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I guess I need more tools...

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I guess I need more tools...

Old 07-07-19, 04:23 PM
  #1  
Kilroy1988 
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I guess I need more tools...

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
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Old 07-07-19, 04:34 PM
  #2  
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Labor is free? Cool. Come over to my house. I have a few jobs for you to do.

ps. Buy a $5 spoke wrench, flip your bike upside down, use your brake pad to measure rub and Bob's yer uncle.
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Old 07-07-19, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
Labor is free?
As a professional craftsman I can state with certainty that that is not the case. However, the wheel is hardly out of true - I've seen the work being done and know that it will take the guy 2 minutes to set it on the stand and get it right, and another two or three minutes to find the tool he needs for the old freewheel and get it off. I'm not used to paying $45 for five minutes of work. I can have a custom Bob Jackson frame built for the price of two hours of labor at that shop rate!

-Gregory
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Old 07-07-19, 05:13 PM
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"I guess I need more tools..." The answer to this is always, "Well, yeah...."
But I did read the posts. I'll share with you an old joke: Guy goes to the dentist with a toothache. Dentist tells him he needs it pulled, quotes him his fee. Patient: "What?!, that much money for like 20 seconds of work?" Dentist: "Well, sir, if you like I can pull it really really really slow-ow-ow-owly."
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Old 07-07-19, 05:19 PM
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I’d be happy to sell you some tools.
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Old 07-07-19, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
As a professional craftsman I can state with certainty that that is not the case. However, the wheel is hardly out of true - I've seen the work being done and know that it will take the guy 2 minutes to set it on the stand and get it right, and another two or three minutes to find the tool he needs for the old freewheel and get it off. I'm not used to paying $45 for five minutes of work. I can have a custom Bob Jackson frame built for the price of two hours of labor at that shop rate!

-Gregory
If it takes 5 minutes to do the work on your wheels, why exactly aren't you doing it?

Shop rate around here is $80/hour.
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Old 07-07-19, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
If it takes 5 minutes to do the work on your wheels, why exactly aren't you doing it?

Shop rate around here is $80/hour.
See thread title...
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Old 07-07-19, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
If it takes 5 minutes to do the work on your wheels, why exactly aren't you doing it?

Shop rate around here is $80/hour.
Right, wrong or indifferent, when I see those rates I always think to myself, "are you gonna fix my car / bike or defend me in a capital murder case ?"
I always feel a little bit better when they charge $8 / ft for brake cable housing.....oh wait...never mind.

Last edited by sdn40; 07-07-19 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 07-07-19, 05:32 PM
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You’re paying for results...that is the going rate for those results...I guess.
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Old 07-07-19, 05:36 PM
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You are thinking correctly. DIY: You should be able to get the freewheel puller and spoke wrench you need for <$15. Those are tools I use all the time, so it would be money well spent.
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Old 07-07-19, 06:43 PM
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You're getting hosed. We charge $20 for truing a wheel, and $5 to remove a freewheel. And we'll do that while you wait (provided you're wheel doesn't look like a taco), no reason to keep you're wheel for 2 weeks. Find a new shop.
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Old 07-07-19, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by sdn40 View Post
Right, wrong or indifferent, when I see those rates I always think to myself, "are you gonna fix my car / bike or defend me in a capital murder case ?"
I always feel a little bit better when they charge $8 / ft for brake cable housing.....oh wait...never mind.
Yeah, in most of the shops I walk into they probably have to charge something like that, honestly, because half of the employees are always walking around with nothing to do and they take turns actually getting things done. Great for overhead.

I'll actually be returning to pick up the wheel next week, I've decided, and will wait until I have the tools to get the job done myself. I only took the stuff in because I'm currently working 60+ hours per week at the day job and felt that I don't have the time, but $45 for a quick wheel truing and unscrewing a freewheel... Ridiculous.

