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Old 10-31-11, 01:55 PM   #1
Mr. Beanz
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Us Darn Armchair Mechanics!

I am darn proud to be one! Assembled my Madone on Friday then did a couple of 42 milers over the weekend. 84 trouble free, smooth riding, smooth shifting, no creaking, no ticking, nothing but great sailing miles.

Building my own bikes and wheels is the best thing I've done when it comes to my hobby. Nothing does a bike better than a little owner TLC. The new Madone is top notch quality, including the wheels. I know because I built them too!

Funny thing. Another rider and I were talking at our usual rest spot at the coast (I won't mention names). Asking if I had assembled the bike myself we started chatting. He then said if I ever needed any assistance I should look up his mechanic. I had heard the guy's name before. Supposedly a nice guy. Shop owner and rider.

So we chat on but then rider X says he has had a ticking noise in his headset/stem area. He's had it back at the shop 4 times and the mechanics cannot figure out what is causing the noise. Keep in mind, this is a nice high end road bike. I tell the guy I once had a creak after paying a shop to do a component swap. I disassembled the headset/stem area and noticed the shop installed everything dry, including the face plate bolts. At that time I realized the shop installed everything dry so I ended up going over the entire bike and lubing every bolt myself, but that's another story.

So I look at the guy's stem bolts out of curiosity, maybe I could see lube around the base of the head. A quick glance and WTF! The guy has a 4 bolt face plate set up. But the lower side is cranked down all the way, nearly making contact with the stem and the top side there is a huge gap. Now everybody knows that the stem faceplate is supposed to be evenly spaced and even torque. Holy smokes, this was the worst set up I've ever seen on another rider's bike.

Ok, back to the shop 4 times, every mechanic in the house has looked at the stem and can't figure it out the noise. Ok cool, but one of them should have at least noticed the crappy installation of the faceplate. If anything the last guy should have set it evenly. I've heard of stem bolts breaking and I myself would hate to do a faceplant because a great mechanic was too lazy to set the darn thing right.

Ok, so I had to break the guy's heart and point it out. I told him I'd take it back and demand that they set it correctly. He said, "I hate that you pointed it out cause now I have to worry about it and my mechanic but it's better than getting seriously injured". Hey, I could have just turned a blind eye but you don't let a buddy take a faceplant. Who knows, maybe it will fix the annoying tick he's had all along, figuring the pro's have been avoiding it from the start.

Hi, I'm Mr. Beanz and I'm an armchair mechanic but you won't find that carp on my bikes.

FTR, I've helped a ton of riders with roadside repairs and adjustments. But you can bet they didn't complain when they rode off with a smile and a smooth running bike.

My bike ran smooth and you won't find that kind of carp on my bikes. Not to say there aren't some good mechanics out there. I've met a couple. But the armchair DIY with TLC has worked best for me and my money.

Niiiiice running bike!





Good example of some armchair appreciation. This guy in red showed up at the rest stop last April with a big mess of a rear derailleur. I saw them messing with the bike but figured they knew what they were doing. Later he walked up and asked if any of use knew anything about the issue. In other words, were any of us armchair mechanics? They had twisted each and every screw every which way but loose. I took about 4 minutes to adjust it, including the limit screws and a qucik course on how to make the adjustments. Why is he smiling? He said his bike had never shifted that well.

Some people appreciate us armchair types ha ha! Give it a try!


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Old 10-31-11, 02:13 PM   #2
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Might be looking for a good mechanic here so I can devote more time to frame building... you should send me your resume.

One of the requirements is that the prospective applicant must be able to handle temperatures below freezing for extended periods of time.

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Old 10-31-11, 02:16 PM   #3
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One of the requirements is that the prospective applicant must be able to handle temperatures below freezing for extended periods of time.
Ha ha, that leaves me out, I'm a sunshine kind of guy!
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Old 10-31-11, 03:41 PM   #4
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...
Hi, I'm Mr. Beanz and I'm an armchair mechanic but you won't find that carp on my bikes. . . .

