So many UBI graduates go onto successful careers in the bike industry – and some ever parlay their Bikeschool and industry experience into the most unexpected careers.
Eric McCollum’s Where Are They Wednesday story is one of the messages we received that inspired the whole Blog series. So here it Is!
Frame Building and Welding experience gained at UBI led to Eric’s successful career in custom fabrication.
“I attended UBI shortly after graduating high school and took all your available classes, including the steel TIG frame class. I was offered a job from another student attending the repair class I was in. I took him up on the offer and moved from FL to VA just a few weeks after returning home. That job didn’t work out, so I packed up and moved to Colorado where I quickly landed another job, much more to my liking.”
“I was a mechanic at that shop for 2 years when PUSH Industries heard of me and offered me a job as a suspension tech. (BTW, the owner of PUSH also attended UBI.) While working for PUSH, the company was transitioning into in-house manufacturing, and they put me in charge of the machine shop. I was there for almost 6 years, when finally I decided I needed to move on.”
“I took a position with another machine shop in 2012, my first ever job outside of the cycling industry. There, I also utilized my UBI acquired TIG welding skills, and MIG welding that I had picked up through various off-road projects with another friend, one who I met while at UBI. That job lasted a few years, as the welding tapered off I realized that was what I really wanted to do, so I accepted a position as a fabricator/welder at a local shop.”
“I truly believe UBI was an incredibly useful stepping stone to get me where I am today. I love my job, and always think back to the first time I struck an arc with Jim Kish at your facility. Many thanks.”
Mitering, Bending, and Welding.
Our second entry for Where Are They Wednesday is Scott Armstrong – one of UBI’s most active Facebook followers, and never without an informed opinion. Scott has spent a great deal of time with UBI, and has taken what he learned to his life as an entrepreneur and business owner in San Diego, CA, but also ensures that his work benefits the community.
“Following my completion of the 2 week certification course last year I partnered with a friend and we opened MJ’s Cyclery in San Diego Feb 1st 2014. Our focus is on commute and short trip riding so we sell new and used bikes, accessories, and clothing.” he said.
“The used bikes we sell are mostly donated and salvaged from a local university who has to dispose of them from time to time. After they determine they are not stolen and cannot locate the owners they let us pick through the ones we can work with. By the time they get to us they generally need a lot of work.”
“We add up the labor and parts costs and that is the selling price. It’s been a lot of fun to save bikes and get them into the hands of folks who may not be able to afford a new $600 bike. Attending UBI was really helpful. I took my years of my non-bike industry mechanic experience and put it all together so now it makes sense and I am doing things the right way.”
“BTW, we get to work on “nice” bikes too as our reputation spreads.”
“We’re located on the border of two of San Diego’s greatest neighborhoods Hillcrest and North Park (On Park Blvd. at the intersection of University Avenue)”
Scott and Jess workin’ the day-to-day life at the shop.
The first in our new series talking to UBI graduates, reflecting on their time at Bikeschool, and what they have been doing since getting their Certificates of Completion, Rob Ferrara sent us some updates on his work with recovering vets.
Rob spent time in UBI in the Winter and Summer of 2014, competing all of our mechanics courses: Intro, Pro, & Advanced Seminars. His professional experience since then has taken the skills he learned with UBI and honed them into an aspect of bike work that many of us would never have dreamed about.
If you have a chance to check out the work that Ride 2 Recovery is doing, and the achievements of many of the riders taking part in the program, you will be humbled, to say the least.
What have you been up to since graduating from UBI?
“Since completing my courses I have become a much better mechanic. I work for a non-profit called Ride 2 Recovery where we help wounded, injured and ill veterans recover from their injuries through cycling. Having being wounded in 2007 and retired from active duty 2 years ago this job is an awesome retirement job.”
Rob is the humble guy hiding in the back with the red helmet and jersey.
“Some of my rolls as the Program Manager are first and foremost a mechanic, do all fittings, lead rides, adapt all types of bikes for all types of injuries, track all rides, order parts and the list goes on.”
“Currently we have over 30 riders, over 40 up right bikes, 7 recumbents and 5 hand cycles. Attached is a copy of my bike room. It’s a little messy right now since we are waiting for some 2x4s to be installed so we can hang the bike up on the wall and gain floor space.“
Rob’s workshop is and ever-evolving beast! (Aren’t they all!)
Thanks for the update, Rob! We miss you!