-Gregory
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Old 07-07-19, 06:59 PM
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Labor Costs

Originally Posted by conspiratemus1 View Post
...an old joke: Guy goes to the dentist with a toothache. Dentist tells him he needs it pulled, quotes him his fee. Patient: "What?!, that much money for like 20 seconds of work?" Dentist: "Well, sir, if you like I can pull it really really really slow-ow-ow-owly."
Labor: $50.00/Hour
If You Watch: $100.00/Hour
If You Help: $150.00/Hour

I've seen signs similar to this one in a lot of auto repair shops:

$50.00 for xxx repair: 3 minutes to do the work, the rest is having the skills, knowledge and tools to do the job.

For under $25 you can buy all the tools you need to remove the freewheel, overhaul the hubs and true the wheels if you use the frame and brake pads for a truing stand.

The first Google search came up with this assortment of wheel truing stands:

https://www.amazon.com/CyclingDeal-W.../dp/B0083VC32Q

A wheel dishing tool is handy too.

verktyg
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Old 07-07-19, 07:04 PM
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If you have time, buy tools. Tools are much cooler than labor costs. If you don't have time, use the LBS. And if I don't have time to wrench, I do have another bike to ride.
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Old 07-07-19, 07:53 PM
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Yea buy tools, you dont need Park unless you are doing tons of work. Cheap Ebay tools have done fine by me.

Although, when I come across tool deals I jump on. My Campy headset and BB tools have served me well. I even use on BMX.
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Old 07-07-19, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
Labor: $50.00/Hour
If You Watch: $100.00/Hour
If You Help: $150.00/Hour

I've seen signs similar to this one in a lot of auto repair shops:

$50.00 for xxx repair: 3 minutes to do the work, the rest is having the skills, knowledge and tools to do the job.

For under $25 you can buy all the tools you need to remove the freewheel, overhaul the hubs and true the wheels if you use the frame and brake pads for a truing stand.

The first Google search came up with this assortment of wheel truing stands:

https://www.amazon.com/CyclingDeal-W.../dp/B0083VC32Q

A wheel dishing tool is handy too.

verktyg
If You Worked on it Before We Got It $200.00 / hour
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Old 07-07-19, 10:58 PM
  #17  
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I have said this before and I am going to repeat it here.

As a lifelong mechanic including professionally for 25 years FoMoCo and ASE Senior Master technician, 30 years drag racing motorcycles and working on bicycles since very early on.

I have always bought the best tools I can, in the right hands they can do the best job, cheap tools in the best hands can do a poor job regardless. While they can be adequate, they can also mangle perfectly good parts and cause more damage than they should.

I realize they can be expensive, so is repairing damage caused by cheap poor quality tools.

Don't skimp, good tools are well worth the cost, and the savings.
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Old 07-08-19, 12:32 AM
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Good Tools

Originally Posted by merziac View Post
I have said this before and I am going to repeat it here.

As a lifelong mechanic including professionally for 25 years FoMoCo and ASE Senior Master technician, 30 years drag racing motorcycles and working on bicycles since very early on.

I have always bought the best tools I can, in the right hands they can do the best job, cheap tools in the best hands can do a poor job regardless. While they can be adequate, they can also mangle perfectly good parts and cause more damage than they should.

I realize they can be expensive, so is repairing damage caused by cheap poor quality tools.

Don't skimp, good tools are well worth the cost, and the savings.
@merziac F-O-R-D = Figure On Repairs Daily...

I was in the first group of people to be ASE certified back in 1972. Worked for a VW then a Porsche dealer.

I've been a tool freak for a long time. Good tools are a lifetime investment.

Recently I was looking over my inventory of personal belongings for my home owner's insurance. I spent over $7200 on Snap-on tools back in 1972-73. They may be worth a fortune on eBay???

I sold off all of my air tools and big stuff like 3/4" and 1" drive sockets when I got into working on bikes 1973 and never looked back.

I also have several thousand in bike specific tools that I've acquired over the years including a fairly complete set of VAR tools in a case.



