The Golden Wrench

A blog about bicycle repair and maintenance by the mechanics at Freewheel Bike.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Getting smarter

Pete, Dave and Tyson headed out earlier this week to visit the Hayes/Manitou crew in Milwaukee. The idea was to get some hands-on training from the guys who know more than just about anybody about Manitou suspension components and Hayes hydraulic brakes.

We spent a long day tearing into forks, shocks and brakes with one-on-one guidance from the mechanics who do this all day, every day. Hints and tips that otherwise would take years to discover were passed to us in 9 hours of intense tutorials. Raise your hand if you know how to use a nickel to set the fluid level in a Swinger shock. How about disassembling an IT spring without sending parts flying across the shop? These and other secrets made our trip more than worth it.

Here is Shannon (from Hayes/Manitou) leading Dave through a fork tear-down.

Here Colin (from Hayes/Manitou) guides Pete through the post-overhaul tests on a shock (it's nice to know that you put everything back together in the right order). We came home with one of those shock dynos, by the way. Just have to find some space on one of the benches to mount it...

Here Tyson uses a syringe that costs more than his bike to set the fluid level in an MRD fork.

Here Andy (from Hayes/Manitou) leads Dave and Tyson through caliper and master cylinder overhauls of the new Stroker series of brakes.

Here are the guts of the Hayes Stroker Ace four-piston brake caliper. That purple anodized bit is part of the special toolkit for that brake. (We managed to come home with those kits, too.)

Anyone have a truing stand at home? Not like this one, you don't (and I thought our Park TS-2's were heavy-duty!):

It's a little hard to tell what's going on in this next shot, but what you're seeing is a big spool of wire being turned into Wheelsmith spokes (which are also part of the Hayes family).

What else could we possibly cram into a 1.5-day trip to Milwaukee and back? Well, we do work at a bike shop, which pretty much requires us to ride bikes whenever we're not eating or sleeping, so went a little bit out of our way to find a bit of singletrack in the Kettle Moraine state forest outside Milwaukee. We tried to take pictures, but we were riding so fast they came out a little blurry...

What's the take-home message? We're working hard to widen our expertise and we're talking directly to the experts to do so. Next month we'll be hanging out with the folks from Fox Racing Shox. Stay tuned...