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This is to all those bike techs out there (especially Specialized and Felt)

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This is to all those bike techs out there (especially Specialized and Felt)

Old 07-05-11, 07:41 PM
  #1  
bigezfosheez
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This is to all those bike techs out there (especially Specialized and Felt)

I just gave my resume to a brand new local bike shop that specializes in Felt and Specialized bikes. I've been going in every few days and bugging the owner and manger about a job and this next Monday they want me to come in and build a bike for them to get the job. I was wondering just how pre-assembled these bikes are and how difficult it is to assemble, plus any hints, tips, and tricks would be helpful. I've been riding my old puegoet for a couple months now and have little to no experience buildings bikes, but I am very mechanically inclined.
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Old 07-05-11, 08:17 PM
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Pfff.... wish you luck.
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Old 07-05-11, 08:27 PM
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Here's a quick list of stuff to go through out of the box.

-grease seatpost
-grease headset
-adjust hubs
-true wheels
-inflate tires
-grease skewers (if not already done)
skewer levers go on the left side of the bike
-make sure wheels are correctly in drop-outs
-adjust headset (loose enough to turn easily tight enough to not be loose in head tube)
-adjust handlebar angle
-install pedals
left pedal is reverse threaded
grease threads before you install
-adjust brakes (tension, angle, pad angle)
-make sure crank is tight
-index
start with your limit screws
b-limit screw
cable tension

This is a very basic list of stuff that all needs to be done to every bike that comes out of the box. When building, you don't run into as many problems as you would with a customer bike. It takes a lot of practice to get it right so don't get down on yourself if something isn't perfect. ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS! Shop leads like guys that are willing to go the extra mile to learn how to do stuff, the more questions you ask, the better off you are. Good Luck!
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Old 07-05-11, 08:54 PM
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You read all the literature on the topic? you know ... books,
back issues of all sorts of bike magazines.
worked on your own stuff for a long time.

No? I'd recommend going to a training school, such as :
UBI , Ashland OR .https://www.bikeschool.com/

they have a great live theater season there too, Ashland ..
Shakespeare, and contemporary plays.
and Skiing in the winter..

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-06-11 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 07-05-11, 09:04 PM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by ultraman6970 View Post
Pfff.... wish you luck.
+1

You can't learn this all overnight. Your best bet would probably be to tear your bike down completely and rebuild it. You'll learn the most that way. But seriously, if you don't have the skills don't expect to get the job. It doesn't sound like they're looking to train someone.
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Old 07-05-11, 09:39 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by bigezfosheez View Post
I just gave my resume to a brand new local bike shop that specializes in Felt and Specialized bikes. I've been going in every few days and bugging the owner and manger about a job and this next Monday they want me to come in and build a bike for them to get the job. I was wondering just how pre-assembled these bikes are and how difficult it is to assemble, plus any hints, tips, and tricks would be helpful. I've been riding my old puegoet for a couple months now and have little to no experience buildings bikes, but I am very mechanically inclined.
Here's a YouTube video I put together that shows an assembly, some parts are in fast-forward but everything is there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDaF2J35kbk I agree with the other guys... unless they're planning to train you on the job, or are extremely desparate, you'd better do an incredible job of winging it But hey, you never know!
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Old 07-05-11, 11:30 PM
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If he is smart in a couple of days he is ready to go the problem is that u cant compare a new bike with a 30 years old Peugeot. Well probably if he thinks he can do he could pull this thing off but then u have to learn to rebuilt MTB shocks and weird stuff and then i want to see you.

DO you know how to true wheels? thats basic skill.
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Old 07-06-11, 12:31 AM
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I've watched like 10 videos on building bike out of the box and honestly it doesn't look too hard...I'm honestly very mechanically inclined....at age 16, I designed and built a full scale bio diesel reactor and made my own veggie fuel for 80 cents a gallon. I thank the people being optomistic! The store is brand new and only has 1 employee, the manager, who seems like he really needs the help setting up all the new inventory and I think this is a great opportunity for me to get my foot in the door. He told me he wouldn't expect me to get everything tuned right, he just wants to see how quick i can correctly assemle a bike. So what i'm really looking for in advice is what the order of opporations is in assembly, what parts to lube, and maybe some Specialized specific bike assembly as in how much of it is already complete. If i have to be compressing some shock ring and putting in shims and washers and what not I want to be a little more educated, but as for sticking on the wheels, saddle, handlebars, and derailuer i think I got the basics down. Maybe some links on how to properly tunine the shifters and brakes would be a bonus

Last edited by bigezfosheez; 07-06-11 at 12:41 AM.
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Old 07-06-11, 12:38 AM
  #9  
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While I agree that one should check all the bearings for adequate grease, not every shop does this on a new build out of the box. The shop owner/manager is most likely looking to see 2 things...1. do you have the skill to assemble and adjust a bike out of the box, and 2. do you work efficiently. You should definitely ask if they want you to open and grease bearings before doing so because if that is not part of their paradigm for a bike build it may be seen as you taking too much time to get the job done.

