Notices
Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.

Bike shop woes

Old 09-09-19, 03:07 AM
  #1  
HPL
HPL
Thread Starter
 
HPL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: NORTH FLORIDA, NEW ENGLAND/MASS.
Posts: 261

Bikes: Presently riding: '98 FONDRIEST X STATUS, '85/'86 BATAVUS Criterium; '70 RALEIGH Sports, '86 Colnago Nuovo Mexico; others waiting their turn

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 71 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 17 Posts
Bike shop woes

With over 50 years of cycling from childhood to the present, I have been finding that many (too many) bike shops are either not knowledgeable regarding the maintenance of bicycles and/or are getting "lazy" about performing certain types of maintenance; primarily in the last 25 years. Since I never had any experiences with shops as a kid (we replaced our own tires/tubes, neighbor welded our busted frames back together), I only recall a couple of times when I brought a bike to a shop for corrective and/or preventative maintenance during my high school/college years. Once for a bent rim and fork (my fault entirely on my brand new Peugeot), another for a "tune-up" (1500 mile winter tour on same bike). Both repair and tune-up were done quite well with no problems resulting from either. That bike "disappeared" and I purchased another new Peugeot (a step up) to replace it, but sold it while it was still in great shape as I'd run into my first real race bike, a '75 Colnago Super. I had no idea what I had at the time, just a lighter bike than my previous Peugeots with a lot of Italian sounding components on them. That bike never got a "grand" tour like my first bike, but it saw action in Europe, Asia, the Suez Canal, Caribbean Islands, and all along the Eastern US. I had done some work on the first Peugeot myself after my "tour" ride which necessitated purchasing some "specialty" tools; crank puller, spoke wrench, etc.; so I had a little knowledge, but not much. After riding the Colnago for some years I found it to be needing some part(s) replaced and/or serviced. Had done some of the work myself completely dismantling/rebuilding any part I could while fabricating a couple tools due to lack of specific sized wrenches, etc. ("thinned" down some open end wrenches to make cone wrenches, resized a hex wrench to fit my stem bolt due to odd 1/2 size). Unfortunately, I did not have everything required and I brought the bike to the "big city" bike shop to get it repaired; primarily the bottom bracket which was acting oddly. Figuring that these people knew what they were doing I happily left my ONLY bike with them and waited to be contacted for the pick-up. After waiting for what I thought was more than a reasonable time; I went to the shop to find out what was going on with my ride. I was given some explanation that due to the BB cups being "thread-locked" into the shell they needed to "clean out" the threads in order to install the new BB. Out of curiosity I asked to see the old BB in order to determine why it felt "weird". While in the work area I saw my bike on the stand and was being told by the "mechanic" (younger than myself) that he was having trouble getting the tap to start into the shell threads. I happened to look at his tool after already seeing the BB threading with the "thread glue" residue still remaining, and noticed that he was trying to use a tap that had a much coarser thread than the fine threads of my BB and he was essentially going to "ream" out my BB shell threading thus essentially destroying my bike. I freaked out! I told him to stop and just forget about it and just reinstall the original BB assy (Edco Pro, sealed bearing). Of course I never returned there for anything! After having to ride the bike some more with the BB unrepaired, I found an "older" gentleman out in the "sticks" working from a back room in his house with just a little sign out front to indicate that some business existed doing bike repair. Luckily, he knew what he was doing, slapped in an Athena BB for me, and voila; everything worked perfectly and that BB is still in the frame 20 years later. I did end up managing to find a replacement bearing for the Edco and repaired it for a "spare".

Years later after buying some other bikes and lightening the use of the Colnago, I found the need of some minor service on the same bike. The stem was a little loose and needed tightening. I brought it to a shop during the middle of a ride and merely asked for the bolt to be tightened (remember, I had to fabricate a tool to properly fit this bolt). I watched to see what would happen because I knew that a very specific tool was needed. The "mechanic" started to try one wrench, but wrong size, tried another, still wrong size, and tried another that was still obviously the wrong size; but screw it, that was close enough and he started to wrench on it while tearing up the bolt head I guess figuring he could tighten it enough before stripping the head. Once again I had to stop a "bike mechanic" from damaging my equipment. I pulled the bike out of there as quickly as I could, telling him that you need the proper tools and if you don't have them than don't try to force an improper tool into service. Of course I never returned there for anything! Sounds like a repetitive theme here.

