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I guess I need more tools...

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I guess I need more tools...

Old 07-08-19, 07:22 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by martl View Post
True story that happened when Automobiles were just invented: A car stopped working somewhere in the wild. Locals directed the driver to a local blacksmith. blacksmith looked at the inert engine for a few minutes, then carefully picked a hammer and applied one good-measured whack. Car ran again. Driver asked what he owed, smith replied 15 bucks! 15 bucks? Thats a lot for one whack with a hammer! I'll need a detailed invoice!
Blacksmith said, no problem. Sat down and wrote:

# - Item - Price
1 - given a whack - 1$
1 - knew where - 14$


regards,
I have heard another version of that story involving a retired engineer called back to the factory where he had worked. Being set in modern times, there were more zeros on his invoice.
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Old 07-08-19, 08:56 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post

It seems like $45 must be the minimum amount you can spend on labor at the place, or else I'm lost!

\
Thats a low minimum IMHO for real service work. The local Ford dealer charges one hour minimum for any job, wanted one hour to do a five minute job. $85.

The local welding shop also has a one hour minimum, and if they have to come to your location, you pay for the travel time too. $80 an hour.

Appliance repair guy was $75 minimum, as was the HVAC repair person.

Go to a chiropractor, and its $50 for about a 4 minute visit.

I'm amazed that some cyclists will pay a local shop just to wash their bike....

Don't need a truing stand to true a wheel or to build one either. My first wheel build was done in my college dorm room, used a spoke wrench and the bike itself as the "truing stand", rear wheel mounted in the rear, front wheel mounted in the fork. Worked fine.

Over the years, I have upgraded my tools for sure. Every tool I own has paid for itself multiple times.

I'd be mad at myself rather than mad at the shop. With the Ford dealer, the last job was to flash the computer to recognize the Ford trailer brake controller. $85 to flash the computer, or $120 to install the controller, which involved tearing into the dash, removing the center console, etc. Decided to let them do the entire job. Cost me $35 more, for a lot more work.

At the co op I volunteer at, a local hospital employee stops by hoping to get free service work. He constantly complains about LBS service rate. Meanwhile, the hospital he works at charges $750 for a pair of scissors. $30 for a single aspirin.

Last edited by wrk101; 07-08-19 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 07-08-19, 10:27 AM
  #28  
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Working 60 hours a week? That is a great way to kill yourself. Think about a career change maybe?




Seriously, Been there, done that. It's unhealthy.




Re time, Add up time and money spent on phone with bike shop, time taking wheel off your bike , time driving to bike shop, time discussing with bike shop, time driving home after dropping off wheel/bike, time driving back to bike shop to pick up wheel/ bike , time driving back home with wheel/bike. (don't forget figuring in .50$ a mile for car expenses to and fro )




Now add time and cost to go on internet and order a freewheel removal tool, spoke wrench, bike stand?. time looking on youtube at diy videos. time actually removing freewheel and adjusting spokes.





You might find that you are spending less time and money doing it yourself.





Also, you can consider it as therapy. Something to take your mind off your soul crushing job.




By the way, If there is a bike co op in your town go volunteer with them . It is good for your Karma.
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Old 07-08-19, 10:54 AM
  #29  
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Sorry, but I agree with the others who are saying to adjust your expectations. If they don't charge for labor, they can't make a living.
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Old 07-08-19, 11:51 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
So today I took a wheel set in to a LBS where I've had work done before, though it was never my primary hub (pun intended). The latter has switched ownership several times lately and is not open on Sundays - since I'm currently working six days per week I had no alternative.

I needed the rear wheel trued, the freewheel removed and replaced with another one, and both hubs overhauled.

I was told the labor for truing one wheel and replacing the freewheel would be $45, and that overhauling both hubs would be $45 each. This sounded ridiculous, and since I already have experience overhauling hubs I told them to scratch that part and that I'd do it myself.

Because I'm still lacking a proper truing stand and experience with that work, and don't have the tool for freewheel removal and tightening, I told them to get that done. So I'll be out $45 and will have to wait two weeks to pick up the rear wheel, which won't even have the new freewheel reattached yet (since I need it off when I overhaul the hub).

