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Thread: My LBS... wtf?

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    Mxu
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    My LBS... wtf?

    So I took the wheels and other dangly things off my bike the other day to paint my frame, and I finished today (with all the drying and clear coating and etc), and I got the front on fine, but my chain was a little screwy so after tinkering around with it for an hour and still not getting it on the wheel (I had sort of a knot in it but not really) I decided to pay a trip to my LBS and see if maybe they could slip it on or teach me, hopefully for a small fee (I'm thinking small as in like 2 bucks) or for free. After all, it's just untangling the chain and putting it back on the teeth right?

    WRONG! Apparently, it would cost me $8 because you need "special tools" and you need to put it on the bike rack for them to fix it, which they would charge for. I decided to play dumb and ask them how severe the problem was, and they said it was pretty severe. I then tried to haggle for $5 but they still wouldnt budge, so I was just like screw it and I rolled my bike home.

    Well I got my dad to fix it (all asian people know how to deal with bikes apparently) and it works fine now, but I'm not sure what angle the rear thing should be fixed to the frame at. What is it called? Anyway I'm glad it's fixed but pissed that I really can't trust the people at the LBS for anything. What a rip.

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    Senior Member Milice's Avatar
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    MXU, Do you go to teh grocery store and haggle over the price of a can of soup? Do you haggle over the price of an oil change for your car? Why do you feel the need to haggle over bike repairs?

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    Badger Biker ctyler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mxu
    So I took the wheels and other dangly things off my bike the other day to paint my frame, and I finished today (with all the drying and clear coating and etc), and I got the front on fine, but my chain was a little screwy so after tinkering around with it for an hour and still not getting it on the wheel (I had sort of a knot in it but not really) I decided to pay a trip to my LBS and see if maybe they could slip it on or teach me, hopefully for a small fee (I'm thinking small as in like 2 bucks) or for free. After all, it's just untangling the chain and putting it back on the teeth right?

    WRONG! Apparently, it would cost me $8 because you need "special tools" and you need to put it on the bike rack for them to fix it, which they would charge for. I decided to play dumb and ask them how severe the problem was, and they said it was pretty severe. I then tried to haggle for $5 but they still wouldnt budge, so I was just like screw it and I rolled my bike home.

    Well I got my dad to fix it (all asian people know how to deal with bikes apparently) and it works fine now, but I'm not sure what angle the rear thing should be fixed to the frame at. What is it called? Anyway I'm glad it's fixed but pissed that I really can't trust the people at the LBS for anything. What a rip.

    I would suggest that if you were unable to untangle a chain that there was something more serious that needed to be done to fix it. And given that you seem to know nothing about your bike (dangly things off my bike; but I'm not sure what angle the rear thing should be fixed to the frame at. What is it called?) $8.00 seems a small price to pay.

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    Senior Member Stubacca's Avatar
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    You want them to work on your bike with the inherent liability they take on etc, but you don't want to compensate them fairly for their time and skills? Shop rent, equipment and employees aren't free, you know?

    It's great that your dad was able to fix it, but stop being so damn cheap! $8 sounds perfectly resonable to me.

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    8 bucks!!! You are complaining that a store with employees and overhead wanted to charge you 8 bucks...

    In my opinion that is more than reasonable - I am sure if you were a long-term customer that had done a lot of business with them they may have offered to fix something simple for free, but walking off the street and expecting something for nothing seems unreasonable to me.

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    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    A bike shop is a business, they charge money to work on bikes. If you don't know how to fix your bike why not pay someone who does? $8 is a good deal.

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    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
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    This reminds me of the clients who ask why I charge $5 flat rate S&H on all print orders. "Hey, that's pretty steep to mail a 4x6!". Yeah, but it takes me about the same amount of time to put one print in a photo mailer as ten.

    $8 to fix a chain is nothing, I would expect that to be their minimum "get out of bed" fee. Sure it would be a nice guesture to fix it for free, but most retial stores can't pay the rent on nice gestures.

