Travelling so much this year has taught me a lot about bike maintenance, but in between trips I’ve been in and out of the Bespoke Gresham Street workshop pretty much every other week… I therefore thought it was high time I donned a pair of rubber disposable gloves and got stuck in! Sigma Sports offers a one day bike mechanics course, which came recommended to me, so I thought I’d give it a whirl…
I had a couple of clear aims for the day: firstly, to learn to change my disc brake pads myself and then, secondly, to walk away as self sufficient as possible.
The course itself runs from 10.00-16.00 at Sigma’s HQ store in Hampton Wick. Our group was quite small, with only five of us working on four bikes in the store’s upstairs workshop. The bikes included a Cannondale, Specialized Tarmac pro, a Specialized Venge and a Specialized Tarmac. I chose to work on the Venge as it was the closest thing to my own bike, with disc brakes and a Shimano Di2 Ultegra electronic groupset. The other bikes also offered the opportunity to work with Shimano Ultegra groupsets, disc and rim brakes, quick release and through axle wheels.
In just a few hours I went from practicing the very basics, removing and replacing tyres and inner tubes, to replacing rim and disc brakes (tick!). I also learnt to remove, clean and replace cassettes, cranks and front and back derailleurs. I broke and reattached new chains; and learnt to attach and adjust cabling and limits, to smooth out gear shifting and adjust the headset. Not a bad day’s work!
And the verdict..?
For someone who knows the basics and wants to become more self-sufficient in maintaining their bike, this course is ideal. There was plenty of time to ask questions, chat and get hands-on with all the bikes. I learnt such a lot in a day and left feeling confident I could do all the things we were taught with a bit of practice – essentially a silver service (credit to the Sigma team!). The one thing we didn’t learn was how to bleed hydraulic brakes, but I think I’m ok with someone else doing that for now!
I would give this course at least four if not five stars. It’s great value at £125, particularly if you compare it to the cost of a service or regularly check your bike in for maintenance. It met all of my aims… the only downside of the course being at Sigma was I went and bought a load of new kit after the course! Oh well lol. It’s all an investment. 😉