Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: The 'Wack, BC, Canada
Bikes: Norco (2), Miyata, Canondale, Soma, Redline
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The names on the parts are all good from the sounds of it.
My first thought was that your brakes were squealing. But your second post says they are grinding. Grinding is bad because it suggests that your pads are worn out and that the steel backing plates of the pads are rubbing the rotor. If this is the case and you're scoring the rotor badly you're in for a new rotor.
With the higher tech options such as hydraulic disc brakes you may not need to know HOW to fix them but you need to spend some time and learn how to at least inspect them and how to switch out the pads so you can get in and clean them. In my book this is not an option unless you basically want to be a slave to the local bike shop. There's some other basics that you SHOULD learn as well such as how to best clean and lube your chain, trimming the shifting and monitoring chain wear so you know when to replace it. From there you can learn to do the subsequent work yourself or you may opt to let the bike shop do it and just pay them. But knowing the basic for caring for, adjusting and inspecting all the systems on your bike are up to you and you need to learn them.
Since you may be on borrowed time with the rear brake I'd suggest you just take it into the bike shop and have them do a quick once over inspection. In particular ask them to check the pads for wear. If I'm right and they are totally shot then hopefully the shop will have replacement pads. Otherwise ride home carefully and slower than normal using the one brake that is good. Then find and buy new pads for your brakes before you ruin the rotor. Oh, if I'm right and the pads are done ask them to look at the rotor to make sure it isn't shot now as a result. Generally if you can drag a finger nail over it and it catches in the wear grooves easily instead of just "buzzing" over it then the rotor is toast.
You asked about a service and if you should do it. Since by your own admission you don't know diddly about bikes and even less about hydraulics I'd suggest you have the shop do a full service including the wheel bearings. It'll cost a bundle but it'll bring the bike up to full operation and you'll know that you're not damaging anything by continuing to ride it with a bad situation. From there buy the specialty tools needed and do your own work. You can learn as you go and get help here for each job. But trying to learn to do the whole bike all at once is not something I'd recomend. You COULD do it but by the time you learn to do each step and pick up the specialty tools needed for some of it you're looking at a few weeks of your spare time before you have it all back together and can ride again. Sure, the bike shop can do a stem to stern full tune up in a couple of hours. But they know what they are doing and have all the tools. In your case learning as you go you're looking at easily 6 to 8 times as many hours. Not to mention the shopping trips to buy the tools and any supplies.
Last edited by BCRider; 11-15-10 at 12:03 PM.