If you haven’t been following any of our social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) you might’ve missed the start of a series of small, informal videos we’re making showing off some of the features of our tools and the best way to use them. We recently posted one about our 1701/5 Rear Shock Bushing Extractor Set and if you’ve haven’t seen it, you can watch it below.
The kit is designed to easily remove (and install) bushings of 12.0mm and 12.7mm. If you’re doing any sort of rear shock maintenance this is a tool you’ll want to take a closer look at. Check out the full video on our Facebook page here and give us a Like while you’re at it!
We’ve got another update from Vince Gee of Aevolo as he puts the final preparations on the team’s equipment for the upcoming season. In this note, he tells us about the team’s two training camps leading into the upcoming season and what he looks for in a good mechanic.
Our Las Vegas Camp in January was a very low key event. Three days with low volume on the bike and high volume in the fun department. Besides the shorter than average rides, there was Go Karting, Zombie Apocalypse, and a brief boot camp style workout. I was super sick well before camp started (starting around Christmas), all during the camp, and well after that camp. But with this job, there are very few sick days one can really take. So, I had to slog it out for not only camp but the few days of bike building, trailer packing and driving to and from camp. I don’t think I got back to normal health until early February. That wicked bug that many had, got me down for well over 5 weeks.
While our second and more traditional camp started on Saturday, March 3rd, “camp” for me started a full 8 days before that. Flying out to Colorado Springs, CO to prep equipment for camp as well as drive the van and equipment trailer to Oxnard. It’s sometimes strange for me to think that one of the main things I am happy about is just being healthy and not sick with the Flu and thus ready and able to do the best job I can.
I feel pretty blessed to have my nephew Bobby Gee here at our Oxnard camp as my second mechanic. His primary job here is to help me build race bikes. Home bikes were built and distributed at the Las Vegas camp. These race bikes will stay with me as I drive from race to race with the team trailer. I always enjoy it when people get into cycling either for sports (competition) or just for fun. While Bobby rode bikes more and more it was the other part of cycling that got his interest: fixing and repairing bicycles. He even worked at the same shop I worked at after he graduated High School. His desire to be a mechanic no doubt got me excited, but to have him work at the shop I used to work at was quite cool for me. It really made me want to share my experiences with him. And of course, it gives me a chance to hang out with family. Especially true now that I live on the East Coast 3,000 miles from most of my family. And like many, my family is very important to me.
For me, this job is about having a good attitude and working hard, being willing to work hard, and willing to put long hours in and doing the best job possible with each task that is required. I always say it’s easier to get the “overachievers” to do less than to get the opposite group of people to work harder. On the 4th day here at camp, I told Bobby we would go over to the main house (two streets over) at 7:45 AM to start work. When I woke and got ready to go I realized Bobby had been gone AND the trailer keys were also gone. I walked over to the main house at the appointed 7:45 only to see Bobby with the trailer wide open already working on the day’s tasks. For me, that is one sign of a good mechanic.
Since the inspiration behind the Hub Genie comes from our background in industrial and automotive tools it might not be completely obvious how it works at first glance. To help explain it we made a short video to demonstrate it’s use. Check our Facebook page here to see the video.
A few people have asked why our 8-piece IBEX combination wrench set doesn’t include a 12mm. Now it does. For a limited time use coupon code “free12” at checkout to get a free 12mm IBEX wrench added to your order to make a 9-piece set of 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 22mm.
If you’re not familiar with how the IBEX technology works, or the benefits of it and the LIFE profile found on the box end of the wrench, take a minute and a half to watch this video…
Offer not valid for wholesale customers. Offer valid while supplies last.
We’re back with another, unfortunately increasingly mistitled Tool of the Week. Things are getting busy around here, which is great, but sadly it meant missing out on the last couple TotWs. But nonetheless, here we are again.
This week we’re proud to introduce you to the 1621/2ABI Double-Sided Ratchet. Simply put, it’s a ratchet with a double-sided head so you can keep your two most commonly used sockets or bits installed at the same time. We sell them pre-loaded with a 14mm socket and an 8mm bit so you’ve got one tool always at the ready for both style of square taper crank bolts. In the photo below you can see we’ve got it setup with a 14mm socket on one side and a 15mm on the other, a good setup for any shop that sees a lot of cruisers or hybrid bikes.
