Lance Haidet races the Crusher in the Tushar

Dispatches - Chris Kreidl - Crusher in the Tushar

Yours truly was called back into the world of race mechanics last weekend to help out Unior-sponsored team Aevolo Cycling at Utah's Crusher in the Tushar. A pretty low-key weekend, it's still vitally important to make sure the bikes are working perfectly. And without a team truck there coordination with the team's head mechanic was key to make sure all the right spare parts were sent along just in case.

About a week and a half ago, on a Sunday night, I was at home on my couch when I got a text from Michael Creed, the director of Aevolo Cycling. Full disclosure, Unior USA is a sponsor of Aevolo. Further, their head mechanic Vince Gee is one of our brand ambassadors. Either way, Vince was going to be occupied the following weekend with a squad racing the Boise Twilight Criterium. Mike had two riders racing the Crusher in the Tushar and asked if I was available to come out to Utah and make sure their bikes were set for 70 miles of gravel racing with 10,000 feet of climbing. Mike and I go back a little ways. I was the head mechanic at Team Smartstop when he came onboard and helped reinvent the team from a scrappy criterium-focused team into one of the most successful domestic road racing teams of the year. He was familiar with the quality of work I put out and was eager to get the chance to work with me again, as I was with him. A half hour later I had a plane ticket and I started prepping my Pro Kit for some of the unique needs of the team’s Cannondale Super-X gravel bikes. In particular, I wanted to make sure I had my BB30 bearing extractor and a bearing press in case the bikes needed fresh bottom bracket bearings. The following Friday I flew to Utah to meet Mike and the bikes and after a few hours driving from the SLC airport to our Airbnb in Beaver, UT it was time to get to work assembling the bikes for the next day’s 8:00AM start. Thankfully the bikes were in really good shape to begin with and there really wasn’t much to do. Vince and I had some back and forth over the days leading into the race and he sent a good supply of spare parts just in case, but the only thing I wound up replacing was the bar tape on each of the bikes. I also swapped tires as the race wheels still had the tires the guys used previously at Dirty Kanza. The Crusher didn’t require nearly as much volume and that they were riding tubeless made for an easy (if not somewhat messy) tire swap. The Crusher specifically forbids follow cars which didn’t leave Mike and I with much to do during the race. But, since the roads weren’t closed to vehicle traffic, we figured we’d be OK to leapfrog the riders and watch them go by a few times and that worked out nicely. After about 4.5 hours our two riders, Lance Haidet and Gage Hecht, finished in 7th and 8th respectively. Pretty dang good for a couple U-23s in such a hard race! I counted my blessings that I didn’t have to repack the bikes, that is without a doubt my least favorite task as a mechanic. A nice dinner, some good conversation, a few drinks, and everyone hit the hay to head back to SLC the next morning so the riders could do a sponsor appearance the next day and so I could catch my flight home to be in the office first thing Monday morning.


Unior A6-sized Notebook

Our Newest Gift to You

Happy Birthday to Us!

It's our birthday, but you get the gift. We're not sure how that works, but let's just agree to run with it.

While supplies last we’re including a free notebook with every $50+ order placed on uniorusa.com

Think about how useful this little guy can be!

Replacing a saddle? You’ll want to record height, setback, and tilt before removing the old one. Rebuilding a fork? Be sure you note air spring pressure and clicks of damping before stripping it down. Taking a lunch order for the shop? Now you know that Julie doesn’t like cilantro and Mike would rather have the al pastor burrito rather than the steak.

No code is necessary and this offer is valid with any other promotion. We’ll include it with every applicable order.


Unior 160/2 Forged Ratcheting Combination Wrench

NEW: Ratcheting Combination Wrenches!

Unior 160/2 Forged Ratcheting Combination Wrench
The stopring on the Unior 160/2 Ratcheting Combination Wrench
Unior 160/2 Ratcheting Combination Wrenches

Work smarter and faster

Made by Unior in Zreče, Slovenia, our 160/2 Forged Ratcheting Combination Wrenches are now available in the USA. With 15 sizes to pick from and available a-la-carte or, soon, as a preconfigured bundle of the most common sizes, these wrenches will take anything you can throw at them.

We start by drop forging chrome-vanadium steel, then hardening and tempering it before assembling our ratcheting mechanism. The ratchet is unlike others in the bike tool market: the guts are bigger, heavier duty, stronger. We also add an offset to the ratcheting box end of the wrench to make it a little more versatile in use.

A stop is added to the box end as well, helping to keep the wrench from slipping off the fastener. The whole point of a ratcheting wrench is to speed up your work. Constantly fiddling around trying to keep the wrench in place is not fast.

Get yours now!

Someone changes a tire at NEMBAFest 2018 with Unior tire levers

NEMBAFest 2019

NEMBAFest

We're coming back!

We’ll be back at NEMBAFest this weekend! Look for the big red UNIOR tent and check out some of our new tools.

Save big!

We'll have a good selection of tools on hand at special event pricing so you can go home ready to fix anything.

