The second and third days of the PBMA Dulles Workshop were as packed with information as the first day, if not more so.
All the seminar attendees began Day Two with a panel discussion about the future of service in our industry. Panelists included Ed Reynolds (PBMA Board Member, Clemmons Bicycle Shop), Jenny Kallista (PBMA Board Member, Appalachian Bicycle Institute), and myself. It was a great discussion panel. Several members of the crowd participated, and several participants appoached us following the discussion for more conversation. The buzzwords around the discussion and the workshop seemed to be “service-only,” “mobile,” and, “consumer-direct.” Take that for what it’s worth. More thoughts to come…
Here’s a breakdown of what my group did on Day Two:
SRAM – Great hands-on clinic. We did a remote lever bleed on a RockShox Reverb dropper post, overhauled a Charger 2 damper for a RockShox Pike, and bled a new SRAM Guide hydraulic disc brake. I learned a lot, and Ed and Simon had great tips on how to sell suspension service and upgrades to customers.
Stan’s No Tubes– We learned a lot about the history and technology that has led Stan’s to be the industry’s leader in tubeless products. This clinic taught us a lot about different conversions, materials used in sealant, what makes a tubeless rim and tire combination work, and more ways to be profitable by selling tubeless technology to those that come in our shops.
Magura– I thoroughly enjoyed the Magura session in Dulles. Jude Monica, who is really a legend in our industry (and overall great dude), instructed us on how hydraulic brakes work, including some really in-depth drawings of a lever and caliper. The Magura staff also showed us new technology, like their wireless dropper post (WANT), and instructed us on how to properly bleed a Magura brake.
Ruckus Composites – This seminar, although not really a hands-on period of instruction, was one of my favorites. Carbon, one of the most widely-used materials in bike and component construction, is very mysterious to some people. The guys at Ruckus spent time explaining the material, then showed examples of their carbon repair process. The things that they can do to repair and salvage a broken carbon frame is RIDICULOUS. If you can imagine it, they can probably make it happen, AND paint it to match the old paint job. I was severely impressed.
We finished the evening with a networking event in the lobby. I got to spend some time meeting with new industry folks, catching up with old friends, and sharing war stories with seasoned mechanics. That was a really fun time, and I hope the PBMA continues to integrate that into their events.
Day Three began with a talk by Mike Reisenleiter (Winged Wheel Development), entitled, “Service Profits and the Future of Retail.” His talk took a look deeper into the state of bicycle retail, both now and in the not-so-distant future. The buzzwords kept coming back into the picture, but Mike presented numbers that demonstrated that brick-and-mortar stores are not all going away, but the landscape of how we do business is changing. I found his talk to be very interesting, and plan on discussing these topics with him more in the near future.
The next presentation was from Brett Flemming (Efficient Velo Tools). A former service manager for multiple Bike Gallery locations in Portland, Oregon, Brett followed his passion for tools and founded his own company several years ago. EVT has now become his main job, in addition to speaking gigs around the country with PBMA. I heard Brett speak in Atlanta at a NBDA seminar around ten years ago, and the message remained mostly the same: your quality and customer service should never be compromised, and that will set you above the rest. I thoroughly enjoyed the talk, and the conversation with Brett over the course of my time in Dulles.
The rest of the final day concluded with two three-hour seminars. The first was the PBMA eTech seminar, taught by Ed Benjamin of the Light Electric Vehicle Association (LEVA). Ed is probably the BEST resource for general e-bike knowledge in the United States. We learned a lot of basic e-bike knowledge, parts, and tools we would need to repair e-bikes. LEVA also offers other advanced certifications to allow mechanics to level up their knowledge and be a better technician for our customers.
The last clinic of the event was the Campagnolo Tech Clinic. The Campy N.A. crew did a great job teaching us about the history of the company, EPS (Campagnolo’s Electronic Groupsets), the MyCampy app, and their new hydraulic road disc brakes (which is styled and functions a LOT like a Magura brake… ). I have never seen a rotor with a more rounded edge on it, which should silence critics of road disc technology.
All in all, the PBMA Technical Workshop was a great event, and offered certifications and continuing education units that will be helpful in maintaining my mechanic certification and increasing my effectiveness around my shop. I would highly recommend these events in the future, as I’m sure they will expand to other regions of the country and also modify the courses of instruction as time passes.