Ask Pinkbike: Should I lock out my fork? A clamp to fit a stubby seat tube? How can I land a bike shop job?

Jun 10, 2014
by Pinkbike Staff  
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Here at Pinkbike we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers" to more in-depth, soul searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech oriented.



To Lock or Not to Lock?

Question: Pinkbike user superbikes asked this question in the Mechanics' Lounge forum: Does locking out your fork help or hinder on steep climbs? I'm thinking that locking it out would keep your head angle slack, and that would not help.

bigquotesAsk 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

Mike Levy testing the Specialized Enduro 29er in Sedona. Photo by Colin Meagher

Leaving your suspension open for rough, technical climbs will allow you to carry better momentum up and over obstacles.



Modified Clamp for a Stubby Seat Tube

Question: Pinkbike member Nashmeyer asks in the "Post Your Modded Parts Forum:" Can you by any chance make a skinny seat clamp? The guy I bought my frame from cut off the seat tube too short to fit a new clamp onto it. There is only a third of an inch [.4 inches/10mm] of seat tube showing.The seatpost diameter is 30.8 millimeters.
bigquotesYou 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


Ask Pinkbike - seat clamp modification - 2014

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.





Working in a bike shop?

Question: Pinkbike user WhatsEnduro asked this question in the Mechanics' Lounge forum: My situation at the moment is that I'm a student just finishing my last year of high school in Australia and love, love, love to ride; I caught the bug. I want to get a casual job at a local bike shiop but I was worried a little at my under qualification. I know (or pretend to know) a bit about the mechanics of cycling but there is still heaps I still need/would like to know. All the employees seem to have an extensive knowledge of most aspects and I was wondering if anyone had any tips/experience about getting a job at the LBS without having an extensive knowledge base. "


bigquotesThat 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

Heaps of Enve wheels...

With a positive attitude and a willingness to learn you too can carry expensive parts from one room to another.




Have some unresolved tech questions? Jump in the Pinkbike Forum and we'll look to answer it for next time.


89 Comments

  • 95 0
 I was lucky enough to own a bike shop when I was in my 20s. I got a loan with a mate and went for it. It was great working within the sport you love- until you realise the world of business isn't interested in bikes... it's only interested in money. I ended up working 10 hours a day for 6 days a week and then I'd go home and do paperwork, web design blah blah blah. It got to the point where I wasn't able to ride because I had so much work. When I did make it to the trails I would constantly get loads of kids asking me for advice and info about bike stuff. I just wanted to ride. I shut the doors 5 years ago now, and it's the best thing I've ever done. I now work only half as much for double the money and I can ride twice a week. Sometimes you're best off keeping the division between business and pleasure.
  • 16 1
 " Sometimes you're best off keeping the division between business and pleasure"
Best line I've read in a while gavlaa.
The world is not as pink and wonderful as it looks like...some years ago I started a career in a sport - different than biking- because I loved it so much that I wanted to be 100% of my time immersed in it...well 10 years later I still work in the same industry -because I like my job and the sport environment- but I got so fed up with this sport being the only thing in my life that I went back to my teenager biking days. Now I enjoy my work life and by managing to ride 2/3 times a week I'm able to disconnect and recharge my batteries.
  • 5 0
 I couldn't agree more, gavlaa. When I was younger I played golf to a high standard. I worked my arse off and eventually turned professional so I could teach and run a golf shop. After a few years I started to hate it. When it turned from a hobby into work, I completely lost interest and the last thing I'd want to do in an evening when work had finished was actually go out and play. I packed it all in, got another job, and I now haven't touched a set of clubs for months and months and couldn't be happier to tell you the truth.
  • 58 7
 Playing golf poisons the soul.
  • 12 0
 I work in a shop and get to ride everyday. I often wonder if there is more to life, if I should be making more money, or whatever. But eff that I want to ride, right now that's what's important to me. being in the shop there are always other people that are ready to shred. I've turned down different jobs that by most standards are better, but to me a job that cuts into ride time is not a good job. Maybe I will grow up one day.
  • 1 0
 I managed to get a job in my LBS and so far love it. I've only been there a few months but feel like I've been working there for years. However, the amount I ride is now significantly less and along with the long hours and minimum wage, it does put a downer on the job. So far, I'm making the most of the staff discount but plan on leaving due to how little I get to ride
  • 2 0
 Many places now have "community" bike shops, collectives or co-ops. These places are a great way to network and learn skills. Our community shop runs a Park Tool School program and teaches framebuilding. In our town, many bike shop owners go straight to the Bicycle Collective when seeking new hires. You can find more about these shops here: www.bikecollectives.org/wiki/index.php?title=Community_Bicycle_Organizations
  • 38 1
 " Sometimes you're best off keeping the division between business and pleasure"

