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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 05-02-05, 05:22 PM   #1
Daily Commute
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Mechanics, almost as fun as riding?

Does anyone else find that keeping their bike in good working order is almost as satisfying as riding? I just got my tightest-ever adjustment to my brakes, as good as any LBS has ever done. I barely touch them and they brake; I release them and the tire moves freely. Beautiful.

I'm nowhere near being an LBS-qualitywrench, and the work generally takes a lot longer than it should. But everytime I take something apart that previously was a "black box" to me, and then put it back together, it's almost as satisfying as riding a century.

One thing I love about the mechanics is that there's always something to try, and nothing is as hard as you'd think, even for a klutz like me. For new cyclists, changing a tube is a major accomplishment. Then there's cleaning the drive train, changing a chain, changing a cassette, greasing the seat post, adjusting brakes, replacing brake pads, taking the brakes apart and cleaning them, replacing cables, replacing cable housings, truing wheels, building wheels (possibly my next step), etc., etc., etc.
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Old 05-02-05, 05:35 PM   #2
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If cycling wasn't a tinkerable hobby, I sure wouldn't have as much fun...
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Old 05-02-05, 05:49 PM   #3
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I spend more time working on bikes (my experiments and friends/neighbors projects) than I do riding them. I'd be OK with 50/50 I guess but I'm increasingly getting the urge to suck some air and burn some leg. I just really enjoy pounding the pedals until I can hardly see straight. I think I'm not alone.
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Old 05-02-05, 05:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daily Commute
Does anyone else find that keeping their bike in good working order is almost as satisfying as riding? I just got my tightest-ever adjustment to my brakes, as good as any LBS has ever done. I barely touch them and they brake; I release them and the tire moves freely. Beautiful.

I'm nowhere near being an LBS-qualitywrench, and the work generally takes a lot longer than it should. But everytime I take something apart that previously was a "black box" to me, and then put it back together, it's almost as satisfying as riding a century.

One thing I love about the mechanics is that there's always something to try, and nothing is as hard as you'd think, even for a klutz like me. For new cyclists, changing a tube is a major accomplishment. Then there's cleaning the drive train, changing a chain, changing a cassette, greasing the seat post, adjusting brakes, replacing brake pads, taking the brakes apart and cleaning them, replacing cables, replacing cable housings, truing wheels, building wheels (possibly my next step), etc., etc., etc.
Ya man, I love fixing, building, overhauling, upgrading bikes. It's awesome. I got into it to save money on maintenance, now I love it as an end unto iteself. I would say I know more than the average college kid working part time as an LBS wrench, but we have some head mechanics around here who know absolutely everything under the sun.

I just finished building a new touring bike yesterday. There's nothing as satisfying as riding an awesome new bike and realizing that you spent two months collecting parts and hours putting it together

I would say I spend about 1.5X as much working on bikes as actually riding them. Though I'm riding more and more now...
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Old 05-02-05, 05:55 PM   #5
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Completely agree. Really enjoy both aspects of the hobby...wrenching and riding. Love the old lugged vintage road bikes as well.
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Old 05-02-05, 06:06 PM   #6
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I spend a lot of time on cleaning/maintenance as well. I have an 11 year old bike that I commute, do errands, and ride with the club on weekend rides. It is great when the shifting is quick, smooth and crisp and the braking is spot on, (even with canti's), and the bearings roll as smooth as can be.
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Old 05-02-05, 06:07 PM   #7
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I enjoy the mechanics of it as much or more than the riding. i feel like sometimes i ride so that i have something to fix. Good stuff, you can really tinker a lot and i like that
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Old 05-02-05, 06:12 PM   #8
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I have to agree.

Sometimes I strip my frames down just for the heck of cleaning everything and then building it back up. My mom says I need help
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Old 05-02-05, 06:14 PM   #9
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I do the same. I take apart my headset entirely once a month. and every so often i will detension my spokes so that they are all slack and tension/true them again if i dont have another persons wheel to build
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Old 05-02-05, 06:16 PM   #10
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Of course, the dark side to this hobby is that I spend a shocking portion of my disposable income on bike stuff, and become jittery if unable to check the craigslist listings for more than a few hours
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Old 05-02-05, 07:20 PM   #11
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I'm of the ilk that finds building em' to be as much or sometimes more fun than riding em'.