Remember this is the busy season for most shops in North America.

I would also let them know that you have not built a bike up before so they can have an expectation of what you can do. Anytime you waste mucking things up is just more time they have to spend fixing your mistakes. It will not win you any points by not telling them you lack experience but are willing to learn.

Things you should know:
lube and Attach seatpost - use it to hold frame in the workstand
Attach Handlebar and stem
install pedal reflectors
Install pedals (lube the threads) - Right side = right hand threaded, Left side = left hand threaded (at least one pedal should be marked)
Remove rear wheel
Adjust Hubs
True wheels - if you dont know how to do this tell them as you can destroy a wheel in short order with a spoke wrench.
Inflate tires
Install rear wheel
Adjust Headset
Install front wheel
align brake pads
adjust brakes
check bottom bracket to ensure it is not loose
adjust derailleurs
add reflectors and other accessories.
take bike out of stand and double check headset adjustment and that stem is aligned

Some shops will want you to open and check the bearings and add grease if necessary.
Some shops will want you to remove cable and trim housing and then grease and reinstall cables.
Some shops will want you to check the dish of the wheels.

I don't think you need to be worried about doing the stuff that "some" shops would want you to do...you should worry about getting the bike built and then the shop owner/manager can instruct you about how they want things done in the future.
..
The problem you face is that if you had some experience you would be able to dialogue about this in an educated/semi-educated fashion before you start the build and during the build. If you become a time burden to the mechanic/owner/manager you may have problems landing the job.

There is nothing wrong with asking what their expectations are before you start.

-j
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Old 07-06-11, 12:57 AM
  #10  
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They are fully aware I have no real prior experience, they are looking to hire a younger guy who is willing to learn for less pay. Which I really am not going to be complaining at 10 an hour full time since I'm broke. They told me not to worry about truing wheels or fine tuning the bike, he just wants to see that i can assemble the bike. I'm just wanting to soak up as much info on the subject as I can so I can really wow them and not have to spend a half hour with my nose in the instruction manual before I even touch the bike.
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Old 07-06-11, 01:32 AM
  #11  
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Wow! Greenfieldja knows his stuff. That's pretty much exactly the order I do it in. And at our shop, we checked bearings in BB and headset for acceptability. We rarely cracked them open to overhauled them when new. If the manufacturer was getting the pre-builds misadjusted from the factory, we would drop that brand of bike.

Expanding on some of Green's details:

If they haven't given you one yet, ask for and put on a shop apron. Some shops also swear by cloth utility gloves so finger prints aren't left all over the place. But these come off for delicate operations like working on bearings.

Seatpost - minimum insertion/maximum height - factory bike frames often have metal burrs in the seat tube that will scratch the post. Unless this was a super high end bike, we didn't ream/chase/or face any part of the frame. So most of the time, we didn't insert it far down so it wouldn't scratch.

Clamping in a stand - we often used a towel or rag to wrap around the seatpost. Better grip and prevents the clamp from scuffing the seat post.

Handlebar stem and clamp: Most factory bikes come with threadless headset and fork plus stem pre-installed these days. You'll only need to attach handlebars, which may be dangling by cables and zip tied to the frame. You shouldn't worry about fork/handlebar alignment or play in the headset bearings yet. That comes later. You just need to get this on early, since brake/derailleur cable routing depend on handlebar position.

Reflectors - wheel reflectors are usually oppose of the stem, because the thinking was the valve is heavier. But sometimes, on cheaper rims, the pin joint opposite weighs more. Check first.

Box, and packaging - ask the shop what to do with the box and plastic bags and other packaging materials. At my old shop, we kept a dozen of so of the best boxes and gave them to good customers who'd come back and ask to have one to ship a bicycle. Also, save the owner's manual, warranty card, and other docs.

Wheels need to go on first before brake pull, and shoes can be adjusted.

And last thing is to practice and discipline of putting tools back to the same time every time it's been used so they're easy to find again for the next job.

But good luck!
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Old 07-06-11, 04:42 AM
  #12  
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Make SURE you have a clean section of bench close by on which you can lay the tools you pull off the pegboard:

8mm wrench
9mm "
10mm "

4mm Allen
5mm "
6mm "
8mm " **

If the bike-to-be has external BB bearings, grab that tool too. Grab a Phillips and a flat screwdriver while you're at it. Get the cable cutter and a pair of diagonal cutters; use the cable cutter to trim cables and shift housing with, and the dikes to cut the brake housings. Grease the ends of the housings before you seat the ferrules on, and then give the ferrules a light coat (think fingerprint-thin) of grease before you seat them in the adjuster barrels.

