Go Back  Bike Forums >
Reload this Page >

Bike Forums

Bicycle Mechanics

Longest time you have spent looking for a dropped part

Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Longest time you have spent looking for a dropped part

Old 03-06-21, 02:47 PM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
woodcraft's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Nor Cal
Posts: 6,016
Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1814 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 919 Times in 567 Posts
Longest time you have spent looking for a dropped part

I just looked for a brake block screw for at least 15 minutes- stainless so no magnet.

Flashlight, broom, hands and knees.
woodcraft is offline  
Likes For woodcraft:
Old 03-06-21, 02:52 PM
Papa Tom
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,440
Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 861 Post(s)
Liked 232 Times in 135 Posts
Not a bike part, but I am still looking for my wedding ring, which slipped off my finger while I was working on my bike in the garage about six years ago.
Papa Tom is offline  
Likes For Papa Tom:
Old 03-06-21, 03:03 PM
Dirk de Chablis
Senior Member
Dirk de Chablis's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2021
Posts: 78

Bikes: A red one, a white one, a white and red one and a silver one

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 37 Post(s)
Liked 56 Times in 25 Posts
I was bursting myself on the turbo and popped a contact lens on Thursday, I'm still looking for it.
Dirk de Chablis is offline  
Old 03-06-21, 03:27 PM
Darth Lefty 
Disco Infiltrator
Darth Lefty's Avatar
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 13,496

Bikes: Stormchaser, Paramount, Timberjack, Expert TG, Samba tandem

Mentioned: 69 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3008 Post(s)
Liked 1,932 Times in 1,256 Posts
Funny this should come up. Last night I was at a picnic table and I dropped a set screw into the dirt and gravel underneath. We are on a camping trip, so I went inside and got my kids magnetic blocks and made a magnetic rake. After a few minutes, I had it back and I felt pretty smart.
Genesis 49:16-17
Darth Lefty is offline  
Likes For Darth Lefty:
Old 03-06-21, 04:21 PM
Retro Grouch 
Senior Member
Retro Grouch's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Posts: 30,225

Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1571 Post(s)
Liked 639 Times in 360 Posts
Reminds me of doing tech support on a cross state ride with my grandson. The first thing I told him was to spread out a tarp before setting up the workstand on the grass.
My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.
Retro Grouch is offline  
Likes For Retro Grouch:
Old 03-06-21, 04:48 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 1,978
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 568 Post(s)
Liked 729 Times in 441 Posts
my shop is a woodworking shop with sawdust and lots of wood scraps almost impossible to find a part.
fooferdoggie is offline  
Old 03-06-21, 04:52 PM
Old fart
JohnDThompson's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Posts: 24,200

Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.

Mentioned: 148 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3244 Post(s)
Liked 2,643 Times in 1,535 Posts
I dropped one of the rare, proprietary stand-offs for mounting a third chainring on an Avocet crank. Not sure how long I spent looking for it, but about a year and a half later I found it while sweeping out the shop.
JohnDThompson is offline  
Likes For JohnDThompson:
Old 03-06-21, 05:07 PM
Senior Member
masi61's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 3,439

Bikes: Puch Marco Polo, Saint Tropez, Masi Gran Criterium

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1023 Post(s)
Liked 350 Times in 251 Posts
Some parts are still M.I.A.

I have some Cane Creek headset spacers which I need to finish setting up my titanium bikeís carbon fork that are temporarily lost. Iíve not found them in a year.
masi61 is offline  
Old 03-06-21, 05:41 PM
Troul's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Mich
Posts: 6,159

Bikes: RSO E-tire dropper fixie brifter

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 2,178 Times in 1,457 Posts
about an hour after dropping the part. was when they reappeared. They seemed somewhat tired. The partner did work on there riding prior, but maybe they need to look into better gearing.
-Oh Hey!
Troul is offline  
Old 03-06-21, 05:45 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 3,651
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 380 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 103 Times in 77 Posts
I spent 3 years trying to find a part for an old folding bike I was cleaning up. Not a life of death part but I did eventually find the missing bracket for it. Roger

Last edited by rhenning; 03-07-21 at 08:45 AM.
rhenning is offline  
Old 03-06-21, 05:57 PM
Senior Member
bikemig's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 19,781

