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Home bike repairs done badly

Old 05-31-11, 10:12 PM
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Burton
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Home bike repairs done badly

Some home mechanics are equipped to the hilt and know exactly what they`re doing. Some don`t have a clue. I really want to encourage anyone who wants to do their own work and has limited experience to buy a repair manual. Working in a few different shops, I consistantly trip accross some home repairs that produced less than ideal results. Ocassionally the results brought the bike in for recovery treatment. Here are a few examples of simple tasks that lack of experience can make complicated:

Changing brake pads. Should be straightforward but the most common error I see is brake pads installed backwards. Or with the cupped washers installed in the wrong order or direction.

Changing cables. Straightforward again right? But now the ferrules for brake housing are different from the ferrules for compressionless shifter housing and NO - you can`t use brake cable ferrules on compressionless cable. But apparently some people do anyway.

Keep that chain lubed! A great idea but when grease and oil and dirt and hair and grass start to block the jockey pullys and fill the gear cluster don`t you think it might be time to clean something?

Tire direction. I`ve seen some discussions that indicate its irrelivent regardless of that directional arrow on some tires. So how come if a bike shop put it on backwards it would be unprofessional but if you did it its irrelivent?

Look! The wheels come off so I can put it in the car! Of course you should reinstall those wheels properly afterwards. Installing a wheel crooked afects braking. So does hooking up the brake incorrectly. And pads can fall out of disk brakes. Braking directly on the piston because of a missing pad will guarantee a need for new pistons.

Yeah - I`m really trying to promote sales of Park Tool`s Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repairs - but only because I think a lot of bicycles would be a lot happier afterwards.
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Old 06-05-11, 07:12 PM
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Cool note there! Just yesterday I ordered the Big Blue Book II. I hope it will come in handy cause my LBS are not that professional.
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Old 06-05-11, 11:44 PM
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How does the Park Big Blue Book compare with the Bicycling Magazines repair manual. I've the magazines manual, but am open to another.
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Old 06-06-11, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by DOOM_NX View Post
Cool note there! Just yesterday I ordered the Big Blue Book II. I hope it will come in handy cause my LBS are not that professional.
When I bought my bike, the limit screws on the RD and FD were all backed the entire way out... sure am glad I checked that first...
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Old 06-06-11, 07:14 AM
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I use a laptop and their website. Hasn't failed me yet. However, I still make interesting mistakes but that is part of learning.
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Old 06-06-11, 07:20 AM
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By the way the LBS installed my mother's bike front tire backwards.
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Old 06-06-11, 05:38 PM
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I just use the internet when I want to learn how to do something. Lots of good instructions and how to videos. I like park tool's website and bicycletutor.com for videos. It's worked out so far but I haven't really had a major problem and if I have, then it's time to go to the LBS.

edit: basic maintenance and repair is basic. Everyone should learn how to change a tire and adjust the brakes at least. Lubricating the chain is just a given, too. I hear way too many dry chains around here. I wonder why people can't just lube the chain...
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Old 06-07-11, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
I just use the internet when I want to learn how to do something. Lots of good instructions and how to videos. I like park tool's website and bicycletutor.com for videos. It's worked out so far but I haven't really had a major problem and if I have, then it's time to go to the LBS.

edit: basic maintenance and repair is basic. Everyone should learn how to change a tire and adjust the brakes at least. Lubricating the chain is just a given, too. I hear way too many dry chains around here. I wonder why people can't just lube the chain...
Because nobody told them to?! And nobody told them what to use to lube the chain when they bought it?!

Seriously, my LBS has never talked to me about basic maintenance I can do at home, if it is required and how often. I would just drop a visit when I had a problem and by the way I'd tell them to lube my chain. And all they would do was to spray excess oil without removing the grime first!

Talk about ignorant people stumbling over unprofessional shops...
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Old 06-07-11, 02:06 PM
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High quality pad replacement and caliper adjustment 101 :

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Old 06-07-11, 03:04 PM
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Don't laugh! The brakes are Shimano!
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Old 06-07-11, 03:11 PM
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Are you trying to kill our business ?

People operating without a clue account for a good percentage of the work that shops get paid to do.

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Old 06-07-11, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
Are you trying to kill our business ?

People operating without a clue account for a good percentage of the work that shops get paid to do.

It's another thing not being able or not having the time to do something and another one being mislead on purpose by LBS in order for them to earn money.

You, sir, should make money from people choosing to rely on you for any reason. But you should also advise customers for simple maintenance tasks they can perform at home. It's unethical to regard your customers only as a bag of money.
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Old 06-07-11, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by DOOM_NX View Post
It's another thing not being able or not having the time to do something and another one being mislead on purpose by LBS in order for them to earn money.

You, sir, should make money from people choosing to rely on you for any reason. But you should also advise customers for simple maintenance tasks they can perform at home. It's unethical to regard your customers only as a bag of money.
Perhaps you are new here... oh wait... you are.