I am willing to bet dollars to doughnuts they ask you to re-wrap the bars with white tape. This is your cue to go really scrub your hands really well, really. Wrapping bars is something of a learned skill, but start at the END of the bars, not the middle; and wrap so the pass over the top of the drops goes from outside to inside. That way, when you come to the brake levers, you can proceed thus:

Take a pass just below the brake lever, then slope the tape upward to pass behind the brake clamp, across the top of the grip portion, straight down the outside, back behind the lever at the clamp, then slope upward again to resume the wrap above the levers. End the wrap at an appropriate place; if there's excess, trim it neatly. Finish with a wrap of electrical tap, usually two or three rounds.
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Old 07-06-11, 06:59 AM
  #13  
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Lots of good stuff here. I would like to add that when in doubt ask questions. No sense in damaging a part or tool. And along those lines - don't over-tighten bolts. Ask for the torque wrench until you get the feel for it.
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Old 07-06-11, 08:29 AM
  #14  
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Buy a bike off C/L, tear it down to the bare frame, rebuild it, sell it, then repeat. You should be able to make more money doing this, than working at the bike shop. I would do both simultaneously, improving my skills by rehabbing bikes on the side, and by working in the shop.

I put on latex or nitrile gloves (I buy them by the box) before wrapping bars. I can never get my hands clean enough. By that point in a rebuild job, my hands have gotten pretty dirty, and even after cleaning them really well, they just aren't clean enough. Any customer paying someone to install white bar tape is not going to be happy with grease marks!

Gloves are a good idea anyway when working around grease, cleaners, WD40, etc. Over time, your hands will take a beating. I go through a lot of gloves, but at a box of 100 for $5.99, we are only talking about 6 cents a glove....

Vintage bikes are a lot different than the new stuff. If the shop is patient, they could take you on as a helper, and let you grow into the job.

For shifters, the Parks Tool site is an excellent guide.

Last edited by wrk101; 07-06-11 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 07-06-11, 09:30 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by bigezfosheez View Post
They are fully aware I have no real prior experience, they are looking to hire a younger guy who is willing to learn for less pay. Which I really am not going to be complaining at 10 an hour full time since I'm broke. They told me not to worry about truing wheels or fine tuning the bike, he just wants to see that i can assemble the bike.
so, would you buy a $1000 -> $9,000 bike (Spec & Felt) from yourself?
I'm sure the owner will advise all buyers that their bike is being/has been assembled and checked by someone with prolly LESS experience than they?
Mind letting us know where this shop is?

it is tough for shops to get qualified help. And you should definitely go for a job and spend a year or so learning... but not laying hands on until you've actually seen some scores of jobs done.

And the owner - pppffft


Originally Posted by bigezfosheez View Post
I'm just wanting to soak up as much info on the subject as I can so I can really wow them and not have to spend a half hour with my nose in the instruction manual before I even touch the bike.
this would be why you would be a 'nosepicker'

scary enough to be an excellent troll
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Old 07-06-11, 12:16 PM
  #16  
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cyclezen, you're a dick. I would be doing assembly out of box and they would be fine tuning it, training me as I go. They've got a shipment of like 200 bikes coming in and only one person to do it all, so I'll be getting a crash course, but I'm confident in my work, no whatter what my experience level is. I've always done a stellar job on anything I've built or fixed.
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Old 07-06-11, 12:39 PM
  #17  
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If there is a big backlog of bikes to be built, in a short amount of time,
even someone taking all the packing material off on one bike after the other ,
would be a welcome help,
shop Owner would be the one to decide whether that extra employee is affordable..

Now a days , most all brands cone from bike contract manufacturers on Taiwan ,
so at a given price point Felt & Specialized are hanging the same parts off the frame.
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Old 07-06-11, 02:16 PM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by bigezfosheez View Post
cyclezen, you're a dick.
+1.

Most shops hire inexperienced staff to build bikes, and expect them to be done without the greatest of precision, then have an experienced staff member go over and do the fine tune. THe reason for this is that you don't need your most valuable staff members to insert a seapost of tighten pedals, and it is a great way to train a new guy.

bigezfosheez: go in and do your best, if you are not sure about something then ask. A good businessman does not hire the person with the best skills, but the person with the best attitude he thinks will do the job well over the long-term.
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Old 07-06-11, 02:28 PM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by DCB0 View Post
. A good businessman does not hire the person with the best skills, but the person with the best attitude he thinks will do the job well over the long-term.
^^This^^

