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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 09-20-06, 07:20 PM   #1
reefer
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How hard for a 1st timer to install new group set

I don't do any of my own bike maintenance.

I was thinking about upgrading my group set and wondering how difficult it would be to install it myself. I would need the rear wheel redished, so I could always take that to the shop.

But installing new brifters, derailleurs, crankset, cassette, brakes, etc.

I know I would need some specific tools. What's the best book to get? Zinn's?
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Old 09-20-06, 07:22 PM   #2
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Here's my favorite book: Bicycling Magazine's Complete Guide to Bike Maintenance and Repair Very well illustrated, very good explanations of how things work together, aimed at beginners, and yet very complete... plus it's only $13

Bike maintenance is a great thing to learn. I think you'd get a lot out of it. Remember that you'll have to be fairly patient when doing this for the first time, though! Plan on getting $50 worth of tools, and spending a long rainy day on it, to be on the safe side.
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Old 09-20-06, 07:24 PM   #3
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It is do-able but I don't know if it would be my choice for a first project. Nothing in the job is really all that complicated, but you might want to have a shop you trust check your work afterwards. Read up at parktools.com.
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Old 09-20-06, 07:24 PM   #4
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Reefer, where are you? If there is a bike co-op local to you, someone there may very well be able to teach you what you need to know. Plus, they might have loaner tools.
Bicycles are pretty simple overall and the best way to learn how to work on them is definately just to do it (disclaimer: some things are hard).
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Old 09-20-06, 08:17 PM   #5
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Reefer, where are you? If there is a bike co-op local to you, someone there may very well be able to teach you what you need to know. Plus, they might have loaner tools.
Bicycles are pretty simple overall and the best way to learn how to work on them is definately just to do it (disclaimer: some things are hard).
+1 on the co-op. We have a bike co-op at the U of Maryland and it's fantastic. Open for 3 hours every weekday afternoon, and has a full selection of Park shop tools, as well as an enormous spare parts bin from which I've obtained everything from a Specialized Armadillo tire to a Shimano Acera X 36 hole cassette hub.
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Old 09-20-06, 08:42 PM   #6
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1) You need to tell us how experienced you are so far
2) It's not difficult, just requires patience (especially if you have to stop a build because you don't have a required tool or small part)
3) Your groupset comes with installation instructions and you can supplement this with numerous resources on the internet as well as this forum
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Old 09-20-06, 11:00 PM   #7
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Installing a new groupset is pretty easy, and doesn't require that many tools. My $50 spin doctor toolkit had more than enough tools to install everything (with the exception of a pair of cable cutters). It can take a little bit of fiddling to get everything setup just right, but none of it is rocket science.

Zinn's book is pretty good, but to be honest, you can find pretty good instructions on the internet (Park tool has good chain and derailleur setup instructions on their site).

In the worst case, you get in over your head and need to have a shop finish the job. In the worst case, it will cost no more than it would have to install the stuff from scratch, and you'll probably learn a lot along the way.
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Old 09-20-06, 11:05 PM   #8
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Zinn's book is pretty good, but to be honest, you can find pretty good instructions on the internet (Park tool has good chain and derailleur setup instructions on their site).
I like to have a paper book! The Bicycling Magazine book has step-by-step illustrations of many procedures, e.g. removing cranks or adjusting a headset. When I first did these procedures, I would lay the book out next to my work surface and follow along as I worked. A lot easier than following it on the computer, and you don't have to worry about getting grease on the keyboard
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Old 09-20-06, 11:27 PM   #9
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You can always print out the web pages and put those next to the work surface.
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Old 09-21-06, 12:23 AM   #10
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Actually I just read the part where the OP has zero experience with bikes. Probably not a good idea.
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Old 09-21-06, 12:26 AM   #11
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All i can say is be careful not to strip the extraction threads on your cranks like i did just the other day
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Old 09-21-06, 12:34 AM   #12
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All i can say is be careful not to strip the extraction threads on your cranks like i did just the other day
Indeed. Probably one of the easiest, most costly, and all around pain-in-the-ass mistakes you can make while working on a bike
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Old 09-21-06, 12:49 AM   #13
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When you say groupset, do you mean replacing the original with exactly the same model? To me, if this is the case, then just take a written note (words, diagram) of the order of parts as you disassemble them, twist them together with twist-ties in their "families", and follow that when you come to put back on the new stuff.

