Kane Naaraat

Wrenched: An Interview with Aaron Pelttari, Troy Brosnan’s mechanic.

Troy Brosnan’s personal mechanic has been credited as a major contributing factory in TB’s success and consistency at the races.

Adelaide native, Aaron Pelttari, will be entering his 3rd year on the World Cup circuit when the 2017 season gets underway, and he’s been loving every minute of it – even the craaazy long hours / late nights spent every World Cup, meticulously fine tuning TB’s bike to ensure that it’s 100% every time Troy swings a leg over it. These are the life and times of a pro mountain bike mechanic. 

[R] First things first, who would win in a pillow fight between you and Troy?

Troy’s a crafty pillow fighter, I’ve won in the past though so I guess history would repeat itself.

How many years have you been wrenching on the world circuit for now?

I’ve done two years on the World Circuit now. 

How did you get your start as a pro mechanic?

That one goes back a way… Growing up, I always worked on my own stuff and always wanted to be a pro mechanic, but deep down I knew it was a dream and I should find a “real career”. I was an apprentice sparky for a bit after school, then started working at Bicycle Express at home in Adelaide and knew that was what I wanted to do. I had known Troy a long time, we met racing downhill as juniors, but we never really hung out or were super good friends. Getting a call from Troy followed by a call from Specialized was a massive shock for me, it’s changed my life and I could never thank the people that gave me a chance enough.

What’s TB like to work with?

Troy is an awesome rider to work with, he is particular but he has a lot of trust in me and my work and that is a massive plus at World Cups. If either of us are in a shit mood, the other generally does something to lighten the mood and we are back on for a good time again! We have a pretty awesome understanding of each other and what we need, he knows if I’m having a hard time with something and will leave me alone if need be!

Would you say that he’s particularly hard on his bikes?

Depends if we find a hectic line on the track walk or not, really! He does break his fair share of parts, however in saying that, the man generally floats over most things, so I’m probably one of the luckier mechanics on the circuit having a light, smooth rider.

Okay so give us a run through of your toolbox… let’s start with the case – what brand and spec is it?

Right now I’m actually in the process of building a new box so that is pretty exciting for me! The old one got damaged in transit so I figured a new box for a new team would be a good idea. The case is a pelican 1550, that I am in the process of making custom tool inserts for, while keeping weight as low as possible and keeping it strong enough to last a few seasons. 

Roughly how many tools do you carry in your box? 

I carry all of my hand tools in my box, all the big tools are kept in Europe so I don’t have to carry massive things with me. There would be about 40 or so different things in there. I like to be as prepared as I can be at world cups! Sometimes you still need to ask someone else for a tool though, that’s the cool part about the circuit. Everyone is there to help each other out!

How much $ in total are we talking for your entire box/tools set-up?

Jeez I try not to think about that but probably around the $2000 mark.

Which is the single most expensive tool that you carry?

Most expensive would be my abbey tools Ti hammer, I know I don’t need a Ti hammer. But it’s pretty damn beautiful.

What does your toolbox weigh when it’s all packed up?

I try keep it right around 23kg so as to avoid overweight charges.

How much of a nightmare can it be, getting it on a plane and dealing with baggage fees?

We mostly fly with One World, which when you fly a lot you get plenty of baggage. I once had to leave my case in Germany because a company wanted to charge me 2000 Euro’s to get it home. I had already maxed my credit card out, luckily a friend wasn’t too far away and kept it safe for me till I got back. So yeah, it can be a bit of a nightmare.

Does it ever get lost in transit? What is the longest you’ve gone without after a flight?

Aaron: Oh man this is the worst! When you get to the other end and none of your stuff comes out. I had to build Troy’s bike with a multi tool at Lourdes last year, luckily I got my box that evening. Practice would have sucked without it. 

It is insured?

Yes but not for enough. A lot of the random things you collect over the years can’t be replaced! 

In addition to the tools you carry, how many spares do you lug around to each race?

Having a base in Europe, I don’t usually have to fly with spares. I’ll carry a rear shock in my gear bag and possibly a fork depending on where we are going. So luckily not heaps. 

What five individual tools do you use most during race weekend?

5mm hex, 4mm hex, T25, spoke key and a pen.

Which tools do you go through (break) the quickest?

Hole punches for sure! Those suckers always seem to break at the most inappropriate time. The rest of my tools are quality so they tend not to break, I guess that’s one thing I’m not afraid of, to spend money on quality tools. 

Are all of your tools stock or do you custom tweak some of them a little? 

I custom tweak some stuff to make it more user friendly or lighter. I’ve been known to drill a thing or two in my time, unfortunately they generally break. I usually don’t learn my lesson and drill something else out, maybe I’ll learn one day… maybe! 

As a mechanic, are there some perks to the job? Do you get free shit (bike parts) for yourself or does everything go exclusively to your riders? 

Ha ha, I do get some sweet perks for sure! The people that I work with on a regular basis are all awesome, and will help out as much as they can if I need. 

Photos // Kane Naaraat