If you are new to cycling, a seasoned sportive rider or even a racer, knowing your gear cable from your brake cable and your cassette from your crankset is important to maintaining your bike’s performance on the road. If you know how to repair your bike and keep it in tip top condition then you can save valuable money and time and spend more hours out enjoying the ride.
Enter the Sigma Sports Mechanics Course a day’s course that takes you through all you want and likely need to know, from the basic removal of your wheels to tuning your electronic gearing system. We headed down to our flagship Hampton Wick workshop to learn from the professionals.
We started off with the basics that are essential to know, especially if you get caught out on the road. Removing your wheels, taking off and putting on new pedals and repairing punctures were all covered and although these may well be skills that most riders know the tips and tricks from or mechanic, Will, proved invaluable. Even things like shifting into the lowest gear on the cassette, before you take your rear wheel out, sounds obvious to most riders but even to me this was a new technique that will make my wheel changes a whole lot simpler in the future.
From these basics we moved onto gearing and transmission. Of all the sessions that are likely to save you the most time and bother down the road, this was the one. Using several simple tools and tricks we were shown how to measure the wear of your chain and how a fully functioning chain helps to maintain smooth shifting, while also preventing the wearing of other areas of your drivetrain.
Other often daunting tasks like removing and replacing your cassette and crankset are covered too. Unlike other mechanics courses that just demonstrate how to carry out this kind of maintenance, the mantra of the Sigma Sports course is definitely hands on. This not only makes the day’s proceedings more interesting but also makes the techniques far easier to remember so you can replicate them at home.
After a quick lunch break we were onto cleaning. The enormous range of cleaning products on offer for bicycles can be confusing and intimidating to even the most enthusiastic of riders, so Will’s explanation of what the essential vials and potions that you need at home was invaluable. As an added bonus I was able to test out his advice and techniques on my own rather grubby bike so it left running smoothly and quietly.
From there we moved onto the headset and bottom bracket, before tackling Shimano Di2 setup and maintenance. One of the best aspects of the course is that it is tailored to the riders that are on it. Don’t have Campagnolo? Well your time will not be wasted going over the ins and outs of it then. Want to learn more about setting up your bike for a mountainous sportive? Then the mechanic is there to help you with that.
Finally we finished off with one of the most important areas of cycling for the modern rider and that is traveling with your bike. Deconstructing your bike to the extent that it will fit in a bike box can often be an unnerving process, especially if you are not 100% confident on how it will all go back together on the other end. Will was able to go over all of the tools and techniques that you need to safely and quickly take your bike apart and put it back together, with the minimum amount of hassle. The course provides you with a couple of different types of bike boxes available for you to try, so you can pack with confidence when it comes to your own big trip.
The idea of the Sigma Sports Mechanics Course is to give you the knowledge and more importantly the confidence to go home and apply what you have learned to your own bike. Crucially the course is also great for learning where to tow the line in terms of what you can do at home and what need to be taken to the shop to have a professional look at. In addition to all of this learning is the simple fact that if your enjoy cycling then you are probably going to enjoy spending an entire day around bikes!