Exactly why I gave up being a Hooker.
  • 8 2
 What? So you find shagging lonely old men pleasurable?!! :-O
  • 2 1
 I worked in a shop for 3 years and it was good and bad. It was great working on bikes and learning all sorts about them. Helping other people to ride them, pick out a good one that works for them, lots of satisfaction in that. The bad part which is what people have said is I rode way less cause I worked there too much, a lot of saturdays and the schedule wasnt very good. 10-7 was the schedule. I tried multiple times to get them to adjust the schedule, to 2 shifts or different shifts. If they did an 8-5, there would still be time for a ride in the evening, or a 12-7, then there would be time in the morning. I have talked to some people that have worked in shops that have had a better schedule. Totally depends on the owner/manager, some are rad, some suck. If you want to work at a shop be realistic about the schedule and how much youd like to ride. Also the pay typically sucks, again unless youre at a shop with great management/owner.
  • 7 0
 How can I get a job at a bike shop that will pay me $35 HR?

That is the key question......
  • 1 0
 Although Ive heard from a lot of business owners that in the first few years (5 plus) you have to put in a good chunk of time to build it to a point where you can begin handing off tasks to managers and employees, in turn allowing you more time for what you really enjoy.
  • 4 0
 With you there mate. Nobody ever lay on their death bed and wished they had spent more time at work. I was all set out to climb the career ladder then things fell into perspective - a simple happy life is the way forward.
  • 1 0
 Working in a bike shop is the last job that I had where I actually felt like I was "working" and accomplishing something. At the end of the day you can look back and say I fixed this and that and made customers very happy. Other jobs are freaking retarded in many aspects and serve nobody except the CEO. If you could only make enough money to survive doing a job you like it would be too good to be true. Here in my area bike mechanics don't make enough to pay rent, let alone live.
  • 1 0
 Nice! Its a demanding line of work! Haha
  • 2 0
 @Fuglio Steve Peat plays golf, so does Steve Smith :o
  • 2 2
 @ skyale: f*ck golf
  • 2 0
 you're such a #badass... thanks for giving us moral guidance! Sooo damn lucky we are
  • 24 0
 IF YOU ARE GOING TO EXTEND THE SLOT ON YOUR SEAT TUBE, DRILL A ROUND HOLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SLOT (AS IN THE DRAWING ABOVE) IF YOU DO NOT DRILL THIS HOLE, THE SLOT YOU CUT IS LIKELY TO KEEP ON GROWING OF ITS OWN ACCORD.

