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how competent a bike mechanic are you?

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how competent a bike mechanic are you?

Old 08-13-06, 05:18 PM
  #1  
Jeffrey
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how competent a bike mechanic are you?

I've been communting on a bike for years (mostly due to having no car). About four months ago I got a DUI driving my car, I ended up selling my car and have decided to stick with my bikes as long as I'm in school (I'm 24 and still whittling very very slowly away). Anyways the reason for the thread was, I seem to have a learning disability when it comes to anything mechanical. I can of course take care of flats and I clean my drivetrain and relube my chain every week and I suppose I can change out my brakes when I have to, but I rely heavily on my lbs for anything even mildly serious, how self reliant are you guys when it comes to your bike?
(right now I have a Jamis Quest, which I am completely infatuated with and my communter a Trek 8000 w/slicks)
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Old 08-13-06, 05:23 PM
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I am a putz
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Old 08-13-06, 05:29 PM
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I have built a couple of bicycles from the frame up with a parts kit. I routinely do most of my own wrenching with exception of wheel truing. It is certainly gotten easier over the years with sealed bearings and threadless headsets, although I still have my old cone wrench set. I have never and likely will never do any wheel building or painting.
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Old 08-13-06, 05:31 PM
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I'm an aircraft mechanic by trade.

I don't work on my own car.....because I don't want to.

I don't work on my own bike, unless I have to.

I can do either, but would rather let the LBS handle the big stuff on my bike for 2 reasons. First, it's a great shop and I like to support it and second, it gives me an excuse to go to the bike shop and poke around and buy more stuff.
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Old 08-13-06, 05:42 PM
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I can do some basic stuff, but i take my bike to the LBS for wheel truing and der adjustments etc.
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Old 08-13-06, 05:45 PM
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I pretty much do everything other than true wheels. I've built up a couple of bikes now. It actually seems like more trouble to take the bike to the shop to fix rather than doing it myself. And there is nothing more irritating than taking a bike in to be fixed, then getting it home and out on ride and still hear that annoying creaking.

Between this site, park tools site, and a basic bike repair book and tools, I can handle just about anything.
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Old 08-14-06, 05:01 AM
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I'll pretty much do anything except true wheels. There's no shop that's really all that "local" to here where I trust the mechanics, so I just do it myself. Knock on wood, but I haven't had to mess with truing a wheel in a long time now.
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Old 08-14-06, 05:40 AM
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I do pretty much everything. I am going to try my hand at wheelbuilding soon.

1. I enjoy it.
2. I hate taking the time to run the bike to the shop.
3. As much as I like my LBS (luckily I have 4 withing 15-20min of home). I hate spending $50+ for something like a tuneup which amounts to pulling the slack out of a few cables and turning a couple barrel adjusters.

-D
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Old 08-14-06, 05:43 AM
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I have tons of books and some haphazard attempts to maintain by bike. But, hardly enough actual hands on. I wish to cross that divide and feel comfortable with a wrench.
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Old 08-14-06, 05:46 AM
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I can do everything if I have to, though I don't have all the tools -- I mean, how often do you think I might need a headset press? On the other hand, I work summers in a bike shop, so I have the wrenches there do most of my work. Off-season, when I'm out of town, I do my own work.
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Old 08-14-06, 06:04 AM
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Reasonably competent, and getting better with time. Still have to look up some stuff on park tools.
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Old 08-14-06, 06:10 AM
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I'm only 16, but i have a bike stand, truing stand and a lot of tools, i do a lot of my own stuff. I find truing wheels the easiest, and the only real thing i cant do is press a headset (i dont have the tools), Install a bottom bracket (no tools) and thats bout it.
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Old 08-14-06, 06:10 AM
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Everything except for facing, and rebuilding shocks.
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Old 08-14-06, 06:19 AM
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I do everything myself. The only time I step foot in a bike shop is to buy a bike or a part. If it is something I can't fix, I replace it. Bikes are pretty simple. When I got started, all I did was buy a couple of vintage bike repair manuals, a bike tool kit, and a stand. For instructions on repairing newer model bikes, I just turn to the web. I agree that truing wheels is pretty simple, even without a truing stand. I just put the brake pads very close to the rim and when it rubs I adjust. Keep doing that until it is perfectly true and the brake pads rub evenly around the rim.
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Old 08-14-06, 07:27 AM
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I brake it.
I try to fix it and brake it more.
Then I take it to the bike shop and hold my head down in shame.
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Old 08-14-06, 07:29 AM
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I wouldn't trust any my local bike stores with anything to do with any of my bikes.

I do 100% of my work, and the only thing I am incapable of doing at home is chasing and facing the BB shell and head tubes. In the case of those, I make sure the frame is ready to build when I buy it.
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Old 08-14-06, 07:31 AM
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I can oil the chain like a champ now.
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Old 08-14-06, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by timhines
I brake it.
I try to fix it and brake it more.
Then I take it to the bike shop and hold my head down in shame.
Agreed....I try to fix it. Most of the time it works, other times I make it worse. Then I bring the bike to the LBS, they snicker, fix it and I am on my way.
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Old 08-14-06, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Hammertoe
The physical battle has always to be...
Dude, you need to fix your signature so those of us who don't know the quote can finish it...

Last edited by Hambone; 08-14-06 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 08-14-06, 12:53 PM
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I'm not a very good mechanic. I am lucky to have an excellent mechanic for a riding buddy, and he always helps me out.
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Old 08-14-06, 01:00 PM
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Very mechanically inclined. When I was younger I fixed everything on my car that didn't require expensive special tools or engine removal. I am still learning the bike mechanic stuff, but getting better. I can adjust my derailleurs and things like that, albeit slower than the bike shop. The biggest issue so far, is that I don't have the right tools. I would love to be able to tru wheels, but don't have a truing stand or a spoke wrench.
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Old 08-14-06, 01:07 PM
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i'm just a novice mechanic but learning quite fast. the closest LBS is a 40 min drive from where i am, so i am determined to learn how to do darn near everything myself so i don't have to make that blasted drive.
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Old 08-14-06, 01:13 PM
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I am competent at what little I have tried.
My repairs have been limited to swapping out cables, truing a wheel, and a few other minor issues.
I plan on adding a section to my workbench for cycling repairs and building up a frameset after I purchase the needed tools. That and try my hand at wheelbuilding. With the proper instruction, I am sure I would be fine.
Bikes are fairly straight forward IMHO. Give me a car and my head explodes.
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Old 08-14-06, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by DataJunkie
I am competent at what little I have tried.
My repairs have been limited to swapping out cables, truing a wheel, and a few other minor issues.
I plan on adding a section to my workbench for cycling repairs and building up a frameset after I purchase the needed tools. That and try my hand at wheelbuilding. With the proper instruction, I am sure I would be fine.
Bikes are fairly straight forward IMHO. Give me a car and my head explodes.
wheel truing and wheel building are two very different animals! Building is an art!

And in case it ever comes up, your aunt's wheel chair wheel, on a family vacation is not the best learning tool to use to try out your hand on rebuilding a wheel...
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Old 08-14-06, 01:26 PM
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In close to 20 years around the sport I have only had an LBS do the following work for me:
1. Build a set of wheels (1991)
2. True that set of wheels the first time (1993)

I have done all of my own work from day 1. I have also done work for many other riders during those years as well.

The only repair I would not under-take today would be ones that require expensive tooling that I currently do not have.
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