Much depends, too, on the age of your bike. If you are replacing old for higher-level or current-generation new, then there are some hurdles. Getting off old freewheels can be a chore because different removers are required for different makes. You mention redish -- that indicates you want to go to an increased number of gears. But are they really compatible with the hub? Axle length? What about chainline? Then there is the bottom bracket... cartridge? But if it is a new crankset, will it fit with the current spindle width or do you need to go wider? BB shell width? Seat tube diameter for the derailleur? Type of dropout hanger for the rear der? Top-pull or bottom-pull front der?

Stripping down a frame is the easy bit, but putting it all back together again takes quite some time to get it right, especially if you are totally inexperienced. Finickity things like front der cage height above chainrings, and chainline.

Even so, you have a resource here and people who are genuinely patient with those who genuinely try, so come back with the questions as they arise.
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Old 09-21-06, 08:50 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by operator
2) It's not difficult, just requires patience (especially if you have to stop a build because you don't have a required tool or small part)
And a willingness to risk making a mistake that 1. leaves you with bloody knuckles, 2. leaves you with a broken part, and/or 3. leaves you with a ruined frame

I'm not saying that it can or will happen but the possibility is always there. Anyone who does their own work and says they have never ruined a part because they did something stupid isn't being honest.

Proceed with great care. It's fun and not that difficult. The best piece of advice that I can give is that if it doesn't screw in by hand, DO NOT get a bigger wrench!
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Old 09-21-06, 08:58 AM   #15
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Proceed with great care. It's fun and not that difficult. The best piece of advice that I can give is that if it doesn't screw in by hand, DO NOT get a bigger wrench!
Very good advice.

The best ways to install BBs and other fine-threaded parts is to clean and grease the threads, then thread the part in *by hand* without using a wrench. Only once it's all the way in do you use a wrench, to get it up to the necessary torque. You'll never strip a thread this way, and you'll avoid creaky BB syndrome
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Old 09-21-06, 03:00 PM   #16
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One mistake a friend made:

He clamped the seat tube of some very expensive bike... not the seat post when putting it on a stand. Frame had to be scrapped.

The one rule I have, and you can find threads arguing for/against this on this forum (which saves me pain later on when disassembling)... if its a screw or a seatpost, it gets grease on it, unless its the brake posts, and those get Loctite 242.

After lubing threads, if its not screwing in by hand... jamming it in with a wrench isn't going to encourage things for the most part.

Oh... and resist the temptation to use pliers for *anything* on a bike (even cutting cables... that is what wire cutters are made for.) I cringe when I see someone truing wheels with pliers, rounding off and destroying any hope of using a proper spoke wrench.
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Old 09-21-06, 06:11 PM   #17
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Isnt hard. but u have to SHARP also. The truth is that I have seen people so dumb that put a pedal in the cranck threading the pedal to the oppasite direction... the question is how he did it, i have no clue but when trying to take the pedal out of the cranck we saw that we were able to take out bakwards... we look at the dumb ass and he said... "it was really hard to put it in the crank" and I said, I bet it was hard, u did the imposible.. DUMB ASS!!!... untill today he cant understand how the threads go in a set of cranks. Not even explainhim how to tight a set of italian threaded cups because I saw him alrady screwing up a BB frame like that...

Again.. if u r sharp to figure it out, do it your self, isnt hard at all. Get the tools u need anyways, start thinking in centimeters and in milimeters please... many stuff is in metric system not english system. Rear the manuals!!!!! and again, figure it OUT! hehe good luck
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Old 09-22-06, 08:10 AM   #18
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I just finished replacing my chain, chainrings and cogset. I actually had fun doing this, even with the mistakes I made and had to correct (several times). Up until now the most I had ever done was very basic maintenance. Expect to be w/o your bike for awhile and to have to do things several times before you get it right. I had a bike stand, basic set of Park tools and a friend who lives close by that knows a lot more than I do (priceless!). I also had both books mentioned earlier books and many torn out pages from Bicycling magazine.
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