I hired and fired my fair share of mechanics during my auto career and a job applicant with enthusiasm always went to the top of the list. Asking questions is fine, but no employer wants to fall into the "hey dad" syndrome where an employee can't make his own decisions and asks a million questions.
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Old 07-06-11, 03:52 PM
  #20  
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I was in this position once and I remember being in a huge rush to get the job done, and in the process I overlooked many details. I got a lot of feedback after I was done. The owner was WAY more interested in getting the job done right the first time, not fast and sloppy. There is a tendency to get excited - to show what you can do - and to go fast because that looks efficient. Go slow. Take your time. Think about everything you do. Be fully present and aware. Pertend you are a professional. I wish you success! Good luck!
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Old 07-06-11, 05:27 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by tanguy frame View Post
I was in this position once and I remember being in a huge rush to get the job done, and in the process I overlooked many details. I got a lot of feedback after I was done. The owner was WAY more interested in getting the job done right the first time, not fast and sloppy. There is a tendency to get excited - to show what you can do - and to go fast because that looks efficient. Go slow. Take your time. Think about everything you do. Be fully present and aware. Pertend you are a professional. I wish you success! Good luck!
I chuckled when I read that. I was fresh out of high school and working the summer in a bike shop. I assembled a boat load of bikes to the chagrin of the other more senior mechanics. Fast, super efficient, and relatively flawless. The manager and owner loved me. But two other senior mechanics came and had a chat with me and told me to be more "professional" (hint, hint - I was making them look bad). I told them "Pretending to be professional is no substitute for actually being professional."
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Old 07-06-11, 05:50 PM
  #22  
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My biggest mistake on repairing bikes used to be not test riding the finished product, or even if I tested it, not riding it far enough, and hard enough, to make sure was right. Now I have a test route, with a big hill, some flat areas, and down the big hill. Of course, I am only working on used bikes, and 90% of the time, vintage bikes.

So the one short cut I will not make is skipping the test ride. Some bikes will shift like a dream on the bike stand, but not on the road. I save some embarrassment by testing them. Maybe if I was great, then the stand test would be enough (I doubt it).
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Old 07-06-11, 06:01 PM
  #23  
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Gotta start somewhere. Sounds like you have the right attitude. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

I didn't know squat when I started at a bike shop at 13 years old. I swept the floor and changed flats after they saw I could do it properly. By the end of the summer I was assembling bikes. One of the senior mechanics always checked it over before it went on the floor or was delivered to a customer. But it sure saved them a lot of time (and money=minimum wage) to have the bikes assembled and hanging in the warehouse when a customer wanted a different size or color than was on the floor.

Still work on bikes part time some 30 years later.
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Old 07-07-11, 12:25 AM
  #24  
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Yeah, I also think its strange that the owner was more interested in how fast you assembled it rather than the quality. Unless he has a tier system he is going for, like tier 1 would be someone like yourself to do the base assembly and tier 2 tech (maybe himself) that is paid higher who does the detailed tune up after its built the fist time. He probably has a plan and needs a store hand to help out, maybe even a business partner might be an idea in the back of his mind for later. Who knows, it sounds like he already knows your ability just give it a go.

As for advice, I usually built in this rough order in a nutshell:
Wire cut all the zip ties and remove the cardboard
With it still on the floor put the handlebars on and seat/seatpost in.
Move it to the bike stand and install the wheels, then the pedals, make sure you dont cross thread pedals.
Then pedal the bike and adjust brake pads and gearing (aka winging it in your case)
by hand spin the front wheel to inspect wheel true.
Wit the bike on the stand get the serial number for it (needed for paperwork)
Put the bike back on the floor, inflate tires, make sure the handlebars stem and seatpost are tight.
Do the paperwork for the bike usually consisting of a checklist (Southerlands form) and recording the make model and serial #.
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Old 07-11-11, 12:49 PM
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So I built the bike today and had great success! It was a child's Specialized single speed and it took me about 20 mins to build it and check everything over, not bad for a first timer. The only thing I forgot to torque down was the seat post, I had it tightened enough to put on the stand and overlooked it in the finalizing stage. I made sure to ask questions the whole time through it making sure I had done everything as they would have. He said there were a few more applicants that he would have to test as well, but that the next step for me would be to work for a day at their other location to get a better feel for things once the owner had come back from business this thursday. I'm fairly confident that I will be getting this job and I'm so pumped! I totally over thought this situation and studied for days, buying books on bike mechanics and reading them thuroughly as well as reading countless forums and watching tons of youtube videos as well as dissassembling and reassembling an old bob jackson we had laying around. I guess they wouldn't trust me with an expensive roadbike if I had told them I had no prior experience. I was a little bummed I couldn't do something more mechinally advanced, but stoked for the opportunity! Thanks for all the help guys you really pulled through for me, now I'm just hoping for an update on this next step!
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