Very recently I had need of a couple of service related jobs that I had no tool for and/or needed maintenance because I was swamped with work and other projects. I went to a small one man shop that I had only used to find some used vintage parts at, but had never used for service before. I knew the individual fairly well, as I had been one of his first customers when I found that there was a place that had some older parts that most folks weren't looking for. Two years later: in the first instance I was needing the removal of a Maillard Helicomatic freewheel on a loose wheel that required (go figure) a unique tool specific to the part in question. I explained all that needed to be done was to use that tool and remove the FW. As I have now had multiple bad experiences with other shops for what I thought to be "basic" tasks for a mechanic, I stood by (stood over is more apt) while he was getting ready to perform the work. I happened to look away to eyeball some rims (all of 30 seconds), and to my amazement he had grabbed a pair of "slip-joint" pliers and was already attempting to grab onto the "knurled" lock ring without success and probably "buggering up" the ring at the same time. Again I had to stop a "mechanic" from using a tool that wasn't even close to that which should have been applied to avoid damage to more equipment. I was PISSED-OFF; the FW was in perfect condition upon entering and now I wasn't sure if the correct tool would even function. I don't know if any real damage was done to prevent proper removal because I shelved that job for the future when I get the tool myself. If I'd thought that a pair of pliers was up to the task, I'd readily have performed the destruction myself. I did not let on how angry I was; I just grabbed my stuff and left. A few months later I had been riding my '70 Raleigh Sports out on the grass/dirt trails and had a bunch of sand and other crud get on the bike into the chain (original part) due to moist conditions that day; normally, not a bike I bring out for that type of riding, but I was trying to keep myself from flying around in the heat/humidity (had heat exhaustion earlier that week) and 55 lbs of bike does slow me down enough to keep me "chilled out". I just wanted to drop off the bike and get the chain "properly" cleaned and lubed. I had already wiped off the entire bike as everything was covered in sand and detritus; including as much as I could get off of the chain. I remove a chain for cleaning and dunk it as many times as needed into baths petrol until the solvent is clean indicating the chain to be clean also; then dunking into my lube of choice (usually liquefied paraffin, et al.). As my method does take some time and I wanted to get the chain cleaned up to a point of no grit and grind, and I figured that this was a "safe" task for the "mechanic" since I didn't think he could cause any undue damage. I brought the entire bike in and told him I needed the chain cleaned and lubed, no rush. What did he do? He handed me one of those "cartridge" type cleaners with the little spinning brushes, new in a box and said, "here this should do it". I said, "I do not use those things, as I do not find them to do a good enough job". At this point, while still proffering the "chain cleaner", he also has a new chain in a box in his hand and is apparently expecting me to buy a new chain to replace a perfectly good chain, and still buy the "P.O.S. chain cleaner". I'm surprised he didn't have a bottle of lube in hand also. During all of this he said, "I really don't do that type of stuff". I guess bike shops don't clean chains anymore; they just replace good ones with new ones; that's easy! Of course I have not returned there for anything! Yes, it is a theme!

I know I may do some things differently than the "professionals", and I don't expect them to clean and lube a chain to the degree that I do, but I do expect them to provide the services for which they are in business for, and certainly to use the correct tools and techniques in order to do the job properly without the risk of damaging someone's equipment; or at least tell them that they don't have the tools, don't have the knowledge/experience to do the work, and/or just don't provide that specific service. Is it just me? Has anyone run into this multiple times at multiple locations. Even basic respect for my bike was not given when I merely wanted some to take "a look at something"; they, instead of properly mounting the bike on the stand; just threw the it up with the seat holding it and causing damage, albeit aesthetic, to a very nice vintage post in the process. What's up? Am I from that much of a different era? The only place I get work done now is at my bike collective where I do all the work with only the proper tools to perform it. I don't want to damage my bikes, but at least I'm not paying a "professional" if I do! Thanks for letting me rant. Praise to all the good bike mechanics out there; I know you still exist. Some of this I blame on living in a "college town", but still there's no excuse for this.