Editor’s note - Ever the humble character, Rob failed to mention that Ride 2 Recovery has helped wounded vets not just recover form their injuries, but successfully compete in major events like the Race Across America (RAAM). Some of his stories from the road, and the characters he gets to ride with, would amaze you!
You can find more information on Ride 2 Recovery at: https://ride2recovery.com/
It’s only May, but for UBI frame building classes, the year is almost over.
We have just a few frame building classes that still have space in them. Here are the pickings:
Steel Brazing Frame Building – October 6 – 17: 4 spots Register here.
Steel Brazing Frame Building – September 8 – 19: 3 spots Register here.
Steel Brazing Frame Building – December 1 – 12: Wide open Register here.
What was Bespoked Bristol last year has become Bespoked – The UK Handmade Bicycle Show. It just finished up, and Oregon’s bike industry did some representin’. Cielo/Chris King were there, as was UBI-Portland brazing instructor Joseph Ahearne. And we’re happy to report that UBI grad Eric Estlund, builder of Winter Bicycles, took the award for Best Track Bike. This is very fitting, considering that this year’s show took place in the infield of the stunningly beautiful velodrome at London’s Lee Valley Velopark
For some candy, check out the vid:
We just heard from our partners at Fox Racing Shox about the fork choices for the next Fox Master Tech Clinic, scheduled October 25 at UBI Portland. Clinic participants will be able to choose among 50 – that’s five-oh – different 2015 Fox fork models and configurations.
How does this work? The Fox Master Tech clinic is a one-day seminar team-taught by UBI instructors and Fox technicians, designed to bring students up to date on servicing Fox’s latest and greatest forks. When a student signs up for the clinic, he or she chooses a fork, which will be waiting for the student on the morning of the class. After working on the fork for the entire clinic, the student leaves with it! The $600 cost of the clinic is, in many cases, less than the pro-deal cost of the fork. The clinic is open only to mechanics working at authorized Fox dealers.
“Where do I sign up?” you say. Just click this link.
And the fork choices? Feast your eyes:
2015 32 FLOAT 26in 100 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.125 39mm
2015 32 FLOAT 26in 100 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 9mm 1.5T 39mm
2015 32 FLOAT 26in 100 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 9mm 1.125 39mm
2015 32 FLOAT 26in 100 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5T 39mm
2015 32 FLOAT 26in 100 CTD ADJ FIT Wht 15QR 1.5T 39mm
2015 32 FLOAT 26in 120 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.125 39mm
2015 32 FLOAT 26in 120 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 9mm 1.125 39mm
2015 32 FLOAT 26in 120 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5T 39mm
2015 32 FLOAT 26in 120 CTD ADJ FIT Wht 15QR 1.5T 39mm
2015 32 FLOAT 26in 120 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 9mm 1.5T 39mm
2015 32 FLOAT 26in 140 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.125 39mm
2015 32 FLOAT 26in 140 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 9mm 1.125 39mm
2015 32 FLOAT 26in 140 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5T 39mm
2015 32 FLOAT 26in 150 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.125 39mm
2015 32 FLOAT 26in 150 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5T 39mm
2015 32 TALAS 26in 140-110 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.125 39mm
2015 32 TALAS 26in 140-110 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 9mm 1.125 39mm
2015 32 TALAS 26in 140-110 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5T 39mm
2015 32 TALAS 26in 150-120 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.125 39mm
2015 32 TALAS 26in 150-120 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5T 39mm
2015 34 FLOAT 26in 160 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5 T 37mm
2015 34 TALAS 26in 160-130 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5T 37mm
2015 32 FLOAT 27.5in 100 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5T 44mm
2015 32 FLOAT 27.5in 100 CTD ADJ FIT Wht 15QR 1.5T 44mm
2015 32 FLOAT 27.5in 100 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 9mm 1.5T 44mm
2015 32 FLOAT 27.5in 120 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5T 44mm
2015 32 FLOAT 27.5in 120 CTD ADJ FIT Wht 15QR 1.5T 44mm
2015 32 FLOAT 27.5in 120 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 9mm 1.5T 44mm
2015 32 FLOAT 27.5in 140 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5T 44mm
2015 32 TALAS 27.5in 140-110 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5T 44mm
2015 34 FLOAT 27.5in 160 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5T 44mm
2015 34 TALAS 27.5in 160-130 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5T 44mm
