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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 10-12-10, 10:37 PM   #1
nealjoslyn
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The joy of wrenching

I don't know about other people, but I love to work on bikes. It is one thing that allows me to sort of 'escape' from typical everyday woes. Anything from simple chain maintenance to complete hub overhauls. I also love to ride my bikes knowing that I put them together and chose all of the parts for them. To anyone who takes their bike into the bike shop to get work done, I recommend for them to buy some tools and try doing it themselves.

Anybody else share this joy with me?
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Old 10-12-10, 10:42 PM   #2
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I love working on my bike and I'm pretty sure many of us do as well. I haven't taken my bike to a bike shop to fix yet, I have most of the tools that I need to maintain my bike (with the exception of some frame prepration tools; headset press, chasing and facing tools etc etc). Also, if I needed to get work done on the bike, I usually just take it to the co-op two blocks from my house, very good place to be in.
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Old 10-12-10, 10:47 PM   #3
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I love working on bikes as well. I recently (this past weekend) cut and installed a fork on my GF's bike, though I did have to go to the shop to get the star nut installed after breaking one by not using a star nut setter. All my friends know me as the bike guy. I've begun amassing large quantities of bike tools, too.

We've got a couple friendly shops around town and a co-op that I go to if I'm feeling personable or feel like giving them some business.
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Old 10-12-10, 10:48 PM   #4
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I wish I had a good co-op close to where I live. In my old town I took my bike to the co-op to work on it and they charged me something ridiculous just to use a few tools. Where I live now there isn't a co-op at all, so it's either get charged hard at the LBS or do your own wrenching at home.
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Old 10-12-10, 10:49 PM   #5
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Good therapy, some garden, others build computers, whatever you can do to be happier.
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Old 10-12-10, 10:53 PM   #6
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I love working on my bikes, but at this point lack some of the tools to do a complete build.

For example, my bianchi frame has been at the douch LBS for two days now getting a headset and bb installed. The reason its taking so long I suspect is the fact that the bike was not bought there. I live in a small town with only one bike shop.

I cant stand that kind of dependancy anymore.
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Old 10-12-10, 10:59 PM   #7
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i love it too...slowly building my tool chest and knowledge base. bowstaff skillz, nunchuck skillz, and finally bicycle repair skillz.
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Old 10-12-10, 11:29 PM   #8
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i can basically knock out anything i want to do to a bike faster than a shop can take a look at it now. including derailleur adjustment and drivetrain setup. so uh... yeah. it's worth it.

minus wheel assembly. which is next on my list of things to learn.

but don't fool yourself: there's doing something 'well enough' and there's doing things 'right.' you want to do things right. always.
also, tools are great but supplies are paramount. you need gloves, rags, workspace, and gojo more than you need a headset press. ****, with the amount of time i spend wrenching it's a cardinal sin for me to not have a workstand.

everyone who's interested in this ethic of work idea or the joy behind "being a master of one's own stuff" on a philosophical level should read http://www.amazon.com/Shop-Class-Sou...mm_pap_title_0 matthew crawford's nyt bestseller.
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Old 10-13-10, 02:03 AM   #9
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I absolutely love working on bikes. There's nothing like the feeling of greasy/dirty hands and accomplishment after fixing/adjusting something. Plus it feels really great knowing I can fix whatever problem my bike might have, and I know how everything works. I'm pretty lucky because my neighbor is a big bike guy, and has almost every tool required to build a bike.
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Old 10-13-10, 02:18 AM   #10
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Wrenching on bikes is my way of making a living. Iv been working in the bike shops as a wrench for 7 years now and still love it as much as day one.
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Old 10-13-10, 02:36 AM   #11
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It is a skill that would be valuable , maybe fun. ?. It would guarantee your bike is always in tip top shape. Should one become an ace wrench.
.Already bike time takes away something like 12 hours a week from family time . That plus Bike forum time. And that's a lot..
Imagine the grief If I were to spend a couple hours per night in the garage on top of all the other bike time spent during the week. The wife would really flip.
Since I have a top notch mechanic whose reasonable at the local bike shop- I doubt wrenching will have much appeal for the time being. Likely it would take away from riding time , and I don't like that idea.
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Old 10-13-10, 02:39 AM   #12
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Haha, yeah I don't think I'm quite as time constrained as you are. Plus, working on my bikes is a great excuse to procrastinate studying.
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Old 10-13-10, 02:48 AM   #13
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i just put full fenders on my kilo. god help me.
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Old 10-13-10, 02:59 AM   #14
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Haha, yeah I don't think I'm quite as time constrained as you are. Plus, working on my bikes is a great excuse to procrastinate studying.
Have some great books on wrenching. Almost a full library.. The number of tools one has to buy to be fully prepared to wrench. That is just discouraging. That and the time it would take away from riding. My mechanic rarely takes more than a day to repair my bike and I have no complaint with his charges. I often am surprised as to what he charges compared to past shops, I've frequented. Not a complaint mind you. He just must love his job. He's the owner of the shop.
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Old 10-13-10, 03:15 AM   #15
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I figure that with all the repairs/maintenence/building I do, the tools I have bought paid for themselves pretty quickly. I don't have super high quality park tool complete sets or anything, just simple cheapo tools that get the job done. I have a simple kit from nashbar which does almost everything (~$50), a complete socket set from walmart ($10), and some other miscellaneous tools I've picked up along the way. I figure the only things I'm missing are headset tools (headset press, crown race setter/remover, etc.). Most of my LBS experiences with repair and whatnot haven't been very impressive, but maybe that's just because I have never established a solid relationship with any of them.
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Old 10-13-10, 03:21 AM   #16
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believe me there are things you want an lbs for.

