Thursday, October 31, 2013

Grey is the new Black

  Well it happened. The internet created a whole new wheel size and dealt a death blow to 26 inch wheels. Most if not all manufacturers are dropping the 26 and going with the tweener size. I blame MTBR. Here you have a bunch of computards who in effect type more than they ride. Sheldon Brown wanna be's lauding praise because they said so ( uh, yea I see the irony duh.) The internet has no fact checks built in, they are not typing a research paper. Hell, we the reader are just as guilty because we drink it up like free beers at a work party.

  Like road disc brakes, the industry jumped on board tweener wheels. Not because of pure market demand but because no one wanted to be Yeti. Remember? Yeti was the manufacturer to call 29er's clown shoes. Yeti missed the boat and lost a crap load of market share. Finally coming out with a bandaid bike that was rather unimpressive and did nothing but save face and fill a major void in their line up to keep dealers placated. Not happy, just placated. Big mistake, they know it now, and might just admit it if you have enough single malt. No one wants to do that with 27.5/650B. ( shit that wheel size is so damn awesome it has two names).

 Road bikes. Shit. These damn things are coming with Hydros? Flat land mechanics rejoice. You have struck gold in service revenue. Bleeding these is easy peasy. But we all know road bikers are far more fearful of maintenance than their dirty counter parts. ( I mean mtn bikers fools.) So rejoice in this. Us mountain state mechanics are sighing a collective " OH FUCK". Why? Well, let me tell you.
 Flat out, people don't know shit. On a daily basis we are bombarded with," my brakes make noise." Yeah, we know they do. They are Avids, and you probably thought you could drag them all the way down the hill from Snowbowl. You can't, don't care what brake it is. The problem lies elsewhere.    People are not taught the right way to ride bikes anymore. Don't believe me? When was the last time you jumped in a group ride? The finer points of riding in a group have been lost. Technique has gone the way of the 26" wheel. Johnny come lately will sit up mid pack to check his watts, never mind he just air braked the whole pack behind him. Freddy will over cook a corner, missing the apex, and brake hard while turning too late. Skill has been lost and no one wants to teach it anymore.

 I was getting into the road scene a few years back. I started by joining the shop group rides after work. I had zero skill, negative technique, and was completely oblivious as to my general rolling disaster. I thank my fellow workers for bringing me the knowledge needed to not be a total hack. Taught me how to corner, how to brake, and more importantly the finer points of etiquette in group riding. Best lesson was to sit back and learn. It's painfully obvious that most people are no longer provided this education. It's just get in go fast and to hell with whatever.

 Same mentality happens in mountain bikes. Strava tards blowing you up on their descent as you wrongly assume they are going to follow the rules of the trail. Rules? You mean the sign? That is for "other" people. Plug in, tune out, and rip it. No etiquette. No skill. No fucks given. Poor braking skills are evident here as well. Hydros have great ability to save a noobs ass, which in turn causes more of them to think they have actually acquired skill. In fact, they have acquired nothing but can cost us sooooo much.

 All this rambling does lead to a point.

 Who's job is it to educate? The shop? The sales person in a shop? Or the wrench? As a sales person you are trying to sell product. Bottom line is that is what you are there to do. Sure, a GOOD sales person will make many friends and educate many people on product simply by answering the questions asked. No one asks how to ride anymore. No One.
 As a wrench we tend to see the end result of poor skills and education. Sooo many times we have seen cooked pads, glazed pads, and completely gone pads. Those people are missing something and eventually it could cost them harm. I mean physical harm not wallet harm. Try stopping when you have no pads left at all. Try stopping when you have a mirror finish on your pads. Hell every one of us has had the loud squealing, honking, brake syndrome. I know for a fact most of us are embarrassed and tend to stop using the brakes to avoid the noise. I did.

 Skill. Education. Two things disappearing from our sport at a rapid pace because the industry is changing technology at a better rate than its education practices. I for one am guilty. But in all honesty I am trying. I DO explain the correct way to brake to a customer who has glazed their pads. I DO explain the finer points of looking over your bike to see if the pads need replacing. I try very hard to remove the mystery of wrenching. It really is easy and hard at the same time. But how in the world are we ever going to get anywhere when people won't even lube their chain and go out for a ride with a thousand angry birds chasing them?

 You guys have the new Red 22 in stock?