My bike ran smooth and you won't find that kind of carp on my bikes.
Something's fishy here. (fwiw, I cant seem to type "from" without it coming out "form"

Seriously, good post. Sadly, your scenarios play out often in my area of the country as well. Too little talent at most bike shops, despite what the LBS sycophants will have us believe.

What amazes me is the common opinion of the first guy; that is mechanic was great, but couldn't diagnose a clicking noise. Now that's a low bar. I hear that often, people boast about their mechanic, yet are riding a poorly adjusted bike. I guess they are not in a position to know good from bad.

Fortunately there are some pretty good and knowledgeable guys, a few on these forums in fact. I've learned much form them.
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Old 10-31-11, 04:22 PM   #5
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What amazes me is the common opinion of the first guy; that is mechanic was great, but couldn't diagnose a clicking noise. Now that's a low bar. I hear that often, people boast about their mechanic, yet are riding a poorly adjusted bike. I guess they are not in a position to know good from bad.

Too many posters don't know enough to know better. I'm not sure how many times I read on the forums,"but my mechanic is a nice guy. Been back for the same repair 6 times but he's real nice and like to take him cookies". Holy smokes! You're wasting your cookies!

I think my friend will be on his way to have few words with is mechanic today. I could have done the job correctly right there but better he points it out to them. If they think he knows something, it just might benefit his quality of service in the future.


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Fortunately there are some pretty good and knowledgeable guys, a few on these forums in fact. I've learned much form them.
Oh yeah! I learned a lot because I listened to them, and they can direct you to the right sources when needed.
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Old 10-31-11, 04:36 PM   #6
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Well I like to try an do my own stuff to - even if I am not any good at it

I have learned a lot from forums, self teaching and academic courses so I don't have to spend money for other people to do the work for me. I will do as much as I can on bikes and cars myself, and the same goes with computers.
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Old 10-31-11, 04:43 PM   #7
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Well I like to try an do my own stuff to - even if I am not any good at it .
The thing is you get better at it knowing what to do. I have buds that the brake cables are too loose, or the rear der need a little adjustment. I'll tell them tun the barrel adjuster a bit.

What's a barrel adjuster? :eeK:

If you adjust the rear der a bit, it gets better and if not perfect, you know you can turn another 1/16th and make it perfect if needed. Some people will drive to the shop, pay $10 more to have it done.
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Old 10-31-11, 04:45 PM   #8
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The thing is you get better at it knowing what to do. I have buds that the brake cables are too loose, or the rear der need a little adjustment. I'll tell them tun the barrel adjuster a bit.
Ah, but which way to turn it - that's the rub.

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Old 10-31-11, 06:18 PM   #9
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I am darn proud to be one! ...Some people appreciate us armchair types ha ha! Give it a try!
Well if you actually did the work, I think that disqualifies you as being an armchair mechanic. Armchair mechanics are those that sit in an armchair and pontificate about it, but don't actually do it.
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Old 10-31-11, 08:49 PM   #10
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Well if you actually did the work, I think that disqualifies you as being an armchair mechanic. Armchair mechanics are those that sit in an armchair and pontificate about it, but don't actually do it.
For me, the vernacular would be Shade-tree Mechanic.

Mr. Beanz - I concur; I've seen mechanics who can't even properly adjust cup and cone bearings.
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Old 10-31-11, 09:16 PM   #11
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Oh sorry guys!...Shade tree mechanic.
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Old 10-31-11, 09:55 PM   #12
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What I do find sad in the industry I work in is that there is a lack of really talented mechanics who are truly devoted and passionate about whet they do and quite often you will find those mechanics working for wages that are not commensurate with their level of skill and experience and many will simply move on to other related jobs where those skills can rate higher pay and a better standard of living.

When you pay a shop $60.00 / hr the mechanic might receive $12.00 / hr.

Pitiful.
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Old 10-31-11, 10:17 PM   #13
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Armaments is where the real money is. still..

