The Course

Introduction to Professional Bicycle Repair

I look around the shop today and I see many more tools than 12 years ago. 

I see more high-tech components also. Yet when we were squeezed into half the space with half as many tools, we still graduated great mechanics. 

And the reason for this is that no matter how many 10, 11 and 12 speed drivetrains showed up; no matter how many fancy shock systems and frame innovations came along; what really always set our mechanics apart was that they learned careful mechanical analysis and the best wheel truing techniques. Because a bike without properly tensioned wheels is a bike heading for failure.

         We keep up with the latest blog entries from the Wheel Fanatyk, posted by Ric Hjertberg who hand assembles our spoke tension gauges. Ric posts all the latest discoveries and techniques as well as the observations he receives from other wheel fanatics. Because wheel truing is a continually evolving practise, and we try to keep up.

No matter how many electric shift systems, high tech carbon frames or dropper posts bicycle builders may incorporate – all those cycles are just pretty failures if their wheels aren’t round and strong.

That’s why you will receive two certificates when you graduate. One for the bicycle maintenance skills you’ve learned. And one for wheel truing and tensioning.

                                                       Smokey 2022

You will receive study materials when you have paid your deposit. This material will give you the preparation for what you will be learning practically in the course.

Course sections

1. Bicycle Assembly and Tuning

This course is for bicycle shop owners who want to supervise the work of their mechanics; bicycle mechanics themselves; or home mechanics who want to learn the best repair techniques; or rental personnel who service a bike fleet. Everything to do with assembling, adjusting, lubricating and maintaining new bicycles is taught.

Bicycle Assembly and Tuning consists of 7 class days of six hours each: and some bicycle history which covers the development of technologies which led to the modern multi-geared bicycle.

Each day begins with a review of the question sheet about the day’s practical lesson. The questions help you learn about the component of the day. When all technical matters are discussed, you see a demo of the practical work. This can involve a technical video about the componentry, a discussion of the recommended tools to use, and new tools which have been more recently developed. Then you work at your station learning the new technique. 
  • Thread identification and preparation, measurement tools.
  • Use of lubricants, cleansers, solvents & thread locker compounds
  • Crank arm removal and installation.
  • Pedal installation, with thread locker and proper torque.
  • Adjustable-cup bottom bracket bearing replacement.
  • Wheel hub bearing replacement. 
  • Headset inspection, retainer removal, adjustment and torque.
  • Cassette or freewheel removal and replacement.
  • Cassette & chain wear assessment. Chain line assessment and correction.
  • Chain removal, proper length adjustment, and installation.
  • Assessing if a wheel can be trued or requires replacement.
  • Lateral & radial wheel truing, dishing, proper spoke tension.
  • Stressing and stabilizing wheel true, tension balancing.
  • Tire sizing, rim vs. tire compatibility, installation, and flat repair.
  • Checking and correcting rear dropout alignment.
  • Proper wheel installation.
  • Seat-post diameter verification, reaming, seat installation, adjustment.
  • Stem greasing, alignment and torque
  • Threadless headset inspection, replacement and torque
  • Flat handlebar brake-shifter alignment, road bike bar alignment.
  • Shift lever installation, optimal cable routing & cable pre-stressing
  • Rear derailleur installation with thread locker.
  • Proper sizing of rear derailleur housing loop.
  • Rear derailleur limit-screw and B screw adjustments
  • Rear derailleur indexing adjustment
  • Front derailleur precise installation, limit-screw adjustment, height and angle
  • Front derailleur indexing adjustment
  • Brake lever installation, cable routing and brake fine-tuning
  • Dual-pivot brake installation and adjustment
  • V-brakes, and several types of caliber brakes
  • Mechanical disc-brake installation and adjustment
2. Professional Bicycle Repair
This course is the next level as required for professional bicycle shop mechanics. We build on what was learned in Bicycle Assembly and Tuning and add everything that is needed for the professional.

There are 7 class days of six hours each. Students are also expected to practise their skills after class time and on weekends. Because the student residence is next to the bicycle classroom, access to the shop is open to participants at those times.

