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Old 08-07-06, 09:29 PM   #1
brownsfan
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How many 50+r's do their own maintenance?

I just started riding my bicycle again this year after having not ridden since I was in college. Back then I maintained my own bicycle and I plan to do it now also. I find that the Internet is a wonderful resource, but I have also purchased a few books to help me with items that have changed in the last thirty years.

Looking through the BF it appears there are a lot of questions about maintenance and having work done by an LBS. My question is how many 50+r's do their own maintenance? If not, why not? Are there specific tasks that you feel an inidvidual should not attempt?
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Old 08-07-06, 09:43 PM   #2
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When I started riding again after many years, I decided I would ride and leave all the maintenance to a shop, just like I now do with my car. (I used to work on my car too, until my job pressures and increasing income made it desirable to turn it over to a pro mechanic) As it's turned out, I've started doing minor jobs myself (adjusting derailleurs, fixing flats) because I like it, and I envision I'll be doing more and more as time goes on. But just like the car, the technology is more complicated so I'm not sure I'll do everything I used to do. (I'm not sure I'm going to bother to figure out how the "brifters" work.)

So I'm grateful to have a reliable shop where I bought the bike nearby and they still can do anything for a reasonable price.

Off topic: Brownsfan, I see you have a '73 Frejus, I had a Frejus that I bought in 1967, was stolen in '73, still miss that bike! Don't know if I had a Tdf, though. Do you still ride yours?
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Old 08-07-06, 09:47 PM   #3
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I'll try most anything. The worst is that I can screw it up and need help. I won't face a bottom bracket (I'm not even sure if I have the language right). I probably won't buy the tool to remove or insert a headset. I'm ready to screw anything else up.

motto: start slow, then ease off
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Old 08-07-06, 10:14 PM   #4
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I do everything except wheelbuilding.

It's very satisfying and really not that complicated if you have some mechanical ability and are able to employ common sense.
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Old 08-07-06, 10:59 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by head_wind
I'll try most anything. The worst is that I can screw it up and need help. I won't face a bottom bracket (I'm not even sure if I have the language right). I probably won't buy the tool to remove or insert a headset. I'm ready to screw anything else up.

motto: start slow, then ease off
Never made a tool yet to remove a headset, but installing one is not a biggie, as handy as you already are. A pipe clamp and an assortment of large sockets give you everything you need to install them gracefully .

Wheelbuilding is not as black of an art as it's made out to be either. It just takes patience - - oh and another wheel laying around to use as a reference helps.

After splitting center cases and rummaging around in dirt bike gearboxes since I was a teen, a bicycle leaves very little mystery.
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Old 08-07-06, 11:33 PM   #6
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I was born without a mechanical gene in my body, so the LBS does all my repair. I can change a flat (barely), clean my chain, and clean the bike. Otherwise, it goes to the LBS.
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Old 08-08-06, 12:07 AM   #7
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I keep thinking..."yeah, I can do that..." Why do I keep thinking that???
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Old 08-08-06, 04:10 AM   #8
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I do most anything that does not require a special tool. It's not really rocket science..There are plenty of places on the web to go for help like Park Tools or Sheldon Browns site.
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Old 08-08-06, 04:10 AM   #9
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Good question.

I just started back after a 13 year layoff. I had a shop do a complete overhaul on my 1991 bike, replace a few parts and cables. I'll probably take it in periodically for an overhaul.

Interestingly, the first shop I went to said I wouldn't be able to find parts and wheels for a 1991 bike -- but a post on here got me all the advice I needed to get it fixed.

I'll do things that I can handle in 30 minutes to an hour -- but, other than that, I'm going to take it to a shop. But, I don't have the time to let them handle all the little things that need adjustment.

I'm probably going to mount a new front derailleur myself and I just changed out the stem to make the bike more comfortable.


What I'm not going to do is get back into the endless tinkering I used to do before most rides. It takes too much time and I've got other things I need to do (particularly those my wife suggests).

I've got most of the tools -- including bottom bracket wrenches and the like -- but it used to take me hours to get stuff like that right and I was never positive I had it 'perfect". Of course, if I get a more modern bike, my tools may be obsolete. Things have changed a bunch in 15 years. Like, what is a "threadless" headset?

Finally, I can afford a little downtime to let a bike shop handle some things because I have other sports stuff I have to work in besides biking.

Come to think of it, I think my brakes need adjusting. Here I go again. . . . . . .

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Old 08-08-06, 04:23 AM   #10
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mostly everything. except re-build or build wheels.
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Old 08-08-06, 04:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis
I do everything except wheelbuilding.

It's very satisfying and really not that complicated if you have some mechanical ability and are able to employ common sense.
I agree with Louis, and after the fiasco of leaving rims and hubs with the LBS for a month and finding nothing had been accomplished, I've decided to even teach myself how to build wheels. Dminor builds them, Scooper builds them, others build them, I certainly can as well.

If you want to feel more comfortable before working on your main bike, find an old one to completely overhaul, one that does not matter if it is botched up. I found this to be a real confidence booster.

Go for it!
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Old 08-08-06, 04:59 AM   #12
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Everything. Ever since I was a kid; although back then there were not the resources available (Sheldon Brown, bikeforums.com, web etc.). Wheelbuilding isn't rocket science, but there is a tremendous satisfaction to be had the first time out on a self-rolled set of wheels…

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Old 08-08-06, 06:16 AM   #13
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Everything here, too.
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Old 08-08-06, 06:20 AM   #14
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Maintenance? What maintenance? Spray oil on chain once a year, put air in tyre.

