9 Questions with John Hall
1. What brand of tools do you use?
I use an array of tools. Abbey Bike Tools, Wera, Knipex, Beta as well as an assortment of generic tools that I find at random hardware shops.
2. What is your favorite tool?
It’s not one that I use often but my favorite tool to use is my HAG Tool (Hangar Alignment Gauge) from Abbey Bike Tools. It’s the kind of tool that makes you realize that this is how all tools should be made to feel and work.
3. Do you have any custom-made tools that you’ve developed for a specific application?
I do. I have one in particular that Jason Quaide (Abbey Tools) made for me. There’s actually a couple but I can’t quite elaborate on those just yet. You’ll see them soon!
4. Is there any competitiveness amongst the mechanics? Since you don’t have a race to settle who’s the best, how do you resolve the tension?
I would say that there’s a certain level of competitiveness between a few of us but there’s zero tension. We’re all great friends so it’s all in good fun and it’s just another way for us to push each other to be better. Anything that needs resolved is usually settled over a nice cold bee…beverage at the end of a work day.
5. Do you listen to music while you work on bikes? What’s your playlist like?
Absolutely! Music is an essential tool a lot of mechanics use. My playlist depends on if the music is being played in the pits or in my headphones. If it’s in the pits then lately it’s been a lot of rock classics like Bob Seger, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Dire Straits and a little Motörhead, and Metallica mixed in for good measure. But in my headphones it’s like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. Could be pop music, dance music, punk, reggae, rock and definitely some country in there for sure.
6. If someone walked up to you (or your racer’s) bike, what is the most annoying thing they could do? (Touch the brake rotors. Shift. Turn Knobs.)
Oh man. All of those things are a massive NO, unless you ask politely. Then we’re almost more than willing to let ya touch the bike, maybe even ride it around! It may seem innocent but as mechanics our ultimate responsibility is our rider’s safety. Everything we do to the bike, we have that on our mind. So if you touch the brake and possibly get some sort of oil on the rotors or anything from your hands on them then they could become contaminated or not work at their optimal level. Which can mess with a rider’s head during a run. Or if someone accidentally breaks a part or does something they’re not supposed to and is too scared to say anything and we don’t catch it, that’s our fault even though we didn’t do it. So don’t be upset if we tell you not to touch the bike. We have a massive responsibility and it’s for our rider’s safety.
7. Who would win in an arm wrestling match, you or Aaron?
Me for sure.
8. What tips would you give an aspiring mechanic who wants to learn more?
Just take every opportunity to learn from everyone you meet and make yourself available to work any local support races. You learn a lot under race pressures. But the biggest thing is never think you can’t learn any more. I learn something every weekend all year long from riders and other mechanics. Knowledge is never ending.
9. Something most people don’t know about you?
I spend too much time looking at memes on Instagram. @doggosdoingthings is worth checking out.