Speaking personally, I used to keep multiple ratchet handles at my bench all the time because it was a good way to keep track of my sockets. Every so often the socket or bit I’d need would be lost in the depths of my tool box and it became easier (and faster) to just keep a socket handle attached to each of them. Keeping the extra handles around added unnecessary clutter and slowed down the speed of my repair work, so having something like this back when I worked in shops would have been a blessing.
As always with the Tool of the Week, you can get yours for 10% off the normal price.
Our pro mechanics have been busy! Vince Gee of Aevolo is currently at the team’s headquarters building their new bikes for the 2018 road season and prior leaving home to get back to work sent in this note about getting ready to hit the road and what he’s walking in to at work…
I’m a tinkerer. Sometimes that is good and sometimes that is bad. I think my good days far outweigh my bad days successfully tinkering with things. My wife and I Just moved to Boston last January (her) and last April (me) and our neighbor who owns the business complex next door has been great. He has gifted us a used/old gas powered leaf blower and a gas powered snow blower. Both needed some simple TLC and neither ran. Neither item I had ever dealt with before. But they sounded simple to fix so I attacked them and was successful. As our winter hit with some solid temp drops (sub 20F) our heater seemed to malfunction. With a little help from the manual I was able to diagnose one item. Unfortunately I was unable to order the replacement part as I was not “certified” to install it. They would not sell it to a non-licensed repair person. Bummer as it was a simple $30 part install. There was another factor that I couldn’t diagnose nor install. But felt pretty good diagnosing the first item.
I’ll have to put the household tinkering on pause for now. Today I fly to Colorado to build team bikes for our Aevolo Professional Cycling team. Today is the start of my 24th season as a professional team mechanic. I’m just as excited to get things going as I was in February 1995 when I was driving to Milwaukee to work with the Saturn Professional Cycling team. Our team is a U23 team thus all of our riders are under the age of 23. This my second season with the team and 2017 was our inaugural season so it will be fun to see how our team grows. As our team grows, so do our partners. Our bike supplier for example has basically doubled the frame quantity of our previous supplier. Thus there is more equipment for me to manage. I started in a bike shop in 1977 so I have used quite a variety of tools. I’ve recently got my hands on some Unior Bicycle tools (and non bicycle specific tools also). Tinkering with my own bike prior to today, it was a joy to handle well made tools. Tools I know I can trust to do the best possible job for our Aevolo buys. Here’s to wonderful 2018 season.
At the same time our Operations Manager Chris Kreidl got back into the trenches at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships working for his old team, Maxxis-Shimano. Chris also was asked to be a judge at the Mechanic’s National Championship, a tongue-in-cheek event pitting cyclocross race mechanics against each other in feats of beer drinking and tire changing all while raising money to send junior cyclists to the upcoming World Championships.
Just when I thought I was done with standing in a field for a living, there I was in Reno, standing in a field. The weekend went relatively smoothly with only a couple minor issues. The riders on the team have largely been self sufficient this year, traveling with their bikes themselves to the races without a full time mechanic, and as such the bikes needed some TLC when I got there. In my past life as a full time team mechanic I’d have been a little upset that we were bringing bikes that needed work to a race, but this time I was actually excited as it afforded me a chance to really get to know the new Pro Kit and to use some of our tools that I hadn’t been able to yet.
The part of working for a racing team that very few people outside of the sport ever think about is how all the flashy tents and bikes get from race to race. Riders will sometimes fly with bikes, but everything else from the tents, pressure washers, chairs, tables, etc. all get driven from one race to the next by hard working team mechanics. After a quick 3 day drive from the team’s warehouse in Asheville, NC to the race in Reno, NV I began setting up our paddock space and prepping bikes for our two riders that would be showing up Friday afternoon. Some quick adjustments with our T-handles and some brake rotor straightening and the bikes were good enough for the riders to get on and spin their legs out. I’d do a more thorough inspection the next day, Saturday.
An early wake up and a long breakfast got me to the park at around 9am and I got to work straightening derailleur hangers, changing chains, replacing worn bar tape, and checking cassette lock rings. By the time the athletes got to the venue I was mostly ready and all I had left was to glue some new tubulars since the trailer was short a few wheels. Ordinarily I’d be hesitant to send out a tire that had been glued the day before but the combination oft he decent weather, dry desert air, and really great mating surface between the team’s rims and tires meant I thought it would be OK. Plus, the tires getting glued were to be last-resort backups as they weren’t the tread pattern the riders were starting on, but were all that the team had left to stick on.
