Shop Talk

A collection of mechanical musings, advice, news, and other interesting things from Park Tool.

  • Measuring Effective Rim Diameter

    Wheel building begins with having the right components at hand. Basically, these are the hub, the rim, and of course spokes of the right length. Unfortunately, that last part, "spokes of the right length," is not always so simple to come up with. A big part of determining the correct spoke length is using the correct "Effective Rim Diameter" (ERD), a concept that is reviewed in this article.

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  • Shop Rag Issue 4 — Aluminum to Zinc

    Material selection is one of the most important decisions in the creation of a new tool. The number of materials seen in the bike industry is a testament to the adoption of various materials and the exploitation of their unique properties for specific purposes. Just like a frame could be made of carbon, aluminum, steel or titanium (or even bamboo!) depending on its brand and performance requirements, so too can tools be made of different materials depending on their intended use. The primary materials we use are steel, aluminum and plastic composites, and making the right decision on material is critical to making the best tools available.

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  • Suspenders and a Belt

    In this episode of Calvin's Corner, we discuss the advantages and best uses of new, narrow-wide chainrings.

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  • Shop Rag Issue 3 — How We Keep Blue Tools in Your Tool Box

    Each and every one of our tools has a story to tell long before it reaches your workbench. All of our tools have gone through many changes and a lot of “what if we did it this way” conversations. When we are finally happy with what the final product will be, then, and only then, will it get its PTA-1 (Park Tool Acronym-1).

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  • Shop Rag Issue 2 — Disc Brake Technology Hits the Road

    Disc brake systems are well established in the bike world. Mountain bikes, hybrids, ebikes, and cyclo-cross bikes all come with this proven technology. So is it a surprise these are now coming to road bikes? No, it’s not a surprise, but the inclusion of the road category to the disc brake family brings with it other supportive requirements to make it all work well.

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  • Women's Bike Mechanic Scholarship

    Park Tool and several industry partners have joined together to offer ten scholarships for women bike mechanics to attend United Bicycle Institute. This scholarship is dedicated to getting more women on bikes and supporting the development of female mechanics. This opportunity is open to aspiring or experienced bike mechanics and women that would like to increase their technical knowledge to further their career in the bike industry.

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  • Shop Rag Issue 1 — Bridging the Gap to a New Tool

    Let’s imagine that bike company XYZ has come out with a cool new component that requires a new tool. How does that new bike component give birth to a new, blue tool?

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  • Wheel Tension App

    Wheel truing can be great fun. It provides us chance to focus on something that should be simple, something that bends to our will, so to speak. Get a cup of good coffee, sit yourself in front of a truing stand, and meditate on making a perfect wheel.

    There are of course many tools that can help you make better wheels. Truing stands, spoke wrenches, dishing tools, and a TM-1 Spoke Tension Meter will make things go right. With the TM-1, you can know the tightness of the spokes overall (average spoke tension) as well as know the relative spoke tension (how tight each spoke is relative to the other spokes in the wheel).

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  • Road Race Support for Team 3M

    The topic of this Calvin's Corner will be the technical support for the 3M Cycling Team. The 3M Corporation is based in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. It is, after all, "Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing." The team is here to race the North Star Gran Prix. This is a stage race for road bikes, and as always it is the preparation that make all smooth and nice for the team.

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  • New Park Tool Factory Tour Video

    Get a behind the scenes tour of our factory in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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