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    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mxu
    Well I got my dad to fix it (all asian people know how to deal with bikes apparently)
    So your Dad is Asian but you're not?

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    Mxu
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    What? Were all asian I hope!

    Such hostility! Anyway, I guess it was different for me since I was actually there, the guy spoke with kind of "Im gonna manipulate this sucker" tone. It wasn't a repair really, nothing was "broken", just the chain had to be reattatched. I admit, I don't know much about bikes, my bike, whatever bike. I do know that it isn't worth $8 to me to mess with a chain for 15 minutes when $8 is roughly 1/10 of what I paid for the bike.

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    The chain probably had a double-loop in opposite directions that got pulled tight. No big deal, you dad figured it out. Thing is shops shouldn't even bother with repair-jobs like that. In my shop, I would've just straightened it out by hand for free and sent you on your way. Wasting time is what makes an operation inefficient and I would've spent more time giving you estimates on that repair-job and haggling over the price than it wouldn't take me to fix it, so I'll just do it for free and be done with it.

    And haggling is perfecty fine. The most expensive items most people will spend their money on, houses and cars, should definitely be negotiated. However, most people have no practice and absolutely zero skill in haggling over prices. Better to practice that on small items and learn the skill before you get taken with the big ticket items. Most people going in to buy a car is dealing with a professional that does this every single day of their live. How are you even gonna stand a chance?

    In many cultures, haggling is the norm, and if you don't haggle over the price of a mango, you're gonna insult them. The implied message is, "I'm too good to deal with you.". Most places in Asia, middle-East, S.America, Central America do not have price tags on things. You have to ask them and start the negotiations. The 1st price they tell you is about 2-3x higher than what they're willing to sell the stuff for. If you just take it at first value, you're over paying and they're more than willing to sell it to you at that price.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 09-07-05 at 05:28 PM.

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    Tęte de Limace gurana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mxu
    What? Were all asian I hope!

    Such hostility! Anyway, I guess it was different for me since I was actually there, the guy spoke with kind of "Im gonna manipulate this sucker" tone. It wasn't a repair really, nothing was "broken", just the chain had to be reattatched. I admit, I don't know much about bikes, my bike, whatever bike. I do know that it isn't worth $8 to me to mess with a chain for 15 minutes when $8 is roughly 1/10 of what I paid for the bike.

    Perception is probably the source of 99% of the friction between LBS employees and customers. Mxu, you might want to consider that perhaps in this case you had the skewed perception. I mean, you honestly believe that he was trying to handle you . . . for $8? $8 may be a lot of money for you, but realize that generally somebody trying to hustle you will attempt at more than $8. Also, if you are the one that starts haggling and you have no leverage, generally they're not going to give you a break; you neither earned it, nor do they owe it to you.


    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    In many cultures, haggling is the norm, and if you don't haggle over the price of a mango, you're gonna insult them. The implied message is, "I'm too good to deal with you.". Most places in Asia, middle-East, S.America, Central America do not have price tags on things. You have to ask them and start the negotiations. The 1st price they tell you is about 2-3x higher than what they're willing to sell the stuff for. If you just take it at first value, you're over paying and they're more than willing to sell it to you at that price.

    Well that might explain Mxu's penchant for haggling. I don't find anything wrong with haggling; I'm philippino, and most of my family haggles. In this culture though, it's not really the norm for most day-to-day transactions. In fact, most places will not haggle with you because the price is set. It is not unreasonable to haggle, it's slightly unreasonable to be upset when they don't haggle back.

    Damn, that brings back horrible memories of my mother haggling with storeclerks that obviously had no authority to give breaks on price (like at the grocery store or department store). She's lived in this country since she was 7, so it's not like she wasn't aware that it wasn't the norm. Years later, I find out she was just trying to embarass me

    Les Douleurs de la Mort. :: Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus.

