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Old 03-12-13, 10:31 AM   #1
texasdiver
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What field repairs have you had to make?

I'm planning a 1000 mile trip with my daughter this summer and putting together my set of tools and replacement parts. I'm curious what field repairs the rest of you have had to make when on the road so I can get an idea of what is reasonable to take and what is overkill. Myself, I've had all off the following happen over the course of perhaps 5,000 miles of bike touring in 25 years.
  • Many flat tires patched with patch kits.
  • Damaged tubes that couldn't be patched and needed to be replaced (usually torn near the valve stem, or a faulty valve
  • Spoke protruding through the rim tape that was tearing tubes. Needed to be removed and replaced as it worked through the tape I laid over it.
  • Cut tires that needed to be fixed with a tire boot. One tire blown out at the sidewall that needed complete replacing.
  • Broken spokes (usually the drive side that needed freewheel removal to replace)
  • Broken or lost fender and rack mounting bolts (never leave home without replacements)
  • Broken fender mount where it clips to the chain stay...repaired by cutting holes in the fender and lashing it to the chain stay with zip ties.
  • Loose, creaking or clicking pedals, crank arms, bottom brackets, and chainrings that needed to be greased and tightened up.
  • Crankarm on a partner's bike that came completely off and had to be re-attached.
  • Lost chainring bolt needed to be replaced.
  • Brakes and derailleurs that needed endless adjustment (but never any broken brake or shifter cables)
  • Broken rear derailleur on a partner's bike (the spring broke making it inoperable). Had to buy a new one at a local shop on the road.

So what is your list?
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Old 03-12-13, 10:43 AM   #2
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Flats tires
booted a tire that had a 1/2 inch hole
Fix loose bar tape
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Old 03-12-13, 11:11 AM   #3
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Actual side-of-the-road emergency repairs, not counting stuff I've done sitting in front of a bike shop or while stopped for the night--not much other than flats. Everything else has been preventive. I'll replace the BB, chain and cassette before a long ride, and repack wheel, headset and pedal bearings. Most nights on tour I check out the bike and make adjustments, oil things, clean up, check stuff out. I broke a spoke once a mile from town. Rather than use my on-board spare and tools on the side of the road, I wobbled to the bike shop and did it there. I think I've been lucky, but I also like to think getting the bike ready beforehand, and nightly checks, help out a lot. I like to carry spares and tools, just in case, for sure.
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Old 03-12-13, 11:19 AM   #4
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Flats
Rear derailler getting completely gummed up with stone dust
Chain jammed between the bottom bracket shell and small ring

Pretty minimal, now that I think about it.
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Old 03-12-13, 11:43 AM   #5
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Discarded a blown out rear tire in Scottish farm shed when I installed tire #3 brought along.

1 spoke out of 48 on my rear wheel, on a previous trip through the English Midlands

cracked 1 Suntour plastic sealed bearing pulley, bought a Tacx set when it happened, in NL.



Yes you can get a steel frame repaired in the field, was the shop in Killarney Ireland
that helped me, made Air conditioning duct work out of stainless steel as their regular trade.

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Old 03-12-13, 11:56 AM   #6
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I snapped a chain. It was entirely user error, I was in a rush when I joined them. I was left by the side of the road, 15 miles from the nearest city, without a chain tool. Amazingly, I was able to use an Allen wrench and a rock to bash the chain back together and limp back to town.
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Old 03-12-13, 12:15 PM   #7
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Only had to fix flat tires and broken chains up to this point.
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Old 03-12-13, 05:47 PM   #8
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Tires and tubes. I did a transcontinental back in '77 and carried a lot more tools than I ever needed, and that was back before kevlar belted tires. If you keep your bike in good repair and have decent quality equipment to begin with you should do fine. However Murphy is out there just waiting for you to get too cocky about it.

