If you don’t know a lot about bikes but want to seem like you do, here are a few facts about cycling that will impress your friends (and your mechanic) when you throw them into conversation. Think Bridget Jones with the “Chechnya” scene…
- Chainline. Casually drop some chainline chat into your next conversation and you’ll have a friend for life. More importantly, your bike may get that extra attention that doesn’t end up on the bill. Chainline dictates shift smoothness, longevity of drivetrain and ability to deal best with the tough gunky, crunchy times. Your mechanic will deal in 0.X, sub 1mm spacing corrections, so dropping a “maybe it needs a 0.5mm spacer up front” could start a shared knowing-nod.
- Disc brakes on roadbikes are still strangely a hot topic, so try demonstrating the knowledge that disc brake ‘technology’ has been mainstream on MTBs since 1998 – a fact that will get your mechanic nodding.
- Another mindblown, shared knowing-nod item may also be on truing wheels (the art of straightening them up after some hits). Truing wheels doesn’t just involve wrenching the nipples tighter, but also loosening some to achieve consistent (but not necessarily equal) tensions. A strong wheel is a consistently tensioned wheel, not necessarily the highest tensioned wheel.
- Tyre-to-rim width optimisation is another area that your mechanic has probably known about for years but is only recently getting attention in the masses (mostly due to marketing). Wider isn’t always better, neither is narrower and a wide rim with a not-wide-enough tyre creates a bad ‘bag’ profile. A narrow rim and too-wide a tyre increases squirm and needs higher pressure than you’d like to play ball. Talk rim/tyre matchymatchy with your mechanic – they’ll dig it.
- Finally, simply knowing which of the major manufacturers brought pieces of key equipment that we find on modern bikes can endear you: Rear mech? Campag. Clip in pedals? Shimano. First electronic groupset? Mavic. First integrated brake/shifter units? Shimano
That’s all for now but hit me with your questions and I’ll try to answer them for you!