The Apprentice speaks!


When Jules asked me to write a blog for the ATG website I didn’t know where to begin. After some thought I realised that I should share my first experiences here.

 On my first day I was pretty nervous as I didn’t have any experience as a cycle mechanic!!!

Walking into the workshop for the first time was very daunting; there were tools that I had never seen before. Jules and Mat made me feel really welcome, like there was no pressure to rush and cram everything into my head all at once. As time went on I started to use these random tools that only do one job and cost loads! I started to gain knowledge into what the tools are and how to use them. This Knowledge made me feel much more relaxed; I still had to do the usual boring jobs like:

  • Hoovering;
  • Cleaning;
  • And a huge amount of photocopying…

 It was cool though because it made me feel like I had contributed to the way that the workshop looks. Even now I’m obsessed with how clean the workshop is.

 So far I am really enjoying it at ATG, it is so much better the college and I am going to make the most of it while I’m still here…

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Cytech top tips

Today we will help you take some of the pain away from removing an internally routed cable. We are using a Commencal Meta 55, but the same procedure will work on other bikes with the cable routed in a similar way.

Step 1;

 Make sure you have the correct tools before you start and always wear the correct protective equipment. Safety first kids!

You will need;

a pair of good quality cable cutters.

 A 5mm allen key

 A sharp pick

 Some wet chain lube

 Lint free cloth or wrag

Step 2;

 Disconnect the derailleur inner wire from the cable clamp bolt using the 5mm Allen key. Remember to use the short edge section of the Allen key not the ball end.

 Take the gear shifter dust cap out of the shifter using a sharp cross Phillips head screw driver. Note on some older sram shifters you will need to back off the top two allen key bolts on the shifter to release this dust cover screw.

 Pull the cable out of the shifter and the outer cable and discard.

 Step 3;

 Put a drop of wet lube on the wrag and pull the new inner wire through it a few times. This pre lubes the cable and also takes away the protective transport lubricant (lanolin) that the cable is coated in from new.

 Step 4;

Remove the Ferrules from the outer cable. If you do not do this you run the risk of them dropping into the swing arm and your job will take a lot longer…

 Run the new inner through the old outer backwards so that the head of the inner wire is at the derailluer end.

 Lightly clamp the cable into the cable clamp on the rear mech.

 Now you should have your inner wire running through the old outer in the bike with the open end of the inner exposed. This allows you to pull the old outer off of the new inner leaving just the new inner wire in the bike.

 You can now use the inner as a guide to fit the new outer!

Step 5;

 Cut your new outer to length using as little outer cable as possible. Make sure the bikes handle bars can turn 180 degrees before pulling on the cable and that it doesn’t snag anywhere in the suspension linkage when its compressed. A clean route into your cable guides is advisable and make sure the outer cable doesn’t rub on your fork crown as this can cause wear and damage very quickly.

 use the pick to widen the ends of the cable outer. Pour a small amount of wet lube into the outer. This ensures there is minimum friction in the system.

 Feed the new outer onto the inner that is in the swing arm of the bike (Don’t forget to re-attach the Ferrules once you have the new outer cable routed through the swingarm).

 Your new outer is now fitted without having to resort to torches, magnets and other home made contraptions to get the cable fitted……I think hey presto is the correct term!

Step 5;

 Now you simply have to undo the cable clamp on the mech and pull the inner back out of the new outer and fit through the shifter the correct way.

 Once fed through correctly re attach to the mech and torque to the manufacturers recommended settings. Remember to make sure your shifter is in bottom gear (9th or 10th if your posh!) and your mech is sitting in the bottom gear also before attaching the inner cable.

 Fancy Learning more top tips? why not book yourself onto a Cytech course with us here at ATG-Training!!

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Level 3, this time it’s road…

Those of you following us here at ATG-Training will know that we ran our first Level 3 course that was aimed purely at the road scene last week.

What a week it was! We started out by building factory wheels from DT Swiss Shimano and Mavic and showed how to lace Snowflake, Crows Foot and Three leading three trailing patterns. We also showed learners how to tie and solder and correctly install tubulars.

We had a day focusing on the technical developments of the road bike and discussed things like frame materials and geometrys, how to switch a set up from one bike to another bike so that it rides exactly how the last set up did and looked breifly at the different types of fit system there are to fit bike to rider. We also demonstrated the correct steps to take to perfect clipless pedal set up and worked out the similarities and differences between gear inches from a standard and compact chainset.

The last couple of days were devoted to high end groupsets. Learners had the chance to experience the latest from Shimano (Dura-Ace 7900 and Di2) Sram (Force) and Campagnolo (Record) learning how the different gruppos required different installation and set up techniques and how to get the maximum from them with a great looking set up that a Pro would be proud of.

Everyone had a fantastic week and learned loads of valuable tips that will see them achieving a great riding road bike – every time!

If you fancy learning more about the Road bike, then book yourselves onto Level 3 road!