I'm slightly disgusted... Mind you all, this is the same shop where the owner (who I was chatting with while his employee did up my work order) took a Campy Record hub set and a pair of NOS rims out of my hands and completely built up a wheel set for me, with a total overhaul and polishing work on all of the parts, for just $200 about a year ago.

It seems like $45 must be the minimum amount you can spend on labor at the place, or else I'm lost!

Indeed, it's time for some more tools...

-Gregory
My LBS charges that per wheel too. However the last wheel I took in there that was barely out of true got thrown in the truing stand and back into my hands in about 3 minutes flat for free. So I dunno.
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Old 07-08-19, 11:56 AM
  #31  
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I find it interesting that people are equating the labor costs of things like machinists, dentists, chiropractors, automotive technicians, etc... To bicycle repairs. I've been able to learn any individual skill involved in cycling repairs in a few minutes with the right tools in my hand. Most of the other things require years of experience, certifications, licensing, and upper education.

No comparison.

-Gregory
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Old 07-08-19, 12:06 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by capnjonny View Post
Working 60 hours a week? That is a great way to kill yourself. Think about a career change maybe?

Seriously, Been there, done that. It's unhealthy.

It's not all bad. I work in agricultural quality control and mid-summer is my busy season. For eight or ten weeks things are really hectic in production but I get paid decently to walk around and look at stuff and write nightly reports. The rest of the year I'm lucky to be kept busy for 40 hours each week!

-Gregory
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Old 07-08-19, 12:17 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
I find it interesting that people are equating the labor costs of things like machinists, dentists, chiropractors, automotive technicians, etc... To bicycle repairs. I've been able to learn any individual skill involved in cycling repairs in a few minutes with the right tools in my hand. Most of the other things require years of experience, certifications, licensing, and upper education.

No comparison.

-Gregory
And the tools. Unless you are a full time mechanic I dont see a reason to go out and buy a Snap-On, Matco or what not. Just like not everyone use Park or Campy. Many get by on bikes with vise grips, screwdrivers and crescent wrenches. The right tool does make the job easier and cleaner though.

I have found that small shops tend to under charge or give me things so I pay them more. Chains or large shops have tons of overhead and charge like a dealership.
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Old 07-08-19, 12:20 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Bikerider007 View Post
And the tools. Unless you are a full time mechanic I dont see a reason to go out and buy a Snap-On, Matco or what not. Just like not everyone use Park or Campy. Many get by on bikes with vise grips, screwdrivers and crescent wrenches.
Indeed! Man, you should see me tightening center-pull brake cables with two crescent wrenches in one hand, on either side of the cable pinch, and a pair of needlenose pliers pulling the cable taunt in the same hand that I'm flexing the calipers with! A nightmarish thing to do, but I can do it...

-Gregory
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Old 07-08-19, 12:25 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
Well then, you do it differently or more slowly than the guys I've watched in the shop! The rim in question literally probably has one if not two adjacent spokes that are not quite right - only a slight wobble on one side. I've seen such a thing corrected multiple times and usually we can hardly have a conversation before the mechanic hands the trued wheel back to me.


Thanks for the list. I already have a grand majority of those things - I even have a little spoke wrench already. I just don't have a truing stand and I have no other frame set with the same size dropouts to set this wheel into, and the one it will be used on does not have brakes or pads attached yet. So I figured I could not true it decently just having it mounted on the frame right now.


-Gregory

Frequenting this board you would know that for many of us, for as minor a truing job as you claim needs to be done, a truing stand is superfluous. Unlike IAB, I wouldn't even flip the bike for this job. Lift the bike by the saddle with one hand, start the wheel spinning with the other and, maybe, move the brake shoe closer if I felt unsure of which 2 spokes needed adjusting.... No brake shoes? Easy, peasy. DO flip the frame upside down like IAB suggested, tape a pencil perpendicular to the chainstay (or use a rubber band to go high tech/adjustable) and use that to find your wobble.


If not comfortable with doing it without advice, ASK. While I agree that the total cost you were quoted seems high, do you really think the shop is raking in a fortune? My biggest fault with the shop is saying it will take 2 weeks...Maybe they are making the big bucks. Seriously, since you know most of what's involved why didn't you, when they quoted you those prices, just buy the freewheel remover, spoke and cone wrenches?

So I'll be out $45 and will have to wait two weeks to pick up the rear wheel, which won't even have the new freewheel reattached yet (since I need it off when I overhaul the hub).