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    jur
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    A lifetime ago a friend's chain got tangled after he and I removed the rear wheel to repair a puncture. We plugged away at it for the whole afternoon, my friend was almost in tears in the end, but then his dad came home (a pastor), and I thought, what can he fix, he's only a pastor, but he did it in a few minutes.

    Tangled chains are like Chinese puzzles. Perhaps the LBS chap thought, he's not going to puzzle it out, he'll just use a chain breaker.

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    Mxu
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    One person attempting to hustle another will usually attempt at a reasonable amount for hustling, so I doubt he would've gone and said "$20 for this fix" because then that would just completely turn of all customers (probably) and then there would be no chance of accomplishing any hustling.

    I don't haggle with everything I buy, in fact, rarely, unless I'm in China or Chinatown or China____ etc. Obviously if I'm at the local Food Emporium I'm not going to bring my groceries to the checkout and then refuse to buy them if the cashier doesn't sell me the milk for $2 instead of $3.79.

    But, there are certain things to me that prices aren't/shouldn't be completely rock-solid set on, and an example is repair, or skill. Skill doesn't have market value, and if I don't think his is worth the $8 then I'll give my imput on what I think the job is worth. Thats fine if he doesn't agree, thats why I brought the bike home.

    You guys have never ever ever in your life negotiated price with your car mechanic people or window repair or whatever??

    Also, for people under the age of 16 (me included) where work isn't really practical or easy to find, money isn't easy to find either. I worked a minimum wage job this summer and realized that it takes quite a bit of work to gather up $8. That's nearly 2 hours of pretty intense manual labor. And I know the LBS people have to make a living too, but it goes both ways.

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    Zippy Engineer Waldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacy
    So your Dad is Asian but you're not?
    That was funny to begin with but made even better by the fact that the OP didn't get it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mxu
    You guys have never ever ever in your life negotiated price with your car mechanic people or window repair or whatever?? ....
    I have never found a place where a repair job on a car or window repair cost $8. If the "estimate" for repair was $8000, you are right ... I'd try to haggle or get a second estimate somewhere else (which you did by pushing your bike home). But if anything cost $8 to do on my car ... I'd take it. Oil changes cost well over $8.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mxu
    ... I worked a minimum wage job this summer and realized that it takes quite a bit of work to gather up $8. That's nearly 2 hours of pretty intense manual labor. And I know the LBS people have to make a living too, but it goes both ways.
    Exactly how much money do you think an LBS mechanic makes an hour? You may be surprised to find that it takes them 2 hours to make $8 too.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mxu
    ... people under the age of 16 (me included) where work ...
    Congratualtions... you have just taken your first step toward adulthood. You learned that things cost money and that your Dad can fix anything.

    d.tipton

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    Brick Snotshoulders
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mxu
    Skill doesn't have market value
    Sure it does. You'll need to understand that if you ever want a job paying more than minimum wage.

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    Well, I'm in retail and I tend to look at this as in the time the lbs spent in haggling about $8 they could have just untangled the chain and gained a customer for future purchases. Instead they have likely lost a customer for ever. Their labor, overhead etc was not impacted at all by this, but they lost an opportunity to gain a customer ... not to mention the bad word of mouth mxu is spreading locally at his school etc. instead of the good word of mouth if they just fixed it. Sure they didn't owe him anything ... but they missed a no cost opportunity to gain a customer.

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    Your post is very disturbing. I haggled for my car for 3 hours because I knew the guy wanted to rip me for no reason. I got an awesome deal on my car.

    Haggle on $8 bike repair? Maybe you should get a job. If I went in and asked the guy to stop what hes doing and help me on some stupid issue, I would gladly pay $8 for him to help me. I fix family friends computers for $25/h. If they call me and it is something simple, I will still charge $25/h because I wasted my time driving out there or even wasting my time with them, its nothing personal.