LBS, $12 was above average 20 years ago , hasn't gone up since, actually down .
as the shoppers went to Amazon. then ask how to do it on here.
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Old 10-31-11, 10:24 PM   #14
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Oh sorry guys!...Shade tree mechanic.
I've been to Upland (isn't that north of Downey?). There are no trees there.
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Old 10-31-11, 10:32 PM   #15
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I've been to Upland (isn't that north of Downey?). There are no trees there.

OK, bedroom mechanic. That's all I got!

I do my stuff in my play room.

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Old 10-31-11, 10:38 PM   #16
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Good Job keep em flying
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Old 10-31-11, 11:20 PM   #17
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OK, bedroom mechanic. That's all I got!

I do my stuff in my play room.

Double entendre at it's best.

Nice Trek!

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Old 10-31-11, 11:37 PM   #18
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Double entendre at it's best.

Nice Trek!
I knew someone would get it........Thanks on the Trek.
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Old 10-31-11, 11:38 PM   #19
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Good Job keep em flying
Doing my best.
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Old 11-01-11, 12:43 AM   #20
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But the lower side is cranked down all the way, nearly making contact with the stem and the top side there is a huge gap. Now everybody knows that the stem faceplate is supposed to be evenly spaced and even torque.
Unless it's, say, a Salsa S.U.L. stem. Avid two-bolt hydraulic brake levers are another interesting exception. In these cases, you do close the gap at one side completely, then use the second bolt to do the actual clamping.

Enjoy your Madone and handbuilt wheels
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Old 11-01-11, 08:37 AM   #21
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Too many posters don't know enough to know better. I'm not sure how many times I read on the forums,"but my mechanic is a nice guy. Been back for the same repair 6 times but he's real nice and like to take him cookies". Holy smokes! You're wasting your cookies!
I fear too many people confuse "great mechanic" with "nice guy." In other words, if the guy schmoozes good, he must be a good mechanic. Sort of like how my wife grades shops when she takes her car in for service. (With all due apologies to distaff readers!)

The flip side was the shop we found sort of by accident riding through Missoula, MT. These guys were taciturn, neither rude nor loquacious; and busy, and extremely competent. They fixed what could be fixed, told me what they couldn't (pedal bearings were damaged from lack of lube), did it cheaply, when they told me it would be done. The vibe I got was that the other shops sent them stuff that their mechanics couldn't handle. I'll take my bike back to Hellgate Cyclery if it ever needs service when I'm around there.
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Old 11-01-11, 03:53 PM   #22
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Ha ha, that leaves me out, I'm a sunshine kind of guy!
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Oh sorry guys!...Shade tree mechanic.
No. To be accurate you're a fair weather mechanic.

And don't go mixing up the Phil Wood's lube with KY lube.
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Old 11-01-11, 07:17 PM   #23
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The amateur mechanic has a huge advantage over the professional. Time. We have a lot of time to spend on one bike. We can ride a bike for 10 miles or so, go back and fix what's wrong. Pros don't have this luxury.

Remember, amateur literally means "one who does it for love and love alone."
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Old 11-02-11, 10:58 AM   #24
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The amateur mechanic has a huge advantage over the professional. Time. We have a lot of time to spend on one bike. We can ride a bike for 10 miles or so, go back and fix what's wrong. Pros don't have this luxury.

Remember, amateur literally means "one who does it for love and love alone."
Well said. I concur wholeheartedly.

I take great pride in my precision tune ups and overhauls. However, if I were to find work in a shop...I'd be fired after the first day.
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Old 11-02-11, 05:12 PM   #25
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I guess, then, that I'm a semi-pro; though I wrench bikes (cheap crap from the biggest box of them all) for a living -- and make it a point to make them as rideable as they can be -- at home, I wrench for the love of it. My kids all have "upgraded" bikes, as do my sister and her husband.

I'm getting ready to do another for myself over the winter; another $1800 investment that will save me almost that much from not supporting the gas-sucking pig iron.
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