Last edited by HPL; 09-10-19 at 12:10 AM.
HPL is offline  
Old 09-09-19, 04:15 AM
  #2  
Whit51 
Senior Member
 
Whit51's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Reston VA
Posts: 415
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Sounds like you've got the skills and motivation to do your own repairs and maintenance. I think that is very important for anyone who gets involved with vintage bikes.
Whit51 is offline  
Likes For Whit51:
Old 09-09-19, 04:57 AM
  #3  
nomadmax 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 1,004
Mentioned: 72 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 436 Post(s)
Liked 304 Times in 163 Posts
Originally Posted by Whit51 View Post
Sounds like you've got the skills and motivation to do your own repairs and maintenance. I think that is very important for anyone who gets involved with vintage bikes.
What that guy said ^.

It's sounds like you might be "vintage" (read older) like many of us here. The older you get, the less you expect from someone who doesn't make a lot of money and are probably not in their "life career path". Speaking for at least one older person, paragraphs please
nomadmax is offline  
Old 09-09-19, 05:01 AM
  #4  
randyjawa 
Senior Member
 
randyjawa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada - burrrrr!
Posts: 9,314

Bikes: 1958 Rabeneick 120D, 1968 Legnano Gran Premio, Rocky Mountain Cardiac

Mentioned: 158 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 649 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 100 Times in 80 Posts
Speaking for at least one older person, paragraphs please
+1000

Although I did wade through the storm of words and letters, in this thread, I rarely do so when I see huge clumps of text. Simply put, my old eyes experience strain when I try to see what is, so abundantly, presented.
__________________
"98% of the bikes I buy are projects". Learn how to find, restore and maintain vintage road bicycles at... MY "TEN SPEEDS"
randyjawa is offline  
Likes For randyjawa:
Old 09-09-19, 07:22 AM
  #5  
100bikes
Industry guy
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 141

Bikes: To many to name - I ride a custom built steel frame.

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Welcome to the bicycle industry of the 21st century.

Not unique in many respects to other consumer technical products – televisions, autos, appliances.

While the modern bicycle tech is likely well versed in Di2 and the latest tubeless tape
and sealant combo, it may be just a case of book smart. They may not understand that
the hot new electronic shifting system has quite a bit in common with both the geometry
and function of a 1970’s era Schwinn Varsity with steel, Huret Svelto derailleurs.


Rewind to the old school retail.


Mechanics creed (in my store):

1. The correct tool for the application
2. Precision over speed
3. Safe or not at all.
4. If you don’t know, don’t experiment on a customer’s bicycle.

For the real old school –
5. Clean hands for taping the handlebars.

And finally…….

6. Do no harm!

Floor guys didn’t get to be floor guys without going through the backroom training.

We were fortunate in the store I worked for” back in the day” in that we had a great
mix of staff(early 1970’s), There were good local racers who were both mechanics and
floor guys. And kept up on racing components and trends. We had two guys who built
some bicycle frames and knew that whole process. We also had a couple of hippy bicycle
guys who were self-taught, engineer types and problem solvers.

Bicycles were shipped dis-assembled and it was not uncommon for a one -two hour
build. Even the most entry level models.

Bicycles which were really of the quality of your ‘nago, we would check frame alignment
and likely face the headtube and BB shell. Run a tap through the various threads and
perhaps even build the wheels.

(Of the staff from the original store, at least 5 other stores evolved, a couple of bicycle industry
careers and a shot at a pro bicycle racing.)

Could not do that today (financially) on anything but top shelf equipment –
margins are wayyyyy to tight.



Also, there really isn’t a need for that part. In the 1970-80s companies introduced
bicycle pre-assembly. At WSI(Diamondback/Centurion), we sold our line on the ACA
(advanced component assembly) for the “new” category of mountain bikes coming from the orient.

Advance production methods have clearly taken hold, so bicycles today go from box
to “floor ready”, seemingly in minutes.

Builders may have quotas to meet, anomalies not get addressed.

BB technology in now internal, so facing a bottom bracket shell is superfluous

Headsets use a variety of systems, although some headtubes should still be faced.

And there is not a completely rebuildable component nor system on today’s bicycles.