I think RC hinted at this with his "so it looks like a keyhole" comment, but I wanted to make it very clear. Hopefully save a few frames from being written off. Smile
  • 11 1
 I strongly considered doing wrenching quals and seeking work in a LBS, but the combination of low pay and always working saturdays put me off. I ride with my partner a lot and she rides weekends mostly. It is something I wish I had pursued in my teens however. But now Ive gone after a higher paid job which allows me to enjoy biking as a sport and hobby, on the weekends when people I know ride.
  • 12 1
 I found working in a lbs was not at all what people say it's like. Their are great parts to it, but at the end of the day it's still a job.
  • 16 0
 "You're crazy enthusiastic and this is your dream job? ...Guess l can get away with paying you half what i would someone else then."
  • 1 1
 If you really want to do it the best way is work experience in a local shop. I started on a youth training scheme earning £26.00 a week for a year! When I finished the shop (H.E.Figgures in Lymington) offered me a job and i stayed for 5 years. I was racing on the road a lot at the time and the shop supported me so it was worth the low(ish) pay!
  • 2 0
 I worked in a shop when I was a teen and it was really great. I enjoyed the atmosphere and sharing my passion with others a lot. Learning how to fix your bike was a plus too. Now that I'm older, the pay just isn't enough. For this kid who's going though, I think it would be a great experience.
  • 1 2
 jamesb15uk^^ you say that but because when you work in a shop you can get stuff a lot cheaper (at trade) you dont need a high pay and you can easilly afford to have the lowwer pay!!
  • 1 0
 26$ low!!!!???????????????
  • 1 0
 To be fair it was 28 years ago! It was a government training scheme so the pay was the same as unemployment at the time.
  • 1 1
 Bike shops literally survive on underage wages and the dreams of kids. Even with below minimum wage labor they struggle against amazon and CRC.
  • 1 0
 i get five an hour and that's way above my older friend who works full time
  • 1 0
 Dang haha I just moww lawns! 20 an hour no taxes out no waiting and no boss Smile
  • 1 0
 fair enough, i get no taxes out either and i am only 15
  • 7 0
 Want an LBS job? Work as a sales grom during end of high school or beginning of college. Be sure to take introductory economics class, Learn why you will never make good money nor enjoy good working conditions in an LBS job. Tell owner 'Thanks for the experience,' quit, continue education, get real profession. 3) profit.
  • 8 3
 That guy in the last pic probably has 20 grand worth of wheels in his arms, better keep an eye on him!
  • 13 3
 I wouldn't wheely say 20k..
  • 9 0
 oh know, and endless cycle of puns are approaching
  • 3 8
flag WhatsEnduro (Jun 10, 2014 at 1:08) (Below Threshold)
 i dunno, enve man...
  • 8 0
 I enve how you guys are able to roll on the clever puns
  • 14 0
 Give it a brake guys, these jokes just go round and round, not sure how long I can keep bearing it, getting pretty tyresome.. Although I feel better now I spoke up
  • 4 0
 What has 2 legs, 2 arms 1 head and 130 nipples?
  • 1 0
 a guy with many bikes Big Grin
  • 1 0
 What's all the hub-bub about?
  • 4 0
 I run an LBS and what I look for is a passion for the sport and a hunger for knowledge. If you can show you have both then you'll be ahead of the game.
  • 2 0
 I found this very usefull ..To Lock or Not to Lock? Just as said over time I've found it much better to ride steep climbs without lock out .locking out does seem to put you to far over the rear and you seem to fight with the front. I now tend to use lock out on the long drawn out steepish fire roads climbs . Haveing pike forks helps more so becouse it has pedal mode and that's what I use for really steep climbs less bounce and more control keeping the head tube steep not so slack . We all ride difrant and this may not work for you but for me it works spot on . Thanks
  • 1 0
 The Pike "half lock out" was what came to mind as I was reading the article as well. Best of both worlds. Perhaps the C in CTD is the same idea, but I haven't ridden one of those.
  • 1 0
 The "C" in CTD is basically 90% lockout. The "T" is more of the "half lock out" idea you're talking about.
  • 1 0
 my fork has something similar which allows me to lock my fork out when its compressed and stay compressed which is nice for steep climbs
  • 7 1
 I have a question! Where my white women at???
  • 1 0
 Preach.
  • 1 0
 Word.
  • 1 0
 THEY'RE BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 1 0
 with my expeirience . trying to land a job at a shop takes years of commitment and understanding . i live in a fairly small town so you know everyone ans everyone knows you . loyalty is a big part it seems like . and just like any relationship , you need to find the perfect time to pop the question . i myself used to work at a shop but being a minor with school and such caused me to actually move away to restaurants where i can work 9in the midweek nights and still ride my bike on the weekend.
  • 2 0
 It's amazing how much technical knowledge you pick up when working in an LBS! I came out of work in mine before traveling round NZ on my bike and I am so much more clued up now than I was before
  • 1 0
 Best way to get a job at a LBS for a student is work experience at a small independent shop, the big bike chains simply wont take you. I went to Fulford Cycles ( i had only ever been in once before to get a wheel built up) and after a few days they asked me if i wanted to come in on saturdays. Ive been going ever since for almost 2 years now and go in on almost every free day i get. Dont forget you must know what you're doing, they get a lot of people who don't know what they're doing and believe it or not, people who don't know how to change a tube so you being there is just wasting their time and money, if you can go and sort bikes out then you're making them money and they will want you, even if its not straight away. If they don't take you, become friends with them, the more friendly you are and the more you go in the better your chances.
  • 1 0
 @Pinkbike, I have an older Trek Remedy (06'), and the only thing that would make the frame better would be a dropper post, but none of the "standard posts" fit the older size seat tubes! Is there such a thing out there that would fit?
  • 1 0
 I know that the Rockshox Reverb comes in three different diameters to fit most seatposts: 30.9mm, 31.6mm and 34.9mm. Just measure the inside diameter of your seat post tube and you should find a fit.
  • 1 0
 Working in a bike shop is a lot of fun. You work in an atmosphere that is always talking about the stuff you like.
But honestly it ain't a fairy tale. It's a very stressful place sometimes.(you know costumers who think they know everything).
  • 1 0
 The particular Performance Bicycles shop I work at sucks. Really sucks. Most of the customers are either rude, don't know what the hell what kind of bike they need, ask for any sort of deal under the sun, demand that their bike is fixed right away, etc etc. I just hope this job leads to something else much better in the mountain biking community. These rich pretentious pricks can suck a fatty.
  • 1 0
 Unless you work in a top tier bike shop that caters only to high end clients it just plain sucks. You will spend half your day working on the worst bikes you have ever imagined. The second half of your day will be filled with loads of people scoffing at the price of everything. Then you have the crazies... You will deal with more mentally ill folks than a social worker. My "dream" job was to work at a shop. Now I've done that and found it to be lackluster at best. Getting gear and bikes for EP prices were cool, but ultimately not worth it. Ride for fun and learn to work on your own stuff. You will be much happier and ride more.
  • 1 0
 Im 15 years old an I I did know a lot of the guys at the shop i now work at. I helped out at the shop for a couple weeks to show that the shop would benefit from having me work there. I finally got the job at Belmont Wheelworks about 2 months ago.
  • 2 0
 Fox forks sag when locked out as well, I'm fairly sure RS forks do too, magura just put a fancy name on something most forks do anyway.
  • 6 0
 Marzochi bombers used to have a lock down system, ETA, that was great for climbing. You pressed fork down and it stayed locked at almost full compression, not sure if they still do it
  • 2 0
 @DMCM I was going to say the same thing - what on earth happened to that, seemed like the most sensible thing ever! (except for idiots who forget to unlock them before descending)
  • 1 0
 Are you sure? I remember a lot of people complaining about Fox forks not being "stiff" enough in Climb mode when CTD came out. Lots of people, at least here, were sending forks to be serviced as defective because they "didn't lock", while they just became extremely stiff while still sagging a couple of centimeters. Now they "fixed" it and they just lock out when in Climb mode.
  • 1 0
 My old Manitou something-or-others also let me lock 'em out at any amount of sag. Just pushed the fork down to where i wanted it, then lock and bingo. Of course i was that idiot that forgot to unlock at the start of many descents, so eventually I stopped bothering.
  • 2 0
 I landed my first bike shop job by offering to work for free. Attitude goes a long way, but then thats probably why the shop went broke haha
  • 3 0
 same but i still work there and it started off a friend helping out a friendBig Grin
  • 1 0
 I decide to lock out or not when I size up a climb. If I'm going to run out of fitness before the top then I lock, if the climb is too technical and I'm likely to stall or wander, then leave it unlocked.
  • 3 0
 why the F would you buy a frame that someone cut off a part of the seat tube??? unsound choice.
  • 3 0
 Needed to get his seat lower so he could show what a gravity bro he is. It's like dick size in reverse. But yeah, that's incredibly stupid.
  • 2 0
 it was 4 years ago i asked this and bought the frame but the seller did not inform me it was cut , and i had it shipped so i couldnt see it before hand
  • 1 0
 That sucks man, I feel your pain. Bought a Ti softail frame on ebay last year... seller neglected to tell me that the shock (which is long out of production and basically irreplaceable) was *just* on the verge of crapping out. Long story short the bushings and o-rings were just about shredded when I got them, only lasted a couple months of riding. Coulda been an honest mistake I suppose, but either way I still have a useless Ti frame sitting around now.

