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Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance DVD

Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance DVD

by Mitch Trujillo, PCI #244T
Boulder (CO) Police Department
IPMBA Education Director

“Be at one with the universe. If you can’t do that, at least be at one with your bike.”
~ Lennard Zinn

Perhaps one of the most difficult maintenance concepts the beginning public safety cyclist will try to comprehend is the adjustment of cable tension.  The procedure can be explained, but unless someone shows you, and you try to master it yourself, you’ll never fully appreciate the ease and autonomy of becoming one with your bike.

Zinn’s classic textbook, the namesake for the DVD, describes the process of cable adjustments in great detail, accompanied by color illustrations.  The part that is obviously missing is the live demonstration and practical trial and error.  Since most of us can’t have master technician Lennard Zinn perched on our tool bench, preaching words of prescriptive advice (like the Yellow Pages’ “Dex”), we’ll have to resort to the next best thing.

Let’s start with the disc’s basic characteristics.  When removed from its protective case, the disc can be launched in either a DVD player or computer.  No video is complete without introductory action and contemporary music, so at the start we are treated to some great riding scenes and jams, conjuring fond memories of my adventures in Fruita and Moab. We are then brought to the main menu screen, which features an anatomical diagram of a bike with arrows pointing to associated text-box sections.  You simply navigate your remote to the section of choice, click “play” and you are provided with a selection of sub-topics.  Click your preference, and you’re treated to mini-clinics describing the finer points of suspension, brakes, and yes, cable adjustments.  You have the option of playing the topics in succession or individually. Captioned “Quick Tips” window messages help to emphasize details or cautionary notes.

On to the finer points.  The segments include:  Shifters & Brake Levers, Stem & Headset, Forks, Disc & Rim Brakes, Pedals, Cranks & Chainrings, Bottom Brackets & Chains, Drivetrain & Derailleurs, Hubs, Freewheels & Cogs, Tires & Wheels, and Rear Suspension (whew!).  Zinn’s carefully scripted explanations are concise and easy to understand. The sections contain the most recent information on maintaining state-of-the-art components with state-of-the-art tools.  The digital clarity filming is done from effective angles, enabling us to view procedures in detail.

It could be said that the video’s segments are not as comprehensive as one might like, but the video’s purpose is to clarify complicated tasks.  Besides, the three-hour video was designed to complement the textbook, not replace it.  Otherwise, my only minor criticism is that I experienced some difficulty in maneuvering from the Hubs section back to the main menu.  I’m not sure if this is due to equipment shortcomings, but I was compelled to restart the video.  A small annoyance, but one that bears mentioning.

The video is probably best suited to enhance the knowledge of novice and above.  A creative instructor may find showing a segment or two in the classroom a nice way to enhance teaching.  On that note, I was really impressed with the demonstration of basic tube repair.  The segment covered all the critical steps in an economical amount of time.  As an instructor, I can see the value of this segment being applied in IPMBA’s workshops and classes.  Who knows, maybe it can be endorsed for use in the basic IPMBA courses…

Zinn has teamed up with some of the big brands in bikes (SRAM, DT Swiss, Fox Racing Shox, Park Tool, Trek Bicycles, and Hayes Disc Brakes) in employing an effective medium for presenting cable adjustments and other aspects of bike maintenance in basic and repeatable steps.  If you’re looking to become more adept in bike maintenance and repair, and/or would like to have the assistance of Lennard Zinn as a ready reference, the Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance DVD will assist you in becoming one with your bike.

Contact:  Purchase online at www.zinncycles.com, via email at sales@zinncycles.com, or call Zinn Cycles at (303) 499-4349.

Mitch is an IPMBA Instructor Trainer, serves as Education Director on your IPMBA Board, and has a penchant for singlespeeds.  He can be reached at trujillom@bouldercolorado.gov.

(c) 2009 IPMBA.  This product review appeared in the Winter 2009 issue of IPMBA News.

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