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Old 03-12-13, 07:31 PM   #9
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Old 03-12-13, 08:35 PM   #10
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Broken spokes, flat tires, replaced front deraileur, broken stay on front pannier rack.
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Old 03-12-13, 09:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
andrewclaus
Actual side-of-the-road emergency repairs, not counting stuff I've done sitting in front of a bike shop or while stopped for the night--not much other than flats. Everything else has been preventive. I'll replace the BB, chain and cassette before a long ride, and repack wheel, headset and pedal bearings. Most nights on tour I check out the bike and make adjustments, oil things, clean up, check stuff out. I broke a spoke once a mile from town. Rather than use my on-board spare and tools on the side of the road, I wobbled to the bike shop and did it there. I think I've been lucky, but I also like to think getting the bike ready beforehand, and nightly checks, help out a lot. I like to carry spares and tools, just in case, for sure.
+1

The usual tire/tube problems. Three broken spokes on my front wheel due to riding off a high curb with loaded front panniers. It was raining, and with my wet glasses it looked like a driveway. That is my story, and I'm sticking to it! The spokes did not break at the same time but spread out over 3-4 days. I was able to loosen my brakes ride to the next town and stop at 3 of the many bikes shops on the Oregon and northern California coast to get them fixed.


I posted these on another thread, but this is essentially what I carry:

Quote:
This goes into my tool box along with an 8 mm box end wrench (small and light), chain tool, spoke wrench, chain lube, syringe with Triflow oil, an assortment of replacement nuts and bolts, several zip ties, fiber-fix spoke, duct tape and a small rag. If the tour is a long one, I also carry one spare derailleur cable and and a brake cable. I also carry a small bottle of dish detergent and an old sponge. I don't need to carry a dedicated pedal wrench because my wife's S&S coupler wrench also has a pedal wrench. I've used everything except the spare derailleur cable on a tour. I dumpster dive for a soft drink cup or in this case a Gatorade bottle to serve as a mini bucket for bike cleaning while on tour. I use a water bottle to rinse the soap off after cleaning. I also use a lot of napkins and paper towels from cafes and gas stations to clean chains while on tour. Depending on the weather, I'll clean the bikes every 2-7 days.


All my tools and cleaning supplies fit in that plastic box. I want it clean and I want it working.

Quote:
These go into my seat bag.

Last edited by Doug64; 03-12-13 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 03-13-13, 07:14 AM   #12
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I have mountain biked every Sat morning with a group anywhere between 3 and 20 riders from a cohort of probably 40 of us, last 12 years, so within a lot of bike-miles (aside from a bazillion flat tires), "biggest" repairs have been:

many times: punch out broken chain link - shorten and rejoin chain by pushing pin back in (always carry a chain tool, have changed to always carrying a joiner link as well now)

tireboot and zipties around a tire which had split from the bead (twice, one of them was with rim brakes which had to be disconnected)

shortened chain and converted to singlespeed after derailleur torn off

straightened derailleur hanger and trued wheel enough for it to be able to actually turn after derailleur went into rear spokes breaking 4 of them and pretzelling the cheap wheel

borrowed chainwheel bolts to substitute for lost cleat bolts

retrieved a split thudbuster elastomer and zippied it back into place to be able to ride home not standing up all the way (my bike - the shame!)

ziptied a wooden L shaped splint onto a frame cracked at the back of a chainstay for a very careful limp home along the road


I like zipties
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Old 03-13-13, 07:51 AM   #13
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Wow, with as many broken chains I see on this list one should definitely be bringing a chain tool. I guess I just don't develop as much power as you guys because I've never broke one. I usually don't carry one on recreational rides but do touring. Think I'll probably find a light one to toss into my everyday tool kit. I have 3 multi-tools but none of them have a chain tool so I'll just look for a light stand alone one.
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Old 03-13-13, 08:24 AM   #14
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One day I was amazed to find that the left side bottom bracket spacer (the part that fills the space between my cartridge bottom bracket and the shell) started to unthread. Used a long nose pliers to tighten it enough to keep it from unthreading. No, I do not carry a bottom bracket tool on tour, but I have thought about it. Instead I just made sure that it was tight.

Last summer someone I was touring with needed a new bottom bracket. Was not a field fix, the manufacturer had to send one to a bike shop we expected to be near.

