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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 11-09-08, 08:39 AM   #1
spinnaker
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Where should I start?

I'm thinking of spending my winter months learning about bicycle mechanics at the same time giving back a little at our local Free Ride program.

I can already do the basics, repair a flat, change brake pads, adjust brakes, change a chain and replace rear cassette.

What should I concentrate on first, to add to my skills?

I was thinking learning how to properly adjust derailers and learning how to true a wheel might be the most useful in basic bicycle maintenance and also emergency repairs while on tour.

Anything else I should have at the top of my list that will be most useful?
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Old 11-09-08, 09:13 AM   #2
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On-line, Sheldon Brown and Park Tools are excellent resources to learn from.

A fun way to do this would be to find an old, but decent bike that could be modified and used by you as a winter beater, or for a friend or family member. Nothing Xmarty, but nothing expensive either. The sort of bike one can find on CL for around $0-150. A 70's-80's road bike, or an older rigid MTB, maybe. And then strip it down and build it up. Its fun, it helps you really see what the manuals are talking about. And you end up with a bike.

Bikes are simple and easy to work on. Have fun.

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Old 11-09-08, 09:14 AM   #3
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For touring, i'd learn spoke replacement. You'll learn how to true a wheel at the same time as well. Most people have learnt how to wrench by fixing things that go wrong on their bike.

If you want a structured program take something like barnetts. Otherwise you're learning a whole mish-mash of stuff from different places of unknown quality. Most of the resources you need are already available free and online, re: sheldon brown, park tool etc.
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Old 11-09-08, 09:19 AM   #4
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I suggest you add cables and housings (Especially getting correct lengths & flat clean ends on housings), hub maintenance, headset, bottom bracket, checking seatpost/frame interface to insure that it won't seize; bar, stem, headtube or steerer tube interfaces to insure against seize, and all fasteners have clean threads that are coated with appropriate lube/anti-seize/loctite to your list
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Old 11-09-08, 09:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgedwa
A fun way to do this would be to find an old, but decent bike that could be modified and used by you as a winter beater, or for a friend or family member. Nothing Xmarty, but nothing expensive either. The sort of bike one can find on CL for around $0-150. A 70's-80's road bike, or an older rigid MTB, maybe. And then strip it down and build it up. Its fun, it helps you really see what the manuals are talking about. And you end up with a bike.


jim
This is exactly what Free Ride does. They allow people who otherwise cannot afford a bicycle to earn one by helping out in the shop. But they also teach volunteers to compensate them for helping in the shop. Or you can work on your own bike and you pay back for the use of tools and their knowledge by helping in the shop.
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Old 11-09-08, 01:10 PM   #6
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Learn to do what needs doing:

Adjusting the brakes is #1 <--this is a rider safety issue.

Fixing a flat and properly inflating a tire < -- needs constant attention of owner

Clean and lube a chain. <-- these are always dry/rusty and dirty requiring periodic owner attention

Clean, assemble and properly adjust bearings (bottom bracket, hubs, head set). <--getting this wrong can be costly, as it usually results in parts needing replacement

Truing a wheel <-- lower priority for me only because of the complexity - truing both side-to-side as well as establishing/retaining roundness.
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Old 11-10-08, 02:34 AM   #7
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You're off to a good start. Chain/gears maintenance and adjustment is next because they need it more. Then bearings maintenance and adjustment because they will need it sooner or later.
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Old 11-10-08, 07:42 AM   #8
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+1 Start with Park Tool site. It is excellent. Every time I adjust a derailleur, I pull out my Parks Tools instructions and review them.

Pick up a cheap thrift store bike for $5 to $10. Tear it apart, down to the frame. Reassemble it and either Craigs List it, or donate it back (they will appreciate it)! Do that a few times with cheap Huffy, Roadmasters, etc., and then when you find a nice bike, you will be more than ready!
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