Online discounts

We'll also have discount cards valid for uniorusa.com so if we don't have what you're looking for, you can get it at event pricing from the comfort of your living room!


A bottom bracket shell being faced with the Unior 1699 Bottom Bracket Facer.

Frame Prep: Threaded Bottom Bracket Shells

Frame Prep

Threaded bottom brackets are making a comeback. Here's how to make sure your frame is in tip-top shape.

Step 0:

This is our shell as it came from the factory. The bike in question is an older Trek track bike, aluminum frame, BSA threaded bottom bracket.

Very few, if any, mass produced frames are properly prepped from the factory. As discussed, a properly prepared frame helps prolong the life of bearings and makes for a more efficient machine.

It’s obvious that our frame received no prep work after the frame was built and before components were installed. Since we’re replacing the bottom bracket now is the ideal time to address these issues. We’ll begin by chasing the threads.

Step 1:

Even though the common phrase for what we’re doing is “facing and chasing”, we’re actually going to chase the threads first.

The reason we chase first is that the facing tool has threaded guides and we want to make sure those guides go in cleanly. Should there be any nastyness to the threads the guides might not go in well and we’d have to back them out and chase anyway, so we may as well just do that first.

Here we’re using the Unior 1697 BSA Bottom Bracket Tap to clean up the threads. Each tap is marked with an R or L, and that signifies the thread direction.

NOTE: The R and L do NOT indicate which side of the bike they’re used on!

On a BSA threaded bike the drive-side of the bottom bracket shell is reverse-threaded. This serves to help keep it from backing out unintentionally. These are also known as Left-hand threads. So, for the drive-side of the bike, we’ll want to use the tap marked L. And vice-versa, R on the non-drive side.

We’ll carefully get the taps started in the existing threads, taking care to make sure we’re not cross-threading the taps. Spin the drive-side tap counter-clockwise and the non-drive side clockwise until the taps bottom out on each other.

Step 2:

After removing the taps once you’ve chased the threads, that step is done and we’re ready to move on to facing.

Facing is a term used to describe the process of machining the outer face of the bottom bracket shell so its perpendicular to the bottom bracket axis. Or, to put it simply, we’re making sure the centerline of the bottom bracket is at a right angle to the outer face of the shell.

This also ensures that both faces are parallel to each other. This is important to make sure that the bearings on each side are loaded evenly, preventing premature wear.

We first install a guide into our freshly cleaned threads. The facing tool has a shaft that goes through the guide, and this guide helps to make sure the cutting tool is at the right angle to the bottom bracket axis as desired.

Step 3:

There are three total parts to the Unior 1699 Bottom Bracket Facing Tool — the guide, which we just installed; the cutting side; and the tension side.

Now that the guide is installed we’ll slip the frame of the tool, with the cutter installed, through the guide. To ensure even pressure on the cutter, thus giving us a better cut, we’ll move to the other side of the bike and install the tension parts.

Step 4:

As much as the cutter gets all the glory here, the tension side is equally as important.

Any machinist will tell you that the secret to a good finish is using the proper speed and feed. That is to say, how quickly the cutter passing over the surface of the material being machined and how quickly the material is being fed into the cutter.

This side of the 1699 Facing Tool controls the feed. As we tighten the nut we compress the spring thus increasing the feed. Too high of a feed means more aggressive material removal which can cause all sorts of problems, including excess wear on the cutter.

Too little tension, thus too little feed, and it’s likely that you’ll get some chatter as well as uneven cutting.

Once you found the sweet spot of tension and speed (how quick you’re turning the cutter), spin the cutter, making sure to let the spring do the work of pulling the cutter into the shell. Your effort should be primarily on spinning the tool, not pushing it into the shell.

Step 5:

Once you’ve got fresh metal around the entire circumference of the shell, you’re done. The ideal shell has a clean strip of metal around the whole thing, indicating there are no low spots anywhere.

And we’re done. The next bottom bracket installed in this bike now has a better chance at lasting longer and spinning freer.


A Unior Bottom Bracket Socket being used to tighten a disc rotor lockring

Unintended uses and being prepared

A Unior Bottom Bracket Socket being used to tighten a disc rotor lockring

On finding creative solutions to whatever's thrown your way

Last weekend I was at Killington Bike Park getting in some laps with a friend and his two sons. I never go anywhere without my Pro Kit and it proved to be useful a few times. Killington has their own bike shop on property but I still prefer to do my own repairs, 15 years as a mechanic will do that to you.

When my friend finally showed up (going anywhere quickly with two young boys is just not possible) he had a loose Shimano Centerlock lockring securing a brake rotor on one of his wheels. Ordinarily this is the sort of time I’d reach for one of our 16-notch bottom bracket wrenches as the open design makes it easy to fit over the axle, but I don’t keep one of those in my case.

I did have, however, one of our new aluminum bottom bracket sockets (well, I had all five, but that’s another story) and it worked! Initially I had a few concerns about it being deep enough to clear the thru-axle but it worked and my friend was able to ride with us. We also saved a bit of time by not having to go into the shop there to beg/borrow a tool or pay them to fix it.

