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View Poll Results: Do you do your own bicycle repair and maintanance?
No, I leave everthing up to a qualified mechanic 0 0%
A little; fixing my own flats and changing tires. 7 19.44%
Pretty much; can adjust derailure settings, calibrate brakes, replace & regrease all bearings, true a wheel 17 47.22%
Competant: I can either fix or figure out just about anything on a bike. I have most tools I need and can take a rear cassette apart, fix a bend frame, rebuild a wheel - you name it. 12 33.33%
Voters: 36. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-16-01, 11:00 PM   #1
mike
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Do you do your own bicycle repairs and maintanance?

Do you do your own bicycle repairs and maintanance? If yes, how much do you do?

If not, why don't you do your own repair or why don't you do more?

Last edited by mike; 06-16-01 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 06-17-01, 04:11 AM   #2
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jeez,I'm glad y'all not answering D,guess I can go to work tomorrow and have somethin' to do !.....
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Old 06-17-01, 04:48 AM   #3
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I answered "C" with some misgiving: last time I tried to open up the bottom bracket on my old road bike, I couldn't get it done. I've done it before, I have the tools....

And I don't have all the tools I need for everything. Can't afford them.

But I'm closer to "C" than to the other letters.

Buddy, I think your job's safe for another week at least.
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Old 06-17-01, 05:39 AM   #4
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Most routine maintenance I do myself, and it's something I enjoy almost as much as riding. Wheels are the exception for two reasons. A well built (road bike) wheel will run for months and miles without needing so much as a tweak. A wheel failure, more than most others, will leave me with an unrideable bike.

I could, and should, invest in the tools and start learning the craft, but still would trust my rides to wheels built by masters. I will tweak spokes a time or two when one gets a little loose, or the wheel develops excessive wobble or hop, but consider it a build problem if I have to do it often.
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Old 06-17-01, 03:55 PM   #5
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Though I cannot do many types of bike maintenance yet, mostly due to lack of proper tools, I consider learning to maintain my own bike a very attainable goal. It does, in fact, promise a greater sense of independence. I was extremely limited in my ability to do my own repairs on my car.

Yet it is convenient to let the shop do things for me, as long as it's not the really simple things.

Mike, you are my inspiration in this area.
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Old 06-17-01, 05:10 PM   #6
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Mike,
Like Pete, I thank you for the inspiration and encouragement on this forum to take on more of my own repairs/maintenance. I answered 3 because I have actually done all of the things mentioned. Just this morning I did my first wheel bearing cleaning/repacking on my 9 month old bike. I approached its unsealed, loose bearings with some trepidation and 3 different descriptions of how to do it. Worked like a charm! I wound up not having time to do the rear, but I will get it later. Cleaned the chain and gears yesterday.

I have also replaced spoke and retrued the wheel. after doing a few of them over a few weeks I asked the shop to check the tension and true. They said it was right on. I have also taken two cassettes apart and put together my own otherwise unobtainable gearing.

If I had anything major, I would probably still take it to the shop, but I am getting a handle on many basic things. Only with advice from you, Pat, Steve, Michael, and some of the other guys here would I have had the gumption to do many of these things. Thanks, guys.

Glad to here you got a repair stand. What a difference it makes. I bought a Parks PCS 1 a few months ago. That simple tool helped me get through a few things. Sure you can do just about everthing without one, but having one makes things simpler and less frustrating. It is literally an extra pair of hands.
Thanks,
Raymond
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Old 06-17-01, 08:33 PM   #7
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I answered c. I have never taken my bike to a shop. But I have never had a bent frame or anything. I sometimes have a hard time though because I don't have a repair stand and I don't have a wide selection of tools. But I'm working on it.
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Old 06-18-01, 04:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by RainmanP
I have also replaced spoke and retrued the wheel. after doing a few of them over a few weeks I asked the shop to check the tension and true. They said it was right on. I have also taken two cassettes apart and put together my own otherwise unobtainable gearing.
Wow, I think you could have answered "4" Raymond. Sounds like you are getting pretty competent. Taking a freewheel apart is easy. Getting it all back together with the bearings in place correctly is a different story.
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Old 06-18-01, 04:58 AM   #9
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Hi Guys,

I answered B to my shame, but have had a few goes with repacking bearings with some success. I put it down to lack of confidence and patience with these things. Maybe, if I got some proper tools together and got my head straight, I think I could tackle most things.