You will learn:
  • Spline-fit crank arm removal and installation
  • Alignment & straightening of fork dropouts, and rear triangles
  • Identifying frame defects, and straightening them, if possible.
  • Sizing replacement threaded and threadless forks
  • Different models of cartridge bottom brackets to service. 
  • Alternate bottom bracket installation for stripped threads
  • Headset measurement and calculation of stack heights
  • Hub and freehub bearing assessment and upgrading.
  • Freehub body replacement.
  • Thread identification of axles.
  • Hub cone replacements.
  • Troubleshooting hub bearings.
  • Calculation of spoke length, and lacing new wheels
  • Assessing damaged rims
  • Accurate measurement of tire vs. rim compatibility.
  • Repairing tires with tubes, installing puncture protection strips
  • Creation of tubeless wheel set-ups.
  • Identification of tire wear and damage
  • Assessing & improving chainline error
  • Identifying cassette & chainring wear, installing replacements
  • Installing square tapered, external BBs, press-fit BBs & BMX BBs
  • Lubricating freewheel bearings
  • Assessing chain damage, replacement
  • Chain/freewheel compatibility
  • Precise rear derailleur adjustment, calculating chainring-cassette capacity
  • Analyzing when and how to change gearing options.
  • Troubleshooting brake levers, ergonomic fine tuning
  • Criss-cross brake & shifter cable routing. 
  • Creating optimum rear derailleur cable loop.
  • Mounting of side-pull calipers and their adjustment
  • Disc-brake rotor installation & adjustment. 
  • Hydraulic disc brake bleeding, mineral oil & DOT & precision adjustment.
  • Disc brake pad & caliper cleaning and inspection  
  • Cutting steerer tubes to precise length
  • Re-threading adjustable headset forks (mostly for old bike repair)
  • Chasing threads and facing bottom brackets, drilling exit hole.
  • Assembling tubeless wheels is now covered as these are increasingly popular.

3. Bicycle Repair Practicum
When I created this course in Toronto in consultation with the Bicycle Trade Association of Canada we agreed that mechanics who only learn the basics of bicycle assembly go to work in a repair shop and pick up many “bad habits” or techniques before returning to take their advanced training. 

Some of the students in the bike school program in Toronto in 2010.

Rather than having to teach mechanics to 'unlearn' bad habits picked up at a bike shop it was decided that they would learn the advanced material from the outset. A third course component was necessary: practice on used bicycles. This allows students to hone their skills in a way which best approximates the real environment of a working bike shop. The added advantage is that students learn when it is feasible to repair a component or when it is better to replace it. 
This cost/benefit training creates a mechanic who will be able to run her/his own shop, 
or will be a great asset if working for someone else.
Students can continue to practise their skills in the evenings and on weekends. The student residence is next to the bicycle shop. The shop is open to participants to approx. 9:30 pm. 
After the Practicum is completed, those who need additional practice time have 3 to 4 more days at no additional cost to continue honing their skills before finishing their tests . 

During the Practicum and the extra free practise days all the skills learned in the course are perfected by tuning and overhauling a variety of bicycles brought in by customers. These can range from simple “beaters” to high-end custom bikes. This method of teaching was developed in the course in Toronto and resulted in graduates being hired in shops to work alongside the experienced mechanics, not just in new bicycle assembly. 
(And why are beginners assigned to the task of assembling new bicycles anyway?)

After honing their skills in the Practicum, students decide when they are ready to do their written test together (10%) and then they take their individual testing, when ready: brakes 10%; drivetrain 10%; wheel lacing 10%; wheel truing 20%; and a complete bicycle build is 40%. A passing mark is 80%, because all bicycles have to be safe in traffic as well as on difficult trails.

After the successful completion of all three parts, each student receives a Mechanic’s Certificate and a Wheel Truing Certificate. These are now recognized at the Canadian outdoor co-op store as well as by top bicycle stores. Several graduates have also opened successful shops of their own. One is now teaching his own courses in Alberta. Many early retirees, including a number from the Canadian Forces, have graduated from the course to have a self-directed second career. Cyclists are also working as travelling mechanics in touring companies. 
Non-profit community bike shops have our grads teaching their volunteers and customers. These include community shops in South Africa, Australia and Canada.
Finally, I'm developing instructor training which will have its trial debut with a student instructor in late 2022.

          There are also very large Procyonidae (racoons) on the island

Contact Quadra Bike School

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To apply to Quadra Bike School, click here