2015 32 FLOAT 29in 100 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.125 44mm
2015 32 FLOAT 29in 100 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 9mm 1.125 44mm
2015 32 FLOAT 29in 100 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5T 44mm
2015 32 FLOAT 29in 100 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5T 51mm
2015 32 FLOAT 29in 100 CTD ADJ FIT Wht 15QR 1.5T 44mm
2015 32 FLOAT 29in 100 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 9mm 1.5T 44mm
2015 32 FLOAT 29in 120 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.125 44mm
2015 32 FLOAT 29in 120 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 9mm 1.125 44mm
2015 32 FLOAT 29in 120 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5T 44mm
2015 32 FLOAT 29in 120 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5T 51mm
2015 32 FLOAT 29in 120 CTD ADJ FIT Wht 15QR 1.5T 44mm
2015 32 FLOAT 29in 120 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 9mm 1.5T 44mm
2015 32 TALAS 29in 120-90 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.125 44mm
2015 32 TALAS 29in 120-90 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5T 44mm
2015 34 FLOAT 29in 140 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5 T 51mm
2015 34 TALAS 29in 140-110 CTD ADJ FIT Blk 15QR 1.5 T 51mm
SRAM’s new cassette-to-driver body interface is called XD, and allows you to run a cassette with a 10-tooth cog. SRAM made this new interface an open standard. This means that other manufacturers can develop an XD-compatible body that works with their own ratchet system, making their hub compatible with SRAM’s XX1 10-42 11-speed cassette.
This week we’ll show you how to convert DT Swiss’s 240/350 series rear hub with a Shimano splined freehub body to a SRAM 11 speed XD Driver. Our example is a through-axle, but the process is the same for these series hubs equipped with QR systems or Campy-splined freehub bodies.
• Axle vise or 0.75” tube block
• Bench vise
• DT Swiss XD freehub kit
• DT Swiss Star Ratchet Grease
Left: Take care not to damage those end caps! Right: Freehub with end cap removed.
Clamp the drive-side hub end cap in a 0.75” tubing block for 12mm through-axles. For quick release setups, use a 10mm axle vise. This will provide sufficient support for the end caps so you don’t get all Gojirra and crush or damage them. Use a wiggling action to free the end cap from the axle. Make sure to keep your fingers on the freehub-body/driveshell while lifting upwards. Failure to do this can result in damage to the end cap.
Left: The hub w/o freehub body. Right: Lay your parts out like this.
Step 2: Lift the freehub body off the axle and set aside. Lift off the top conical spring, star ratchets, ratchet collar, and lower conical spring. Lay out all the parts in the fashion shown. Clean them with isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free rag.
Correct installation of the first spring and centering collar. Don’t forget the grease!
Step 3: Apply a thin coat of DT Swiss Star Ratchet Grease to the inner conical spring. With the spring taper pointing up, drop the spring over the axle.
Step 4: Apply a coating of Star Ratchet Grease on the centering collar and place the star ratchet centering collar onto the axle.
Correct installation of the two star ratchets and outer conical spring. Got grease?
Apply Star Ratchet Grease to the ratchets and place one star ratchet over the axle and centering collar, ramp side facing up.
Step 6: Place the second star ratchet onto the first ratchet, ramps facing down.
Step 7: Place the second conical spring onto the star ratchet stack, wide end facing up.The centering collar should nest inside of the spring.
New freehub body, new end caps:s Snap together and go!
Step 8: Install the new XD freehub-body onto the axle, paying attention to align the star ratchet splines into the freehub body and hub shell.
Step 9: Place the new axle end cap supplied with the XD freehub body onto the axle. The cap should provide an audible click when it snaps into space. Test the hub for proper function.
The hub should now be ready to be laced for wheel building, or, if it’s already part of a wheel, to receive a SRAM 11 speed cassette. Time to ride!
The guys from NSMB were on their way from Canada to Sea Otter and wanted to ride some singletrack in Ashland. So, via our friends at Santa Cruz bikes, they hooked up with UBI instructor Nathan Riddle, who served as tour guide. Oh, the humanity!
More over at NSMB’s web site.
We are happy to announce the first two winners of the QBP/SRAM/UBI Female Mechanic scholarship. The winners will attend UBI’s Professional Repair and Shop Operation class at our Ashland location.
Elizabeth Jose: Elizabeth works at a shop in NYC, and is starting a non-profit focused on supporting women riders. She teaches a mechanic class in Spanish to women in Queens. These women earn a bike at the end of the class.