Obviously, there are replacement parts on modern stuff, but nothing like Campagnolo
or old Shimano where every part was sourced (from multiple vendors) and replaceable.
Lets not get started on Sturmey Archer replacement stuff.
Bicycle stores could maintain stocks of small parts and labor made it profitable to do so.


So today, there seems to be “no need to “:

- Check alignment of frame and dropouts (the root of most shifting problems).

- Verify brake levers are tight on the bars (my personal pet peeve)

- Stem and fork are secure.

- Set the saddle level and straight.


Right!

There are a lot of old school type mechanics still in retail bicycle stores today,
They are solid in their technical skills on modern technology as are the techs, but
they understand the how and whys of bicycles as well. Not just the stuff in the sales
manual or latest internet chat room.

They are the problem solvers.

Most modern incarnations of bicycle stores will not invest in tools that they use
one a …….., so old mechanics might likely have the Helicomatic tool( doubles as a nice
bottle opener), and correct tool for your stem.


My hat is off to those who a technically up to date on the new products and technologies.
I admit, I am not.

But, I will bet that getting up to speed will be easier than a modern tech going the other
way, as what is new likely developed out of something from the old school version.
And I know where to find the answers.

That being said, check with your(next) mechanic to see if they know that there was 5 speed freewheel
that spun off? Or have they even heard of your Maillard set up, and that it predated and likely
precipitated the development of the modern cassette.

And, if they drink beer, do they pop top a can; twist off the bottle top or do they have/use the
appropriate tool for this application?






Rusty

Last edited by 100bikes; 09-09-19 at 07:23 AM. Reason: missed one point
100bikes is offline  
Old 09-09-19, 07:31 AM
  #6  
thinktubes 
weapons-grade bolognium
 
thinktubes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Across the street from Chicago
Posts: 4,701

Bikes: Battaglin Cromor, Ciocc Designer 84, Schwinn Superior 1981

Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 419 Post(s)
Liked 117 Times in 76 Posts
Tl;dr
thinktubes is offline  
Likes For thinktubes:
Old 09-09-19, 08:26 AM
  #7  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: West Village, New York City
Posts: 37,564

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1973 Raleigh Twenty, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 440 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5676 Post(s)
Liked 245 Times in 172 Posts
Originally Posted by thinktubes View Post
Tl;dr
Same here.

I rarely have shops do work for me. I can pretty much do it all. I've worked as a shop mechanic and even had the title of head mechanic.

Once my derailleur failed on my way to work (not when I was a mechanic), and I got frustrated, so I dropped the bike off and asked them to replace the derailleur. They did fine work, and the price was higher than expected, but I wasn't going to complain.

Nowadays, I volunteer at a bike coop, and we have the expensive shop tools, so there's even less reason for me to use a shop.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Old 09-09-19, 08:57 AM
  #8  
SurferRosa
Senior Member
 
SurferRosa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 1,165

Bikes: old school 531c & campy

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 502 Post(s)
Liked 140 Times in 85 Posts
Originally Posted by thinktubes View Post
Tl;dr
The op didn't have a bb spanner for his bb, or a pipe wrench for his Helicomatic freewheel, so he took it to a shop or two. They may have messed 'em up, but he's not sure on the specifics. Another time, he didn't want to clean his chain, and a mech didn't want to do it either. Now he does all his own work at a co-op.

It only took one bad experience for me to buy $100 worth of tools.
SurferRosa is offline  
Likes For SurferRosa:
Old 09-09-19, 09:23 AM
  #9  
conspiratemus1
Used to be Conspiratemus
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Hamilton ON Canada
Posts: 1,070
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 125 Post(s)
Liked 65 Times in 43 Posts
Originally Posted by 100bikes View Post
...And, if they drink beer, do they pop top a can; twist off the bottle top or do they have/use the
appropriate tool for this application?

Rusty
Their teeth, you mean?
conspiratemus1 is offline  
Old 09-09-19, 09:33 AM
  #10  
TenGrainBread 
Senior Member
 
TenGrainBread's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 2,073
Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 807 Post(s)
Liked 137 Times in 105 Posts
There are some truths and also some problems with your perception of things here.

