Canadian Cycling Magazine


Three excellent questions for a mechanic

- by Nick Di Cristofaro

Throughout years of working as a bike mechanic, I have been asked plenty of technical questions. Sometimes the answer is simple. Other times, I have to give more thought into my response to help the cyclist solve the problem. Here are a few excellent questions I’ve been asked recently.

Can I use a Shimano chain with a sram drivetrain?

The short answer is yes, but it depends. This question can bring us back to the basics of selecting the proper chain for your bike. Always start by getting a chain that matches the shifters, derailleur­s and cogs on your bike. Make sure the chain is in the right “speed” range. For an 8–11 speed sram gruppo, you can use a Shimano chain. For road, a Shimano chain on a sram drivetrain shifts cleanly. For 12-speed sram axs, I’d stick with the sram chain due to the design of the links. With all this being said though, if you are in doubt, always use the same brand, type and speed of chain that matches your components.

Should I make the switch to electronic shifting and how long will the battery last?

This is a question that I get asked all the time. The answer to the first part is an emphatic yes, if you have the budget. Once you go to e-shifting, you will be amazed. Shimano sets the bar for this feature with regards to price and performanc­e in my opinion. There are tons of benefits to making the switch. You get consistent performanc­e and no cable stretch or wear. You gain the ability to shift from various locations on the handlebars via satellite buttons. These options are especially beneficial on a time trial bike, giving you the ability to shift from the aero bars and bull horns. Also, satellite shifters are great for paracyclis­ts who have unique setups. Electronic shifting systems let you customize the behaviour of the buttons via brandspeci­fic software or apps.

I do get a lot of battery-life questions. Some brands and models last a little longer than others. But all three brands do have a simple way to check battery life in a matter of seconds. One thing I stress to new users is to get into the habit of checking your battery before every ride. It takes longer to check your air pressure and you do that before every ride, right?

Can I put Centerlock rotors on a six-bolt setup?

No. But you can go the other way around. You can install a six-bolt rotor onto a Centerlock hub via an adapter. There are many types of adapters out there. I prefer the type that allows you to bolt the disc to the adapter rather than holding the rotor in place with locating pins. Rotors using the latter adapter type sometimes work their way loose over time.

“Satellite shifters are great for paracyclis­ts who have unique setups.”

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Six-bolt to Centerlock adaptor, wrench and rotor
above Six-bolt to Centerlock adaptor, wrench and rotor

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