Last summer on the next to last day on my tour, my freehub stopped spinning freely, meaning that when I coasted that my drivetrain wanted to force my crank to turn. I had the cassette removal tools along but decided not to bother with it, instead I just minimized coasting and kept pedaling. When I got home I found that my plastic spoke protector had broken and shifted in position, it was rubbing on the back side of the cassette. Thus, if I had pulled the cassette off when it had happened, I would have found that problem and been able to fix it easily by removing the spoke protector.

I suggest blue locktite on all kickstand bolts and rack bolts before you leave on your trip. Could save you some real trouble.

Also, on your first day of your tour, before you get on your bike, if you have shoe cleats check to make sure the bolts are tight. If they were loose, tighten them and also recheck a week later.

I have never personally known someone to break a seatpost bolt, but I hear that it can really ruin your day ... or days until you get it fixed.
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Old 03-13-13, 08:25 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texasdiver View Post
Wow, with as many broken chains I see on this list one should definitely be bringing a chain tool. I guess I just don't develop as much power as you guys because I've never broke one. I usually don't carry one on recreational rides but do touring. Think I'll probably find a light one to toss into my everyday tool kit. I have 3 multi-tools but none of them have a chain tool so I'll just look for a light stand alone one.
I doubt it's particularly a matter of power - sometimes stuff just happens. A broken chain is one of the few things that can bring your ride for the day to a complete stop because of a lack of alternative fixes, so a chain tool and one or two quick-links is a reasonable precaution.
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Old 03-13-13, 08:43 AM   #16
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A tour across NY was rudely interrupted by a cracked seat shell. I took it to a Home Depot where Jim and I cobbled together a repair. Alas, it did not last, ending the tour early. Bent seats are not shelf stock at ANY local bike shop. Easy Racer made it good.


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Old 03-13-13, 10:12 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jolly_ross View Post
I have mountain biked every Sat morning with a group anywhere between 3 and 20 riders from a cohort of probably 40 of us, last 12 years, so within a lot of bike-miles (aside from a bazillion flat tires), "biggest" repairs have been:

...tireboot and zipties around a tire which had split from the bead (twice, one of them was with rim brakes which had to be disconnected)

...I like zipties
Great idea!

Brad

PS Most road repairs I've seen or heard about afterwards, usually on charity rides, could've been prevented with proper pre ride maintenance. Tires are far and away the number one failure, fasteners working loose perhaps second and chains third. I've also seen bikes that looked like they wouldn't last a mile go 30+ miles without a single problem, but those people are blessed.
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Old 03-13-13, 11:06 AM   #18
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Before I read what the OP was getting at, the first thing I thought of when I saw the title of this topic was "human field repairs".
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Old 03-13-13, 12:04 PM   #19
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Nada. Not even a flat. Well-prepared tandem. Nothing should go wrong, other than a occasional flat. Which doesn't mean you don't take stuff with you, just in case. Which can vary between a few ounces and several pounds, depending on whether you prep your bike yourself or have it done, your confidence in who's prepping, and your confidence in your riding skills. And your general level of paranoia.
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Old 03-13-13, 02:58 PM   #20
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How about repaired panniers and racks, wheels, chains, of course tires and tubes, adjust derailleurs and brakes, jerry-rigged shifters that became inoperable, pretty much everything but frame repair (knock on wood). Repaired a trailer for a fellow as well. If you're riding in a group, you can become "right popular" with a little bit of knowledge and a few tools.
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Old 03-14-13, 12:09 AM   #21
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punctured tubes
split tire casings
broken spokes
cracked rim
seized bearings (bob trailer hub)
broken chains
snapped seatpost
broken rack struts
lost mind
cracked fenders
worn out brake pads
brake arms stuck/sticking
bent derailleur hanger
snapped brake/derailleur cables
broken h-bar bag mount/struts
torn/leaking panniers
soles fall off new cannondale shoes in rain
cracked chainstays.....
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Old 03-14-13, 12:35 PM   #22
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Distroyed a rear wheel on my first tour a million years ago.Other than that,just normal stuff.....flats ,cables,chains,brake pads.
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Old 03-14-13, 06:28 PM   #23
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Field "repairs":

