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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 03-19-07, 08:20 AM   #1
DeafLamb
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Just tell me you don't know...

So yesterday, Sunday, my friends and I planned to spend the evening tinkering with bikes, building up a fixed gear for a friend, and swapping my other friends frame with a larger one. All in all sounded like a pretty good time.

The only thing that I didn't have was a set of crank arm bolts, so I go to the only local bike shop that is open which also happens to be a ski shop. I walk in and there are two employees, one a women sweeping the floor and another man trying to sell a giant road bike to some guy. The women asks what I need and I tell her. She says 'OK' and scurries off to the back. She comes back saying she is not a mechanic but is this what I need holding what looked like some sort of double sided bolt (not an axle) that I have never seen on a bike before.

She offers me another set of misc bolts in a box and I tell none of them are what I need. She says she'll go ask the other guy (trying to sell the road bike). He comes over and asks me if the bike I need them for is the one I have outside (I rode to the shop). I say no, (thinking how would I ride a bike with out bolts for the crankarms?) and that I just needed the bolts that would attatch crankarms to a regular shimanno square tapered bottom bracket.

He goes into the back comes out a few seconds later saying he doesn't have any. Shocked, I ask really? Not even any used ones?

He says no, sorry I really don't have any.

My impression was these two people where employed more for selling the ski's during the cycling off season and had really no idea what I was talking about, so instead of just telling me, and allowing me to explain exactly what I needed ( I could of pointed it out on one of many bikes in their showroom) they just told me no.

This realy bothered me. And I felt the need to vent. Sorry for the long post.

-ray
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Old 03-19-07, 08:30 AM   #2
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I get that sort of thing once in a while, so I tend to stick to the bicycle only shoppes. We do have one of those "outdoor everything" type of stores near a local trail, but I only use them for food and random cycling clothing. Rarely will I ever get any parts from them.
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Old 03-19-07, 08:30 AM   #3
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It happens. It took me a few shops down here to find those bolts.

The problem is many bike shops just don't cater to the DIY crowd as much as many of us would like. So maybe they just don't have any of those that are not supposed to go with a new crankset.

I say check out a few more shops...dedicated shops. They will often have more knowledgable staff, so I've found. Not knocking the multi-sport shops that are DIY friendly, but I found those to be the exception instead of the rule.
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Old 03-19-07, 10:58 AM   #4
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It's a shame you couldn't talk to their mechanic, if they had one. I'll bet they had the bolts you needed, but they just weren't parts-oriented.

It seems that in some parts of the country, bike shops aren't DIY-friendly.
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Old 03-19-07, 11:06 AM   #5
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We have bins and trays totaling over 700 compartments, just for small parts.
Sometimes I still don't have the right small part.
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Old 03-19-07, 11:17 AM   #6
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i hear ya rev, but seriously, what shop doesn't have at least one orphaned crank bolt lying around?
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Old 03-19-07, 11:25 AM   #7
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I'm constantly surprised by what bike shop salespeople and even mechanics do not know and will not admit to not knowing (what is possible as far as drivetrain compatilbity, what Shimano shifter parts you can in fact buy new individually, etc...). The flipside of this is that a great many of them would also know a great deal more than those that are not employed in the bike industry at some level (as a result of their job). I think part of this phenomenon is that many (notice that I'm not saying all) full time bike mechanics would rather not spend their free time on places like BikeForums finding out obscure bits of bike related knowledge when they spend most of their day dealing with the routine. A big part of why we regularly experience this kind of thing is that we often tend to encounter the salespeople first, who might not be as knowledgable as the mechanics who are in back working. I live in a portion of San Francisco that has at least five bike shops within about 10 square blocks - I've been shocked at the variety of answers I've recieved from each shop over the same questions time and time again (not that I haven't been relatively pleased with the service I've received anyway).

I guess what it boils down to is that people who work in bike shops (sales or mechanics) are just people too, many of them are pretty darn smart, many are probably complete idiots who try to hide that fact, many, like you or me, are just trying to get through another day of work (but they probably don't have Internet access to waste time on BikeForums). Either way, I sympathize, finding chainring bolts shouldn't be nearly that hard.
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Old 03-19-07, 11:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlatTop
It seems that in some parts of the country, bike shops aren't DIY-friendly.
+1 - of the five shops I just mentioned, one of them is a very service oriented shop and has membership tool/space rental. Their "salesfloor" is basically just an extension of their repair shop, including repair stands, every tool you could ever need, parts washer, etc...and mechanics will answer basic questions for you too. It's a pretty cool shop. There's a similar DIY community workshop place in The Mission called the Bike Kitchen - not a shop, but you can make a daily, or yearly donation to get access to tools, workstands, parts, and mechanics.
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Old 03-19-07, 12:24 PM   #9
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M8 hex head bolt? On a Sunday afternoon my first stop would have been the local hardware store. Would cost about $0.15
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Old 03-19-07, 01:31 PM   #10
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M8 hex head bolt? On a Sunday afternoon my first stop would have been the local hardware store. Would cost about $0.15
Top
Eighty cents each. I just bought two for a camera bar.
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Old 03-19-07, 01:41 PM   #11
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M8 hex head bolt? On a Sunday afternoon my first stop would have been the local hardware store. Would cost about $0.15
Top
$0.70 each out here, but most of the smaller hardware stores nearby don't carry much in the way of stainless.
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Old 03-19-07, 02:14 PM   #12
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Well it was Sunday- You can't expect the "A Team" to be working that day!
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