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Time for a mid-week TOTW top up!!


I’ve nominated the Master Truing Jig from Park Tools as this weeks Tool Of The Week.

With more dials and adjustments than you can shake a large stick at, Parks MTJ or ‘Jig of Truth’ as it has come to be known here, gives the professional Tool Meister the readings they need to build wheels to within 0.2 to 0.1mm That’s a pretty fine tolerance I’m sure you’ll agree!

Combined with the DT Swiss spoke tension metre an experienced Tool Meister can build you a formidable set of hoops.

Fancy learning how to build wheels to this high standard? Then get yourself booked onto a wheel building course here at ATG-Training toot-sweet !!

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Tool of the week!!


This weeks ‘Tool of the week’ has POWER!!! Thanks to Nick (one of this weeks Cytech learners) for the following T.O.T.W nomination.

Welcome to the ultimate lazy mans tool, aka the Makita impact drive. I bought this solely to use for construction work, but was also offered a ½ inch drive adapter, so I started trying it out on the bike and car. Using this tool makes doing up or undoing axle nuts easy and also helps you avoid punching the chainstay when the nut suddenly comes loose.

I’ve also found that the impact drive has enough guts in it to undo car wheel nuts, while also not having to worry about stripping threads or rounding off nuts/bolt heads due to the internal clutch system. Another handy little feature is the automatic LED torch built into the front which makes those annoying nightime jobs not so bad.

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The World’s your Oyster…

Here’s an uplifting story for the Monday blues (if you have them that is!!)

A few months ago, Tony Pushman attended his Cytech Level 2 with us here at ATG-Training. He had come over from Jersey where he worked at Magnus Backstedts shop, Big Maggys.
Whilst out on one of our after work on road rides (I think we had stopped to swap a punctured Tubular at the time) Tony mentioned that he had been asked to work in a mechanical support capacity on Nigel Mansells epic tour of Britain (1200 miles in 13 days) for the charity UK youth.

Tony was lucky enough to ride some of the stages with Magnus and Nigel, although he was always kept busy fixing the mechanical gremlins (he now considers himself a dab hand with Shimano Di2!!) and cleaning the bikes to keep them ‘showroom’

It seems he had a great time and they even found time to visit Nigels old F1 team Williams for a trip down memory lane.

I caught up with Tony at the Cycle show and he’s off to Africa next week to ride a double century!! Sounds like the perfect tonic for the changing weather of the UK.
'Big Maggie' himself draughting the tech support car at 80KPH!!Magnus and Nigel enjoy a post ride pint (out of shot... probably :) )

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Cycle Show

ATG Training Cycle Academy team field customer enquiries

The Cycle Show at Earls Court this year proved to be very busy for the  ATG Training Cycle Academy team.

Four days of full on customer facing enquiries where fielded, helping trade, press and customers gain a better understanding of the high quality cycle maintenance training that is available throughout the UK.The Fastest Wrench competition proved to be very popular and highly competitive, with some of the contestants having their efforts captured on video. You can see some of these on the ATG Training Cytech Facebook page.

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It’s time for another of ATG-Trainings renowned ‘Tool of the week’!

This week I am nominating the Rockshox shock pump. “But why?!” I hear you cry… well, your fully suspended air sprung bike would be pretty useless without one, that’s why!!

I like the fact that it is compact enough to fit in your trail pack without too much weight penalty and, like a featherweight boxer, it packs a pretty mean punch for its size, packing up to 300 P.S.I for those of us who like cakes and pies as much as we do riding.

It’s a tool everyone can use, but like with all tools, an experienced toolmeister knows a few extra bits of info about the humble shock pump.

Did you know for example, that the ‘hiss’ from the shock when you remove the shock pump, is actually from the pipe of the shock pump rather than the air can? What theneedle says on the dial is what is in the shock, the reason it reads 5-10 P.S.I lower is that the air has to travel from the shock, through the hose and THEN register the dial.

Also, when you screw the shock pump onto the valve, make sure you thread it on until the needle registers and only a half to three quarters of a turn after this. Turning it any more could damage the threads on the valve and your shock pump.

So, there we have it, a Simple to use, compact, indespensible tool. More than enough reason for it to deserve the ‘tool of the week’ accolade!

Fancy becoming an ‘experienced toolmeister’? then get your backside booked on a course with us here at ATG-Training!!!

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Sram visit ATG

Students attending our Cytech level 3 suspension course got a rare treat today when the

Fisher outdoor neutral support Sram van arrived early in the morning.

The very impressive Sram support van

John Harris from fishers helped us deliver the practical day of our new re written 2 day suspension course that includes Suspension and linkage theory as well as full practical sessions striping and re building suspension units.

John Harris from Fishers in full swing

John took our learners through a full re build of a Rockshox Vivid rear shock as well as full servecing on forks and air shocks.

A big thanks goes out to Fishers and john for providing incredible support and for dedicating their time to helping us deliver quality training.

John shows us his piston head

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