Our local MTB magazine MBUK is really good for advice, and has step by step instructions on how to do about every maintainance your bike could desire.

It would certianly save me a few 's to do my own maintainance.

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Old 06-18-01, 06:01 AM   #10
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I work on my bike up to the point where I break something. Then I usually continue to work on it until something else breaks. Then after all that I ask a friend what he thinks could be the problem, and then after I break one more thing, I bring my bike into the shop. That is unless I think I can fix it.
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Old 06-18-01, 07:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by mike


Wow, I think you could have answered "4" Raymond. Sounds like you are getting pretty competent. Taking a freewheel apart is easy. Getting it all back together with the bearings in place correctly is a different story.
Thanks, Mike. Eventually, I will probably work my way through everything, but I am taking one step at a time. The cassettes were much easier to deal with than I thought they would be. Just a bunch of gears and spacers stacked up. No real trick there.

I still haven't dealt with the bottom bracket. Pulling the cranks and dealing with the bearings will probably be the next step in my education.

As Fubar posted elswhere, having the right tool is a BIG plus. I think you said once that you can usually get the parts AND the right tools for less than a shop repair would cost. Then you still have the tool for next time.

What I really want to do is pick up an old decent 10-speed to rebuild as a real learning laboratory.

I am more careful with my bike, but with other repairs I kind of adhere to Steele-Bike's philosopy, depending on the price of the parts involved - try it yourself until you break a couple of more things. I figure, what the heck, as long as I don't waste too much on parts or break anything too expensive, the repair won't cost much more anyway.

Regards,
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Old 06-18-01, 07:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by RainmanP
What I really want to do is pick up an old decent 10-speed to rebuild as a real learning laboratory.
I totally agree, while I have done truing and rebuilt a bike...It has been some years. I am basically getting back into cycling after several years of brain cramp! I want to get an old road bike and do a complete rebuild.

Mike, you are the man in this whole area, and I want you to know that we value your experience and wisdom in this and many other areas.
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Old 06-18-01, 07:58 AM   #13
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I`ve chosen C, i do almost everything except wheels, i find it difficult to repair wheels, but one day i`ll fix it on my own.
Sometimes i find it more fun to repair and upgrade my bikes than riding them!
Repairing rules!
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Old 06-18-01, 08:04 AM   #14
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I wasted my youth working on cars and motorcycles. I wasn't really cut out for that kind of work, but it was something my friends all did, so, grease monkey see... grease monkey do. I became reasonably proficient at it, but it was really hard, and the learning curve was steep.

When I started cycling, and started breaking bicycles, I discovered that bicycles are way easier to work on than cars. (How many cars can you pick up, turn upside down, and shake when you drop a nut or bolt somewhere it wasn't supposed to be?)

Man, I could fix my bike on a spread-open cardboard box in the air conditionned comfort of my living room! Wear some cheap surgical gloves, and my hands won't even get greasy. Speakin' of which... no more of that great mechanic's cologne, Molybdenum-Disulfide! (I had a girlfriend who called that smell "car vomit.")

Bike tools are inexpensive. There's no reason you can't have a really good, large variety of bike tools for way less than the cost of a basic set of "car" tools. Buy them a few at a time, as you need them.

I gotta tell you... there is NOTHING about working on a bicycle that is anywhere near as difficult or as frustrating as, say, rebuilding a Triumph T120 engine, or replacing ball joints on a '65 Corvair. I'm NEVER working on another car... ever. Meanwhile, I have one bike that's due for an overhaul... Next rainy Saturday, I'll rent a video or two, pull out some clean cardboard, and get to it. I'm kinda looking forward to it.

Here's a tip: Buy an old bike for ten bucks or so, or maybe have someone give you one... Then take it apart! No pressure... it doesn't ever have to go back together again... But you'll see how it works as you disassemble it, and maybe gain some confidence for next time you have to fix your "good" bike.

Nuther tip: You can never have too many extra zip-ties in your seat bag.
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Old 06-18-01, 08:15 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steele-Bike
I work on my bike up to the point where I break something. Then I usually continue to work on it until something else breaks. Then after all that I ask a friend what he thinks could be the problem, and then after I break one more thing, I bring my bike into the shop. That is unless I think I can fix it.
That sounds familiar, when i started repairing my bike, i didn`t know much about the technical aspects.
I`ve made mistake after mistake, suchs as cleaning your cassete with thinner while it`s on the wheel, all the dirt right in to the bearings!, trying to fasten your stem and overtight it, a new chain on the old cassete and go on.
But i learned a lot from my mistakes and i`m not ashamed.
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Old 06-18-01, 10:31 AM   #16
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When I first got my mountain bike, it wasn't long before I had a wobble in the rear wheel. I tried to true it and got all confused and, as you can imagine, things rapidly got out of hand.