As for my own bike, I was on my new Commencal Meta HT, the very same bike we were using for our Project Roddy video series that I sadly have yet to finish. Being a hardtail, obviously things are going to get shaken around a bit, and being only my second ride on the bike (and my first on the sort of terrain it was made for) the first few runs were more shakedown than anything else. Things will settle, cables will seat, etc. A couple runs in and my headset is loose, a shifter is loose, and the shifting itself is out of adjustment. And again, since I had my Pro Kit with me, a couple minutes back at the car and I was ready to ride again.

The Pro Kit might be overkill for the average person, which is where our Home Kit comes into play. It has almost the same functionality as the Pro Kit but in a smaller package, and is the perfect size to leave in the car for those last minute trailside or parking lot fixes.

 


Pins for the Unior Cassette Wrench

Behind the Scenes with our 1670/2BI Cassette Wrench

Behind the Scenes

Made by us, for you.

Our Cassette Wrench is a favorite of mechanics around the world. Quicker, easier, and more reliable than other cassette-holding solutions like vice grips (really?) or chain whips, our cassette wrench allows the mechanic to quickly and easily hold the cassette for lockring removal.

How’s it made? We got some behind the scenes photos hot from the assembly line, check it out. This obviously is only a small part of the total process, but it’s a fun one.


The New Peloton Service Course

The Peloton Service Course

The nicest bikes should have the nicest tools

One glance through the pages of Peloton Magazine and you’ll be very aware of their eye for detail and appreciation for the finer things in cycling. Exquisite photography, stunning locations, and incredibly nice bikes can be found on virtually every page.

It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that when they wanted to build a proper work station in their new facility they came to Unior to outfit it.

We’re honored to have been selected by Peloton to help build out their new shop. Once it’s finished you’ll find our modular workbench system complete with our standard production trays as well as a selection of other tools like our 1689 Pro Truing Stand, the 1693 Shop Repair Stand, and more.


VeloNews Tests the Unior Workbench

VeloNews Reviews Our Workbench System

The team over at VeloNews have been using one of our workbench systems for a little while now and are in love with it. If you're looking to outfit your bike shop or your home bike cave with the best workstation on the market, contact us.

Need the most stable work surface you can get? Unior does an admirable job here. Want to buy a work station that will be the last you ever have to buy? This is worth the investment.

- Dan Cavallari, VeloNews

...you get everything you need, nothing you don’t, and you can tailor it to your price point, the size of your space, and your specific needs.

- Dan Cavallari, Velonews


Dispatches - Win Allen - Hagens-Berman/Axeon Team Camp

For many reasons, I don't think a cycling team can ask for a better mechanic than Win Allen. The fact that he owns and operates a successful service-only bike shop and has Pro Tour experience is one thing, but with a name like Win there's a constant reminder of the objective of any cycling team: to win races.

For 2019 Win will be working with the Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team and sent in this missive from their recently concluded training camp in Fayetteville, Arkansas:

It’s late January and I am headed to training camp to meet my new team (Hagens Berman Axeon) in Fayetteville, AR.

I’ve been doing this for a long time but with a new team, riders, sponsors, staff, etc. you just never know how well you’ll fit in. A lot of the staff on this team have been together for a long time, it can be hard to break into that circle. Not the case with this team, I was welcomed with open arms! After spending 10 days with this team I feel that I’m a real part of the team.

Like with any business/team there is a hierarchy, and though I’m new to this program I felt all of my years of doing this for other teams had a real value. I was never told “well that how we do it here and that’s the way it is”. If I had a question or suggestion it was listened to and considered. I must say it was quite refreshing to be met with that kind of an attitude versus what I’ve experienced elsewhere.

The town of Fayetteville couldn’t have been a better host! We set up “camp” in the town center. We weren’t there for more than 10 minutes be for the businesses started coming out and introducing themselves and asking if we needed anything. There is a real sense of community in Fayetteville.

We were asked by pretty much every person that walked by “what are you doing here”? We stopped what we were doing and explained our reason for being there. The response from everybody was “thank you for being here”, “happy you’re here”, “this area really loves their bikes”, everyone was so positive! When you have the support of the community it makes your life much easier.

The weather ended up being a bit of a challenge. Our first day never got out of the 20s. It warmed up to the 60s midweek and then our last day was single digits to the teens. We had sunny days, cloudy days, windy days, rainy days, and rain/ice/snow days. A few of the days were a bit challenging since we were working outside.

All and all we got done what needed to get done. Got all of the riders set up on their new Pinarello Dogma F10 Disc with SRAM AXS E-Tap 12 speed, Zipp Wheels, Bars, Stems, Pirelli Tires, Speedplay Pedals. Glued up new Pirelli tubulars on all of the race wheels too. Organized the trailer and prepped everything that would be going to Tour of Colombia directly from this camp. The last day of camp we packed all of the riders bikes, some were headed home and others were headed to South America to begin racing.

My next event with the team will be Redlands Bicycle Classic in California. Look for another Unior Dispatch following that race.