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USED TO think I was a decent mechanic......

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USED TO think I was a decent mechanic......

Old 06-23-20, 08:34 AM
  #1  
freeranger
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USED TO think I was a decent mechanic......

As everything on my mtn bike was installed and adjusted by me--due to a frame being replaced under warranty and decided I wanted to do the work. This has been some 15 or more years ago. Reading this section of the forums has me realizing just how much has changed and seems things have become more "complicated" than they used to be. That or I'm just satisfied to repair or adjust as needed now. The internet is such a great help-I can find info on most anything that needs done--and some very good mechanics here-much more knowledgeable than I on new technology (even some old!). Really enjoy reading about all the new fixes, technology, etc. Keep it up guys, you're keeping at least one of us (and I'm sure MANY others) up to date.

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Old 06-23-20, 12:52 PM
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I agree about the relentless and sometimes baffling march of "progress". My bike mechanical world has stopped with Ti and steel frames, English threaded bottom brackets, caliper rim brakes, aluminum rims, straight steerers, threadless headsets and 3x10-speed mechanical drivetrains. So far I've avoided carbon frames, carbon rims, disc brakes, tapered steerers, 11, 12 and 13(?)-speed cassettes, 1 x anything drivetrains, a whole spectrum of different bottom bracket "standards", and electronic shifting. My loss I guess.
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Old 06-23-20, 01:43 PM
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I know I have never been a decent mechanic. Quite the opposite. However, in the winter of 2018/19, I started getting tools together and doing my own bike work. I had done the minor maintenance upkeep before, bet never even changing cables before that. This was due to quite a bit of influence from BikeForums and wanting to challenge myself. With a lot help, many errors, a good bit of frustration, I have gradually gotten to the point that I can tear down a bike to bare frame and build it all back up again. I have also acquired some analytical ability.

I still make many mistakes, some that I just shake my head at wondering, how did I manage that? But I also have the confidence that I can get it right in the end, and do not fear taking on a project. Having said all that, I also know that I like riding bikes a whole lot more than working on them.
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Old 06-23-20, 02:12 PM
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I got pushed into the "modern" world by volunteering at a bike coop. I was self-taught and semi-competent from the 60s to the 90s, then sort of lost touch. The lead mechanic at the coop is also an excellent teacher, so I started learning the new stuff. And getting retrained from all the bad habits I picked up on my own.
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Old 06-23-20, 02:15 PM
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My background is older bikes. I’m good with most stuff up to the early 2000’s/9 speed. Only area I shy away from has been rebuilding suspension forks. Haven’t done disc brakes, but if you wrench on cars at all how tough can it be?

I think what has kept me from 10, 11... speed stuff is a perceived lack of customization. Looking back at a time of cog boards and pushing the specs, it just seems like things are so standardized, “Here are your 3 cassette choices with these 2 choices of chainrings, next.” Hopefully it is just my perception and not reality.

Even a system like Di2, that should be programmable to be used with any speed, is boxed in.

I do agree that the bike mechanics here really know their stuff, and show so much patience answering the same question for the 10,000th time.

John
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Old 06-23-20, 06:12 PM
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Agreed on all of the above. I used to wrench on anything that didn't include bearings. Then a few years ago I started acquiring older lugged steel bikes, and they required a total tear down to make them "right." I sucked it up and learned with the help of this forum and the general internet, and then when I started volunteering at the Co-op, was surprised how much I could do.
You build on it bit by bit.
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Old 06-23-20, 07:44 PM
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I can do cup and cone bearings in my sleep. In fact I did a cleaning of a hub the other day and it took about 15 minutes. But when I had a problem with a sealed bearing hub I didn't have a clue as to what to do. But you know what? It was even easier once I knew the trick. A lot of the newer components are like that. I replaced my bottom bracket, an FSA SL/K, with a Campy Chorus UT. At first it felt like the most intimidating job around. But once I had the cup tool, a cheap tool at that, it was easy peasy. Unscrew the old, screw in the new. And the Campy crank/BB is so easy to install. You don't need to tighten and then check play 5 times before you get it right, you just screw the two pieces together. OTOH, when I rented a bike in San Francisco a few months ago with disc brakes and through axle hubs, I wouldn't have known how to fix a flat! QR and rim brakes is all I know.
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Old 06-23-20, 08:41 PM
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I am an OK mechanic, I realize that and am not ashamed, I have a lot to learn and will always be learning. That is how I take it, if I sit there and say "I am a great mechanic I need not learn more" I have personally already failed because a great mechanic is always learning and trying to improve themselves. Things are always changing and evolving and if we do the same we will be better equipped to handle it.
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Old 06-23-20, 11:06 PM
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I find itís not too bad fixing bikes. Just a matter of having the tools to do the job.
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Old 06-23-20, 11:26 PM
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The internet with videos is the big difference between now and 30+ years ago.

Back then you picked up books that told you how, with maybe a few photos or diagrams. I still remember reading to make the hub cone adjustment to feel like the play in a knuckle.

Now you go to Google and YouTube and find an assortment of videos. The skill is in discerning which ones to ignore.

