Spin Doctor Mechanic Profiles – Jason Randall

Spin Doctor

For today’s Spin Doctor bicycle mechanic profile, allow us to introduce Jason Randall from the Tyson’s Corner, VA store. Jason has been wrenching for 15 years, and he’s ready for any job that comes his way, be it big or small.  So if you are in the Tyson’s Corner store, be sure to head back to the Spin Doctor area and say hello to Jason (sorry, we made a mistake with our original post when we said that Jason worked in the new Columbia, MD store).

When did you start with Performance?

2004.

How did you get started in cycling?

I hung around a local shop everyday, all day, taking out their trash and absorbing all of the info I could until they offered me a job. I was already into cycling and thought there was no better place to get more of it than in a local shop.

How long have you been cycling?

Since I was three years old. I really took it up as a hobby when I was 13.

What’s your favorite type of riding?

I started off only mountain biking, but the past few years have been mostly road.

Any racing experience?

I’ve done a few mountain bike races, mostly endurance events. Bike mechanics are normally working when everyone is racing, so one has to know that going in, and be willing to sacrifice his own racing glory and live vicariously through those bikes he prepares for the races.

Favorite places to ride?

Schaffer Farm for mountain biking, but on the road I like going out to the west from my house on some old country roads and portions of the W&OD trail. Downtown on the Mt. Vernon trail and Beech Drive are a lot of fun as well.

What’s your favorite aspect of working in a bicycle store?

Not having to wear a suit everyday! Discounts are nice, but I really like all of the people I’ve had the chance to meet. I’ve met a lot of friends working in bike shops, friends I’ll have for life.

Dream place to ride?

Italy.

Any cycling goals? Something you are working toward?

Working toward getting faster on the road, becoming a better climber, putting a hurting on my riding friends. I might also join a team and do some limited road racing this year.

Any hobbies outside of cycling?

Hanging outside with my Lab, Zoey.  Hiking, camping. I’m also into racing cars (drag and auto x) and building hot rods.

How long have you been a mechanic?

15 years, I started when I was 14 years old.

Have you wrenched for a pro team or pro cyclist?

Dave Fuentes of the Battley Harley Davidson Pro Cycling Team, plus lots of really good local guys.

Any specialties?

Attention to details and custom/pro builds. I like to think that there is no job on a bike I cant tackle. I’ve pretty much done it all, although every year the game changes, so I am always learning and adapting.

Any certifications?

I am certified Spin Doctor and I am also certified by Park Tools .

Any club affiliation?

None currently.

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Spin Doctor Mechanic Profile – Richard Richter

Spin DoctorOur Peoria, AZ retail store’s Spin Doctor, Richard Richter, is originally from Montreal, Canada. He has been riding for almost 30 years, and wrenching on bikes for nearly the same amount of time! Richard is Spin Doctor certified and has also received training from vendors such as Rock Shox, SRAM, and Mavic.  Richard is ready for any project, large or small, and he’s happy to share his vast bike knowledge.

His first bike was a Schwinn Apple Crate 5 speed, a true classic. Nowadays Richard’s most used ride is his GT Zaskar Expert, which is ridden often at Spur Cross Conservation Area near Cave Creek, AZ. This Sonoran Desert Preserve is full of multi use trails or jaunts into the wilderness if solitude is on the day’s menu. You can always expect to see plenty of wildlife such as birds, Javelina, and even the occasional bobcat. Read more of this post

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Assessing carbon fiber damage

Spin Doctor

You just had your first wreck on your new carbon fiber bike. . .  is the frame ruined?

Top tube of 2010 Scattante CFR Race

There are many questions about assessing damage to carbon fiber components and frames.  Simple answers are not always possible, however Brent Downs of Advanced Sports has a good approach to finding obvious problems:

1. Check any chips or blemishes.

If only the clear coat is damaged, it can be sealed with clear nail polish.

2. Thoroughly examine the damaged area.

Are fibers exposed or is the area soft to the touch? If the fibers are damaged, then the frame or component should be replaced.

