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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 08-01-02, 01:17 PM   #1
Jeepbikerun
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How did you learn to tune up your bike?

I thought I'd ask how you learned to tune up your bike. I always take my bike to the shop for fear of screwing it up. However, as you can imagine it gets expensive. So I was wondering if you took a class, read a manual or just dove right in and did it yourself. I'd love to hear what you have to say.
Thanks,
Yvonne
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Old 08-01-02, 01:19 PM   #2
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Bicycling Magazine has a pretty good set of guides to maintenance. They are also available at Amazon.

My chief source of information however are these forums.

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Old 08-01-02, 01:58 PM   #3
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I started working on my bikes as a kid. No one ever realy showed me what to do it just came naturaly. If you are not to mechanicaly inclined, I would suggest finding some one that can work with you and go through diff. maintinence procedures with them. If you are a bit mechanicaly inclined, get a couple of books about general maintinence and repair and have at it. You should be able to find books on amazon and even your LBS might have a few.
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Old 08-01-02, 02:24 PM   #4
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I just started tuning my bike recently. I would twist and turn screws and knobs and see what they did. Generally I could figure out from there what they did and how they worked. If I had questions a quick call to one of the many lbs around here would clarify it. Now there are only a few things I don't do on my own.
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Old 08-01-02, 02:46 PM   #5
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Buy a book...Zinn and the art of road or mtb bike maintenance.$20 at LBS or Amazon.com also,check the workshop at www.parktool.com and Sheldon Browns articles at www.harriscyclery.com
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Old 08-01-02, 02:59 PM   #6
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Thanks for the great advice everyone! I think I'll get a book and dive in. I've even considered using my digital camera to take pictures as I go..... then just maybe I'll figure out how to put it back! :thumbup:
Yvonne
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Old 08-01-02, 03:02 PM   #7
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I went to a local bike shop (off season) and asked if I could pay a little extra if they just talked me through the repair - it worked great - got to use all there tools, and they treated me well too.
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Old 08-01-02, 03:12 PM   #8
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Just dive in. The biggest problem is lack of proper tools. What I suggest, is as you replace parts due to wear or damage, buy the part and appropriate tool to fix it. That way you are deffering the costs of buying tools over a period of time. If you buy a part and the tool, it costs approximately the same as taking it into a shop for repair, so the "actual" cost for the repair is the same. Then, next time you have the same replacement it saves you money. Not to mention the satisfaction of "Getn-r-dun-yer-sef".

Another tip, get a mail-order catalogue that shows pictures of all the tools, and circle the tools you need and give that to family and friends for potential gifts. My in-laws never know what to buy me for my B-Day and Christmas. I give my wife the catalogue, she takes it to them, they spend however much they want to spend and "Viola" I get some gifts I ACTUALLY want and need. Plus, I in turn, maintain each of their bikes. It's a win-win all around!

I've found the park tool website to be great for "how-to" steps with well written instruction and pictures, and best of all for tool lust temptation.

L8R
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Old 08-01-02, 04:08 PM   #9
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My 80+ year old friend Johnny taught me SO much about bikes and how to fix them.

John can fix anything using old parts. He is a bicycle repair magician.
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Old 08-01-02, 04:17 PM   #10
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Geez, tools too! I wasn't even thinking about that. I thought I was set as my husband has an entire shop full. Good to know there are specialized ones though. It would make the job easier I'd imagine. Thanks again! Yvonne
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Old 08-01-02, 05:35 PM   #11
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I used to tinker a little and then went on a ride across the country with a bunch of others. I watched them and picked up a few tips.

I also decided to paint an old touring bike of mine so I had to pull the whole thing apart, spray the bike, then put it all back together. That certainly gave me a better understanding of my machine.

