Browsing articles in "Kit & Equipment"

Our mechanic Timo brings a bike back to life

Nov 8, 2017   //   by ross.taylor   //   All, Blog, Kit & Equipment  //  No Comments

Virginia from Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, with the bike we serviced as part of our call out service, collection, bike repair, tune-up

It’s not unusual for us to receive a call out to visit a customer who’d like us to restore or tune up a bike that has been left in a garage with a whole heap of other stuff, and forgotten about for some time.  Earlier this year Timo was called out to Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, to tune-up Virginia’s bike, and help her on her way with planning a bike trip. Timo tells the story.

Collecting the bike from Westbury-on-Trym

When I arrived at the customer’s house in the hilly Westbury-upon-Trym area of Bristol, I was greeted warmly by Virginia and her husband, who brought out the bike that needed the work.  

I talked to Virginia for a bit first asking her about the bike and it’s usage and it turned out it hadn’t been used for some time, but had just been sat in the garage. Virginia wanted to bring it back to life ahead of a social ride to Worcester with friends that she was going on in a few weeks time.

I talked with her about the delights of cycling, and how I thought it was great that she was motivated to do this. As with anyone, I hoped this would spur her on and that her riding would then become more frequent again.

Assessing to see what repairs the bicycle needed

Her bike was a blue Dawes Civic ladies bike, probably from the late 80’s or early 90’s and two things immediately stood out:

  1. The wear on the chain and cassette – This is something your bike mechanic should always check, as it’s something which often needs attention.  In this case it did as the chain was reasonably worn, meaning that it would be best to change both the chain and cassette.
  2. The cassette was 5 speed, which we don’t see that much these day –  5 speed essentially means that you have 5 sprockets on the back wheel, which is quite limiting if you imagine that many bikes these days can have 9, 10 or 11 sprockets and can even go up to 12.  So essentially Virginia had a poor range of gears to use – think of the hills people!

Making the bicycle right for the job

I told Virginia that we could change the old 5 speed cassette to a 6 speed Megarange Freewheel, which would in turn require a new wheel for the bike.  This would suit the bike and the rider for what she wanted to achieve, as the new 6 speed Freewheel would essentially give her an extra couple of gears, but also have a megarange sprocket (meaning her easiest gear would be much easier – better for the hills).

Virginia and her husband discussed my recommendations for how to get the bike back in shape, and agreed to my suggestions.

Reciting all the work done wouldn’t make for thrilling reading so I won’t go into detail about that, but the installation of the new parts went smoothly, and once the full service was done the bike felt much easier to ride and looked as good as new.

The bike drop off back at home, and some useful advice

When I returned the bike Virginia asked some questions about maintenance and what she might need for her trip to Worcester (spanner, tyre levers, pump and spare inner tube).  I said I would put some notes on the invoice for her, which I duly did, and wished her well for the ride.  

Usually a job ends there, but on this occasion Virginia was kind enough to email me once she’d completed her bike trip to with how she did and she also sent me a picture she’d taken from the trip…

Dear Timo,

I Just wanted to let you know that I completed the bike ride to Worcester over the three days, 29th to 31st which we reckon was about 85 miles.  The bike was great and despite the rain on Monday afternoon, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and managed really well.  Thank you for all your encouragement and getting the bike in such tip-top order.  I’ve got the bug now and will definitely continue to ride.

Many thanks,

Though we get to work with a lot of fancy bikes, it’s often jobs like these that are the most rewarding as we’re bringing bikes back to life or improving them for a customer to enjoy for many more years to come.

Book a bike collection and repair

So if you have an old bike that’s been confined to the garage for far too long, and are thinking of giving it a bit of TLC and/or refinement, why not contact us to see what we can do for you and take advantage of our collection service.

It could be be the start of a new cycling adventure for you, as it was for Virginia.

Find out more about our prices and how to book our Collection Service.


Carbon Repair

Dec 13, 2016   //   by ross.taylor   //   All, Blog, Kit & Equipment  //  No Comments

Guest post from our old mechanic, Jim;

I recently decided to leave Bristol for a while to see what life was like by the sea in Plymouth.  Unfortunately, not long after making the move, my kitchen ceiling decided it wanted to see what life was like on the kitchen floor, and that the toptube of my girlfriend’s Pinarello was suitable to use to break its fall.