On a more serious note, that is one of the reasons I enjoy biking, I have something I can tinker with, and the fact I can wheel this vehicle into the family room to work on it makes it more the better. Did pay local LBS to recable bike this past spring, as I was too lazy. But after that big bill, that be the last time. Well I gotta ride.
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Old 08-08-06, 06:54 AM   #15
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I do my own work. Dad was a mechanic and so was Grandpa. Many of my early years included work turning wrenches. The only exceptions are when there's a special tool I don't want to buy or I don't have the time to do something myself. I'm also kinda hard to please.
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Old 08-08-06, 07:18 AM   #16
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It is 60 miles to the nearest LBS. If I don't work on my bikes, they don't get fixed. I do everything except cassettes and cranks, and when I get a new tool set I'll do those. That still leaves out wheel building, but I can true them. Thank heavens for the internet.
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Old 08-08-06, 07:44 AM   #17
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I do almost everything on my bikes and my family's bikes. I've built most of them up from bare frames. Whatever tools I don't have myself, like a headset press, I can borrow from my pals at the LBS. I haven't built a set of wheels yet, but I want to do that someday. I love working on my bikes and changing components around. It gets me in tune with the bikes in a way that couldn't happen if someone else was doing the work.
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Old 08-08-06, 08:59 AM   #18
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I'm one to do as much as I can myself. The only thing I've asked the LBS to do lately was bottom bracket replacements for cranks. Most of the other stuff I do can be done with an allen wrench (hex wrench) and a chain tool.

I did buy a set of cable cutters just yesterday so I can trim out the cable housing on my bikes and get them the way I'd like for them to be. Having the cable cutters will also let me install the "Dura Ace" gear indicator on the cable housing as well.

Just my experience but it takes me about 3-4 times as long to do my adjustments the first time or two compared to the LBS but I work pretty cheap!!! I get a kick out of being able to do the stuff myself.
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Old 08-08-06, 08:59 AM   #19
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I have done almost 100% of my own bicycle repairs and maintenance since I was in high school. I do most of my own home repairs, all of my own appliance, stereo, and computer repairs, and all maintenance and light repairs on my family's cars. I do have enough sense to outsource certain major items, such as power steering rack replacement or the slab, framing, and roofing of my 2-car garage addition.

When facing a given repair, I ask myself:
1) Would I enjoy tackling this?
2) Do I know what I am doing?
3) Do I have the right tools, or can I rent or buy them at a justifiable cost?

In addition to money saved and skills, control, and satisfaction gained, the big payback has been spending quality time with my two sons, now 17 and 22. The elder one, who is starting his senior year in Physics at UCSD, is (slowly) restoring my late mother's 1969 Camaro, and the younger one maintains a 1996 Audi A4 Quattro which looks 10 months, rather than 10 years, old. This month, my elder son and I are completely rebuilding his 1992 Specialized Hard Rock mountain bike, and he is getting very excited about doing more offroad cycling in addition to campus cruising.
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Old 08-08-06, 09:02 AM   #20
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Do it all myself here too...came from working on vintage tractors to bikes, and nothing on a bike compares to a fairbanks magneto or a marvel carb...so I like working on them much more. Simplicity in motion seems to be my new catch phrase...
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Old 08-08-06, 09:25 AM   #21
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Do it all myself here too...came from working on vintage tractors to bikes, and nothing on a bike compares to a fairbanks magneto or a marvel carb...
+1. Both technologies seem of the same simple era. "Metering cicuits? What metering circuits?" I was used to working on 'swiss-watch' Mikuni carbs, so when I had to rebuild the updraft Zenith on my AC 'B' I had to look twice to be sure I'd already disassembled it all. (An aside note: my local NAPA store actually had a rebuild kit in stock for it too )
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Old 08-08-06, 09:29 AM   #22
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I've never taken a new bike back to the shop for its free tune-up. Not that I think I'm such a hotshot, it's just that I keep everything lubed and adjusted properly so there is no real need. Also, I'm quite particular about the "feel" of a bike, so for me, even a new bike is not set up quite right until I fine tune it.

I've been wanting to have a go at wheelbuilding but somehow have never acquired a trueing* stand which I'm thinking is necessary (duh!). For me, the mystery about building wheels would be figuring out the proper spoke length to buy for a given rim/hub combination.

*The spelling of this word has always confused me. Websters Collegiate shows it either way, with or without the "e".
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Old 08-08-06, 09:56 AM   #23
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I do all my own wrenching, including wheel building. A stand makes it easier to true up a wheel once it's laced, but you can also do it on the bike using the brake pads for the left/right truing and a popsicle stick and tape for the roundness. Not very elegant, but it works. Just a few months ago I needed to replace the rear wheel on my commuter bike as both the hub and rim were trashed. I bought a pair of used wheels for $10 from a bike shop where one had a good freehub and the other had a good rim. One hour later I had a rear wheel that will give me years of good service.
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Old 08-08-06, 09:59 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis
I've been wanting to have a go at wheelbuilding but somehow have never acquired a trueing* stand which I'm thinking is necessary (duh!). For me, the mystery about building wheels would be figuring out the proper spoke length to buy for a given rim/hub combination.
An old rigid fork with a bent piece of wire brazed on the side - - presto! - - trueing stand. Of course, getting the dish right on a rear may actually require a real stand. As for spoke length, that's what spoke calculators are for:
http://www.bikeschool.com/spokes/
http://www.wheelpro.co.uk/spokecalc/
http://www.damonrinard.com/spocalc.htm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis
*The spelling of this word has always confused me. Websters Collegiate shows it either way, with or without the "e".
Websters always lists the preferred spelling first when showing multiple correct forms. In this case 'trueing' is the preferred.
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Old 08-08-06, 10:07 AM   #25
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I do most of my maintenance. I haven't tackled building or straightening wheels yet.
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