So I shamefacedly took the wheel into the dealer's and told him what had happened. He didn't laugh or make me feel stupid at all. He just said, it was easy to get it wrong, and they had another guy bring in a wheel just the day before that was all twisted out of shape after an attempt at truing.

They had to rebuild the wheel, but it didn't cost much. I was grateful I wasn't made to feel like I'd done something wrong or foolish. Now I can true a wheel pretty well, usually.
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Old 06-18-01, 11:48 AM   #17
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They call the spoke wrench the most expensive tool in bicycling.

This is not because the tool itself is expensive, but because that little tool has caused so many novices to bring their wheels in for major truing jobs or rebuilds.

A fool with a tool can do as much damage as a bad crash. (I'm not calling anybody a fool for trying, I just liked the way fool rhymes with tool).
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Old 06-18-01, 12:00 PM   #18
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Rookie answer....got a used bike, tightened up the brake cable. Took the back wheel off and had a new tube put in it. Other wise......as far as I know it's not broke!
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Old 06-18-01, 01:41 PM   #19
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Stumon, I worked in a car shop fro a couple months also. I swore off working on cars just like you did!!!
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Old 06-18-01, 02:43 PM   #20
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The only thing irreplacable on a bike is the frame, so that's the only thing I won't futz with. I have a pretty good tool collection which was amassed little by little with every project.
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Old 06-18-01, 04:55 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Stumon


I gotta tell you... there is NOTHING about working on a bicycle that is anywhere near as difficult or as frustrating as, say, rebuilding a Triumph T120 engine, or replacing ball joints on a '65 Corvair. I'm NEVER working on another car... ever.
Absolutely great post, Stumon. Of course, the "engine" of a bicycle is the human body which is pretty complicated and really expensive to fix.

I Like your advice about tools and learning on junkers.

The thing about tools is that you often have to buy tools specific to your bike. If you go through a couple of bikes (especially imports), you will have quite a collection of tools.

The way I justify purchasing tools is I ask myself, "which is cheaper - the tool or the part? Which is cheaper, the tool or having the LBS do it for me?"

The answer is almost always "the tool is cheaper". If the tool is not cheaper than having the LBS do it, then I ask myself. "Which is better, getting the tool and doing the repair myself or leaving it up to the high school wrench that works for the bike shop?". As it turns out, I get the tool every time.

I have to give credit to the LBS, though, they stock a lot of tools for sale which helps make my choices pro-tool.
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Old 06-19-01, 05:42 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by toolfreak
I`ve chosen C, i do almost everything except wheels, i find it difficult to repair wheels, but one day i`ll fix it on my own.
An excellent book on wheels is called "The Art of Wheelbuilding" by Gerd Shraner (not positive on the spelling of the name). This guy is a master and provides every bit of information you need while being easy to read. Highly recommended and a worthwhile investment in my opinion.
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Old 06-19-01, 08:33 AM   #23
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Thanks Riderx, i like to check the book out, but do you know a .com company who sells it?
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Old 06-19-01, 01:02 PM   #24
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I work on my own bikes for a very good reason... see, if I drop a broken bike off at my local shop, despite Herman at Outspokin' Cycles (Augusta, GA) being The Best Bike Wrench That Ever Lived... (He is, really.)

... I'd still have to load the bike in (somebody else's!) car, and drive it to the shop. Then I'd have to wait days... even weeks... for it, hoping they can fix it. Then I'd have to hope the repair was what the bike needed. It ain't even the money... bike repairs are cheap, compared to even minor car repairs... No, it's the waiting and the wondering whether someone else will care as much about getting my bike back to me as I care about getting it back... That's what I try to avoid.

I don't need that kind of anxiety in my life. I'd rather just p*ss and moan about having to waste a Sunday afternoon fixing whatever's broke, and get it over with.

Okay, maybe I'm a nut... but apparently, I'm the happy kind.
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Old 06-19-01, 02:11 PM   #25
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Okay, maybe I'm a nut... but apparently, I'm the happy kind.
If only the whole world were as nuts!
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