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 172 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5600 Post(s)
Liked 2,640 Times in 1,681 Posts
One of the most important lessons I learned working in a bike shop was to watch that danged part fall when you dropped it. Most of the time, you can track it down if you keep an eye on it. Sometimes even that doesn't work.
bikemig is offline  
Old 03-06-21, 06:14 PM
Clark W. Griswold
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 11,414

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), R+M Supercharger2 Rohloff, Habanero Ti 26

Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3530 Post(s)
Liked 2,848 Times in 1,908 Posts
I am still looking for a nut that I lost a month ago for a Minoura rack I am building for my basement. Granted I am not actively searching but I am still wanting to find it. I was looking for a stem for years and finally found it and installed it on a bike though sadly the bike it was supposed to go on got a replacement and I don't care to swap the two.
veganbikes is offline  
Old 03-06-21, 06:24 PM
Full Member
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 374

Bikes: Schwinn, Nishiki, Santana, Trek, Rodriguez

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 180 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 96 Times in 61 Posts
I was touring through Gaspe (Quebec) and a cable frayed inside the rsx shifter. I had to take shifter apart in a bike shop basement. Good that I knew how to take apart. Bad that a massive storm ripped through the same time and a lightning bolt hit a transformer outside the shop. At the exact moment of total blackout, I was fitting one of those itty-bitty screws back in, freaked and dropped it. After 1 hour searching with a camping head lamp in the floor cracks, through years of other itty-bitty parts, I found it. Or possibly, it was some other itty-bitty screw of same size.
IPassGas is offline  
Old 03-06-21, 08:08 PM
Go Ride!
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Minnesotaó55346
Posts: 258

Bikes: Klein Quantum Pro, Klein Attitude, Azuki SS, Merckx AXM, Klein Quantum Race, Klein Quantum

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 107 Post(s)
Liked 139 Times in 79 Posts
Originally Posted by IPassGas View Post
Or possibly, it was some other itty-bitty screw of same size.
LOL....Twice now after losing a piece on the garage floor Iíve found something else that will work instead...
Sonofamechanic is offline  
Likes For Sonofamechanic:
Old 03-07-21, 07:35 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,380

Bikes: too many sparkly Italians, some sweet Americans and a couple interesting Japanese

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 477 Post(s)
Liked 425 Times in 311 Posts
Campagnolo pawl in 2018 and a brand new Tommasini fork decal in 2010, they must be somewhere.
easyupbug is offline  
Old 03-07-21, 08:31 AM
Troul's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Mich
Posts: 6,159

Bikes: RSO E-tire dropper fixie brifter

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 2,178 Times in 1,457 Posts
Originally Posted by easyupbug View Post
Campagnolo pawl in 2018 and a brand new Tommasini fork decal in 2010, they must be somewhere.
It'll always be the last place you look when you find those temporarily missing things.
-Oh Hey!
Troul is offline  
Old 03-07-21, 09:10 AM
Senior Member
capnjonny's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Saratoga calif.
Posts: 942

Bikes: Miyata 610(66cm), GT Vantara Hybrid (64cm), Nishiki International (64cm), Peugeot rat rod (62 cm), Trek 800 Burning Man helicopter bike, Bob Jackson frame (to be restored?) plus a never ending stream of neglected waifs from the Bike exchange.

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 309 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 371 Times in 154 Posts
My shop is full of parts I dropped, or misplaced parts. When working at the bike stand I will drop a nut or washer and sometimes it will land right under the bike, sometimes 3-4 ft. away , and sometimes will be in an alternate universe never to be seen again. I have a floor sweeper magnet that I use to sweep the floor for steel bits. I have tried putting a cardboard box under the bike stand and occasionally the part will drop in there but not very often. I have a favorite screw driver that went missing a few days ago. Still haven't found it. I try to not stress about these things. I have trays full of nuts, bolts, and various specialized parts and when a search fails, can usually find a replacement there. I periodically sweep the entire shop floor with a broom into a pile and then will examine it . Usually there are an assortment of springs, nuts washers etc in there which I will return to the junk tray. This must be true in the alternate universe too because sometimes things will magically appear out of nowhere, so my doppelganger in universe B obviously has the same problem.
capnjonny is offline  
Old 03-07-21, 01:29 PM
Senior Member
xiaoman1's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: City of Angels
Posts: 4,994

