Open Monday - Saturday, 9.00am - 5.30pm
Tel: 01786 451559

Extensive free car parking at the rear of the shop

Open Monday - Saturday, 9.00am - 5.30pm
Sunday - 11.00am - 4.00pm
Tel: 01786 451559

Extensive free car parking at the rear of the shop



There are a huge number of tools stored away in the drawers and cupboards of our workshop, not to mention the many hanging from the giant tool board spanning the wall above our benches, but if you’ve ever worked on your own bike or even in any job where you use hand tools, you’ll likely have a favourite one (or two, or three…). For this week’s Workshop Wednesday, I’ve put this question to Grant and had a look through my own tool collection for those tools that make life as a professional bike mechanic just a bit easier.

Within his tool tray, Grant likes to keep his tools organised in a Wera tool caddy. The little caddy also makes it easier when attending a demo day away from the shop.

Grant, “I like to keep the tools I use most often the closest to hand. It saves me time when we’re really busy as I know exactly where all my tools are. But as for which is my favourite, I’d have to say there are four in particular that I really like alongside the essentials; my cut down Stanley Fatmax 4mm slotted screwdriver is simply the best screwdriver I’ve come across in 10 years wrenching on bikes for adjusting derailleur limit screws, long nose pliers are another essential for me as they’re great for pulling gear cable taut and getting the split pins out certain Shimano brakes, a 2-14Nm torque wrench & bits lets me know I’m not overtightening components and potentially damaging the fasteners, finally my hypodermic needle filled with chain lube. The last was my solution to always over doing it with the wet lube bottle when lubing mech pivots after cleaning them in the parts washer. It lets me get right into the pivots within the mechs and apply just enough lube right where it’s needed.”

No neat tool caddy in my tool tray, but everything has a place and everything is in its place.

My ‘must have’ tools would need to be; both a pre-set 4Nm and 2-14Nm torque wrench and bits, Park Tool Hex Y-wrenches, a sharpened spoke, nail clippers and my JIS screwdrivers. The 4Nm torque wrench is great for seat post collars, stem face plates and control clamps while the 2-14Nm wrench covers just about everything else! With these two Park Tool wrenches I can fit/remove about 90% of the components on any bike. The lack of ball end on the 2mm makes it ideal for adjusting the support bolts on the newer Shimano front mechs.  A sharp spoke is ideal for reopening shift and brake outer after cutting to size. Nail clippers are great for cutting cable ties cleanly (one thing I really hate are cable ties not cut cleanly, it looks neater and doesn’t take any longer to do it right). Lastly, I got these two JIS screwdrivers (Japanese Imperial Standard) as the crosshead screws on Shimano components are slightly different to our standard Philips screw heads and these drivers fit them perfectly with no wobbling – great for getting seized limit screws undone and potentially saving a mech from the bin.

So there you have it. A quick look at what we always have in our tool trays.

Have you got a favourite tool, or maybe you’ve found a use for something not specifically designed for working on bikes? Why not share them on the comments over on Facebook or Twitter?

Ryan Flaherty – Workshop Mechanic – Stirling Cycles

Ryan’s tool tray

Ryan’s ‘go to’ most used tools

Grant’s favoured, and in some cases adapted, tools

Grant’s well organised tool tray makes for efficient repairs



With the summer season slowly slipping away to distant memories of sun kissed roads and drier ribbons of singletrack, I’ve finally got some time back to resume our Workshop Wednesday posts. So much has happened since our last post so I thought this first one should shine a light on some of the goings on that’s happened over the bustling summer and what to expect from future WW posts.

We’re now a registered Shimano Service Centre! Woo..! But what does that actually mean to have that blue sticker on the door? Well for Grant and I in the workshop, quite a lot. We’re now subject to frequent audits by Shimano Europe. We must continually complete the latest Shimano training courses to ensure we’re qualified and up to speed with each aspect of their product ranges across road, mountain and e-bikes. We also get some Shimano branded shirts and gilets! To you, the goal of the SSC is to provide the absolute best; access to professional and reliable service along with a wide on site availability of original Shimano parts to ensure your bike works exactly as Shimano engineered it to.

As well as becoming a SSC we’ve also had the privilege of building some really fantastic looking bikes, some of which Craig has already showcased on our Facebook page. A lot of these bikes featured the latest and greatest groupsets from Shimano and SRAM, so be sure to come back for the next posts where we’ll look at what sets these aside from the previous generations and some of the new tech that’s been introduced.

We’ll also have a look at our latest custom build with the new Dura-Ace 9150 Di2 with Synchroshift!

Until then, ride far and prosper!

Ridley Fenix SL

Ridley X-Night Cyclo Cross

Helium SLX custom build


For this weeks Workshop Wednesday, we’re going to look at why spokes break and how correct spoke tension is the most important element in building a wheel that will stand up to the continual stresses and strains placed upon it.

The strength of a wheel comes mostly from the spokes being tightened to the correct tension, and that tension being as evenly distributed across all the spokes in the wheel. The rim also contributes to the strength of a wheel, but to a lesser extent than correct spoke tension. This is why the skill and quality of the wheelbuilder is far more important than the quality of the parts. Anyone can build a wheel using the highest quality components available, but if they fail to understand what gives a wheel its strength, then even the most expensive hand built wheels can quickly resemble a Pringle and fail.