Btw, I misread chillindrdude's post. My comment was directed at the guy who cut the post, not the guy who bought it. I figured it was an online deal... you never assume someone is gonna do something that dumb.
  • 1 0
 land a bike shop job is all about attitude. if youre a loud mouth smart ass bmx kid, shops will see that and think differently of you. its not all about mechanics, you need people skills too.
  • 3 0
 Division of labor. It IS all about mechanics for the people in back of the shop wrenching on bikes, and it's all about people skills for the sales staff up front. Mix the two together, and no one is an expert at any one thing.

But, agreed: don't be a loud mouth, smart ass bmx kid.
  • 4 0
 PINKBIKE how do I get a girlfriend?!?!?!
  • 9 2
 26 inches
  • 6 1
 I Would have said 29er
  • 3 0
 Stop spending so much time on Pinkbike. That'll put you way ahead of the competition.
  • 1 1
 If your looking for a job in a bike shop www.winterbornebikes.com is a good place to start. There is a fantastic resource area www.winterbornebikes.com/resources with many job openings available on our website. Many employers are looking for winterborne trained mechanics and some are even willing to pay for your training if you lack the experience. Our Job board is available for all not just our graduates so don't be afraid to give them a shout either way.

Cheers,


Sky Maracle
  • 1 1
 Surely you should aim your sights higher than working in a LBS, owning one maybe. Like others have mentioned it doesnt appear to be a great job, its likely to be long hours, including weekends and lowish pay.
  • 1 0
 You have to start somewhere. I don't advise a high school student to try to start his own bike store without having worked in one first. I have a friend who owns a successful store in NorCal and he had previously worked in bike shops for about 15 years. Working in a shop will help you a lot if you do plan to eventually open a store, as it lets you see the inner workings and understand what a shop needs to do in order to survive.
  • 3 0
 Thanks for answering my question from 4 years ago ....
  • 1 0
 if you wanna make no money and be broke all the time but have fun work in a bike shop best job in the world 18 years doing it and probably do it till i die
  • 2 0
 How do I get a girlfriend who likes to ride bikes? Can PB help me with that?
  • 1 0
 Why did he cut the seat tube of his bicycle? That is generally not a secondhand bike I would invest in
  • 1 0
 that's awesome just answered my question.
  • 1 0
 Work in a bike shop? Depend: you wanna be rich or nice? Money vs Funn.
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