We are Closed!

August 23rd, 2017

No more retail operations, thanks to all for three decades of putting smiles on our customer’s faces.  We plan to return with boutique ski tuning services sometime around Halloween, details are TBD.

If you need documentation for warranty or insurance purposes please contact us via email:  contact(at)wildrosesports(dot)com

Retirement Store Closing

May 23rd, 2017

Friends:  After 32 years in the bike and ski business I have decided to retire.  All remaining stock is on sale, hurry in for best selection.  Thank you very much for your friendship and support over the decades – Tim

29ers: You’ve got a Bigger Future

June 11th, 2008

For many of us, there is a larger world ahead where our bicycles roll more smoothly and with less effort, than in the present era. As evidenced at the recent North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show, bicycles with 29 in. or 650B sizing are in increasing demand for their grace and efficiency on the trail.

At this point, due to the availability of compatible parts, the 29 inch standard has the strongest following.of the larger wheel standards. Many designers and builders of 29ers have developed geometry that strikes a balance between the early, sluggish 29ers and common 26er handling. One limitation in developing these bikes has been suspension systems. White Bros. was among the first fork manufactures to sign on to the 29 inch standard, followed by Marzocchi, Rock Shox and Fox. Now, virtually every type of rear suspension platform is being manufactured in a 29er, as well, with most offerings in the 3-4” travel range.

The recent fusion between singlespeed/fixed and 29er is more than the product of crusty bicycle mechanics’ opinionated hybridizing. Cyclingnews.com’s extensive testing is showing that 29ers are more efficient in many situations. Less scientific testing has come to other conclusions.

So who should make the leap to 29er? Think of these larger wheels as a continuation of the spectrum of wheel sizes: 20, 24, 26, 650B, 29. The more you like epic rides, are over 5’ 6’’ tall, or are skilled, the more likely a 29er should be in your future. Because minimum standover height on these bikes is about 28.5”, you should be about 5’6” or taller for a hardtail, and 5’8” or taller for a dual suspension bike.

Wild Rose is excited to offer a wide range of 29ers from Jamis, Fisher, Intense, and Surly. Jamis has some great deals on 29ers including the stealthy Exile singlespeed for about $1000. With 8 years experience in 29ers, Fisher has carried over it G2 geometry, with reduced trail forks for better handling, in the HiFi Dlx 29er. Intense has just introduced the Spider 29 with VPP, which is likely the fastest, plushest 29er being produced. And, if you’re looking for old school durability and value, Surly’s Karate Monkey is more likely to take you into old age than your spouse. Come in and take one for a bigger ride.

Anatomy and Function of a Disc Brake

June 11th, 2008

Last month a friend of mine asked my advice about replacing the disc brakes on his full suspension mountain bike with Shimano V-brakes. Of course I asked, “why?” He responded that he had been having quite a bit of trouble with the pads rubbing on the rotors. “I’ve tried everything,” he said. Finally his frustration boiled over on a White Rim Trip. He decided then he would switch back to cable brakes.
“What was everything?” I wondered. “Does he understand how bicycle hydraulic brakes work? Did he know all the possible adjustments?” despite appearing very complicated, the bicycle hydraulic disc brake is very simple. It just takes a little time to get to know each of the separate parts and their function.
The hydraulic brake system consists of four main parts: the brake lever and master cylinder, the caliper, the rotor and the brake line.
The brake lever is the one component that the rider interacts with. It consists of the body, upon which a master cylinder is attached, and the part we squeeze called the lever blade. The master cylinder is the reservoir for the brake fluid. It also contains a piston, which moves fluid into the brake line. The brake lever has two, sometimes three adjustments to be made. First, the horizontal angle of the lever can be changed on the handlebar. The most comfortable angle is adjusted to place the hand, wrist and forearm in a straight line. Next, a small screw in the lever body adjusts the resting position of the lever blade from the handlebar grip, called reach. Generally the reach is set closer for small hands and further for large. On some upper end models, it is also possible to adjust how much the lever blade moves when squeezed, called throw. Throw and reach are not purely independent of each other. For example, it might be challenging to have short reach and long throw.
On the action end of the system are the rotor and caliper. The rotor is a piece of machined steel or aluminum, or combination of both mounted to the wheel. They are not as fragile as they appear. However, they will bend under extreme force. Brake rotors come in different sizes; a larger diameter will provide more braking power. Changing the rotor size requires an adapter, specific for that brand, size and position (front or rear).
The brake caliper is mounted to the frame or fork; depending on the brand and size it may or may not have an adapter. The internal parts of the brake caliper include the brake pads and one, two or four moving pistons. These pistons, along with fluid behind them, are what squeeze the brake pads against the rotor. The brake pads and pistons are self-adjusting (more on this later). The caliper is adjustable laterally to provide clearance for the rotor to pass through. This can be done a couple different ways. Some manufacturers use thin washers between the caliper and mounting adapter to change the position of the caliper. The second method has the caliper manufactured with oval bolt holes.
Connecting the system together is a brake line consisting of a plastic inner liner and either plastic or metal on the outside. The fluid that moves through this line may be DOT automotive brake fluid or a specially designed mineral oil.
The way this all works is pretty simple. When the brakes are actuated, fluid moves from the master cylinder, through the brake line and into the caliper. Voila! We stop. It is easy, but there is more.
When the lever is squeezed, a piston pushes fluid from the reservoir through the brake line, into the caliper, forcing the pistons to clamp the brake pads against the rotor. In a two (or four) piston caliper, the fluid is routed behind each piston. When the brake is released, fluid returns back to the master cylinder. However, as the brake pads wear the pistons remain extended to keep a constant distance from the rotor. This is the self-adjustment mechanism. Therefore an increasing amount of fluid will remain in the caliper instead of returning to the reservoir.
Sometimes the self-adjustment needs a little help. Maybe the brake lever got bumped when the wheel was out. More often, heat from use may cause the rotors to change shape. That same heat will also affect the brake fluid and any air in the brake line in the form of expansion. The hydraulic brake is a closed system. Therefore, any expansion has nowhere to go, and it presses the pistons out. Usually when the brakes cool all returns to normal. Occasionally it may not. One or both pistons might not retract to its proper position in the caliper and the brake will continue to rub.
In any case brake pad clearance will need to be reset. If the brake caliper is positioned correctly, this can be accomplished a couple ways. One way is to gently press the rotor against the brake pad that is rubbing. Another method is to remove the wheel, and insert a plastic (!) tire lever or brake pad spacer between the pads to move the pistons. However, when the brake pads are new, the pistons are fully retracted and don’t have much room to move. Remember that closed system? With each of these methods, the pistons are reset back into the caliper. The brake pad clearance will be reset the next time the brakes are actuated.
“Aren’t disc brakes complicated?” is a question often asked by new bike shoppers. Yes, and no is my answer. In detail and design, the hydraulic bicycle brake is very complex. On the other hand, with an understanding of the basic principles, there is no reason to be fearful of them. This understanding, combined with good maintenance habits will keep your bike friction free and stopping smoothly. As for my friend’s brakes, he called soon after with a question about his new brakes. “How do I stop squealing brakes”, he asked. “I have a solution, but it’s expensive”, I replied.