You do understand what is involved in putting a new freewheel on a hub, yes?

Last edited by Last ride 76; 07-08-19 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 07-08-19, 12:31 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Last ride 76 View Post
If not comfortable with doing it without advice, ASK. While I agree that the total cost you were quoted seems high, do you really think the shop is raking in a fortune? My biggest fault with the shop is saying it will take 2 weeks...Maybe they are making the big bucks. Seriously, since you know most of what's involved why didn't you, when they quoted you those prices, just buy the freewheel remover, spoke and cone wrenches?
I've already got the freewheel remover on the way, and will be returning to pick up the wheel before they get around to it. I'll probably make up an excuse like "I chose to use a different wheelset." Honestly I told the fellow that I could do the overhaul myself and we scratched that off the work order, but I sort of felt guilty walking out without leaving any of my business. The owner was right there by that time chatting with me about vintage bikes (back when I knew less and had even fewer tools he rebuilt a couple of bicycles for me) and my leaving the wheel for the truing job and freewheel removal seemed like the least trouble - but after I left I realized that was the most annoying choice I could have made. Paying $45 for a hub overhaul that will take quite a bit of time makes much more sense than paying for the minor truing and removal (which would be necessary for the hub overhaul anyway).

It certainly was my own fault for leaving the wheel with them in the first place when I knew I was capable of the work, as others have rightly pointed out. I was just trying to be decent in front of someone who had done some good work for me in the past.

As I mentioned, just last year the shop owner completely polished two rims and hubs I brought to him, overhauled said hubs, and built up a pair of beautiful wheels for me for $200, and that included all of the labor and the cost of stainless spokes and nipples. That's more along the line of my general expectations for the wages due.

-Gregory

Last edited by Kilroy1988; 07-08-19 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 07-08-19, 12:37 PM
  #37  
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If you don't want to pay for their expertise, the solution is simple. Just don't. But don't blame them for making a living with it.

Truing a wheel is usually a flat rate job, i.e. irrespective of the time it takes. Some wheels are a damned pain in the ass, and some are quickies. The same price, usually.
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Old 07-08-19, 12:41 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Last ride 76 View Post
You do understand what is involved in putting a new freewheel on a hub, yes?
Yes, I've watched it done multiple times and I even managed to do it before using makeshift tools, but that wasn't very fun.
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Old 07-08-19, 12:42 PM
  #39  
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[QUOTE=wrk101;21016644]Thats a low minimum IMHO for real service work. The local Ford dealer charges one hour minimum for any job, wanted one hour to do a five minute job. $85.

I know we are off topic speaking about cars etc. but wanted to chime in on the fixed hourly rate...Need a battery for my daughter's mini cooper and went to buy one 225.00 (ouch!) and then was told that even if I installed it myself there was still a 135.00 reprogramming fee to get the car's computer to recognize that a new battery was installed so that the alternator would not overcharge the new battery and burn it out prematurely... Same with having to program a key...100.00
Stuff that used to be simple and cost very little is now on a flat rate even if it is a few minutes to do and yet some are charged the full hour with little or no grace....I understand getting paid for ones time but WTHIGO?
Best, Ben
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Old 07-08-19, 12:51 PM
  #40  
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Much of the slim profit I made from refurbing bikes when I started this hobby went into buying tools, now I rarely need to go to an LBS unless its a one off like a TA crank that needs to be pulled or something that has defeated me multiple times but thankfully those instances are pretty rare these days. Most Freewheel tools are < $10 on Amazon, I spent more than that on a long breaker bar for the really stubborn FW removals
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Old 07-08-19, 12:53 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
Yes, I've watched it done multiple times and I even managed to do it before using makeshift tools, but that wasn't very fun.
It sounds like you don't know what's involved. You screw it on with your hand.
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Old 07-08-19, 01:02 PM
  #42  
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I agree with everyone in this thread. Good work costs money (and I prepare myself to pay high prices at LBS's since I want them to stick around), but it sounds like they are overcharging for a light truing. Maybe they are charging an hour minimum to touch a bike/bike part, but all the best shops I have been to will knock out small things for a reduced fee or for free. IMO, they are being penny wise and pound foolish. Some folks will have the same feeling you do and not come back because of their prices. Sounds like you are on the right track with moving towards being able to do all this yourself.
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Old 07-08-19, 01:20 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
It sounds like you don't know what's involved. You screw it on with your hand.
I was talking about the removal, sorry. I didn't read his comment correctly.

