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Old 03-10-17, 12:07 PM   #26
NoControl
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That chicken and gravy looks real good, but one of the things that I never could understand when I lived in the South, was the affection for Texas toast on the side everywhere you eat.

For the benefit of the OP, I do think that everyone who rides should have basic knowledge of their bikes, or prepare for a lot of LBS shop visits to allay fears of being stranded -or- always ride with someone who does have skills.

If I were to offer advice to anyone embarking on a tour, I would say that at the very least you should learn the following skills:

1. How to change a tire/tube and how to patch a tube.

2. How to adjust your brakes, and replace pads.

3. How to clean and lubricate your chain.

4. How to clean and adjust your derailleurs.

5. How to adjust seat and handlebars to achieve a good fit.

Obviously, you can take this a lot further, but in my mind these are the basics.
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Old 03-10-17, 12:54 PM   #27
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Come touring with me down south in April and we can take care of that little craving. A quick "lite" lunch served Arkansian style. I had to help my friend remount his bike after this little meal.

Child's plate?

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Old 03-10-17, 01:09 PM   #28
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That chicken and gravy looks real good, .
You do know that Chicken fried steak has no chicken in it, eh ? : )
I was just surprised it didn't come with a side order of grits (of which I always enjoy.)

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Old 03-10-17, 01:46 PM   #29
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Come touring with me down south in April and we can take care of that little craving. A quick "lite" lunch served Arkansian style. I had to help my friend remount his bike after this little meal.

I'd love to take you up on that one! If only I had more time or older kids... I believe the Texas Toast is to sop up the remaining gravy.
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Old 03-10-17, 01:49 PM   #30
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As noted by others above, I agree that more knowledge is always good.

But, where do you stop?
There is fixing a flat on one end of the spectrum and replacing a spoke on the drive side on the other end of the spectrum. And a long list of skills in between...
+1 about the knowledge. As to what and how much knowledge is required? I think the subject can be divided into three parts, pretour preventive maintenance, scheduled on tour maintenance, and emergency maintenance. The first really doesn't require any mechanical knowledge from the owner, the second checking fasteners and lubing the chain while the third should have owner knowledge of at least puncture repair and the required tools for that. This is my criteria for minimum skills. The more remote the tourist becomes, the more skills and tools...

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Old 03-10-17, 02:09 PM   #31
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The more remote the tourist becomes, the more skills and tools...

Brad
Can't disagree there. Good thing I did not need petrol, next petrol station was 205 km away. But that was also how far the next retail anything was.
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Old 03-10-17, 03:00 PM   #32
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You do know that Chicken fried steak has no chicken in it, eh ? : )
I was just surprised it didn't come with a side order of grits (of which I always enjoy.)
Yeah I know.



My bad. Whenever I say to people up here the term, "chicken fried steak," they think its chicken, and I have to correct them. Just went through a bout of that recently, and for some reason it cross-wired my brain.
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Old 03-10-17, 08:30 PM   #33
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Knowledge is always the best tool to carry on a tour. It weighs nothing, can't be lost, damaged or stolen en route, nor is there ever any decision about whether to take it or leave it at home.
Uhhhhhh...it can be lost in the old file cabinet that is my brain, there is one in the back of the head which is crammed full of stuff and has a leaky pipe over it so stuff gets lost in there or melts into a wet puddle.

However yes that is probably the best statement I have heard for touring in a long time and we should really recommend that on gear lists. Knowing how to fix things yourself is a very liberating prospect. When I talk to customers about fixing their own flats some laugh and say I will just bring it in and then I convince them and give them knowledge on how to do it and they come back after their first fix and are so happy. Truing a wheel is a bit different skill wise but certainly is a useful piece of knowledge to have so you can at least limp to a shop and get a professional to take a second look or properly fix it.
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Old 03-10-17, 10:17 PM   #34
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Wheel-building used to be required knowledge for most serious bikers, IMO one should at least know some simple truing skills.
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Old 03-11-17, 05:35 AM   #35
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Wheel-building used to be required knowledge for most serious bikers, IMO one should at least know some simple truing skills.
For a lot of cyclists wheel truing and building just aren't in their skill set...sad, but true. While not so common anymore, bike shops and bike clubs used to schedule basic maintenance classes...

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Old 03-11-17, 07:31 AM   #36
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I volunteer at a non-profit bike shop where the mission is to teach people how to repair their bikes. We have three truing stands, and make sure nearly everyone at least gets introduced to the concept and basic practice. Some start from scratch and build their own.