I left the bike business in 1979 but I still use and appreciate the tools that I own. There's nothing like the looks and feel of a Snap-on wrench.

Cheap tools = skinned knuckles!

verktyg

Last edited by verktyg; 07-08-19 at 12:37 AM.
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Old 07-08-19, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
As a professional craftsman I can state with certainty that that is not the case. However, the wheel is hardly out of true - I've seen the work being done and know that it will take the guy 2 minutes to set it on the stand and get it right, and another two or three minutes to find the tool he needs for the old freewheel and get it off. I'm not used to paying $45 for five minutes of work. I can have a custom Bob Jackson frame built for the price of two hours of labor at that shop rate!

-Gregory
I have no issues with minimum charge of an hour. The time to drop your other work, speak to you, do the work, collect money and then get back in the rhythm you lose is worth paying for. Don’t forget his Self Employment tax, Social Security and FICA (including the portion most people’s employers pay) and shop overhead. Plus you pay for their experience. As a side note, I do 80% of my own work.
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Old 07-08-19, 05:31 AM
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I've seen the work being done and know that it will take the guy 2 minutes to set it on the stand and get it right, and another two or three minutes to find the tool he needs for the old freewheel and get it off. I'm not used to paying $45 for five minutes of work.
I have built a lot of wheels and the time frames suggested in the above quote are way off, in my opinion. By the time I set a wheel up, in my truing stand, and then true it, and dish it, and stress relieve it and, and, and... Five minutes, for me - impossible!

As for tools needed, I put together this list of tools, focusing on cleaning all the way up to full professional restoration, tools that one will require for each level of vintage bicycle maintenance. Hope it helps...
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Old 07-08-19, 06:09 AM
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I have read that truing a wheel is one of the things many are willing to pay for and not do themselves. The OP himself says that it is not only the cost of a truing wheel, but the lack of experience that brought him to the lbs. I think experience is worth paying for. But I also think that we all have to start somewhere. If the OP decides to get a truing wheel and have at it, I hope he will post his adventures in truing here.
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Old 07-08-19, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
I have built a lot of wheels and the time frames suggested in the above quote are way off, in my opinion. By the time I set a wheel up, in my truing stand, and then true it, and dish it, and stress relieve it and, and, and... Five minutes, for me - impossible!

As for tools needed, I put together this list of tools, focusing on cleaning all the way up to full professional restoration, tools that one will require for each level of vintage bicycle maintenance. Hope it helps...
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
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Old 07-08-19, 06:34 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Lucillle View Post
I have read that truing a wheel is one of the things many are willing to pay for and not do themselves. The OP himself says that it is not only the cost of a truing wheel, but the lack of experience that brought him to the lbs. I think experience is worth paying for. But I also think that we all have to start somewhere. If the OP decides to get a truing wheel and have at it, I hope he will post his adventures in truing here.
Truing a wheel is more "artistic" than other bike tasks. It reminds me a little of tuning a guitar. You sorta need an "ear" for it.
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Old 07-08-19, 06:46 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
... know that it will take the guy 2 minutes to set it on the stand and get it right, and another two or three minutes to find the tool he needs for the old freewheel and get it off. I'm not used to paying $45 for five minutes of work.[..]
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,

Last edited by martl; 07-08-19 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 07-08-19, 07:14 AM
  #25  
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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,
Different versions of this story keep popping up in this thread, and I get the point. It may apply for many. I'm not an incompetent, though. I've rebuilt carburetors, changed brake rotors and replaced flywheels and re-wired headlights, etc, etc... Much more intense and knowledge-based stuff than the practically intuitive work required for bicycle maintenance. I know how to true a few spokes, I just don't have a proper stand or much time to fiddle with things right now.

I would happily pay someone some cash to do some of this work for me because I'm very busy right now, but have decided I'd rather do it myself when I find time than pay someone a quarter of my daily wages to fix a couple spokes.

-Gregory
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