I like all venues. Recumbent, road, fixed/SS, recumbent trikes, vintage and yes even the alternative venue. I have just finished a stretch cruiser DiamondBack Cruz with ApeHangers a springer fork and 144 spoke chrome wheels. Something different. Last year I/we built a LowRider for my apprentice mechanic kid. Currently building a loaner MTB for when I ask non MTB people to go riding and the say "I don't have an MTB". Future project is a SS MTB. I have most of the parts, I just need a frame. I can get away with it since I own a LBS. I'm one of the few left that when not fixin' a customers I'm racked up with my own. Sometimes I have to take em' home just to make room. I even forget about parts I have scurried away. Bad part...I hate to part with anything I build. When I do I have remorse and wish I still had it. I got in a tiff a coupla years ago, about so many bikes so little room so I sold some....I'm suffering pangs of remorse as I type this.
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Old 05-02-05, 08:47 PM   #12
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I began to work on bikes as a hobby because absolutely NO prefab bike out there is really suitable for the way I like to ride. You get creative and it becomes functional art.
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Old 05-02-05, 10:08 PM   #13
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You ain't alone - I get big satisfaction maintaining and repairing my own bike (and car, too). I know I take longer than a professional wrench, but I feel I am doing everything right and not cutting corners. I even use a torque wrench! I've built my own road wheels.

Working on your own bike reinforces the elegant simplicity of bicycles - It's part of the experience.
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Old 05-02-05, 10:12 PM   #14
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Working on your own bike reinforces the elegant simplicity of bicycles - It's part of the experience.
I think you've put your finger on it.
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Old 05-02-05, 11:16 PM   #15
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Working on your own bike reinforces the elegant simplicity of bicycles - It's part of the experience.
By Jove! I think he's got it!
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Old 05-03-05, 03:14 AM   #16
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By Jove! I think he's got it!
And in a lot fewer words than I used. Congrats.
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Old 05-03-05, 03:28 AM   #17
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I learned to work on bikes when I was a kid and all I had were regular garage tools to keep the department store bikes I received as Christmas gifts in a semi-running state. They were my only source of transportation which I alone could control so I felt it was essential that they be kept in working order. I'm glad that nowadays I don't get as frustrated when working on my bikes.
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Old 05-03-05, 04:00 AM   #18
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I import all sorts of gear, which means I'm always getting new toys and stuff to throw on different bikes in my garage. The Ultimate stand, plus 4 tool kits, including one of the big Park Tools shop kits. Not only do I get to tinker as much as I want, but my garage has a tin roof, so when it's raining out and we can't ride, my wife will fix some hot drinks, and we'll hang out in the shed with the rain doing its little thing on the tin roof. Sometimes we'll even work on the bikes.
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Old 05-03-05, 04:37 AM   #19
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Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yes
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Old 05-03-05, 09:22 AM   #20
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Not only do I get to tinker as much as I want, but my garage has a tin roof, so when it's raining out and we can't ride, my wife will fix some hot drinks, and we'll hang out in the shed with the rain doing its little thing on the tin roof. Sometimes we'll even work on the bikes.



That's the coolest thing I've heard of anyone doing as a couple in a long time. Talk about nice times.

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Old 05-03-05, 03:31 PM   #21
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That's the coolest thing I've heard of anyone doing as a couple in a long time. Talk about nice times.

When my furniture arrived, we had 2 lounges, so one went out to the garage. Yes, we had a nice white leather lounge in the garage, with matching chairs. Now there's bikes and bean bags.
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Old 05-03-05, 03:36 PM   #22
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I like wrenching as much as I like riding. I try to build 2 bikes a year, limited now though by storage space. Parts go on and off all the time. Nothing better than being in the shop with a bike on the stand, a cold Fresca on the bench and Rockabilly cranking on the CD player.
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Old 05-03-05, 03:52 PM   #23
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I like wrenching as much as I like riding. I try to build 2 bikes a year, limited now though by storage space. Parts go on and off all the time. Nothing better than being in the shop with a bike on the stand, a cold Fresca on the bench and Rockabilly cranking on the CD player.
See post 18. There's always something better.
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Old 05-03-05, 03:58 PM   #24
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I like wrenching as much as I like riding. I try to build 2 bikes a year, limited now though by storage space. Parts go on and off all the time. Nothing better than being in the shop with a bike on the stand, a cold Fresca on the bench and Rockabilly cranking on the CD player.
I try and build as many as I can too. I'm limited both by space and money, so when I get bored of a bike or all my other ones are better, then I sell it. I can usually sell bikes for a bit more than I pay for them because I put a lot of effort into repairing them, so my hobby is self sustaining.
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Old 05-03-05, 04:26 PM   #25
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I find it theraputic to adjust and repair my bikes. Even repacking old cup and cone hubs and bottom brackets has a certain sense of accomplishment when you've got things adjusted properly.

The downside I've seen is that if you keep things running smoothly, I find it harder to justify (to myself) the need to buy new stuff if the old is still going strong.
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