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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 09-05-07, 10:00 PM   #1
mattkime
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3,000 commuting miles and now i realize my bike needs an overhaul - i'm overwhelmed!

I've been commuting by bike for the past year and a half and have logged nearly 3,000 miles. Unfortunately my enthusiasm for riding has outstripped my mechanical knowledge. I haven't done much in the way of maintenance on the bike and now that i compare it to a friend's (mostly ignored) bike it seems like everything needs replacing.

chain - original to the bike! 1.0 on the chain wear tool.
freewheel - worn since i've never replaced the chain
bottom bracket - isn't smooth, there is a fair amount of friction
crank set - the chain wheels seem to wobble a bit, also probably worn from the chain
all cabling and housing - no a big deal but probably should be done
brake pads - easy, but my brakes are frustrating me lately, maybe because i need to true my wheels?
stem - might as well, i'd like a more aggressive riding posture

...and once i've figured that out, i wonder, "do i have the proper size frame?"

In all, I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed. Have you guys been through this? Where do I go next? I know plenty of people would just walk into a shop but I'd rather understand the machine. When it comes down to it, I'd just like some reassurance that i'm doing the right thing.
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Old 09-05-07, 10:09 PM   #2
JunkYardBike
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There's a brand spanking new sticky at the top of the Mechanics Forum threads list. Read it!

Seriously, that's how many of us learned wrenching. Reading the forums and researching online, taking it one step at a time. Have fun!
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Old 09-05-07, 10:23 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mattkime View Post
Where do I go next? I know plenty of people would just walk into a shop but I'd rather understand the machine. When it comes down to it, I'd just like some reassurance that i'm doing the right thing.
You have the right attitude! You might want to buy a bicycle maintenance / repair book and begin the tasks that look the easiest for you. As you build confidence, you'll be able to migrate to more complex problems. Pick half a dozen repairs, read about them, get the tools and dive in. Bicycle mechanics is not difficult, but does require patience. (And of course tools.) Often, bike shops or a community college offer bicycle maintenance classes.

Personally, I work on my own bike and I enjoy it. The fruits of your labor are usually readily realized.
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Old 09-05-07, 10:51 PM   #4
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I have Zinn's Cycling Primer and Bicycling Mag's Bike Maintenance and Repair so I have plenty of literature.

To address one portion of my rant - How important is frame fit? Fitting techniques seem to vary and measuring frame size has gotten annoyingly tricky. I suspect that my frame is a bit small for me but its also a terribly common mistake. I'm mostly riding for my health so it doesn't need to be perfect, just good enough.

If I'm confident about continuing with this frame, then i can break down overhaul into smaller steps.
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Old 09-06-07, 05:57 AM   #5
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Good fit should mean that you enjoy riding the bike for long distances. The shorter the distance, the more tolerable a poor fit is.

Read up on the maintance, see what it would cost to replace all those parts. At the same time, contemplate a new(er) bike. Doesn't have to be brand new. The point being, if you need a number of parts, and the fit isn't what you want, then you might be better off on a new(er) bike. Not saying that replacing your bike is the best option, just pointing out another option.

As for fit, I've stumbled across a few sites (don't remember them off-hand); but I'd swear, sometimes I think my bike is a poor fit, other times it feels right. I think that feeling comes and goes with how hard I am pedaling at the time. Surf around, most of the recommendations seem to be based upon just a few body measurements (height, inseam, and then perhaps some others depending upon the site).
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Old 09-06-07, 06:13 AM   #6
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You have the right attitude! You might want to buy a bicycle maintenance / repair book and begin the tasks that look the easiest for you.
Actually if you've read the sticky, those links are pretty much all you need to do everything the OP describes. Books, easy to reference on the bench but I would definitley not recommend going out and buying one seeing as how sheldon/park is so easily accessible and free.

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I'm mostly riding for my health so it doesn't need to be perfect, just good enough.
An ill fitting frame is detrimental to your health. Take any fit guide with a grain of salt. Nobody knows what setup is good for your particular body and riding style. They do however offer good starting points.

Especially when you see **** like, your crank length should be .696% of your total body height or what not.
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Old 09-06-07, 07:03 AM   #7
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As supton said, it's a good opportunity to explore other bikes. While you are at the shop exploring, they should do a fit for you. You should write down those numbers and compare them to how you have your bike set up. Used can be a great deal if you know what you want and how to spot a well maintained or easily fixed bike.

Also include your headset as something to overhaul in your list.
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Old 09-06-07, 07:05 AM   #8
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>>An ill fitting frame is detrimental to your health.

How so? Are there any particular signs that I should look for?

I was thinking of getting a long stem to compensate for the shorter bike. Is this a useful idea?

>>Nobody knows what setup is good for your particular body and riding style. They do however offer good starting points.

....so how do you recommend finding a good fit? Going through a lot of bikes?
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