Sunday was race day and the day was going great until about halfway through the women’s race when our rider Crystal Anthony flatted. She had been riding a great race until that point, easily maintaining 5th on course. By the time she got to the pit to take her spare bike she’d slipped down to 10th. It was still early, and there would be plenty of time to claw back at least a few spaces. Disaster struck again two laps later when she flatted again in the same place. This time she lost even more ground falling back to somewhere around 20th. I was devastated for her.
In the men’s race Travis Livermon rode a strong race picking off riders that went too hard too soon and finished inside the top 10 after catching a few guys on the last lap.
It’s now 6:45AM Monday and I’m getting ready to hit the road back to Asheville to return the team’s equipment and catch a flight back to our Unior office. I met a lot of great mechanics out here in addition to those that I’ve known for a long time and it seems that everyone I talk to about Unior Tools is really excited to see the brand grow it’s presence in the US, and that makes me excited to be working here. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to use our tools in a race setting I’m convinced more than ever that we’re making the best bike tools on the planet.
Thanks for reading!
Our first Tool of the Week for 2018!
Those that have a need for it will immediately recognize it and either already have one or have been wanting one. Those that don’t might question if it’s really necessary. What is it? The mountain bike tread cutter we designed in cooperation with Schwalbe.
Why cut up brand new tires? Well, simple: because you’re chasing every tenth of a second possible down the race track.
While the variety of tire treads have certainly grown and the tread designs themselves have gotten better there are still a few limitations. One can only bring so many tires to a race, and manufacturers can only optimize for a finite set of conditions. In other words, even if tire manufacturers made an ideal tread for every set of conditions, how can you as a rider be expected to have the right tire with you come race day?
Further, conditions change. You might show up to a race a few days ahead of time to check out the course, get the lay of the land. How much do you trust the forecast? On Thursday the weather report might say a wet, nasty weekend. Come Saturday and Sunday it might actually be nothing but blue skies and hero dirt. But you only brought mud spikes…
Enter the 2730/4BI Tread Cutter. Customize your tires for the trail and conditions you’re facing. Don’t stress about losing straight line speed for cornering grip. Don’t worry anymore about how quickly the trail is drying and how squirmy the tall lugs on your heavy mud tires are.
OK, but what about for the rider that’s just out for a good time? The rider that doesn’t have an endless supply of tires at home to cut up for a single race weekend. That rider can find use out of this tool as well in freshening up older tires that are worn a bit.
If your tires have rounded off tread lugs a little snip with these will get those edges nice and crisp again, breathing new life into an old tire.
Designed in conjunction with Schwalbe tires the tool features a built-in depth gauge to ensure a consistent cut around the tire. The hardened tool steel pincers will last and the double-material handle is comfortable to help you get through all that trimming. Take 10% off through next Tuesday.
Our final Tool of the Week for 2017 is our Universal Bearing Press — an all-in-one kit designed to safely press in cartridge bearings.
The kit is contained in our SOS-foam case and includes drifts for the most popular bearing sizes, plastic adapters to protect the finish of whatever you’re pressing bearings into, and two handles, one with a quick-release system for speedy use.
The drifts included in the kit fit the following size bearings: 608, 1526, 6000, 6001, 6802, 6803, 6804, 6805, 6900, 6901, 6902, 6903, R6, 28×17 (Hope), BB30, and all Press-Fit standards.
As always, take 10% off of the Tool of the Week for this week only.
We’re a little late getting this out this week, our apologies. It’s been a bit busy around the Unior USA office lately.
Regardless, this week’s Tool of the Week is our 193HX-US T-handle hex wrench set. It comes as a set of 8, or if you’d prefer to buy individually that’s a possibility too. Sizes from 2.0mm to 10mm are available. We also offer 3.0mm-5.0mm with a ball-tip on the long end, and we have a variety of Torx sizes to pick from. Check out our Hex & Torx Tools category to find them all.
All of them share the same basic construction: a comfortable dual-material handle which, if you’ve seen the handles from other tool brands, is obviously the highest quality in the business. No flash lines. No gimmicky texture to make up for cheap materials. Just a quality part that feels good in the hand and is plenty durable. After all, these are the same T-handles you’ll see in automotive shops across the world.
The shanks are chrome-plated chrome-vanadium for strength, and the tips are black-oxide coated to ensure corrosion resistance as well as a precise fit since the black-oxide layer leaves the tool dimensionally unchanged, unlike plating or painting. Try our tools and you’ll notice how much better they fit than the rest.
As this week’s Tool of the Week, all Hex & Torx T-handles are 10% off. Try them and see what Unior is all about!