When reading about mechanics, that old "bones" song pops into my head!
Is there anyone out there who when reading about bicycle mechanics, gets rather frustrated or has been down this path and just feel very frustrated? I swear, when I read about bicycle mechanics to learn more about it, the song that will pop into my head from time to time is that old song, "Dry Bones" http://youtube.com/watch?v=mVoPG9HtYF8.
There are so many different aspects of a bike, so I try to focus on one aspect, but there are so many different parts and I go from one part to the next and soon enough, it's like I forgot where the heck I came from and oftentimes I am very much lacking in pictures or diagrams. I am primarily using Sheldon Brown's site along with the online manual for my bike ('07 Trek 7.5 FX), but the site is very lacking in diagrams and pictures overall (although it does have some useful pictures) and I don't think the site is going to be upgraded too much anymore.
It probably doesn't help that I don't have the actual bike right in front of me, but I look at close ups online of my bike through the manufacturer's site. I think the best approach may be to take all the literature I can print out that is relevant to what I'm focusing on and head out to the garage, but still, figuring out which parts are which isn't exactly going to be attained by looking at the bike but I'm sure it will help. Throw in for good measure that parts can be called by different names and that sometimes, the names don't exactly fit or seem somewhat random to a newcomer, and it can make it confusing.
Of course I could just come on here and ask individual questions, but I'm trying to win a war and not just a battle and also learn on my own as well but it's sure proving difficult.
Last edited by DTownDave22; 05-01-08 at 10:58 PM.
I honestly and truly appreciate the perspective from the point of view of someone learning later in life.
If I could I'd lay it all out for you I would, but I've been interested and involved with bikes for most of my life since about age 8. Much of what I've learned has been taken for granted by now, but as an encouragement I'd like to tell you to stick with it. As with many skills, staying with it and practicing will eventually lead to a point that it all clicks together. Instead of studying compartmentally, try learning the theories and physics behind the individual mechanisms whenever possible. Be curious, ask questions and take a few grains of salt. Eventually the overall concepts become clear and then the semantics of the processes of repair are much easier because they make sense.
Originally Posted by ahsposo
Thanks for your encouragement. I'm not quite that old. I'm still in my very early 20's. I think what I needed was to just go ahead and start getting my hands dirty. I was trying to learn so much about the bike without even fiddling or looking at my bike. I cleaned and oiled up my chain. However, I was hearing a slight noise coming from the front derailer. But I think it's OK now. I'm going to probably go for a ride today. Good advice by the way. It's a machine, not simply a collection of parts.
Originally Posted by Wordbiker
Agreed, jump right in...with caution.
I didn't mean to imply that you were old, just starting a bit later compared to me. Then again...I'm a bit of a freak that way, having always had a curious mind for the why's and how's of machinery.
Most people seem to want a quick fix, the answer to a specific question such as, "Which way do I turn the barrel adjuster if my shifts are slow to a larger cog?". The problem with that approach is that it teaches one nothing about how the entire system works, much like reading the answers from the back of the book without fully understanding the question.
When I do a shifting system tune, it's exactly that: I tune every component of the system starting from the ground up, as if it were being installed for the first time. This ensures not missing any small details that would effect the entire system. It may seem a bit redundant, but so is going back to the start to fix something you missed and re-doing everything else since that step. Once you've done that a few times, it's easier to diagnose the specific symptoms of issues as you'll know how one thing effects the other...and exactly how to pinpoint and fix it.
Believe it or not, RTFM applies to bicycle components too. Instead of buying a generalized bicycle repair manual, go to a local LBS or a manufacturer's site and see if you can get the original installation manuals. They're always a bit dry reading, but all the info should be there. Again, once you've done that a few times and applied it with success, you'll eventually get a sense for all the similarities between differing systems and when you come across one that there's no manual for, your guesses will be much more educated and calculated.
Originally Posted by ahsposo