Over the last few weeks I have been refreshing my bike mechanic skills under the watchful eyes of Terry, Josh and the rest of the tech team at Bicycle Garage Indy North in Indianapolis. Since I last worked full-time as a bicycle mechanic in the `80s, I have been self-maintaining almost a dozen bikes and a couple of tandems at home. But it takes time and practice to get back up to the speed and proficiency needed in a busy bicycle shop. Added to that, their have been a number of evolutionary and revolutionary changes in bike design over the last 20 years.
For me, the combination of the Aheadset with open face stems, is one of the biggest improvements. In the past, a stem change to adjust bicycle sizing on a finished bike was a nightmare of handlebar tape and brake levers. Assembly was required for each test ride, increasing the time and frustration. For most bikes today, a stem change is less than five minutes with a couple of allen wrenches. And Aheadsets are very easy to adjust compared to traditional locknut headsets.
The changes to drive trains are mostly refinements to the controls for the increasing cog counts, first from 8 to 9 and now 10 and 11.
The "10-speed" of my early riding days now refers to the 10-cog cassette alone. Today’s drive trains from SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo are now 20 and 22 speed (2×10 or 2×11) or 27 and 30 speed (3×9, or 3×10). While requiring patience to adjust, riders of all types have come to appreciate the "micro" shift adjustments now offered on the latest bikes.
Bottom brackets, like the Shimano’s Hollowtech II, have also been made lighter in weight with improved stiffness, in designs that that are easier to install and maintain than their predecessors.
The last few weeks have been fun and interesting. In my next post, I will talk about a new of bike from Trek I have had chance assemble, from the new Belleville
, an eco-friendly manufactured town bike.