These days I still tinker and turn screws to find out what they all do. There are still a few things I let the LBS do.
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Old 08-01-02, 06:55 PM   #12
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its not like your performing a brain surgery, when I was in the old Country I used to hang out at the local Bike shop and chit chat with bike mechanic when my bike is in the shop for its regular tune up and I make it a point and try to learned How they work on my bike, when I migrated to the land of the Milk and Honey I found out that it is very expensive to have your bike regularly service at the LBS. so I was force to do repairs on my bike, and I find it very challenging
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Old 08-01-02, 08:01 PM   #13
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Another manual to look at is made by Haynes. They make automotive repair manuals (I have one for my car) and put out a manual for bicycles too. Seems quite good.
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Old 08-01-02, 08:30 PM   #14
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I was trained by the former british Cyclocrss Team mech, and backup British Olympic Team mech. He also happens to be the youngest shop owner I have ever known. He opened up a shop at the age of 16!
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Old 08-01-02, 08:48 PM   #15
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I learned through observation, experimentation, discussion, common sense, and reading. Hanging out at a bike shop helped, as did working at a friend's fledgling shop and later at Bikecology, which later grew/merged into Supergo.com.
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Old 08-02-02, 06:00 AM   #16
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through years of great physical pain, mental suffering and financial loss to myself. Next time I'll buy a book!
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Old 08-02-02, 06:21 AM   #17
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Started as a kid, never gave up.

My wife says I read the instructions on everything so I learn a lot from the leaflets enclosed when I buy parts.
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Old 08-02-02, 07:57 AM   #18
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Wow Chewa, I think you're the only person I know that actually reads those things!

I usually tear the part open, oogle over my new toy, bolt it on, try to adjust it, get frustrated, throw a wrench or something, go drink a beer, look at it again and try to figure it out, scrape my knuckles, throw wrench again, get another beer, get more frustrated, then I read the directions!

j/k, I don't even drink beer anymore, any more than the other guy that is!

L8R
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Old 08-02-02, 07:17 PM   #19
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The only way to start is just start.

My mechanical curiosity started with cars at an early age. After that a bike feels pretty easy.

Get to know someone who's handy at it and watch how effortlessly they dive in.

You can't break anything that can be fixed or replaced. Well, there is stripping a bottom bracket.....
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Old 08-02-02, 08:42 PM   #20
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I learned how to fix bikes by stealing parts from my friends bikes as a kid...

and out of necessity.... before I could not afford having somone do it and now Im too cheap to have somone else do it, and I enjoy working on my bike... more than I can say for auto mechanics... grrrrrrrastafrggndunfarkncar!!
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Old 08-02-02, 08:50 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hunter
I was trained by the former british Cyclocrss Team mech, and backup British Olympic Team mech. He also happens to be the youngest shop owner I have ever known. He opened up a shop at the age of 16!
I know it's not a competition ...... but so far ..... you win!
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Old 08-02-02, 10:42 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jeepbikerun
I thought I'd ask how you learned to tune up your bike. I always take my bike to the shop for fear of screwing it up. However, as you can imagine it gets expensive. So I was wondering if you took a class, read a manual or just dove right in and did it yourself. I'd love to hear what you have to say.
Thanks,
Yvonne
I was abducted by aliens when I was very young. They sometimes ride bicycles around in their spaceship, you see (well... on the outside of the spaceship, anyway) and I guess they wanted another bicycle-repair drone because as I grew, they kept giving me bicycles but the bicycles would mysteriously need repair. And they wouldn't give me much "money" to get them fixed, so I had to do it by trial and error. Their nefarious plot was finally revealed when they made me a bicycle-repair drone in a bicycle-repair bay at the age of 18!

Later, the clan of aliens did allow me to try to learn a better skill, namely Chemical Engineering. After 3 1/2 years the calculus just got too hard for me, and they punished me for my failure by returning me to bondage as a bicycle-repair drone again. It took ten years of enslavement to repay them for the failed ChemE training.

A couple of years later they gave me another chance, and I succeeded in becoming a computer-repair drone instead, which is what I still am today.
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Old 08-02-02, 11:54 PM   #23
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I met and rode with a local racer who was a boiler maker and had been into hot rods etc and had some bike shop experience who taught me quite a bit about riding and wrenching. I was a ski-technician for some time as well, so Iwasn't um- hesitant. I learned a lot more when I went to work for a mountain, XC-ski, bike shop, and other shops I sold and wrenched for over the years. Reading some books ahelped a bit, at first, as well.


Ride Tuned
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Old 08-03-02, 07:42 PM   #24
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I've always been the type who could look at something and work from there. Most ventures I do can be examined, studied, and finally completed. I have had very few problems, and have been doing it like that since I was a kid. I guess i'm one of the lucky few.
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Old 08-03-02, 09:22 PM   #25
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I learned the old fashion way....by taking my then $25 garage sale bike completely apart then try and figure out how to get it back together and working properly. Well that and reading some books on the subject.

Andrew
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