Bikes: A few too many

Mentioned: 41 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1299 Post(s)
Liked 1,926 Times in 1,069 Posts
The original Campagnolo toolset that came with my Paramount.....I packed it away in a safe place and I am still looking for it!
Best, Ben

Voice recognition may sometimes create odd spelling and grammatical errors

Last edited by xiaoman1; 03-07-21 at 02:15 PM.
xiaoman1 is offline  
Old 03-07-21, 04:12 PM
Senior Member
drlogik's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1,671

Bikes: '87-ish Pinarello Montello; '89 Nishiki Ariel; '85 Raleigh Wyoming, '16 Wabi Special, '16 Wabi Classic, '14 Kona Cinder Cone

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 646 Post(s)
Liked 360 Times in 221 Posts
If it's a part that can't be easily replaced I keep looking until I find it!

Old Trick:
One flashlight technique that an old car mechanic taught me was to lay the flashlight in the middle of the floor and rotate it around slowly and watch for the "profile" of your part. It works like a charm. It's even more effective if you turn the lights out.

This was many moons ago but I saw Joe on the filling station floor one day after school smoking his usual Camel cigarette hanging out of his mouth. He had his flashlight down and rotating it around like a lighthouse. I thought he looked funny but when I got on my knees, holy crap, you can see even small specks of dust on the floor doing this.

FYI, this works great to find studs and sheetrock nails too. Lay the flashlight on the wall and rotate.
drlogik is offline  
Likes For drlogik:
Old 03-07-21, 05:23 PM
On Your Left
GlennR's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Long Island, New York, USA
Posts: 8,373

Bikes: Trek Emonda SLR, Sram eTap, Zipp 303

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3004 Post(s)
Liked 2,430 Times in 1,184 Posts
I lost my virginity back in 1972 and haven't found it yet.
GlennR is offline  
Old 03-07-21, 08:14 PM
Atlas Shrugged
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,071
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 737 Post(s)
Liked 849 Times in 417 Posts
Love this topic! The little clip that secures the disc pad bolt, at least a hour then gave up. Traded the bike (2018 Diverge) in for a new one (2020 Diverge) just because I knew it wasnít right.
Atlas Shrugged is offline  
Old 03-08-21, 02:01 AM
Senior Member
Geepig's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Eastern Poland
Posts: 736

Bikes: Romet Jubilat x 4, Wigry x 1, Turing x 1

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 194 Post(s)
Liked 196 Times in 147 Posts
I never track how long I look for dropped stuff, but I do sweep the floor regularly and avoid allowing my space to fill up with stuff. I rebuilt some furniture to create a bench and table in my garage, and kept some of the door closing magnets to 'sweep' for parts.
Geepig is offline  
Old 03-08-21, 08:24 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 8,120

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2195 Post(s)
Liked 1,435 Times in 908 Posts
Is there a better way of finding lost parts than buying a replacement?
pdlamb is offline  
Old 03-08-21, 08:47 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Los Alamitos, Calif.
Posts: 2,318

Bikes: Trek 7.4 FX

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 915 Post(s)
Liked 740 Times in 439 Posts
Magnets have saved me more than once. Try and find a cigarette pack sized one and keep it handy. Waving it over the area that you've been working can turn up all sorts of stuff.

Last edited by TakingMyTime; 03-08-21 at 11:32 AM.
TakingMyTime is offline  
Old 03-08-21, 10:12 AM
BMX Connoisseur
cbrstar's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Canada
Posts: 774

Bikes: 1988 Kuwahara Newport, 1983 Nishiki, 1984 Diamond Back Viper, 1991 Dyno Compe

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 399 Post(s)
Liked 108 Times in 69 Posts
My other hobby is watch repair. I've spent days on my knees trying to find that lost screw. I eventually wised up and bought a large "Mechanics Magnet Broom". which has been a life saver.
cbrstar is offline  
Likes For cbrstar:

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.