|Ask around and you'll likely get two different answers to your question, superbikes. The common train of thought focuses more on efficiency, saying that you should lock out your fork on some climbs so you keep it from moving up and down through its stroke as you pedal hard or use a lot of body english. The other, more recent way to think about it is that letting your fork sag into its travel will, much like you said in your question, steepen your head angle and help to keep your bike from wandering around on steep pitches. Where do I stand? It depends on the bike and the climb, to be honest. And don't forget that the steeper the climb is, the more your weight will shift to the back of the bike and the less your fork will sag anyways, so you might as well leave it open. If we were to talk strictly about steep climbs, I would not lock the fork out, and especially if it's a rough and technical stretch of trail. My reasoning is that a steep climb is often a pure power move that sees you up and over the front of the bike in an exaggerated style, form that compresses the fork more than if you were in a more casual position. And if its rocky or rooty, your open fork will help you carry momentum better over the terrain than if it was locked out and bouncing you around. Longer and tamer climbs will see me reach for that lockout more often than not, however, strictly from an efficiency point of view, and especially if I'm on a longer travel trail bike. Magura actually takes an interesting approach that I feel works quite well, utilizing something that they refer to as Dynamic Lockout (DLO) that allows the fork to compress to its sag point even when it's firmed up for climbing. DLO is, from my experience, quite a smart way to go about it. - Mike Levy|
|You should be able to find a number of thin seat clamps with and without quick release levers. Here's one source. To ensure that the clamp wraps securely around the remaining seat tube, you will probably have to file some material from the seat clamp where it sets against the welded top tube junction. The loads on the clamp opposite the slot are pure tension and thus, relatively low, so you can remove almost half the aluminum there and the clamp will still get the job done. Remove a little at a time with a half-round file and keep checking the fit until the clamp sits square with the seat tube and it either bottoms out on the seat tube, or the tube peeks out from the top the clamp. Next, check that the seat tube slot is at least an inch long (25mm). If it is much less, you'll need to extend the slot. A Dremel cutter will do the trick. If one isn't handy, I use two blades in a hack saw. I make the cut at an angle so I don't run into the other side of the seat tube with the saw - then I square up the slot with a small round file, enlarging it to look like a keyhole. Using this tip, you can make both a narrow or a wide seat clamp fit - but you will void the warranty for sure! Be sure to leave your modded seat clamp with a smooth finish so it will not encourage stress cracks to begin where you removed the material. - RC|
Where there is no other way to fit a seat post clamp to a stubby seat tube, removing some material from the clamp, opposite the slotted section, to clear the top tube junction is an effective solution. Use a quality, forged-aluminum clamp and leave slightly more than half the material in place. Check it every ride for cracking - just to be safe.
|That fact that you 'love, love, love to ride' is a good start - a potential employer is much more likely to hire someone with a good attitude and a desire to learn. Visit all of the shops in your area, and see which one you get the best feeling from. Do the employees acknowledge you? Is there a friendly vibe? Remember, you're going to be spending hours and hours a week at this place, so a little groundwork first can help make sure that it's a good fit. A willingness to do menial labor is going to be key - I started working at a shop when I was around your age, and my first tasks were sweeping the floor and crushing the empty cardboard bike boxes. But that soon led to actually wrenching on bikes, and before long I'd been working in shops for 12 years. Your lack of skill probably won't be as much of a detriment as you think - you're still young, and it's much easier to teach new skills to someone who has never had them rather than trying to make someone forget years of bad habits. Best of luck - working in a shop may not be the most glamorous job in the world, but it sure is a lot of fun, and you'll get the chance to meet a ton of like minded people who are as obsessed about bikes as you are. - Mike Kazimer|
With a positive attitude and a willingness to learn you too can carry expensive parts from one room to another.
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