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how many simply do there own mechanical work, trust only yourself basically.

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

how many simply do there own mechanical work, trust only yourself basically.

Old 02-16-15, 09:10 AM
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deacon mark
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how many simply do there own mechanical work, trust only yourself basically.

The thread on the LBS and various problems has me wondering about repairs and such. I figured if I was going to cycle in need to learn to do things myself or I was at the mercy of someone else's time. The LBS around here are ok but I am sure that one of them really does not have a mechanic that could build a wheel and as such one of the mechanic told me he could not build wheels. I learned a little at a time and over the years can do just about what a want on a bike. Seems to me bikes are not complicated like cars and why ever allow someone to work on you bike unless you really can trust them.

It seems to me when I go into LBS they assume I really do not know much and in the end when asking serious questions they cannot give answers. Just recently the LBS mechanic told me the longest he had ever seen a 10 speed chain last was 3500 miles. I told him I did not put much stock in chain checkers I prefer a steel ruler. He told me that was not as accurate? I almost felt like bringing in my Wilier with it 10 spd Shimano 6701 chain with 5000 miles and almost zero stretch. I do keep it clean and not really hilly here, I avoid rain and mud, but I just wonder about the mechanic. He was maybe in his late 20's nice enough but maybe lacked some experience?

I was in at a local Performance Store a while back when in the Chicago area and once the saleperson found out I knew bikes he started asking me questions. In fact we had a great discussion. I left the store thinking at least they did not pretend they had all the answer, of course neither to I. I in the end I want to do all my own maitanence and mechanical work. Make sure the QR is on right, brakes centered, shifting is crisp and accurate, and I take responsibility that the bike is running correct. Taking it the LBS could be hit or miss and much more expensive for a small investment in tools and time.
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Old 02-16-15, 09:20 AM
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What the heck are people doing to their chains. I had someone working at a shop tell me recently that most customers only get 2000-3000 out of a chain. I live in a hilly, rainy area, and I get 5000-7000 mi out of a chain. Of course, I keep my drivetrain clean and well maintained.

When I take my bike into the shop, I have the mechanic show me what he has done. It has been very useful, especially in situations when a friend's bike has a problem on the road, and I am the only one who can fix it. When I bought my touring bike a couple years ago, I was even able to arrange a one-on-one session where we walked through chain repair, disc brake repair, broken spokes, and a few other things that I might encounter. He didn't charge me, but I did give him a 6-pack of craft beer. I do believe that if you find a mechanic whose work you can trust, it is worthwhile to cultivate a relationship.
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Old 02-16-15, 09:31 AM
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My experience has been the same with my bikes as with my cars. I did a lot of my own maintenance work on the first car I ever owned...then I bought a Saab and after that it was dealer service for everything.

My first two road bikes I built from eBay frames and used components and did everything, including building several wheels. Last year I bought my new Roubaix. While I haven't needed any service yet I'm likely to take it to the shop when I do. I still make minor adjustments and keep it clean but these days I don't have the time to learn about internal cable routing and the new bottom bracket Specialized uses.
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Old 02-16-15, 09:36 AM
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Diy

If I have the tools to do the job well, I do it myself.

For me, having the right tools takes my skill level into account. More experienced mechanics can fix bicycles with less help from the tools. Truing wheels is an example. I got a truing stand and tension meter because they provide a bit more help than just keeping the wheel on the frame/fork. But a more experienced mechanic can probably do as good a job with just a spoke wrench as I can with the wrench, stand and meter. They'd have learned from doing it thousands of times. I also use a torque wrench for many fasteners, while others just know the right tightness by feel.

If I needed a repair and didn't have the tools and couldn't afford the right tools, I'd take it to the shop.

Over time, I've spent less on tools than I would have on professional repairs. And my bike is in better riding condition because I'll tweak something myself more often than I'd take it to the LBS to have them work on it.

My experience with LBS repair is not always positive. My preference for tools over repair fees is influenced by the occasional repair/maintenance that didn't seem to be done right.

Finally, it's a hobby. I like having some mechanical knowledge. And I can invest enough time to have a basic competence in most maintenance tasks (e.g., chains, cassettes, bottom bracket, headset, cables, truing, brakes, and, with the older bikes, packing bearings, adjusting cones, etc.).
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Old 02-16-15, 09:46 AM
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LBS mechanics are definitely hit or miss - for a variety of reasons that could include age, experience, patience, etc...

It's important to keep in mind that the only person who will care about your property as much as you do is you.

Personally, I find it very rewarding to be able to wrench and solve problems on my own. For me, it's 1/3 of the fun of cycling. The other 2/3 being the social aspect and the riding itself.

Obviously not everyone is mechanically inclined... In those cases, it's a must to find someone who is experienced and thoughtful. I've seen a lot of questionable work on friend's bikes after a shop visit.
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Old 02-16-15, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by happyscientist View Post
What the heck are people doing to their chains. I had someone working at a shop tell me recently that most customers only get 2000-3000 out of a chain. I live in a hilly, rainy area, and I get 5000-7000 mi out of a chain. Of course, I keep my drivetrain clean and well maintained.
That is about what I get out of a Campy chain, using their wear measurement specifications. (2000-3000)

I have a 9 speed Dura Ace set-up though, a bike I built in 1999, still on the original Dura Ace chain and cassette. I'm guessing, but it has done around 15,000 miles. I have never measured it, but it still works fine. When it is time to replace, the cassette would go bye bye though.
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Old 02-16-15, 09:47 AM
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Bikes aren't difficult to work with if you have some mechanical skills and a few tools. I can fix almost anything on my bikes, but for brazing/welding/machining I'd go to a welder or machinist.
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Old 02-16-15, 09:54 AM
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I do all my own work. I also build my bikes from framesets because I am never 100% happy with what the manufacturer's product managers spec in, and I build my own wheels.
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Old 02-16-15, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by svtmike View Post
I do all my own work. I also build my bikes from framesets because I am never 100% happy with what the manufacturer's product managers spec in, and I build my own wheels.
This. Before working on locomotives I worked on bikes. I bought out my old bosses tools before he went out of business, I'm waiting to open my own service shop after we buy a new house.
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Old 02-16-15, 10:07 AM
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I do nearly all* of my own maintenance for everything not related to wheels. Anything hub/spoke/rim-related I leave to the LBS.

