Who are you?
Ed Nasjleti / Market Representative SRAM – Americas
Tell us your bicycle industry history.
Started hanging around shops in the Boston area, The Bicycle Exchange, Lifecycle, The Bicycle Co-op, The Bicycle Repair Collective, Laughing Alley. Riding around and going shop to shop was what I did for about 4 years growing up. In 1976 I moved out to Chicago and one of the first places I went was to see Turin Bicycle, 1920 N Clark St. I worked in Dental Technology, doing metal finishing and chrome casting, I also spent 4 years working in Diesel Technology, a couple of them at Robert Bosch in Broadview, IL. I had a great opportunity to attend different schools at this time, including Triton College, and UIC Chicago. I started working at Neel & Katz in October ’81, doing inventory on their Internal Gear Hub collection of parts. I worked the following summer for the warehouse, and wanted to work with the mechanics in the shop, but was relegated to the warehouse, doing simple tasks, like frame prep, order fulfillment, shipping duties. I felt the job was not fun or as glamorous as being a mechanic. I had a chance to meet Tim Zasadney and get some critical education from him during this time. I had a chance to “move up” to the shop, after speaking with Curt Weiss, the head mechanic, and worked at Turin for the next 5 years, leaving in the Spring of ’86, went to Oak Park Cyclery, planned a trip out to Worlds in ’86, came back from Worlds in the Spring of ’87 and worked at Oak Park over that summer, left in the winter to work at Viking Ski Shop, something I did for three winters in Chicago. In the early Spring of ’88 I went to RRB and asked if I could work there. Even writing this down now doesn’t give any hint of the deep feelings I have for this experience. I was at RRB until the Spring of ’90 when I started working part time at Alberto’s Bicycles, and taking pick-up jobs as a mechanic for different US based teams. My first gig was 7-Eleven going to the Tour of the Americas, and it was followed by Shaklee at Tour of Texas, Stutgartt at Philly, Neutral Mechanic at Superweek, working for Brad Perfurst, 7-Eleven at Washington Trust, and Bolla Wine at Killington Stage Race. I had attended the second USA Cycling mechanics clinic in ’88, and done a couple of gigs with USA teams, for Jesus, as Woodul used to say. But I couldn’t afford the freebies. I put together a program with Ron Boi, from RRB using the old bubble top Campagnolo van and bicycles we used from the shop. We also built our own wheels, and scrapped together freewheels and cassettes. I found a stash of MAVIC rims for $2 each to build these with, and we used old Union steel spokes, that you had to keep dry or they rusted. Alberto’s gave me the ability to leave the shop and do events. I was with Bert for 3 years, and wanted more opportunity, so I want back to Ron, and signed up for 4 more years. We opened 5 locations during my time with him and my last job in a shop was running the RRB location in Evanston, IL 2 blocks away from Turin on Davis street. So, in some ways I traveled full circle. In that time I did some pick-up events in the Chicago market, and would be asked to do one day events for fund raising rides.
In September of ’96 I was asked to do a couple of events for SRAM, and in January of ’97 I was invited to the SWAT Technology Summit in Chicago, and started my career with SRAM. I’ve been working as an independent contractor and a full time employee ever since. I’ll receive my 20 years plaque this year, partly because of the generosity of the person who hired me full time.
I’m very lucky to be here.
What is it you do now?
I answer questions from dealers, and assist the Dealer Service with tough resolutions to specific types of problems. My specialty is Internal Gear Hubs, and I’m used as a resource by a number of departments to answer questions and trouble shoot issues with those hubs. I’ve done work within our company to try to increase visibility to issues facing dealers when they work with our equipment. In general I try to be the voice of the customer and a dealer advocate in the company.
Tell us about your favorite tools.
I made my own set of steel drop-out spacers, using Campy drop-outs, so that you could hang them on a wheel, and then adjust the QR tension. You didn’t need to hold the tool. I also made a rim jack, that used a very coarse thread, so it was easier to push the rim out. I prefer spoke wrenches that surround the nipple, with multiple points of contact, like an old Schwinn butterfly, or a DT Swiss spoke key. It’s interesting to note, every tool that I made is now obsolete, because of changes in materials used in frame manufacture, and rims. It’s part of being in an industry long enough to see major changes.
Tell us something we should know about you.
I was that guy at the shop. I was the technology curmudgeon, the person that dismissed any changes. The person that would give a representative from a company a hard time about products. When I first saw clipless pedals, I said no one would be using them in racing. Index shifting, bad idea, who needs it. Aluminum frames, they break. Almost every advancement and change from 1970 to 1989 I was against. It’s how I got involved with SRAM as a company. I dismissed the idea of using different materials, and a new way of approaching a problem, before we installed one on a bicycle. My discovering the real value of new technology began with that first pair of road twist shifters, and opened my way of thinking to embrace looking at new and different ways to offer cycling solutions to the consumer. It also allowed me to see the consumer experience in a different way. Rather than a barrier, shops should be a portal for all to pass through as they become enthusiastic cyclists. I worked at a shop that offered some unique fitting solutions and made cycling possible for people that were challenged finding a way to enjoy our sport.
Favorite cartoon or cartoon character that you relate to?
Mr. Peabody? From the original Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. I think of great characters, like Fog Horn Leg Horn, the Wile E. Coyote from Roadrunner. But, the most obscure character I could think of was the dog(Briard Sheepdog) that watched the sheep on the Looney Tunes Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog. Here’s the Wikipedia description:
The idea that you’d go to work, punch in and become someone else in a way was fascinating. You spend all day doing your job, and at the end of the day, punch out and discard the mantle of the job. Still funny and interesting. I even went back and looked at some of these on YouTube.
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