Thursday, April 11, 2019

Just ask the right person

Intrepid and rebellious mechanics have always looked for ways to keep machinery running after manufacturers wanted you to discard it and get something new. While it’s important to know the official procedures and understand the limits of compatibility issues, it’s also very satisfying to beat the system.

I have no problem conducting my own  experiments, but if someone else has already solved the problem well, I don’t need to waste time seeking false glory by “discovering” something already documented.

For the recent CODA brake issue, I fired off a query to The Cannondale Experts. They’ve helped us out a couple of times before, and now they’re doing it again. An email from Brad laid out a way to make the existing rotors probably work with new brakes. A usable bike stays in service without being extensively — and expensively — rebuilt.

My own inquisitiveness is stunted by my resentment of the unnecessary complexity dumped onto cycling, but as I keep slogging along I go ahead and focus more closely on the relationships of all the assemblies, sub-assemblies, and individual parts, just to keep defying the force feeding of new new new to a riding public that already shows the strain. Because the industry pays far less attention to continuing use than it does to new unit sales, most riders become invisible to them as soon as they leave the showroom.

We who work in the shops have to maintain the long term relationships that put us squarely between the industry’s push to make us move product and the customers’ desire to get a decent return on their investment. Everyone who buys a bike has spent as much as they can afford, no matter where that falls in the price range. And a lot of people seem to like their bike to become an old friend.


Coline said...

If I buy a bike it is a keeper, well unless it gets nicked as a loved one was. That was over 40 years ago and I am still heartbroken because it would still be running!

cafiend said...

I share your sadness at the loss of a bike. It's a real feeling of violation and a sense of waste, because you know that whoever took it won't really value it.