    I am not a cheap person to go and haggle about $8, especially with a stupid issue. I have no idea how to fix it and I was infront of a LBS with the same chain issue, I had to put the bike together to show the guy an issue with the cables. It took me 15-20min but I figured it out. Im not going to walk in there and demand that someone does this job for me for $2. Don't be ridiculous and grow up, If you don't want to pay $8 then go home and fix it yourself, simple as that.

    So in total you paid $80 for the bike right? 1/10 being $8...

    People like you bring down the great shopping places of the world. Go to Europe and try to harass the guy about $8, he will tell you to get out of the store. Manners are lacking..

  19. #19
    Mxu
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    Yes, my bike did cost around $80.

    I'm not cheap, but I don't like to waste or throw around money. $8 is a lot of things. Its 3 days worth of lunch, its a new tire that isn't falling apart, it is, like I said before, 2 hrs worth of work.

    I wasn't ridiculous and I didn't have to "grow up". I didn't want to pay $8 so I went home and got it fixed. He said $8. I said, "Would you do it for $5"? He said he wouldn't. I then proceeded to flip the birdie and kick his ass, grab in in a headlock, whip out my GLOCK, point it to his head, and say again in a harsher tone, "Would you do it for $5"?

    Seriously though, if you qualify what I did as harrasment, and if you would kick out customers who asked questions such as those, then I doubt that you'd be getting a whole lot of business.

    Avg wages (in california or something, I decided to just google "average mechanic wage")

    http://www.worksmart.ca.gov/r_automobile_mechanic.html
    $20/hr

    "Wages

    In Minnesota, the median wage for bicycle repairers is $10.59 per hour, or $1,836 per month for a full-time worker. Half of all bicycle repairers earn between $6.54 and $12.80 per hour, or between $1,134 and $2,219 per month

    Nationally, the median wage for bicycle repairers is $1,600 per month ($9.25 per hour). Half of all bicycle repairers earn between $1,330 and $1,930 per month ($7.68 and $11.15 per hour)."
    from http://www.iseek.org/sv/13000.jsp?id=100020

    Significantly higher than minimum wage which I think is something like $5.15.

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    Powered by Borscht ovoleg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mxu
    Yes, my bike did cost around $80.

    I'm not cheap, but I don't like to waste or throw around money. $8 is a lot of things. Its 3 days worth of lunch, its a new tire that isn't falling apart, it is, like I said before, 2 hrs worth of work.

    I wasn't ridiculous and I didn't have to "grow up". I didn't want to pay $8 so I went home and got it fixed. He said $8. I said, "Would you do it for $5"? He said he wouldn't. I then proceeded to flip the birdie and kick his ass, grab in in a headlock, whip out my GLOCK, point it to his head, and say again in a harsher tone, "Would you do it for $5"?

    Seriously though, if you qualify what I did as harrasment, and if you would kick out customers who asked questions such as those, then I doubt that you'd be getting a whole lot of business.

    Avg wages (in california or something, I decided to just google "average mechanic wage")

    http://www.worksmart.ca.gov/r_automobile_mechanic.html
    $20/hr

    "Wages

    In Minnesota, the median wage for bicycle repairers is $10.59 per hour, or $1,836 per month for a full-time worker. Half of all bicycle repairers earn between $6.54 and $12.80 per hour, or between $1,134 and $2,219 per month

    Nationally, the median wage for bicycle repairers is $1,600 per month ($9.25 per hour). Half of all bicycle repairers earn between $1,330 and $1,930 per month ($7.68 and $11.15 per hour)."
    from http://www.iseek.org/sv/13000.jsp?id=100020

    Significantly higher than minimum wage which I think is something like $5.15.
    How old are you? Haggling about $3 ? 3 lunches? Where do you live?

    Minimum wage is set for people working fast food jobs with no qualifications and no experience. It takes some knowledge to fix a bike, they cant take some guy off the street, give him a robe and tell him to fix bikes. They give advice and help you fix certain issues.

