The second annual series of hands-on mechanics’ seminars comprising the Park Tool Tech Summit has come and gone, and it was a fantastic opportunity for professional mechanics to work on the latest high-tech components without fear of screwing up equipment belonging either to their shop or to a customer.
The beauty of the summit is that everything required, including expert instruction, is at hand to do jobs that bike shop owners or employees might have some trepidation about, yet would like to be able to do in-house, producing income, rather than sending to somebody else. Jobs like overhauling suspension forks and Campagnolo ErgoPower levers or bleeding hydraulic disc brakes come to mind. It also is priced reasonably, there are locations every year in the East, Midwest, and West, and the time commitment is small compared to many mechanic certification seminars or bike shows.
At the two-day clinics, which this year were in Philadelphia, Chicago and San Jose, professional mechanics receive hands-on training on the newest technologies from representatives of major component manufacturers. This year, those companies were Shimano, SRAM, RockShox, Fox, Mavic, Hayes (including Manitou), Campagnolo and, of course, Park Tool.
I attended the San Jose stop of the Park Tool Tech Summit in early February (held at a Doubletree hotel near the airport) and found the classes, with one exception, to be so good that it is regrettable that I could not take every one. Since there are three 2 1/2-hour classes per day, it’s only possible to take six total classes over the two days, while there are eight that are offered. The only one I completely missed was an advanced wheelbuilding seminar by Park’s Calvin Jones, and I would have loved to have had Hermione Grainger’s Time-Turner to be in that and another class at the same time.
By the end of the second day, which was the last day of the three-city series, every single fork, wheel, brake/shift lever and brake caliper had been torn down and rebuilt so many times, in many cases by people doing it for the first time, that, although they had started off new back in Philadelphia, the parts were pretty beat by the end in San Jose. In most classes, this showed up only as somewhat worn nuts, or adjusters that no longer clicked into place, because the companies had brought sufficient replacement parts to keep all of the equipment serviceable. This was not true at Mavic, however, and I unfortunately had waited until late on the second day to attend that class. By that time, parts were missing or broken in the majority of the hubs of the wheels for the class, so only a few people were working hands-on, while the rest were watching a demonstration.
Since I had just gotten done writing in so much detail in the third edition of Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance about overhauling all Campagnolo ErgoPower levers through 11-speed ones, I had decided to pass on that one, much as I would have liked to take it. But once it became clear that the Mavic class, although still useful, was not the hands-on experience I had expected, I caught the second half of Campagnolo USA tech service manager Dan Large’s class, which still had enough parts for everybody to work on.
A highlight for shop owners was an after-dinner presentation on the first day by Barnett Bicycle Institute founder John Barnett on how to ensure that a shop service department can work effectively, efficiently and profitably.
Participants all left the Tech Summit with a big black binder chock-full of information under headings for each of the participating companies. Most companies supplied the full detail, with photos and instructions, of the service jobs they had presented. The Hayes, Manitou, SRAM, RockShox and Park Tool sections all went into great detail, while Fox supplied exploded diagrams with tiny step-by-step instructions on them. Shimano only supplied a page of links to online exploded views and service instructions and the phone number for Shimano customer service, while the Campagnolo section was blank, at least in my binder. Barnett provided an outline of his entire talk at the back of the binder.
Some useful takeaways for any mechanic:
After pulling apart a Mavic freehub, put it back together using only a few drops of 10-weight mineral oil on the teeth and pawls. Phil Wood Tenacious Oil is also recommended, but don’t use lighter weight oils than 10W, since they will flow out and leave the mechanism unprotected. Don’t use grease on the pawls, as it could stick them down. And don’t grease the outer seal when you put the freehub body back on. The seal is outside the body and needs no lubrication; grease on it would attract dirt that could make its way inside the freehub.
You can make really nice hooks and other tools for overhauling Ergopower levers out of straight-pull spokes.
For tips from the Tech Summit on mountain-bike component service, see my column on www.singletrack.com.
To ask me a tech question, send me an email.
Got some mountain bike tech questions? Check out Lennard’s FAQ on Singletrack.com
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Technical writer Lennard Zinn is a frame builder (www.zinncycles.com), a former U.S. national team rider and author of numerous books on bikes and bike maintenance including the pair of successful maintenance guides “Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance” – now available also on DVD, and “Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance,” as well as “Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes” and “Zinn’s Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists.”Zinn’s regular column is devoted to addressing readers’ technical questions about bikes, their care and feeding and how we as riders can use them as comfortably and efficiently as possible. Readers can send brief technical questions directly to Zinn. Zinn’s column appears here each Tuesday.