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Annual Co-op Fee or Buy Tools?

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Annual Co-op Fee or Buy Tools?

Old 09-23-08, 12:43 PM
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Freefallman
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Annual Co-op Fee or Buy Tools?

This isn't exactly a mechanical question but this forum seems like the best fit. I'm pretty comfortable working on my bike, I have a good number of tools, and I typically work on my bike at home unless I'm having major problems with something. Lately I've been learning how to build wheels but I'm getting pretty sick of paying an hourly fee at my local bike co-op. I rarely go into co-op but lately I've been spending more time in there as I've been learning and I don't have wheel building tools.

I feel like I have two options here:

First, I could shell out the $100 fee and get an annual membership to the co-op. The advantages to this is that I have access to all the tools, the expertise of other riders, a good workspace, and it's a social experience. The dis-advantages are that I'm constrained as to when I work by the co-ops work schedule, I have travel to get to it, and I have to shell out another 100 next year.

Second, I could purchase a trueing stand and some other wheel building tools. The advantages to this are that I could work from home on my own schedule and I could get some tools that would last me for several years. Disadvantages are that I loose access to the collective expertise of the co-op.

Does anyone have an opinion on this?
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Old 09-23-08, 12:51 PM
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Pig_Chaser
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Does your co-op have a drop in fee? You could do both.
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Old 09-23-08, 12:54 PM
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Yeah it's seven bucks an hour which is not so bad for a quick occasional job but becomes prohibitively expensive when you're starting more major projects. I'm still a student so I'm not so rich. To make it worth it I'd have to expect to spend about 14 hours there over the next year.
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Old 09-23-08, 12:55 PM
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Depends on how much wrenching you do. I always have one of my 3 bikes on the workstand cleaning and adjusting stuff, so having my own tools has been worth the price.
 
Old 09-23-08, 02:12 PM
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Bill Kapaun
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Maybe do the annual fee for 1 year.
That way you won't feel "rushed" when you (and tend to make a 2 hour mistake on a 1 hour job) are there and could gain valuable knowledge/experience.
That would be relatively inexpensive "tuition".
After that, you'd be much better prepared to do the occasional 1 hour job that needs the "special tools" that you don't have, yet.
There's no way I'd attempt to learn wheel building with the time clock kicking off $7/hr. Too much pressure for a job that requires a relaxed, clear thinking attitude.
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Old 09-23-08, 02:51 PM
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buy the tools ,a book or two on repairs,besides we are all here to help you without charging. we are all good at what we do .
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Old 09-23-08, 04:06 PM
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I'm thinking that it would depend on how you value the social and networking benefits of the co-op. If you genuinely enjoy their company, $100.00 per year is a lot cheaper than hanging out at the local pub.
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Old 09-23-08, 04:13 PM
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I'd buy the tools (you will want them some day anyway) and see how the year goes. If you get stuck and can't get it resolved online (here or the many how to web sites) go hourly at the co op. If you pony up for a year at the co op, at the end of the year you will probably look back and realize there weren't a lot of times you truly needed the expertise and you will still need to invest in tools for the next year.
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Old 09-23-08, 08:04 PM
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I think you'll find that a lot of us here have gone with the full tools at home setup. I know that I sure have.

I think the Coop idea is super for folks that do occasional special work or that live in apartments where setting up a shop area is just not going to happen. But for a homeowner or renter this isn't a limit and getting your own stuff is the only way that really makes sense. After all for the cost of roughly 2 or 3 yearly memberships you could be set up in grand style to do all your own work.
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Old 09-23-08, 08:15 PM
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While a student I think it will be better to stay with the coop, probably the $100/year option. Buy a good truing stand after you're out of school with a good job. A good truing stand is very important but also very heavy and bulky. Students and recent graduates tend to be on-the-move, so heavy tools are a liability.

Al
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Old 09-23-08, 09:41 PM
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Buy your tools. There is no better investment in cycling (after your bike and gear) than your own tools.
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Old 09-24-08, 08:15 PM
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+1 to buying your own tools.

The social aspect of the co-op is nice, and you can always let them buy the cup presses and the other once a year tools, but if you're spending hours on something that you may do more than once a year (who can have too many wheels?) then pony up and buy a stand.

BF and Sheldon have never let me down.
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Old 09-24-08, 10:05 PM
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For the first $100 a year fee he could buy all or most of what he needs for specialty items.

And there's no need for a bought truing stand. An old frame and fork works just fine if you're on a budget. If it's a trash can special even cut off two of the front triangle tubes and only leave the BB shell, seat tube and stays so it's easier to store. But before you cut off the front triangle use the cold setting article at Sheldon's to set the dropout spacing to 132.5 mm so you can spring it either down to road wheels or out to MTB wheels with relative ease. Total cost could easily be "free" with a bit of hunting around.
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Old 09-25-08, 04:30 AM
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I have tools, but the best thing I ever got was knowledge on how to fix bikes from a good mechanic.

a good mechanic knows things you can rarely figure out on your own - I mean the ART of bicylcle maintanance, not just the wrenching.

If the coop has good mechanics around from whom you can learn, that is worth the $100.
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Old 09-25-08, 06:27 AM
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I have to say I would budget to do both the 100 for the co-op and buy the tools you use the most as you can afford them, the learning experence at the Co-Op will be priceless if there are good mechanice there!!
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Old 09-25-08, 07:59 AM
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I bought a truing stand. The co-op certainly has tools and experience I don't have but they have an hourly rate that was killing me so I think if I need the help I'll pop in. However, it seems learning how to get the wheel true was where most of my time was being sunk so maybe this is a good compromise? Still have to go back to use the dishing gauge, measurement calipers, etc. Thanks for all your opinions guys. Really did help me make a decision.
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Old 09-25-08, 08:26 AM
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That sounds like a good solution to me.
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