Vanessa Buccella: Vanessa is in the process of starting a women-focused bike shop in Chicago. She serves on the board of the Illinois Cycling Association.
We had over 300 applicants for these scholarships, which is an amazing response. We want to thank our partners, QBP and SRAM, as well as the many women who applied for this scholarship. You can read more about it in Bicycle Retailer.
Watch our blog for news about next year’s scholarship process!
Bicycle Tire Treads
An example of a smooth tread tire. Image courtesy of Bontrager.
The tread is where the rubber meets the road (or trail, if dirt is your preferred medium). This article will discuss what constitutes an ideal tread pattern for your intended usage.
Contrary to popular belief, tread on a road racing tire is not needed. In fact, the addition of a tread pattern onto a road racing tire takes away material that would otherwise be in contact with the road. At any given point, no more than about a dime-sized portion of the tire is in contact with the pavement. This is called the contact patch. Since such a small amount of rubber is in contact with the pavement, the removal of rubber in the form of tread pattern actually decreases grip.
Have a look at the tires on cars used for racing such as stock-cars or dragsters.
“But they don’t race in the rain”, you say?
Look at the smooth tread and rounded profile of motorcycle or aircraft tires. The rounded profile of these tires displaces water very efficiently, like the hull of a boat or ship. Mechanical engineer and bicycle wheel expert Jobst Brandt explains it like this:
Tread patterns have no effect on surfaces in which they leave no impression. That is to say, if the road is harder than the tire, a tread pattern does not improve traction. That smooth tires have better dry traction is probably accepted by most bicyclists, but wet pavement still appears to raise doubts even though motorcycles have shown that tread patterns do not improve wet traction.
A window-cleaning squeegee demonstrates this effect well. Even with a new sharp edge, it glides effortlessly over wet glass leaving a microscopic layer of water behind to evaporate. On a second swipe, the squeegee sticks to the dry glass. This example should make apparent that the lubricating water layer cannot be removed by tire tread, and that only the micro-grit of the road surface can penetrate this layer to give traction. For this reason, metal plates, paint stripes, and railway tracks are incorrigibly slippery.
An example of tire with negative tread. – Image courtesy of Continental.
It is important to understand though, that not every bicycle that is ridden on the pavement will benefit from an entirely slick tread. Touring, cyclocross, and hybrid bikes are often ridden on a variety of surfaces, including less than perfect pavement and dirt. In these instances, a perfectly smooth tread pattern may not be ideal; it may be detrimental to maintaining grip. Instead, a tire with a “negative tread” can be beneficial. Negative tread patterns may best be described as patterns where the relieved portion of the tread is smaller than the raised portion.
Off-road, or mountain bike tires require an entirely different set of considerations. It is first important to understand that unlike road or pavement oriented tires, the surfaces being ridden on can be both much softer, and highly variable. A tread pattern that performs very well in soft, loamy dirt, may not perform as well on hardpack, let alone mud.
Braking grip vs. traction –
The forces that a tire is tasked with handling off road are more pronounced than they are on the pavement. Grip is not the sole consideration. For example, when riding off-road a tire’s tread is tasked with providing forward momentum (traction), control under deceleration (braking), and maintaining traction while turning (side grip).
An example of an aggressive off-road tire with a positive tread pattern. Image courtesy of Schwalbe.
Picture a short section of trail consisting of a descent into a hard turn, and exiting into a short steep climb. Within the section of trail the tires of the bicycle are required to handle braking, turning, and acceleration. If a tread breaks free under hard braking (skidding) grip, and consequently control, is lost. Imagine losing grip while trying to slow down to enter the turn. Steep inclines and hard cornering are common occurrences when riding off road.
Unlike pavement, which whether wet or dry is still pavement, conditions found off road can pose a much larger question. While the dirt underneath the tire may still be dirt, the degree of moisture in it, as well as its composition, can have a drastic effect on the type of tread pattern that is needed. Dry conditions can warrant anything from small, tightly-spaced knobs, to large, widely-spaced chevrons depending on how hard or soft the ground is. Wet or muddy conditions might warrant a tire that does not “pack-up” with mud or debris, but still has pronounced enough knobs to bite through to firmer ground; while at the same time being narrower in order to cut through the mud.
There is no “perfect” tread pattern for any specific tire usage. Certainly there are many similarities that can be found between different manufacturers, but every tire maker puts their own spin on a given type of tire. If you are unsure about what will work best for the type of riding you do, consult with your local bike shop for what works best in your area!