3. Tap on the frame/component at the damaged area. Then tap on a similar non-damaged area.

If the two areas sound different, there likely is damage to the carbon fiber and replacement is probably necessary.

4. Finally, if you are in any way uncertain, have the manufacturer inspect the suspect part.

That last step is probably the most important.  If you have any doubts, it’s always best to check with the experts!

Spin Doctor Mechanic Profiles – Jae Honda

Spin Doctor

For today’s mechanic profile, we’re heading out to the west coast to meet Jae Honda, a Certified Spin Doctor bicycle mechanic (and avid surfer, if you can’t catch that from the photo below).  Jae currently wrenches in our Ventura, CA store, although soon he’ll be moving, along with the rest of the store, down the coast a bit to our new Oxnard, CA location:

How long have you been a mechanic and how did you get started?

5 years. I started just working on my own bikes, then my friend’s bikes, and it just kept going.

How long have you worked for Performance?

1 year 4 months.

Where are you from?

Los Angeles, Ca. and grew up on Maui. Read more of this post

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Breaking In Disc Brakes

Spin Doctor

You just got new disc brakes or new pads for your old disc brakes.  But now that you’ve started riding, the brakes don’t stop like they used to. What do you do?

Well, you need to start by breaking in your new disc brakes, or, as the process is sometimes called, burnishing, burning in or bedding in. Whatever you call it, it will make your disc brakes work better by doing 3 things:

1) It will rid the pads and rotor of superficial oil, grime and contaminants that inhibit friction.

2) It will reshape the pads so that they conform more accurately to the rotors. After breaking in more of the pads will contact more of the rotor.

3) It will increase stickiness (coefficient of friction) of the system by transferring a thin, even layer of brake pad compound to the rotor. Read more of this post

Google Maps Bicycling Directions

As you may have heard, Google just announced the exciting news that bicycling is now an option on Google Maps!  Just select “Bicycling” when getting directions in Google Maps, or  just choose the “Bicycling” layer under the “More” tab when you are viewing a map (if you simply want to peruse the biking options in an area).

Basically Google has worked with many different sources to include as much data as possible about bike-friendly routes across the country.  When you select biking directions, a route is calculated based on an algorithm that attempts to factor in the specific needs of a cyclist, from utilizing bike trails and lanes to avoiding big hills.  They even give you an estimate of the time the route will take, with a fatigue factor built in!  When you are looking at a map with the biking layer turned on, use this key to decipher the bike-specific features:

  • Dark green indicates a dedicated bike-only trail;
  • Light green indicates a dedicated bike lane along a road;
  • Dashed green indicates roads that are designated as preferred for bicycling, but without dedicated lanes

Of course this feature is only in beta testing right now, so take any information with a grain of salt.  But we’ve been playing around with this feature this morning, and so far we’re pretty impressed.  Below is a map of the area around our headquarters here in Chapel Hill; the bicycling layer does a very good job of capturing bike-only trails and also includes many roads that have bike lanes or are more “bike-friendly” (at least in larger towns):

But there’s still a long way to go with this project, and Google is looking for your support.  Go online and play with the Google biking feature; try out some directions or just browse the map.

Cyclists that you are, you have the information that Google is looking for to refine this service and make it even better and more accurate (when you get biking directions, you’ll also get a prompt to report any problems or suggestions with the route). Let your voice be heard and we can make this feature better for everyone.

As the service improves, we’ll look for ways to incorporate this feature into our website, but let us know what you find while checking out your area.  Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new route to ride this afternoon!

Spin Doctor Mechanic Profiles – Dee Saunders

Spin DoctorNot that we’re at all bored with our normal Employee Profiles, but we’ve decided to add a new twist.  Starting today, we’re going to begin integrating interviews with our certified Spin Doctor mechanics into our normal routine.  Without further delay, allow us to introduce Dee Saunders, a Certified Spin Doctor bicycle mechanic from our new Downtown Portland location:

Dee Saunders

  1. How long have you been a mechanic and how did you get started? …Since I took apart my first Schwinn.  I have been taking things apart for as long as I can remember.  Fortunately, over the years, I got a lot better at putting things back together.  I can attribute my aptitude for working with my hands to my father who allowed me to tag along, and as I grew older, take the reins.
  2. How long have you worked for Performance? I have been at Performance for about 3 years! I work with the best team and have some of the best customers around! Read more of this post

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Maintaining Ceramic Bearings

In the search for more speed, the cycling community works on defeating the 3 main forces that try to slow riders down: wind, gravity, and friction. There are wheels, helmets, frames, and forks to beat the wind, components & parts to make bikes lighter, and smoother, more fluid parts to reduce friction.