There is a problem in the bicycle service industry of no formal training being required for bike mechanics. Formal training programs like UBI and a couple others barely have an impact on the workforce. Shop owners want to pay mechanics minimum wage or close to it, so hiring formally-trained mechanics is out of the question. This leads to many of the scenarios you listed above. The better mechanics have the sense to stop and look things up before trying things, but not all people are that sensible. Until people become less car-reliant in this country and owning a bike shop has a chance to be profitable, properly-trained labor will not be the norm.

The thing is, this has always been the case. It's not a "new" problem. The fact that you ride old tech just makes it worse for you, but that is to be expected in an industry with rapidly-changing technology. The bike mechanics of your day might have known how to work on a Heliocomatic freewheel, but I guarantee you they weren't well-versed in servicing rod brakes. You need to accept that.

Regarding that mechanic who wouldn't clean your chain - extrapolating this odd duck to all new service shops makes no sense. 99.9% of service shops are cleaning chains on tune-ups daily.

Last edited by TenGrainBread; 09-09-19 at 09:49 AM.
TenGrainBread is offline  
Old 09-09-19, 09:38 AM
  #11  
garryg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Campbell River BC
Posts: 117
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Liked 13 Times in 8 Posts
This may be slightly off topic but i go looking for bikes at a spot just south of me. It is a non profit that fixes up and sells donated bikes for charity. There are usually three or four retired guys working on bikes.The kicker is they are all hammer and a big wrench guys,they know very little about wrenching bikes. Last week one of them was telling me how many nice old bikes they throw away because of seized seatposts. I don.t think any of them know what the h and l screws are for on the disraeli gears! Oh well,there hearts are in the right place.
garryg is offline  
Old 09-09-19, 09:40 AM
  #12  
Wildwood 
Veteran/Pacifist/Resister
 
Wildwood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Seattle area
Posts: 8,862

Bikes: Bikes??? Thought this was social media?!?

Mentioned: 204 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1883 Post(s)
Liked 195 Times in 140 Posts
Service stations used to fill up your tank, wash your windshield and check your oil. Tire pressure if you asked. Compare that to today - in Oregon they mandated Gas Station Attendants, but likely not a career job for most.
__________________
70sFollis 072/71 Bottecchia Giro d Italia/72 Zeus Competition/78 Batavus Competition/80 Mondia Super/81 AustroDaimler Olympian/82 Harding(Holdsworth) Special/84 Pinarello Record/85 EM Corsa Extra/86 DeRosa Pro/88 Falcon Race/99 Pinarello Cadore/99 Calfee TetraPro/03 Macalu Cirrus/04 Tallerico: The less ridden = '97 CoMotion tandem + city bike, mtn bike, beach cruiser
Wildwood is offline  
Old 09-09-19, 09:48 AM
  #13  
mpetry912
experienced
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Bainbridge Island, WA
Posts: 261

Bikes: Dinucci Allez 2.0, Richard Sachs, Alex Singer, Serotta, Masi GC, Raleigh Pro Mk.1, Hetchins, etc

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 114 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 57 Times in 43 Posts
There was a similar thread on CR about how shops can't do work on vintage bikes.

Same deal with vintage cars..

There's a woman here on the island who has a very nice vintage Mercedes (1970 280 SE 3.5 convertible). Very collectible car. Drives like a boat. Anyway, it needed something, wouldn't go into reverse, something like that. The Mercedes dealer in town refused to work on it. Maybe that's a good thing. Would I look at it, she asked.My pre-research showed that the worst case big fix was a rebuilt ZF transmission for about 8 large, exchange.I got I'm happy to say that adjusting the cable from the shift lever to the transmission input leverI solved the problem. It was a Bowden - tube type adjustment, like on a 3 speed sturmey archer. There actually was a factory manual with the adjustment procedure that I found in a PDF on the internets.I am glad this fixed the problem as I did not want to drop that tranny.if you look at mechanical things in a certain way, you have an affinity for them and can fix them, as opposed to following the procedure.I was chatting with Ric Hjertberg last week about this very thing - how people acquire and internalize knowledge and skills. There's a bigger story here, but learning to fix a bike can be an excellent way for young people to build problem solving skills that are applicable to all kinds of real life challenges.I am all about creating people who know their limits but who will venture forth into the unknown, confident in their skills and unafraid of the challenge.Mark Petry
Bainbridge Island, WA USA
mpetry912 is offline  
Likes For mpetry912:
Old 09-09-19, 10:30 AM
  #14  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: West Village, New York City
Posts: 37,564