like when your powdercoater doesn't know what they're doing and you need your seattube and headtube reamed and faced.

there are things you should know how to wrench on, like installing and setting up your brakes correctly. like, perfectly. or how to change a tire or other simple things. but there will always be something that comes up, like facing a headtube, where you are going to wish you had done the footwork to get into some great lbs action.

wrenching is great. just don't think for a second it's a bad thing to know and do right by the best mechanic in town.
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Old 10-13-10, 03:24 AM   #17
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Yeah, I'm not trying to say that the LBS isn't useful for major jobs or just picking up some parts, but the more I can do myself, the better.

Oh and I have yet to buy a truing stand and learn how to build/true wheels. That is one thing I still have to have the LBS do.
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Old 10-13-10, 03:31 AM   #18
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i've trued wheels with the brake, but my god is that hard to learn. i'm still terrible at it. need a truing stand and a work stand baaadly.
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Old 10-13-10, 04:28 AM   #19
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^.. If truing a wheel were simply lateral truing , it would not be so bad. But to have a perfect wheel, don't you need check for lateral, radial, and rim centered. Plus the tension has to be perfect. That is what my books say. Does not sound all that easy.?

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. Most of my LBS experiences with repair and whatnot haven't been very impressive, but maybe that's just because I have never established a solid relationship with any of them.
Not much different than seeking out the car mechanic one trusts.. As the expression goes , 'you kiss a lot of toads, before you find a prince.'
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Old 10-13-10, 05:50 AM   #20
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For example, my bianchi frame has been at the douch LBS for two days now getting a headset and bb installed. The reason its taking so long I suspect is the fact that the bike was not bought there.
Hmmm, the ****** LBS? If you came into my shop with that attitude your bike would certainly hang in back for a while. I don't know about this shop, but i know at my shop it's first come first served. Stuff gets scheduled in as it comes. If a freind or good customer needs something done ASAP they know how to get it done. A freindly attitude, smile, a six pack and a thank you goes a long way if you want something done in say 5 minutes. I could have put your headset and BB in while you stood there, or maybe even let you use the tools and did it yourself. Or you bike, had it been brought in today, would be scheduled to be worked on next tuesday. That's how it works.
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Old 10-13-10, 07:17 AM   #21
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^ vw just hit the nail on the head. That's the way it works. Customers that get angry when I remind them they're not the only one on the planet really piss me off.

As a sidenote - I'm coming really close to having more/better tools at home than at the shop where I work. The very first thing I did when I woke up this morning (literally) was install a headset on my new bike.
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Old 10-13-10, 08:09 AM   #22
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my new bike.
PICS!!!!! Is this the one getting the Aerospokz? And it's amazing how many people give me a dirty look when I tell them we are a week out on service, like I am purposely ignoring their bike to work on the 40 or so others cloging my back room, not to mention builds of customer that have laid down a lot of money and are waiting. Hmmm build the $2000 road bike we just made good money on, or put that aside to get to a headset install? Oh yeah you didn't buy the frame OR parts from me? Yeah lemme jump right on that! Fail.
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Old 10-13-10, 08:27 AM   #23
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PICS!!!!! Is this the one getting the Aerospokz?
Not yet. That's another project entirely and gathering the right parts has been slow-going.

I took some teaser pics but don't want to spoil it. The UPS man is bringing me some goodies today so hopefully I can finish one!
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Old 10-13-10, 08:48 AM   #24
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i just put full fenders on my kilo. god help me.
I'd be interested in seeing photos of that. Can't imagine how you can stuff full fenders into a Kilo TT. What size tires are you using?
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Old 10-13-10, 08:48 AM   #25
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^.. If truing a wheel were simply lateral truing , it would not be so bad. But to have a perfect wheel, don't you need check for lateral, radial, and rim centered. Plus the tension has to be perfect. That is what my books say. Does not sound all that easy.?
In a pinch, as a kid, I recall my Dad using a vice and work bench to true a wheel, He used an adjustable clamp at the end of the work bench to determine trueness. Took him awhile, but he did it. As for using the brake, if it's a matter of truing from a complete build from scratch, that's MacGyver-esque, I have a new hero now, it's cc700 !

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