I learned wheel building at a LBS nearly 30 years ago, in a free one-night seminar. The best wheels I've ever had were the ones I built after that. Keeping my wheels true and strong have been second nature since. I've broken two spokes on tour, one by the airline, and replacing them myself (once borrowed a vice (freewheel days) from farmer's barn) was a good thing on several levels.
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Old 03-11-17, 08:14 PM   #37
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Learning from a skilled builder is best though now one can get good info from books/internet & find reasonably-priced truing jigs. If one is looking at specialty hubs, for instance, might be cheaper & quicker to DIY wheel build. It's fairly easy & it's fun to see how wheel comes together.
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Old 03-15-17, 10:04 AM   #38
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I'll guess that after buying a truing stand and tensionmeter, it's a lot cheaper to get wheels professionally built. Building a wheel is easy enough, but getting it right is another story.
But it's always good to have some mechanic skills. The farther away from an LBS the more you're on your own.
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Old 03-15-17, 10:53 AM   #39
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I'll guess that after buying a truing stand and tensionmeter, it's a lot cheaper to get wheels professionally built.
would you care to elaborate?
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Old 03-15-17, 12:58 PM   #40
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I made my own truing stand from an old fork and brake caliper. I made a dishing tool from a piece of bed frame, wood blocks, and a bolt. I even made a nipple driver with depth gauge from an old spoke. I have a pretty good musical ear and use that for tension, comparing to a known good wheel.

It doesn't need to be expensive. My tool cost was zero. Maybe less than zero, since I recycled some garbage.
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Old 03-15-17, 01:09 PM   #41
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I have a pretty good musical ear and use that for tension, comparing to a known good wheel.
Saturday I did in fact true/tension my new touring bike (@500 miles). Sure makes it easy to keep a touchy/feely thing going knowing that it is at a proper starting point.
I am relatively new to serious cycling, touring that is. My experience last summer had the drive wheel get real loose at the 2000km mark on my 3 week old bike. And as some have mentioned, remote. The Canadian Prairies are remote, 5 days between any kind of bike shop other than the local hardware, or farm implement dealer that retails 8 X 3 bikes.

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Old 03-15-17, 01:27 PM   #42
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Learning from a skilled builder is best though now one can get good info from books/internet & find reasonably-priced truing jigs. If one is looking at specialty hubs, for instance, might be cheaper & quicker to DIY wheel build. It's fairly easy & it's fun to see how wheel comes together.
I was building wheels before the internet existed. Then it was one of those bits of knowledge that you almost had to climb up a mountain with a monastery on top to learn from a master. But, now the Sheldon Brown site has an outstanding tutorial.
Wheelbuilding

But, some people just don't have the aptitude. A friend of mine is one of them. He went to a week long bike mechanic school. He is pretty good at tightening bolts and lubricating things, but anything that requires original thought does not sink in. He just bought a dynohub, and although he went to mechanic school he plans to have a bike shop build up his wheel for him.
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Old 03-15-17, 04:05 PM   #43
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A truing stand is just a convenience apparatus for the bike shop mechanic who builds several wheels a day. A bike frame in a work stand or hanging by chains does the job just as well for an amateur builder. Eyeballed center is close enough for accurate dish on the rear wheel. Tension by feel or pitch, as mentioned above is also close enough. Unless your rim is perfect you may indeed have to introduce a bit of uneven tension to get a true wheel. I've been building my own wheels since a teenager and have never owned a truing stand or tensionometer. Yes, I do have a dish gauge but it's not essential.

I always chuckle when I read about the "art" of wheel building. Lacing a wheel is like basket weaving 101. Tensioning and truing take a bit more practice but it's certainly not art or rocket science. Just make sure you've calculated the right spoke length.
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Old 03-15-17, 06:54 PM   #44
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... Eyeballed center is close enough for accurate dish on the rear wheel. ... Yes, I do have a dish gauge but it's not essential. ....
I do not have a dish gauge. Or a truing stand. I frequently turn the wheel around in the frame to see if the rim is still in the right place between the brake pads. As long as the rim stays in the center when the wheel is in proper and also centered when the wheel is in the frame backwards, you pretty much have it set.

But, if you have disc instead of rim brakes, that probably is not going to work so well as a truing stand.
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Old 03-15-17, 08:32 PM   #45
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But, some people just don't have the aptitude. A friend of mine is one of them. He went to a week long bike mechanic school. He is pretty good at tightening bolts and lubricating things, but anything that requires original thought does not sink in. He just bought a dynohub, and although he went to mechanic school he plans to have a bike shop build up his wheel for him.
Can't blame someone for wanting to get the dyno wheel built quick & proper.

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A truing stand is just a convenience apparatus for the bike shop mechanic who builds several wheels a day. A bike frame in a work stand or hanging by chains does the job just as well for an amateur builder. I've been building my own wheels since a teenager and have never owned a truing stand or tensionometer. Yes, I do have a dish gauge but it's not essential.
Truing jig can also help lower-skilled mechanics like myself who are pushing limits of skill & patience. In high school I splurged on a Park pro stand & appreciated the ease of use. Now I probably wouldn't spend the money but it's nice to have around.
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Old 03-16-17, 03:52 AM   #46
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Truing jig can also help lower-skilled mechanics...
You're right DropBar, I stand corrected. Fenders and racks would also make for a pretty awkward truing stand. A stand also has adjustability for varying axle widths thus would be a big help for the amateur. As Tourist in MSN also points out, a disc brake frame may be less than ideal as a stand.

