm. 

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Setting up a Bike Business

With the number of people out on the streets of Britain cycling, perhaps there has been no better time to start up a mobile bike business from scratch. According to government figures, one in ten adults in England now cycle at least once a week and three percent of adults hop on their bike at least five times every week. Furthermore, roughly two percent of adults in England habitually get to and from work by bike. With this current generation’s strong emphasis on the importance of both healthy and green living, not to mention the constantly spiralling cost of public transport and the volatile price of petrol, bicycles are an increasingly popular means of transport for people from all walks of life. Of course, this means that there are lucrative opportunities for entrepreneurs who think that they have the skills, commitment and capital needed to launch a successful mobile bike business. That said, starting up a mobile bike business is far from easy. A lot of the practical questions that people have about setting up a mobile bike business have already been answered on our blog here. But here are some broader business principles and factors to bear in mind when you are dreaming up your path to success.
Location, location, location: The location of a business always plays a fundamental role in determining its success. Bear in mind that for a mobile bike businesses you will have to strike a balance or make a trade-off between setting up your business in a place where bikes are popular among locals or people passing through and not plonking your business among dozens of other better-established competitors. For example, on paper Cambridge would seem like the best place to set up a bike business as it has the highest proportion of adults who use a bike at least once every week, at 47%. This is compared with a figure of 5% in many other places in England. The number of cyclists means that there are also a large number of bicycle retailers and bicycle repair establishments dotted over the town, however, which in turn means that setting up a bike business in Cambridge is actually quite a tough challenge. Could the answer be, offer a unique mobile service to suit the demand of customers needs?
Nonetheless it is all about striking a balance and other location-related questions to bear in mind include whether the place where you intend to establish your repair shop is accessible and convenient. For example, if it is a repair shop and located in an area close to offices then you can expect to tap into busy lunch-time and post-work trade- when local workers who also ride a bike may look into getting a flat tyre or squeaking brakes fixed. More generally, placing your establishment in a place with a healthy amount of foot-fall maximises your chance of benefiting from passing trade. You may also decide to set up your business in a community which you already have links to and, therefore, strong potential for a loyal customer base. These questions over location are important to think about not just for your own benefit but also because these are probably the very questions that a bank manager will ask when you make that crucial application for a business loan. Although you will have saved some capital to invest in starting up the business, in the vast majority of cases that extra bit of help from the bank will be fundamental to getting off the ground. A solid business plan based on a good location for your business with rent at the right price is therefore key.
Unique selling points and incredible service
Nail your unique selling point: All businesses need a unique selling point, or USP. Without a USP you are more likely to struggle against the competition, which, as already emphasised, may be at a huge advantage compared with your new business because they are more established and likely to be more experienced. There is a wealth of examples of successful mobile bike businesses with their own unique USPs so the best advice is to get Googling and find out what makes some of the more popular start-up bike businesses a hit. For example, some bike repair stores have an hour long drop-in service towards the beginning or end of each day so that people with straightforward bike repair problems do not have to book days or perhaps even weeks in advance. Drop-in services are also a great way to expose your business to as large a customer base as possible; a person that comes in to get a light fixed during a drop-in session just may come back for their bike MOT or when a more complex repair issue arises. If you are keen to open a repair shop you might also want to consider whether it might also attract more customers to sell a small but exciting range of bikes that are not on offer elsewhere in the area.
Offer amazing service and a fantastic experience: Market research survey after market research survey has proved that great customer service can leave a lasting impression on a customer and make them more likely to become a returning and loyal client. In the mobile bike industry specifically, great service is not just about politeness, energy and enthusiasm but also about being knowledgeable without being intimidating. If you have some kind of professional background in cycling or mechanics and you are opening a repair shop then, of course, that is a massive advantage. If cycling has been more of a hobby up until now, it is strongly recommended to do some serious swotting up or invest in some training and tool kit. You may want to look at buying a used van as your mobile workshop and learn how to kit it out.
Pay attention to small details: Finally, amazing service is also about the little touches. For example, if you have room in your shop front then why not consider moving in a nice sofa and attractive coffee table so that customers can wait in comfort if they are having a small repair done. Lay out the latest editions of a couple of your favourite cycling magazines for your customers to enjoy. If the decor is looking a bit soulless, you might want to consider getting some nice professional printouts of some snaps of world-class cyclist racers or Tour de France winners and put them up around your outfit. Basically, let your creativity and love for cycling take hold as you create a bike-lover’s paradise!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Carrera Luna Girls Mountain Bike - 24" Review

In the bike trade we often hear; "I don't wont to spend too much money on a bike, as my son/daughter will grow out of it" Think of the fun/enjoyment they will have from a well made bicycle and not to mention safety. 

Build then cheap, stack them high

These bikes are a throwaway item and uneconomical to repair with poorly made parts, lack of grease in the bottom bracket, headset and wheel hubs.

I have just worked on a month old Carrera Luna girls bike. The rear brake was not working, I could just about pull the left brake leaver on and was not stopping the rear wheel turning. The bike has a cable operated disc brake!
It would be very difficult and very dangerous for a young girl to use, as when both brakes applied she would have been thrown over the handle bars. It had poor quality galvanised brake wires, that had corrode and made using the brake impossible. I have now replaced the gear wire with a Shimano stainless steel wire, with a drop of oil at the openings of where the wire go's though the outer cable and at the leaver end. Adjusted the caliper and all is working how it should be.  

Cheap bikes are made with poor quality parts, poorly assembled, and offer very little backup/support and no one wants to work on these bikes. Not a enjoyable bike to ride as it will be heavy, have plastic pedals and brake leavers which can brake easily, cheap twist shift gears with poor gear parts making poor un-smooth gear change and brakes feel spongy even when setup correctly if at all possible. 

Further reading: 

Watchdogs article on BSO's Bicycle Shaped Objects  

And read this article before you buy a new bike

It had poor quality galvanised brake wires, that had corrode and made using the brake impossible.

If you have any stories with buying bike(s) with Halford's please leave message in the comments box below. 

Square Taper Left Hand Crank Arm Stuck On

Mobile bicycle mechanic job of the day, removing a left hand crank arm without the use of an extractor tool. But why?
The crank arm needed to be removed, but there was no thread taped in the arm, for the crank extractor tool to screw in and do it's job!
This bike was booked in for a service and chain slipping. After a road test and pre-checking bike over, it was found to need the "drive chain replacing" Cassette, chain, chainset and bottom bracket.
Read our article on Chain wear & Care

This left hand crank-arm has no thread to allow for the extractor tool to screw in and remove arm.
(Cheaply manufactured)

Without re-tapping a thread, the only way to remove;
1. Is by cutting a slot along the back of the arm

 2. Using a chisel to split open the cut 
And then hit the back of the arm with the chisel to remove the arm of the square taper axle.

Note the position on the square

When replacing a worn left hand crank arm:
  • You will need to make note of the position of the square (As photo above) in the crank arm so it aligns with the right-hand crank position, 
  • And the length are the same size, will be marked on the inside of the arm. near pedal thread.