When I did take one off I didn't put another one back on. I was just disassembling a bike. I've actually not bothered putting one on myself before. No more tension is required than what it takes to screw it on by hand?
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Old 07-08-19, 01:25 PM
  #44  
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^^^^^^ Pedaling the bike tightenes it down the rest of the way. One of the reasons they can be a B!+$# to remove, and one of the reasons for the development of the Maillard Helicomatic, and eventually, the Shimano Freehub/cassette system.
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Old 07-08-19, 01:50 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
I find it interesting that people are equating the labor costs of things like machinists, dentists, chiropractors, automotive technicians, etc... To bicycle repairs. I've been able to learn any individual skill involved in cycling repairs in a few minutes with the right tools in my hand. Most of the other things require years of experience, certifications, licensing, and upper education.

No comparison.

-Gregory
I disagree. I think experienced mechanics are worth their weight in gold and I think that experience makes a huge difference. You tout your ability to learn an individual skill, above, but it is experience that tells a good mechanic which skill to use. .
It is OK to do things yourself, though, let us know how the wheel truing goes for you. I feel safe contemplating that their might be a difference in the finished product between you and an experienced mechanic for this particular job.
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Old 07-08-19, 02:23 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Lucillle View Post
I disagree. I think experienced mechanics are worth their weight in gold and I think that experience makes a huge difference. You tout your ability to learn an individual skill, above, but it is experience that tells a good mechanic which skill to use. .
It is OK to do things yourself, though, let us know how the wheel truing goes for you. I feel safe contemplating that their might be a difference in the finished product between you and an experienced mechanic for this particular job.
There might be, but as I said above, I am a rather experienced mechanic. I just have experience working on cars and other heavy equipment. I'm also a craftsman and work with tools a lot... So I'm pretty confident with the idea of truing a bicycle wheel:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/90721376@N07/

-Gregory
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Old 07-08-19, 03:00 PM
  #47  
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I don't know what the going rate is for pokes 'n nipples, but I'm not paying for nipple pokes.
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Old 07-08-19, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
I'm also a craftsman and work with tools a lot.
As are those who you resist paying. Either do it, or pay for it, but don't criticize those who are trying to make a living from fixing other people's bikes.
You are spending a lot of time telling us how great you are, let's see the wheel you true and give us the opportunity to agree...
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Old 07-08-19, 04:23 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Lucillle View Post
As are those who you resist paying. Either do it, or pay for it, but don't criticize those who are trying to make a living from fixing other people's bikes.
You are spending a lot of time telling us how great you are, let's see the wheel you true and give us the opportunity to agree...
Edited response:

I haven't once said I'm great, and I usually don't respond to people who try to lure me into arguments with ad hominem remarks.

I only came here to say that I was confounded by the price being charged for two very simple tasks that I know from experience will not take more than a few minutes to execute - not to mention the fact that I was told I had to wait two weeks for the work to be done. As can be seen from previous responses, many people agree that $45 sounds like a lot for the work in question

I came to the realization that I'll just have to start doing more things myself! I don't have to be "great" to be confident in my abilities to do simple tasks. I have no allusions about the fact that I can easily accomplish the work on my own with the right tools. I just thought that I would have someone else do it for the sake of time and the luxury of not having to have to do it myself. But the cost is clearly too high, so I'll get the tools!

-Gregory

Last edited by Kilroy1988; 07-08-19 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 07-08-19, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post

I came to the realization that I'll just have to start doing more things myself! I don't have to be "great" to be confident in my abilities to do simple tasks. I have no allusions about the fact that I can easily accomplish the work on my own with the right tools. I just thought that I would have someone else do it for the sake of time and the luxury of not having to have to do it myself. But the cost is clearly too high, so I'll get the tools!

-Gregory
This has been my approach as well. I've done quite a bit of work rehabbing several vintage homes, lots of bicycles, vintage trailer, etc. I may not be as fast, but as a retired engineer I am relatively comfortable I can do most jobs. The jobs I don't do are very physical. When I ran power out to my garage, I hired a couple of people to dig the trench. No more digging for me!
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