John
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Old 06-24-20, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post

I think what has kept me from 10, 11... speed stuff is a perceived lack of customization. Looking back at a time of cog boards and pushing the specs, it just seems like things are so standardized, ďHere are your 3 cassette choices with these 2 choices of chainrings, next.Ē Hopefully it is just my perception and not reality.
The more expensive 10 speed and all 11 speed have fixed spiders on the big cogs, making them difficult to customize. The cheap 10 speed are still individual but riveted so I bought 3 cassettes, drilled out the rivets, and mixed them. The only 11 speed that is fully customizable is the Miche cassette up to 34t. Some dealers will mix them for you. I only found I online dealer that does this. The 10 speed Miche is also customizable but I think limited to 30t? I was thinking that if the 11 and 10 speed cogs were the same thickness, then you could take the larger cogs from the 11 speed and use them on 10 speed, but the offset of the last cog will be different so you'd have to figure out your own spacers.
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Old 06-24-20, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Kevinx88 View Post
I find it’s not too bad fixing bikes. Just a matter of having the tools to do the job.
The level of "fixing" will be dependant upon your standards.

Having the proper tools is a nescessity but to what degree you "fix" a bike is a matter of your knowledge, experience and commitment.
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Old 06-24-20, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by tomtomtom123 View Post
The more expensive 10 speed and all 11 speed have fixed spiders on the big cogs, making them difficult to customize. The cheap 10 speed are still individual but riveted so I bought 3 cassettes, drilled out the rivets, and mixed them. The only 11 speed that is fully customizable is the Miche cassette up to 34t. Some dealers will mix them for you. I only found I online dealer that does this. The 10 speed Miche is also customizable but I think limited to 30t? I was thinking that if the 11 and 10 speed cogs were the same thickness, then you could take the larger cogs from the 11 speed and use them on 10 speed, but the offset of the last cog will be different so you'd have to figure out your own spacers.
Over the years I have routinely re-spaces cassettes. It started with 7 speed cassettes when replacing trigger shifters and realized 8 speed shifters were so much better. I just sanded the plastic spacers and re-assembled. I still have a few new 13-34 ďkĒ cassettes in the wings.

I have a couple of bags, well over a hundred, of used spacers and some .5mm stainless shims that I have used. It is great fun.

I agree that there are a few 10/11 speed cassettes that are not spidered. But I just didnít want to mess with how finicky 10s seemed to be. I remember when the discussion of 10 speed quick links that canít be re-used and thought, ďSo I canít remove my chain to clean it?Ē To me it was too much of a hassle for a non-1x drive train where you actually can use a 10t or 11t.

John
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Old 06-24-20, 11:04 AM
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Kmc links are reusable.
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Old 06-24-20, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by tomtomtom123 View Post
Kmc links are reusable.
I know. I just donít see the need for 10/11/12 speed for me.

Thus, in keeping with the intent of this thread, I donít have the skills/experience with those drivetrains.

And like many others, I have a stockpile of parts that will live on long after I am gone.

One thing will never change is gear ratios x tire circumference x rpm = speed.

John
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Old 06-24-20, 01:18 PM
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I used to be OK with DIY Auto repairs , now I don't even want one..
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Old 06-25-20, 12:44 AM
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I used to think I'm a good mechanic until I cross threaded a brand new frame and inserted the cups the wrong way around. I actually got them the whole way in . I've learned a lot since then but I still make mistakes sometimes. One thing I've learned is that if it's not going in smoothly, stop wrenching and inspect everything before you apply more force.
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Old 06-25-20, 06:19 AM
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One thing I know I'm not good at is taking a bike with crappy components and making them work like good ones. I have a bike, from my daughter's friend, in my house right now where the rear brakes don't stop. Everything about the setup is crappy, old flexy shifters, suicide levers, old cables, flexy calipers, old pads and steel rims. I can bottom out the rear lever even though the calipers are adjusted close to the rim. My advice is to replace the whole setup but that would cost more than the bike is worth.

And the funny thing is my daughter also just started using my wife's old Cannondale Crit, and while the brakes work I found them squishy, plus the lever/hoods were uncomfortable. New pads, cables and hoods would have helped but I decided to go all out and replace everything including the calipers with dual pivot Centaur and Tektro road levers. When I showed her cross levers for the tops she liked that idea too. She never used a road bike before. She also would like shifters in a better place but that's a whole bigger job, although maybe stem shifters would work ok on the old 6 speed.
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Old 06-25-20, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
One thing I know I'm not good at is taking a bike with crappy components and making them work like good ones.
I can do this but I only do it for a flip. I hate doing it nontheless because it's so pointless. Especially with kids bikes, you almost know for certain that the next owner will not take the necessary vigilance to prevent further neglect, i.e keeping it in the shed.

Most parents just let their kids chuck their bikes outside in the rain and then surprise, surprise, in 3 months time the brakes are jammed again.

I pick these bikes off the street for free anyway so I dont care but I figure if they're gonna end up on the scrap pile anyway, I might as well take 30 quid before they do for good.

Kret.
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Old 06-25-20, 06:56 PM
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I'm so bad of a mechanic that I am constantly tweeking things on my bikes, trying to get them perfect.
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