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1973 Raleigh Twenty, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 440 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5676 Post(s)
Liked 245 Times in 172 Posts
I've seen bad bike mechanics, but around here (New York City), they are not the norm. Each shop has at least one expert. The same is true in Upstate New York.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Old 09-09-19, 11:15 AM
  #15  
cqlink 
Senior Member
 
cqlink's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Detroit
Posts: 509

Bikes: '72 Paramount 15-9, '74 Schwinn Paramount P10-9, '73 Schwinn Super Sport, 1983 Schwinn Voyageur SP,17 Motobecane Cafe Noir, 1970 Raleigh Competition Tourist, 1999 Rans V-Rex

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 157 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 30 Times in 20 Posts
You've the skills to do the work you've described yourself. When I get into a bind, I ask questions here and usually get the help I need within an hour or so (or faster)

Special tools, they've been loaned to me here and many times the owner wouldn't let me pay postage! Others I've bought here at great prices.

Ride on.
cqlink is offline  
Old 09-09-19, 11:28 AM
  #16  
delbiker1 
Senior Member
 
delbiker1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Sussex County, Delaware
Posts: 998

Bikes: 2003 Lemond Poprad, 1991 Ochsner steel frame, 2002 Airborne Zeppelin titanium, Schwinn DBX SS aluminum, Orbea MD 40 carbon fiber

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 259 Post(s)
Liked 95 Times in 66 Posts
For me, learning bike mechanics has been a definite positive in my enjoyment of bicycling. I much appreciate not having to go the LBS route for most things. There are 2 really good bike shops within 12 miles of my house, one only 3 miles, and I do still use them when I feel I need it. As for the mechanics, I really think they appreciate a bike owner that keeps up on the maintenance and has knowledge of the mechanics.
delbiker1 is offline  
Likes For delbiker1:
Old 09-09-19, 11:46 AM
  #17  
tkamd73 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Menomonee Falls, WI
Posts: 512

Bikes: 1984 Schwinn Supersport, 1988 Trek 400t, 1977 Trek TX900, 1982 Bianchi Champione del Mondo, 1988 Trek 400 Elance, 1978 Raleigh Supercourse, 1991 PDG Paramount OS

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 168 Post(s)
Liked 22 Times in 22 Posts
Except for bottom brackets, don’t even want to own all the different tools, and wheel building, just don’t want to, I’ve learned to do everything else. If I didn’t have the proper tool, I bought it. Would never consider taking one of my bikes to a LBS, for a chain or a stem issue, and fortunately, I found a great wheel builder, and someone I can trust to service a bottom bracket. Good luck to you.
Tim
tkamd73 is offline  
Old 09-09-19, 05:19 PM
  #18  
old's'cool 
curmudgineer
 
old's'cool's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Chicago SW burbs
Posts: 4,246

Bikes: 2 many 2 fit here

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 201 Post(s)
Liked 8 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by 100bikes View Post
Advance production methods have clearly taken hold, so bicycles today go from box
to “floor ready”, seemingly in minutes.
Rusty
FWIW, that seems to be working, at least some of the time. Last year my girlfriend and I pre-ordered and purchased a pair of entry level bikes from Wally World at a vacation destination, to be abandoned at the end of the trip. This as opposed to renting a car and leaving it parked most of the time, or taking taxi/uber for more than walkable distances. When we showed up to pick them up, not only were they ready to go, but more-or-less perfectly set up including 7spd SIS shifting.
__________________
Geoff
"There is no Fail without Try" - Yoda Simpson
old's'cool is offline  
Old 09-09-19, 07:16 PM
  #19  
BFisher
Senior Member
 
BFisher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: NEPA
Posts: 481

Bikes: '61 Schwinn Klunker, '68 Hercules Klapprad, '71 Peugeot UO8, '78 Motobecane Grand Jubile, '79 Motobecane Grand Sprint, '87 Ironman Expert, '89 Puch Mistral Leader, '92 Trek 930

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 109 Post(s)
Liked 98 Times in 72 Posts
Between this place, Sheldon's site, and the rest of the internet I'm good on bike maintenance and repair. The beauty of a bicycle is in its simplicity as a machine.