The post was intended to be humorous... when I am not running my shop I spend a lot of time teaching people how to perform every aspect of bicycle maintainence at our co-op and also teach our other volunteers so they too can do this.
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Old 06-07-11, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by DOOM_NX View Post
Cool note there! Just yesterday I ordered the Big Blue Book II. I hope it will come in handy cause my LBS are not that professional.
One thing that is truly good for business is shops like this... I have a good number of regulars that came to me when their LBS could not manage to do simple repairs without messing things up or by doing shoddy work.

Have been doing this long enough that I can say that some of the better mechanics in the city learned a great deal from me and from their time volunteering at our co-op as it does not only teach people how to service theoir own bikes but is an excellent training ground for mechanics as you get to see so much.
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Old 06-07-11, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by DOOM_NX View Post
It's another thing not being able or not having the time to do something and another one being mislead on purpose by LBS in order for them to earn money.

You, sir, should make money from people choosing to rely on you for any reason. But you should also advise customers for simple maintenance tasks they can perform at home. It's unethical to regard your customers only as a bag of money.
I enjoy bike repair and maintenance. I'm 58yo and have been working on bikes out of necessity since I was about 12yo. I use to also be able to work on my cars and motorcycles. I like the problem solving and when you get it right the satisfaction of "a job well done."

However there are those of us that (a) just don't like mechanical work of any sort and (b) are total mechanical klutzes.

There is nothing at all wrong with someone fixing there stuff for them and gets paid for it. In my time on these boards I have never known SixtyFiver to espouse unethical practice.

You owe him an apology, junior.
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Old 06-07-11, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
Perhaps you are new here... oh wait... you are.

The post was intended to be humorous... when I am not running my shop I spend a lot of time teaching people how to perform every aspect of bicycle maintainence at our co-op and also teach our other volunteers so they too can do this.
Forgive me if I sounded rude or something. I've got nothing personal with you. I realised that your post was meant to be humorous, but I really hate those "mechanics" that only want to make money. I just wanted to get it out me.
Sorry again if I offended you somehow.
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Old 06-07-11, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
Perhaps you are new here... oh wait... you are.

The post was intended to be humorous... when I am not running my shop I spend a lot of time teaching people how to perform every aspect of bicycle maintainence at our co-op and also teach our other volunteers so they too can do this.
He also helped stop the spread of communism to the free world. You should see him use a spanner.
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Old 06-07-11, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
He also helped stop the spread of communism to the free world. You should see him use a spanner.
Gives one hope for the future doesn't it.
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Old 06-07-11, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by DOOM_NX View Post
Forgive me if I sounded rude or something. I've got nothing personal with you. I realised that your post was meant to be humorous, but I really hate those "mechanics" that only want to make money. I just wanted to get it out me.
Sorry again if I offended you somehow.
No worries... can understand the frustration people have when they deal with some shops and try to avoid frustrating people myself.

I work for myself and have a small client base, I like to know that if a person has a small issue that they can fix it and be on their way rather than find themselves stranded.

Now... off to fight the spread of communism.
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Old 06-07-11, 04:21 PM
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I am a professional...and I do it at home

I worked in a couple of bikes shops many, many years ago. One was staffed with competent mechanics, the other with sales people. Fortunately I learned from the one with competent mechanics.

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Old 06-07-11, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Burton View Post
Some home mechanics are equipped to the hilt and know exactly what they`re doing. Some don`t have a clue. I really want to encourage anyone who wants to do their own work and has limited experience to buy a repair manual. Working in a few different shops, I consistantly trip accross some home repairs that produced less than ideal results. Ocassionally the results brought the bike in for recovery treatment. Here are a few examples of simple tasks that lack of experience can make complicated:
The difference between an amateur mechanic and a master mechanic is the number and quality of parts ruined

Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
Are you trying to kill our business ?

People operating without a clue account for a good percentage of the work that shops get paid to do.

We had a bike shop in Denver long ago that gave a rather nice on-bike toolset away with every bike sold. Someone asked the owner how he could afford to give away such an expensive premium. He responded, "For every toolset I give away, I get 10 times back in repairs. I make more on wheel truing alone than the toolsets are worth."
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Old 06-07-11, 06:13 PM
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Working on bikes isn't really that difficult if you take your time, research, think things through, and use the appropriate tools.
Bikes are relatively simple machines. Cars on the other hand...yuck.
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Old 06-07-11, 06:50 PM
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Creaky chains, poorly adjusted/no brake pads or cables, seats too low, broken spokes, rusty everything. Normal everyday sightings here in Taiwan. Most people only get something fixed if they can't ride the bike. Preventive maintenance usually doesn't happen.
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Old 06-07-11, 07:14 PM
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I recently helped some other people buy used road bikes. Both bikes I got looked like the chains had been painted with grease. Literally the whole drive train was black and sticky.
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Old 06-07-11, 07:25 PM
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I picked up a nice Viscount Sebring for free. While going over it, I noticed the quick releases on the center pull brake were both open. The calipers had been adjusted to compensate. The bike didn't look like it had been ridden all that much, so odds are that it came that way from the shop.

Been in good bike shops, and been in bad ones. The more arrogant the mechanic, the more likely he's an idiot.
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