    I don't care personally but you are definately being ridiculous. I know money doesn't grow on trees but if you expect service, at least pay for it. Yes he could have helped you and set you on your way but there is no point. Also, it doesn't sound like you are too experienced in it so how do you know that this was the only problem? If your such a professional in diagnosing issues you shouldn't have brought the bike there in the first place.

    In fact, If he helped me fix some annoying issue which took 30 minute for free, Id slip him a 5 or a 10 just out of courtesy.

    I know your young and the money counts but were not your parents and the LBS is a business, they are not there to give you free stuff like your grandma. Im sorry if I sound harsh but the more "free" stuff they give you, they start marking up on regular products to make back their losses.

    You wasted time and energy complaining about paying $3. Why didn't you go to another LBS to see if they would do it or maybe take pictures and ask some of the board members? If you wanted a free solution, you would have tried hard and got it, not expect everyone to hand you everything for free.

    The LBS I go to might probably do minimal stuff for free for me because I shop there and they know me now. Build a relationship first before you ask for free stuff.

    Minimum wage? I better not hear that the LBS working on my bike is getting minimum wage, have you seen people work for minimum wage? They don't care about their job. I rather not have someone make my bike unsafe because they are getting paid nothing.

    IMHO you pay for what you get...

  21. #21
    Tęte de Limace gurana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paniolo
    Well, I'm in retail and I tend to look at this as in the time the lbs spent in haggling about $8 they could have just untangled the chain and gained a customer for future purchases. Instead they have likely lost a customer for ever. Their labor, overhead etc was not impacted at all by this, but they lost an opportunity to gain a customer ... not to mention the bad word of mouth mxu is spreading locally at his school etc. instead of the good word of mouth if they just fixed it. Sure they didn't owe him anything ... but they missed a no cost opportunity to gain a customer.
    That's the worst line of reasoning I've ever read on an internet forum . . . Which is pretty much saying a lot, as I read /.

    First of all, according to Mxu it was a very short verbal exchange. "How much does it cost to fix my chain?", "$8", "Do it for $5?", "No". I'm sure the wrenches at that lbs are good, but it would probably take them longer to put the bike up on the stand, than it did to say "No". Doing it for free may have earned them the loyalty of this person. But seriously, I wouldn't bet on it. He's 16, and probably doesn't have a job, and he came in with a cheaper bike. Perhaps it would have paid off in the long run, when he gets out of school, gets a degree, gets a job, and decides to make his first big purchase . . . in 6 years! As for the word of mouth thing . . . I'm sure he has a lot of friends in HS, but still he's 16. Nobody cares what he thinks, least of all his friends. Besides, they're likely to have a similar reaction:

    mxu: "man, that lbs wouldn't come down on the price to fix my chain. Stupid LBS. I can't trust them for anything.".
    friends: "Really, how much were they charging?".
    Mxu: "$8.00"
    friends: ". . ."
    Mxu: "yea I know, it's unreal isn't it?"
    friends: "so you've gotten a lot of stuff from them before?"
    Mxu: "well, no. I just walked in. They didn't know me from adam. But rest assured, I'm never going there again."
    friends: ". . ."

    And this was not a 'no cost' opportunity as it sets a bad prescedent. Even if Mxu did get his repair done for cheaper/free, and he did tell his friends, and they gave a ****, they're going to expect the same thing. If Mxu was a valued customer, they could just write it off as being a benefit that valued customers get.

    kid that heard mxu got his bike fixed for free: "I'd like my chain fixed please"
    wrench: "that'll be $8.00"
    kid: "but, my friend got it done here for free"
    wrench: "sometimes we do that for our valued customers or the racers we sponsor"
    kid: "he didn't know you guys, it was his first time here"
    wrench: "um, i'm sorry, but the charge is $8.00"
    kid: "it's because I'm black[or white, or whatever] isn't it? is that why you fixed my friends bike for free, but not mine? Man, I can't trust you guys for anything!"