Shop mechanics exist for those who want/need them, and that's really a great thing. But we're not rebuilding automatic transmissions here. I could clean a chain and fix a flat when I was ten. Acquire some tools, read up, and experiment. There's so much information online, exploded views for almost anything. And hey, if you don't have a certain tool, you can always make one out of scrap materials. May be crude, but it works as well as any.

BFisher is offline  
Likes For BFisher:
Old 09-09-19, 07:52 PM
  #20  
Boxkite
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 177

Bikes: old and new

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 54 Post(s)
Liked 60 Times in 37 Posts
I had a similar experience.... once. After that I started accumulating tools. I have a nice Campagnolo set of tools (and a few non- Campagnolo) for every job needed and know the proper way to use and store them!
Boxkite is offline  
Old 09-09-19, 09:45 PM
  #21  
madpogue 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Madison, WI USA
Posts: 3,196
Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 796 Post(s)
Liked 136 Times in 111 Posts
Originally Posted by 100bikes View Post
Welcome to the bicycle industry + work ethic, + service philosophy, + perspective on value of manufacturing, etc. of the 21st century.
Fixed that for ya....

This all reflects on the increasingly intense throwaway nature of our society. Why work on something when the next generation of it will make it obsolete, and it'll be in the stores next week? Your phone's more than a year old? How quaint? Won't be long until any bike that's not electric will be considered a relic by most LBS. Of course, the further the industry goes down that slippery slope, the more we become here in the C&V section....
madpogue is offline  
Old 09-09-19, 10:38 PM
  #22  
repechage
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 13,456
Mentioned: 84 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 994 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 51 Times in 41 Posts
I was fortunate, I had learned enough on my own to get a job at a bike shop at 14. I raced to work after school to work 2 hours per weekday, I worked along side the mechanic that did the majority of the work, a jazz drummer at night mechanic by day, Willie T. Brooks. We got a lot done, fast- he always did what needed to be done- clients came back as they noticed, often they did not know why- the wheel that was trued up to get the brake to work well, or the cable that was greased ( before teflon lining) while exchanging brake blocks, the shop charged well, he added a bit beyond the work order to keep 'em smiling.

learned to size up the bike quickly and get to the root cause fast.

Learned a bit of bike shop finances, he worked on the assumption that he needed to bill out labor wise 4x his pay per hour. There is the reason few shops really want to get involved with vintage bikes- they cost too much.
repechage is offline  
Old 09-10-19, 01:45 AM
  #23  
HPL
HPL
Thread Starter
 
HPL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: NORTH FLORIDA, NEW ENGLAND/MASS.
Posts: 261

Bikes: Presently riding: '98 FONDRIEST X STATUS, '85/'86 BATAVUS Criterium; '70 RALEIGH Sports, '86 Colnago Nuovo Mexico; others waiting their turn

