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Old 07-09-07, 07:56 PM   #1
Texas48
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Book vs. website for basic maintenance

My son and I are training for a 360 mile (round trip) ride. I've done a few minor bike repairs, but don't feel confident. My main concerns are doing a tune up prior to the ride, and emergency repairs on the road.

We have 11 yr old mountian or hybrid bikes (depending on whom you ask). Mine is a Specialized Hardrock, and my son's is a Bianchi Timberwolf. Both are 21 speeds.

I've seen some books advertised on Amazon.com, and I've browsed the sheldonbrown.com and parktool.com sites. My question is, would those sites provide sufficient info for my purposes, or would a book be better. If a book is better, which one would you recommed?
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Old 07-09-07, 08:45 PM   #2
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Go to a bookstore and browse the bike info and repair books and choose one you think suits your purposes. To me, there's a lot of value in a hands-on book. Plus there might be background and other info in there that is valuable to you.
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Old 07-09-07, 08:51 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas48
I've seen some books advertised on Amazon.com, and I've browsed the sheldonbrown.com and parktool.com sites. My question is, would those sites provide sufficient info for my purposes, or would a book be better. If a book is better, which one would you recommed?

My experience is a bit '6 of one; half a dozen of the other'. I wouldn't cite any one particular source, online or print based, as being the definitive tome of DIY bicycle maintenance But having said that I keep going back to a few common references.

I've only ever bought one book from a bargain bin about 7 or 8 years ago for $AUD 5. I consider that well spent - it taught me a few little tricks about adjustment and rudimentary wheel truiing I wouldn't have otherwise been able to figure out being left to my own intuition

My skills have probably advanced a bit more over the last year or two since I delved into the online side of things more. Sheldon's articles are excellent starting point for anyone, and I find myself coming back to them time and time again. But having said that I usually google elsewhere and search these forums for second and third opinions if I am little unsure.

I guess my point is - don't expect any one source to be the be all and end all reference. What's more you can't learn everything all at once. Learning is an ongoing experience; as you need to do something or want to tackle something in particular read up on the theory and then get hands on & greasy. That's when things really hit home.... don't over analyze 20 people relating their experiences on some matter in the forums. Your time would be better spent getting tactile and developing your own sense of feel with things.
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Old 07-09-07, 09:59 PM   #4
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I have both "Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance" and "The Bicycling Guide to Complete Bicycle Maintenance and Repair: For Road and Mountain Bikes". Zinn also has a mountain bike version. either book will do a great job for almost any repair; your limits will be reach by the lack of tools rather than the available information. I like both because sometimes one is not as clear as the other.

With these bikes and tools you can replace almost anything on the bike, lube all the parts that need lube, and adjust anything that adjusts. I have built a bike from scratch with their instructions. The only thing farmed out was the taping and facing of the bottom bracket and the final tensioning and dish adjustment of the wheels.
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Old 07-09-07, 10:16 PM   #5
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I like Zinns' more. When I need to do something beyond adjusting brakes and shifters I check one of the repair books out of my local library. Try that this time. I prefer to have the words and pictures sitting there in the shop rather then running back and forth between the basement garage and the computer room upstairs.
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Old 07-10-07, 05:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas48
My son and I are training for a 360 mile (round trip) ride. I've done a few minor bike repairs, but don't feel confident. My main concerns are doing a tune up prior to the ride, and emergency repairs on the road.
We have 11 yr old mountian or hybrid bikes (depending on whom you ask). Mine is a Specialized Hardrock, and my son's is a Bianchi Timberwolf. Both are 21 speeds.

I've seen some books advertised on Amazon.com, and I've browsed the sheldonbrown.com and parktool.com sites. My question is, would those sites provide sufficient info for my purposes, or would a book be better. If a book is better, which one would you recommed?
Well, first off, it won't be practical to carry books or a 'puter with you on your trip so as far as emergency repairs on the road you're going to have to wing it.

Second, I'm going to go against the grain here and vote for the internet solution to bicycle repairs. The only definitive publication that covers the entire array of bike parts, appropriate tools, and repair/adjustment methods is Barnett's. But Barnetts is relatively expensive and as soon as a new product hits the market (which occurs almost daily) your book needs updating.

OTOH the internet gives you the two tried-and-true websites you mention (Parktool and Sheldonbrown), plus message boards like this one, plus the manufacturers' web-sites themselves typically with technical specs, pdf instruction manuals, and the ability to contact the manufacturer via e-mail if you have a specific question. Typically updated, current, and FREE.

What are the torque specifications for an FSA carbon handlebar? What's the clamp diameter for a front derailer on a Litespeed Classic? What's the recommended psi for a Continental GT 3000 25mm tire? Are 9-speed cassettes compatible with 10-speed hubs?

You can find these answers quicker on the web than in a book. And did I mention that it's FREE?

Heck, I often use my laptop right in my workshop.

To me, it's a no-brainer.

Bob
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Old 07-10-07, 06:33 AM   #7
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I don't own a book, and have done just about everything using Sheldon and Park.
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Old 07-10-07, 07:00 AM   #8
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I have found both to be useful. Each source has its own way of presenting the material and sometimes I find details in one that is not in the other. Collectively, they often have a more complete picture.
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Old 07-10-07, 07:40 AM   #9
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Depends on your style. Some people love line drawings. Some want to read on the train. You have to make that choice yourself.

As for content, there's precious little that in one and not the other.
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Old 07-10-07, 08:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby Lex
...
Heck, I often use my laptop right in my workshop.

To me, it's a no-brainer.

Bob
I went so far as to keep an old Panasonic Toughbook where I work on the bikes. Too many of the manuals I need are available either on the internet or on CD-ROM to avoid it any longer.
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Old 07-10-07, 09:31 AM   #11
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In the past I always used www.parktool.com and sheldonbrown.com, and of course here at www.bikeforms.net. I printed most of the park procedures long ago and organized them into a 3 ring binder.

Still, for the heck of it I asked for a Zinn mountain bike book last Christmas. I found it very thorough and good but I rarely use it. I still go back to the web or the printed out Park instructions. I think the main reason is because i am more used to that way and also I believe it much quicker to find info on the websites as opposed to thumbing through a book.

Then you can always ask pointed questions here. Your ride is only 360 miles but a lot can go wrong in that distance if you don't plan ahead. I used to not feel that way but that has changed. An example is last friday. I have owned my road bike for 3 years and haven't touched the gear cables in that time. They looked great and have performed flawlessly so I never changed them. I knew i had a century and a summer of riding coming up so i changed bar tape, chain, and rear tire but blew off the cables.

About 25 miles into my century last friday, the rear shifting started to go to pot. I thought i was going to have to abort. But it somehow improved and i was able to complete the ride. When i got home i noticed that the rear cable has started to fray badly, i was lucky to make it. The moral is that it is always better to be safe than sorry.
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Old 07-10-07, 09:59 PM   #12
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If you are really worried take the bikes to an LBS with a good wrench and pay them what they charge for a good servicing. They will get the bike in tip top condition and you can do your ride in peace without any breakdowns on the road except maybe a flat tire. If you really want to become a mechanic then tear down one of the bikes next winter and put it back together at your leasure...If you try and do it before an up coming planned ride they you probably will never have the time to fiddle around with the bikes to get them in good order. This may turn a great time into a horrible experience for you and your son all for a few bucks savings. Good Luck.
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