    I was kidding about the "worst line of reasoning", btw. But it was pretty bad.

    Les Douleurs de la Mort. :: Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus.

  22. #22
    Mxu
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    I know how a minimum wage job works, I worked one this summer. That's why I gave the wage quotes, because someone previously stated that bike mechanics make amounts similar to minimum wage,

    "Exactly how much money do you think an LBS mechanic makes an hour? You may be surprised to find that it takes them 2 hours to make $8 too."

    I wasn't surprised to find that it doesn't.

    I don't walk into stores expecting free sh#t. I don't expect my parents or grandma for that matter to give me free sh#t either. That's why I like to be conservative about spending my money. Were you ever 15? When was the last time you were living off summer jobs and weekly allowance? $3= cup noodles, coke, and chips = lunch. NYC btw.

    I'm no bike mechanic, but I knew that my problem wasn't "severe" as described. There were no "special tools" needed to fix it. How do I know this? Simple logic. I took my wheel off with a wrench, and carefully took the chain off all the teeth. It was still connected to the frame of the bike. Could it have gotten tangled or broken even though I didn't take apart the chain? No, not with what I did to the bike. So I wasn't going to believe his "special equipment" bull that I didn't appreciate.

    For the last time, I don't expect people to hand me everything for free, but from what people on these forums say about their own LBS's (warm, fuzzy, etc) I decided to check my own out for myself, as I'd never been to one in my life. The descriptions I get from these forums kind of imply that the owners would be more than happy to maybe give a little advice on slipping on the chain for a kids bike. Thats fine if he doesn't want to put it on the bike rack or break out the "special tools", but treating the customer like an idiot isn't so warm and fuzzy in itself.

    EDIT:
    The friends I've told about it have all agreed that $8 is a hefty price to pay for a small fix. Perhaps its the age/salary gap?

    And no, I don't make picket signs and march in a circle around the shop. In fact, this is hardly a big enough deal in my life to bring it up constantly when talking to peers. I only posted it here because, well, this is a bike forum, and it seemed sort of relevant. Obviously not I guess when $8 is pocket change to some.
    Last edited by Mxu; 09-08-05 at 05:19 PM.

  23. #23
    Powered by Borscht ovoleg's Avatar
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    When I was 15 I was working a minimum wage job . I actually liked it

    For next time, post pictures or explain it to us online and we will tell you how to do it(if we can)

    I had the same issue as you not too long ago, and the chain was tangled(I put the frame ni the backseat and wheels in the back and started to reassemble the bike at the LBS). Took me 15-20 minutes but I got it back on, I am very noob as well about the whole thing but the effort and strong will to make it work is what helps me in life. Work a few jobs where your required to make the round peg go into the square hole a couple of times and you will be good at DIY solutions.

  24. #24
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    Mxu,

    Ok, you saved $8.00 now
    go to half price books (or whatever used book emporium is in your
    area) and buy a bicycle repair manual. I saw the Zinn book for $6.95
    at 1/2 price the other day. Then you'll know what the dangly things
    and the rear thing are. You'll also save the next time you need some
    minor repair.
    Another idea is go take a bicycle repair course, many bike shops
    offer them, and it too would be well worth it.
    Sono piů lento di quel che sembra.
    Odio la gente, tutti.

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  25. #25
    Mxu
    Mxu is offline
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    I worked a job where I had to make the rectangle meat go into the round bun, that was tough.

    There's a bike club downtown that has a bike repair class on Thursdays, I'm considering going when I have the time. And spending $6.95 on a bicycle repair manual is something I'd gladly do, no haggling neccesary.

    Derailleur? Or Sheldon Brown's Derailer? I still don't know if this applies to the whole gear system, the dangling thing, or none of the above. I'm trying to find a big diagram of a bicycle with arrows pointing to and naming all the parts.

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