To reduce friction, the industry has now turned to ceramic bearings.  Modern external steel-bearing bottom brackets have tested drag of ~4% of power output.  Ceramic bearings generate only ½%,  helping to save 4 watts per 100 watts generated.

The friction and heat generated by ceramics is lower for a number of reasons:

  • Ceramic bearings are rounder and less compressible (50% harder) than the highest quality steel bearing.  This allows parts to be made to tighter tolerances giving a smoother motion with less vibration.
  • Ceramics do not conduct electrical current and are chemically inert so they do not oxidize and rust like steel bearings.
  • Ceramic balls are less porous than steel so they have less rolling friction.
  • Ceramics handle heat better than steel (lower coefficient of thermal expansion).  Ceramic bearings will expand and contract 35% less than steel bearings in like conditions. In tight tolerance conditions, added heat can cause bearings to expand and cause binding.
  • Ceramic bearings are also 40% lighter than steel bearings creating less rotating mass, allowing for faster acceleration and deceleration.

In our new 2010 Scattante road bike line, ceramic bottom bracket bearings are included with the 2010 Scattante CFR Pro Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 Road Bike and the 2010 Scattante CFR Team Dura-Ace 7900 Road Bike.

2010 Scattante CFR Team Dura-Ace 7900 Road Bike Read more of this post

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 Electronic Shift System

So you’ve won the lottery and your first big purchase is Shimano’s new electronic Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain.

Before you install it, BE ADVISED that your ego may be put in jeopardy. Yes, the new Di2 components are so slick that your bike, once Di2 adorned, will be smarter than you. Push a button and you have perfect shifts every time. The front derailleur will automatically trim itself to eliminate cross chain rubbing, and the rear derailleur disconnects its motor when you lay the bike down. The system will even tell you when the battery is low or if there’s a malfunction. Plus the battery lasts 1000 KM and will recharge in only 90 minutes.

Like we said, this stuff is SWEET!

Even better, Dura-Ace Di2 meets the “clock on the VCR” standard. If you can program the clock on your VCR, installation of Di2 will be a snap. The components come with good, clear installation and set-up instructions plus Shimano has an even better online tutorial, http://di2certified.shimano.com. That site features both a how-to video and an interactive installation and operation lesson.

But there are a few small subtleties that, if missed, can short circuit Di2’s marvelous performance.

Be aware of these issues:

• Do not touch the cable connector terminal/contacts. The system is great but can malfunction if the contacts are fouled.

RD-7970 rear derailleur

• The RD-7970 rear derailleur will  accommodate cassette cogs as large as 27 teeth, no bigger. Do not be tempted to install the new Dura-Ace 7900 11-28 cassette; it will hang up. Read more of this post

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Rotating your tires

Our Spin Doctor tech tip team has some advice for those looking to get a little more life out of your tires (and really, who doesn’t):

Rotating your tires front to rear is a great idea to increase the longevity of the pair but…..

If you like to ride on the edge (whether cornering with the pros or shredding technical singletrack), THINK TWICE.

Riding singletrack

Most steering control, both off-road and on, comes from the front tire while more tire wear happens with the drive forces on the rear.  So putting a road tire worn flat or a MTB tire with worn lugs on the front will lessen traction when cornering hard.

To prolong the life of your tires, save some money and keep high performance traction, ride your tires until the rear is worn out, move the front tire to the rear, and put a grippy new tire on the front.

Of course, that’s just our take.  What’s your experience with getting the most life out of your tires?  Please share your tips in the comments below.

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