Most people think that wheels fail due to an impact breaking a spoke. However in reality when your wheel buckles and you inspect the spokes, 9 times out of 10 they’re all intact. This is because wheels buckle when one of more spokes lose tension as a result of an impact.

Spokes usually break when you’re just riding along as a result of fatigue. If your spokes are under tensioned, then each time the wheel rotates, the spokes are flexed as the load changes. This continual flexing of the spokes caused by insufficient tension is what breaks a spoke. A wheel which has covered 1,250 miles has been subjected to a million of these load changes, this means a typical road wheel with 28 spokes has been subjected to 28 million load changes! Therefore although the spokes may have started out as perfect fit, they begin to move and flex, and more and more as time passes, until eventually they will fail. The most telling sign of an under tensioned wheel is one which has had many spoke breakages.

The solution then lies in the wheel being built with the correct spoke tension. If your spokes are tensioned correctly, then the spoke doesn’t move as the wheel rotates, meaning they last much longer. Thus a correctly tensioned wheel is one that will last often well after the rim has worn out.

Spoke tensions can be roughly measued using the Park Tool TM-1 (seen above), to check that the spoke tensions are equal between spokes, before checking absolute spoke tension with the more accurate Sapim spoke tensionmeter and making any fine adjustments thereafter. Although it is important to achieve equal spoke tension around the wheel, due to imperfections in the rim, there will usually be a very slight difference between the absolute tensions of each spoke.

If you want to learn more about hand built wheels, how to lace them and the processes required to achieve a well balanced wheel, then the book, “The Art of Wheelbuilding” by Gerd Schraner is worth a read. It also contains much of the content for the Cytech Level 2 wheel building module.


With the new range of Maxxis road and MTB tyres soon to land at Stirling Cycles, we’ve chosen to look at the steps behind converting your bike to accept tubeless tyres and the reasons why you’d bother doing so!

A tubeless set up offers many benefits to both road and MTB cyclists; lower rolling resistance, more grip, improved comfort and better puncture protection.

By foregoing the inner tube, the friction created between the tube and tyre is removed, reducing rolling resistance and increasing speed. By removing the inner tube, tubeless set ups also completely rule out the chances of pinch flat. Tubeless tyres can also be run at lower pressures without negatively impacting performance. Using lower pressures leads to more comfort and more grip.

The easiest and most reliable way to go tubeless is with a dedicated tubeless wheelset, tubeless tyres, liquid sealant (we’ve tried loads and think Stans works best), tubeless valves and tubeless rim tape and while there are conversion kits available, the results are varied and problems can arise from air leaks between the tyre and rim bead seat.

In short using a tubeless specific wheelset from the likes of DT Swiss with Stans sealant and tubeless ready tyres ensures a guaranteed fit – hassle free.

So should you make the switch? Well if you already own a set of tubeless compatible wheels (they come as standard on a lot of mountain bikes these days) or are thinking of upgrading your battered old winter road wheels, then it’s a relatively inexpensive and simple upgrade to make which can really enhance the feel and performance of your bike, not to mention eliminating pinch flats for ever!

For a detailed run down on the steps required check out the video below from Maxxis Tyres:


Continuing from last week’s Workshop Wednesday post regarding BB30 and PF30, this week we’ll take a look at how to remove and replace the bearings in your Campagnolo Power Torque crankset.

You’ll need:
Soft faced hammer
Crank puller
Crank plug
14mm allen key
10mm spanner
Flat blade screwdriver
Crown race setter (not shown)
Cardboard pads (not shown)

1) The first step is to remove the left hand crank. Using the 14mm allen key, remove the crank bolt and washer by turning it anti-clockwise.

2) With the bolt and washer fully removed, insert the crank plug into the end of the crank/axle. Place the cardboard pad behind the crank and position the crank puller in place over the left hand crank. The puller hooks should sit behind the crank arm and pull against the cardboard pad, while the centre rod presses against the crank plug.
3) Using a 10mm spanner, pull the left hand crank off by turning it clock-wise. Hold the left hand crank arm to stop the crankset rotating. With the crank arm removed, take off the rubber seal and compession spring from behind the crank. Place the compression spring somewhere safe.
4) Before you remove the drive side crank, you’ll first have to remove the small retaining clip located on the drive side BB cup. Unclip it using the flat head screwdriver. With the clip removed, tap the axle while holding the frame by the seat tube to remove the crankset.
5) Remove the non-drive side bearing from the BB cup by tapping it out from the driveside using a flat blade screwdriver and hammer. To remove the bearing from the crank axle, first remove the circlip located just above the bearing, then tap the bearing down the axle using a flat blade screwdriver and hammer. Remove the thinner rubber seal located behind this bearing.

6) With both bearings removed, install the smaller of the two rubber seals onto the crank axle. Next apply grease/anti-seize to the axle and using a crown setter knock the replacement bearing down the axle. Follow this with the circlip. Apply grease/anti-seize to the inside of both BB cups and loosely press the non-drive side bearing into place by hand before fully seating the bearing by tapping gently with the soft face of the hammer.

7) Slide the crankset back through the bike and install the compression spring then the thicker rubber seal onto the crank axle. Grease the axle splines. Align the left hand crank with the splines on the crank axle and secure using the crank bolt and washer with a 14mm allen key. Tighten to 42Nm if using a torque wrench. Lastly, hook the retaining clip around the drive side BB cup.


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