I'm just cheap and have gotten along without one for 50 years! On tour one may have to improvise. I recall an ACA tour when I re-built a rider's wheel using his bike for a stand hanging by ropes from a tree in a campground.
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Old 03-16-17, 09:29 AM   #47
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Fenders and racks would also make for a pretty awkward truing stand. A stand also has adjustability for varying axle widths thus would be a big help for the amateur. As Tourist in MSN also points out, a disc brake frame may be less than ideal as a stand.

I'm just cheap and have gotten along without one for 50 years! On tour one may have to improvise. I recall an ACA tour when I re-built a rider's wheel using his bike for a stand hanging by ropes from a tree in a campground.
Fenders and racks aren't a deal breaker. I made some bad choices on my wheel build and kept breaking spokes. Eventually I rebuilt the wheel, but before that, I just put two zip ties opposite each other near the rim in the rear triangle. Every time a spoke broke, I'd replace it, rotate those zip ties in towards the rim, and use them to straighten everything up. Fenders and rack didn't get in the way at all, and the wheel never had to leave the bike.

And, even though that works, I prefer a truing stand. More precise, easier to adjust, and I don't have to take my bike out of commission to use it. I'll leave a new wheel in there for days, working on it for short spells every now and then. If I were using my bike frame, I'd be in a hurry to get everything done. And I really appreciate a good stand. I started with a cheap, Spin Doctor's stand. It worked, and I did tension by feel and by sound, and that worked, too. But eventually I got a tensioner and really liked that. I can pitch test a spoke against its neighbors, but I wouldn't want to assume I was getting the whole wheel equally tensioned based on pitch alone. It's nice being able to take some of the guesswork out and use actual numbers. And when I had to replace my truing stand, I got a Bike Hand one that appears to be mostly a clone of Park's stand: a big improvement over my old one. And I finally got a dishing tool rather than just flipping my wheel around to see if it's centered. I don't need any of that stuff, but I enjoy the process more with the right tools.

But, of course, we're mainly talking about wheel building as it applies to touring, and in that case, it's really nice to know you can do without. Because I'm not taking a tension meter on tour, let alone a truing stand.

That said, I still think that truing is a non-essential bike skill when it comes to touring, although there are some factors that play in like your budget and how far off the beaten track you plan to go. Not only does it not come up that often, but when it does, if you can pay someone to do it, I'm not going to judge you. Wheelbuilding is something I picked up because the local shop had a week turn around time on spoke replacement, and I had a wheel that was breaking a lot of spokes. Every time a spoke broke, I was out $20 and was taking the bus to work for a week. By my 3rd or 4th spoke, I decided that if I did it myself, I could be back on the road immediately. I keep doing it because it saves me money and because I enjoy it. If someone doesn't enjoy it, it's easy enough to find a wheel builder if you have the time and money.
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Old 03-16-17, 01:17 PM   #48
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Yes, you can use a match stick taped to your fork as a truing stand, you can pluck your spokes for tension and you can stack up books to use as a dishing tool (all of this I used to do btw) but once you have a truing stand, a spoke tensionometer, and a cheap dishing tool, you'll never regret it.
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Old 03-16-17, 10:17 PM   #49
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would you care to elaborate?
No I would not. Look up the prices yourself if you want exact numbers. Last time I looked stand + tension meter + dish tool was well over $ 200. Getting an LBS to finish a wheel build should be a lot less.

Andrew -- If you built your tools out of garbage my guess is they still are. Not to be trusted for accuracy. I built myself excellent kitchen cabinets. But a truing stand? No way!!
Wheel building should be done well. there's no reason to put your trust in bad wheels. Bad things could happen.
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Old 03-17-17, 12:32 AM   #50
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You don't trust yourself to build a truing stand?
It is a stationary mount for an axle and two guides to press close to the rim.
You could build one out of a meccano set.

But to put it another way. If you do not trust yourself to build a simple stand how could you possibly trust yourself to build a wheel? That would be much harder.
As with your inflammatory use of the term "garbage", your opinion does not appear to be too well thought out. I imagine that is because it is theoretical and not based on experience.



I agree that truing a wheel may be a skill a tourer should have but don't think wheel building is. I would put it alongside replacing a cassette or bottom bracket. Those are things you need to buy parts for from a shop and not something you will do on the side of the road so to speak (although I suppose you could fedex the parts and tools to yourself).

The skills you should have to tour are those that you may need to effect repairs to get you to that shop.

  • tighten/loosen bolts and screws
  • replace/adjust cables and levers
  • adjust seats, bars, brakes
  • repair flats
  • fix broken chains
  • Replace spokes
  • roughly true a wheel
Those skills will get you down the road 99% of the time. The rest is a want but not a need.

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