Lucky nobody was in the room at the time

Whilst carbon fibre is very strong and a fantastic material for making bikes with, it is also fragile and is easily damaged in a crash, or when an inch of stone and plasterwork falls on it. That a cracked or dented carbon frame is a write off, however, is a common misconception. Carbon fibre can be repaired both reasonably cheaply, and in many cases as easily steel.

Doing some digging online returned a dozen or so companies across the country who are able to repair a frame damaged like this one, with prices ranging from around £150-£200 for a non-cosmetic repair; essentially a plain carbon patch – suitable if your bike is already plain weave, or if the damage is in an inconspicuous area. To restore the paint to its original look is around an additional £150, depending on the company.

Having looked at photos of the work to compare each company’s offering, I settled on Target Composites, based in Cheshire. Their repairs appeared some of the best on offer, and the paintwork seems completely indistinguishable from the original. On top of this, they are noticeably better value than many of the other companies I looked at.

Speaking to Phil at Target to discuss the work, we decided to lose the complex graphic on the top tube, as well as the large FP2 lettering on the sides. He could have restored these if we wanted, but it would have been a bit more fiddly, so wasn’t worth the extra expense. The white chevron on the top tube would be retained, and the black fade from the headtube extended to mask the smaller carbon weave used in the repair. If the bike had a more simple paint job, it could be restored to 100% match the original at no extra cost.

The total cost for the repair and paint restoration came to just £240, and Phil even kindly offered to give a trade discount due to my working in the bike industry, nice one!

Frame stripped down and ready to go

Target’s standard turnaround time on repairs is 2-3 weeks. However, due to our excellent sob story, Jordan not having a second bike (yet), and the fact she has a ride planned within the usual repair timescale, Phil managed to get the frame repaired, painted, and returned in just over a week.

He also noticed that after having painted the frame, the top section inside the chevron looked a little plain, so added the P logo back to the bike to break things up a little. He also lacquered over a small bit of cosmetic damage on the chainstay from a few dropped chains over the years.

Overall, I can’t recommend the service enough. All the communication was quick and easy, the prices are good and the bike looks better than new! (the wheels could do with a clean though…)

Here are some more examples of some of Target’s recent repairs. I’m really quite astounded at how badly damaged a frame they are able to bring back from the brink.

Up for a Leigh Woods challenge?

Mar 12, 2012   //   by ross.taylor   //   All, Kit & Equipment  //  3 Comments

Strava.comRecently there has been a surge of interest about Strava.

Simply put Strava is a website that allows you to compare your speed with your friends and the world just by going for a ride wherever you like. Strava users setup timed segments and if you happen to ride the full length of one of these segments you will be placed on that leader board.

Lots of people now track their rides on their Smartphones. I use Sportstracklive but you can use anything that allows you to get a .gpx record file of your ride. If that sounds a bit scary just use Strava’s own app. I haven’t tried it but everything else of theirs that I have used looks good, so it must be OK. Once you have tracked your ride you just upload from the Strava app on your phone or upload your .gpx file to the website and Strava do the rest and tell you which segments you rode and how your times compare to how everyone else did!

I have tried setting up a couple of segments in Leigh Woods. Go and ride the Yer Tiz trail in Leigh Woods and see how you do!

This one is the first section that you ride when joining the trail from North Road after you pass through the wall. It runs until you pass the end of the 2 way section.

This one runs from the start of the section Read more >>

Sealskins Socks Bargain

Nov 19, 2011   //   by ross.taylor   //   All, Kit & Equipment  //  1 Comment


I got these socks recently from Bike UK on Queens Ave in Clifton. They are the excellent Sealskins waterproof socks. But what is even better is that because they are last season’s stock they are all 20% off!

I’ve had a pair before – 2 pairs actually. The first pair I washed in the washing machine on a 30 degree wash, but I guess that the thermostat on the machine wasn’t all that accurate Read more >>

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