Broken spokes (fixed with spare spokes or Fiberfix)
Flats (patch or install new tube)
Bolt attaching rear rack to frame eyelet fell out, had to use wire until we could get a bolt -- now I carry those bolts with me
Broken seat post (!!) -- somehow used clothing and I don't know what to affix the seat to the broken post until we could get a new seat post -- weird
Tire bulging and that was about to blow out due to weak casing -- reduced air pressure in tire and limped along until we got a new tire -- I didn't know about boots at the time
Broken derailleur cable (had spare cable)
Broken brake cable (had spare cable)
Rubbing disc brake (put oil on rotor/pads, had to replace pads later, but at least the bike rolled freely)
Broken chainwheel bolts (!) -- this was on an old TA crank that had only 3 chainring bolts, and they broke a number of times so I just brought extras along. I ditched that crankset eventually when I went to a triple.


Things that broke and I couldn't repair at the time:

Broken chain (I should have been able to do this but I didn't have chain tool, luckily it happened in town close to a bike shop)
Bottom bracket (awful grunching sound meant some ball bearings were shattered and there was some damage to other parts of the bottom bracket if I recall -- no way I could ever fix that in the field, luckily it happened in a metro area, and we managed to find a bike shop on a Sunday to fix the problem -- the owner took a good bottom bracket off of a new bike and put it in mine)

Regarding broken spokes -- almost all of the broken spokes happened on two wheels that were not properly built up. I had 5 broken spokes on one tour, all on the non-drive side, and when we got home, I had someone else rebuild the wheel. That rebuilt wheel worked well for 25 years or so, then 2 spokes broke in quick succession, and I figured that I'd gotten my use out of that wheel and replaced it with a new rear wheel, but I had 3 spokes break in fairly quick succession on that new rear wheel, more than on the previous wheel in 25 years, so again it had not been properly built up, it would make pinging noises when I was in the largest rear cog. Replaced that wheel with one built up by Peter White and no problems since (knock on wood).

Two family members have Surly LHTs, and those wheels have been (knock on wood) completely trouble free.

I now bring zip ties, spare cables, spare bolts, gorilla tape, spare batteries, pump, tubes and patches, chain tool, Swiss Army knife, Allen wrench multi-tool, oil, spare spokes, mini vise grips, small crescent wrench, and fiberfix spokes.
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Old 03-14-13, 09:38 PM   #24
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dental floss sewed a holey sleeping bag once, filled my pannier with water to find out where a hole in tube was after realizing my spare had multiple wear holes from rubbing against stuff for too long (not on a trip though), had to loosen a brake to ride a wonky wheel to a bike store to get rear wheel straightened.....not too much really. Oh, had a bb lock nut thingee come loose (the old style bb with ball bearings, was glad to see them go)

Bottom line, if stuff is newish and in good shape, thats the ticket to avoiding problems. I initially carried waaay too many tools, partly from worrying due to ignorance and being new to adjusting stuff. Take a lot less now.

re chain tools, last year I bought a Lezyne tool, says "Rap 20" on the neoprene thingee that is around it, Im really impressed with the chain breaker. It works better than my old dedicated one. Ive used the Lezyne a few times in the last year replacing chains on various family bikes, usually have to take out a few links, and it really works a treat, dont have to force it hard at all and the pin thingee stays really straight as it pushes out pin.
My old bike tool didnt have a chainbreaker so wanted to get a new one anyway, but it certainly was worth the 30 bucks or whatever it was as it really seems well made and tools dont "wobble" when using them with force.

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Old 03-14-13, 11:11 PM   #25
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Back in the days of freewheels (yes, I know some folks still dwell there) I had so many break that I always carried a spare on tours. Yes, I did put the spare to use more than once. A freewheel that doesn't coast is rideable, but one that doesn't engage the pawls is a real nonstarter.
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