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 71 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 17 Posts
Thanks for all the comments and insight!
Just to clarify: I have done almost all of my own work in the past 20 years or so, except that I have never laced a wheel on my own, nor I have I messed with electronic components since I have none. Although I do have vintage bikes; when I first encountered some of these problems they really weren't vintage at the time of the repair/maintenance. I do know this, after learning to use a tap and die set before the age of ten; if you don't know a thread type at least use a thread gauge before applying a tool which could cause irreparable damage, or just don't do it and let the customer know that it is beyond your skill set and/or tool set. Also, I do have some newer rides, but I do the maintenance on them as well (yes, threadless stems, carbon frames, etc.; I'm not that old, yet!). I have been accumulating tools along the way. The helicomatic FW was a new part to me from stripping of another frame, and I wanted to use the wheel for another project with a better FW than that one, but figured I would still end up using it on something else in the future and didn't want it getting more beat up than necessary; no pipe wrenches! I wanted to give a small shop some business, as I have also been a small business owner myself. Many of my bike shop visits were during a ride or when travelling out of my area (stem tightening, chain cleaning), not when hauling a bike to the shop for "scheduled maintenance", thus I was not carrying the tools with me other than my standard on the go stuff.
As far as chain maintenance goes, that was when I did not have access to my shed or the bike collective where I generally do work when not having the proper tools (they have the Maillard FW tool, so issue solved when I manage to get there at a later date). I look at it this way, if I was a parent, whether a bike rider or not, and I bring my kid's bike (or even their own) in for some basic maintenance/cleaning; wouldn't I expect the shop to have me buy a new chain to replace a good, but dirty one; or buy a "chain cleaner" when I brought it there for them to do it. Although I change the oil on my car; I don't expect to be buying a plug wrench, filter, filter wrench, drain pan, and oil; and then be sent out the door just to do it myself when going to a car maintenance shop to have them do it in the first place since that is what they are there for; to perform the maintenance themselves with me paying for the labor and/or parts. The individual who didn't want to do the work for me when I was not able to do it myself (not that I didn't want to do it), lost not only some integrity, but income as well. I'd have gladly paid for the work and been happy to help his business, never mind the extra "word of mouth" advertising that is so important for small businesses. I know many people who ask me where to take their bikes for maintenance; what do I tell them when I can't even get it done myself with a shop that I've done business with before. I'm not trying to be critical of any type of repair shop, but if you advertise certain services you should try to do them first before sending someone out the door. Last time I checked, chains were still being used on bikes new and old so the "vintage issue" doesn't apply. The main reason for not bringing in vintage bikes for shops to work on is that fact that many don't have the proper respect for something not easily replaced or found in a condition that allows it to have investment/resale, and/or psychological value if owned for that reason. I do ride what I have, but I like to keep them in as good a functional and aesthetic condition as possible.
As a service technician (and everything else) in my old business I always wanted to work on anything brought to me; both for the money (couldn't afford to turn away customers) and the experience. Yes, some repairs were not always "profitable" at the onset; but in general the repeat business and "word of mouth" advertising more than made up for a couple of "freebies" here and there; and I did lose some customers due to not being able to provide a specific service not within the general scope of the business, but often they too would provide me with other clients because of my willingness to try first before automatically saying no. I too understand the "throw away" nature of many of today's products, but many of my clientele appreciated it when I attempted to fix something for them even when I explained that they were throwing dollars out the window and could purchase the same thing new for a couple dollars more; you always have to take into consideration the "psychological attachment" of someone else's property. Being out of that business now for over 15 years, I still get past customers wondering if I was re-opening and/or where they could get the same service I was providing at the time. Tough one to answer on the latter query.
I thoroughly enjoy working on my bikes at the collective, as well as, providing any help and knowledge to those trying to learn, and learning from those trying to help.

Once again thank you all!

Quick edit: As of August 18, 2019 my collective was closing it's doors; thankfully, due to popular demand and with donations we've managed to keep it open for the foreseeable future. I was certainly dreading their closure and I'm glad people gathered together as a community to provide support. Of course, I bought another frame that I don't really need to help the cause, as they've helped me many times in the past. I've always been happy to purchase parts/supplies from them for my rebuilds as opposed to going online to get the same materials at a cheaper cost; not to mention providing youth and adult refreshments for gatherings, club rides, etc. If you live in or around the Gainesville, FL area, I request that you drop in and see what's happening at The Freewheel Project, S. Main St. Usually a supply of decent used parts (vintage, and not) for fairly cheap (including some decent bike clothing, shoes, etc.); various types of rebuilt bikes for sale; new parts and supplies. Membership is (or at least was) $50/year for use of tools/work space, and includes use of loaner bikes (various types, 24 hours, but they're flexible) should you need to ride when waiting for a part to arrive or other reason.

Last edited by HPL; 09-15-19 at 07:07 PM.
HPL is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Philly Tandem
Tandem Cycling
6
09-15-14 11:35 PM
Bakerb24
Bicycle Mechanics
41
12-24-13 10:53 PM
vredstein
Bicycle Mechanics
25
04-22-13 06:51 AM
hockeyref
Bicycle Mechanics
23
02-01-13 12:51 PM
Here We Go
Bicycle Mechanics
13
01-19-13 04:07 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.