Routine Bike Maintenance

June 11th, 2008

Routine maintenance is an important and unfortunate part of owning and riding a bicycle. Time spent working on the bike equals less time spent riding. A well-tuned bike, however, performs better and lasts longer. Will you be working on your own bike this year? Maybe you take it to the shop for the annual spring tune-up. Either way, how do you know how much service the bike really needs? Performing regular maintenance on your bike keeps you in touch with what needs service and when. It also makes it easier to communicate with the techs at the shop should you need their assistance.
Your bicycle service should always begin with washing the bike. Nobody likes to work on a dirty bike. First, if it’s a mountain bike, make a mental note if the suspension fork or rear shock is particularly oily and dirty. Then, degrease the chain, cassette and chainrings. Remove the wheels; wash them and the frame with soapy dishwater. Rinse everything with a light spray of the water hose.
Now that everything is clean, begin by inspecting the wheels. Quickly check the tire tread and sidewalls for cuts and other damage. Also look at the rims for any dents or cracks. Next, roll the axles gently between the fingers. They should roll smoothly and quietly. Any roughness indicates a need for adjustment or overhaul. Grasp the axle end and attempt to wiggle it sideways. If you feel movement, an adjustment may be required. Be aware, however, hubs with cartridge bearings are usually not adjustable. When worn out, cartridge bearings require replacement.
While the wheels are off, inspect the bottom bracket. Derail the chain and examine it using the same procedure as the hubs. The modern bottom bracket uses cartridge bearings. If the axle spins rough or has lateral movement it will need to be replaced for best performance. Next, inspect the chainrings. Worn chainrings have teeth that appear to have hooks. In some cases they may look like the dorsal fin of a shark. Chainrings that are worn can contribute to an occurrence called chain-suck. Also look for bent or broken teeth.
Prior to installing the wheels is the time to inspect the brake pads. Rubber brake pads that are unevenly worn (it’ll be obvious) should be replaced. Also, small stones and bits of aluminum are often embedded in the brake pad surface. These bits can be easily removed carefully with a sharp pointed tool. Disc brake pads are easily examined by looking into the brake caliper with a flashlight. The disc brake pads should be replaced when the pad material, which is bonded to a metal backing plate, is 2mm thick or less.
When these checks are done, restore the chain, wheels and brakes to their functioning position. Spin the wheels to see if they straight and round. Now inspect the chain for any twisted or damaged links. An easy way to do this is to rotate the cranks backward slowly while watching the chain closely. Also look over the cassette and chainrings for damaged or bent teeth. Keep in mind that when replacing any one component of the drivetrain (i.e. chain, cassette, chainring) there is a possible incompatibility between the new and old part. This may cause the chain to skip under hard pedal pressure.
A skipping chain may also be caused by worn or dirty derailleur cables. Dirty or worn cables do not allow the derailleur to align properly under the cassette. Cables in good condition slide smoothly inside the cable housing. They will also be free from kinks and broken strands. Remember to check the cable head inside the brake or shifter lever. Also inspect the cable housings and brake lines. These too should be free from both kinks and cracks. It is possible that these housings may be worn on the exterior from the friction of rubbing somewhere on the frame. Replace any housings or brake lines with significant exterior wear.
Before packing up all the tools, remember those dirty suspension parts? Inspect the fork legs and/or rear shock shaft for wear and scratches. When extremely worn, these parts will have aluminum color showing through. It is important to keep these parts clean and scratch free to avoid premature. Wipe the shock and forks clean before every ride.
That’s all there is to it. Including bike wash, this inspection can be performed in less than an hour. In fact, this is similar to the service that team mechanics perform to every bike, every day. Done every couple weeks, or when the bike is so dirty you can’t stand it, this routine maintenance will reduce the chance of problems on the road or trail. It will also keep you and your bike performing tiptop without spending too much time in the shop.

Author Tom Jow is a former U.S. National Team mechanic and bike guru at the Wild Rose.