*For the bikes that I own. I don't currently own anything with discs, hydro, shocks, or electronics, so I neither have the tools nor enough knowledge to service those things.

*And definitely not the frame repair stuff. Welding and CF repair, I leave to the pros.
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Old 02-16-15, 10:11 AM
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I've never had a shop work on my bike, ever. I'm mechanically inclined and it's not like bicycles are the space shuttle.
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Old 02-16-15, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by deacon mark View Post
I told him I did not put much stock in chain checkers I prefer a steel ruler. He told me that was not as accurate? I almost felt like bringing in my Wilier with it 10 spd Shimano 6701 chain with 5000 miles and almost zero stretch. I do keep it clean and not really hilly here, I avoid rain and mud, but I just wonder about the mechanic. He was maybe in his late 20's nice enough but maybe lacked some experience?
A ruler doesn't measure the wear of the rollers... and that is the real concern, not "stretch." You aren't measuring anything relevant with a ruler. You won't know if your chain is damaging your cassette until you put a new chain on a worn cassette and climb a few hills.
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Old 02-16-15, 10:53 AM
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I do all of my own work. Pretty much on everything- not just bikes; and for several reasons:

A)Convenience: Whether it's taking a bike to a shop, or a motor vehicle, it's a hassle going there; dropping the thing off....going back to pick it up.... I can usually fix the thing in less time than it would take just to drive back and forth.

B)Competence: If i do it, I know it's done right/the way I want it. There's just too much incompetence in any type of service business these days- between that, and the oft-encountered "Don't give a darn" attitudes...

C)Price. I replaced the motor coupling in my mother's washing machine a few days ago. Total cost: $6.50 for the part. If she had to hire someone to come and do it, it would have been a $120 job.

D)I fix everything else- vehicles; appliances; structures; -why should I not work on something as simple as a bicycle- especially when we now have the internet, with a vast array of information about how to do virtually anything?

E)The tools required for most bike-related tasks are minimal and/or usually inexpensive- and many can be improvised (like a headset press) if it's not something you're going to use a lot.

F)Because I'd REALLY get steamed if I brought something to a "professional" and paid good money to have it fixed/repaired, and it turned out not be right.

[I bought a van from a friend a few years ago, who had always had the van serviced by "professionals". The van developed a miss. I discovered that the problem was: Last time he had paid someone very good money to change the spark plugs, they neglected to change the plug on the #7 cylinder- which is very hard to get at. The plug looked like it had been in there for the life of the van! Not only was my friend cheated by not having work done which he paid for- but such could ruined the motor- as these particular motors are known for having plugs that seize in the bore, and then stripping out the threads of the cylinder head ]

And finally:

G) Because I can; and I'd feel like a putz if I had to pay someone to maintain something as simple as a bicycle.
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Old 02-16-15, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by headloss View Post
A ruler doesn't measure the wear of the rollers... and that is the real concern, not "stretch." You aren't measuring anything relevant with a ruler. You won't know if your chain is damaging your cassette until you put a new chain on a worn cassette and climb a few hills.
Actually, it's the wear in the rollers which causes "stretch"- so measuring the chain with a ruler or a chain-checker, is pretty much an easy way to assess the condition of the rollers. No stretch: The rollers are good.
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Old 02-16-15, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I've never had a shop work on my bike, ever. I'm mechanically inclined and it's not like bicycles are the space shuttle.
Ditto. Last time I had someone else work on my bike, I think I was 8, and that was only because I couldn't get the nut off the back wheel to fix my flat, so the nice man at the local hardware store helped me out by using a pair of Vise-Grips..... (!)
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Old 02-16-15, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Stucky View Post
Actually, it's the wear in the rollers which causes "stretch"- so measuring the chain with a ruler or a chain-checker, is pretty much an easy way to assess the condition of the rollers. No stretch: The rollers are good.
Exactly if the pins do not line up then the rollers have wore and that equals a longer chain. Chain checkers just are inaccurate and will show wear on new chains, this has been shown many times.
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Old 02-16-15, 11:22 AM
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From gluing tubulars, to cutting the steer tube, I have done all of my own work. Mainly because the nearest bike shop is about an hour away. It is all not that hard with the help of youtube.

Although I still can't do everything to make my bike perfect. I will not play with my spoke tension to true the wheels, or I doubt I will be building my next wheelset.
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Old 02-16-15, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by happyscientist View Post
What the heck are people doing to their chains.


riding conditions may vary
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Old 02-16-15, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by deacon mark View Post
Chain checkers just are inaccurate and will show wear on new chains, this has been shown many times.
Even this kind:
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Old 02-16-15, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by deacon mark View Post
Exactly if the pins do not line up then the rollers have wore and that equals a longer chain. Chain checkers just are inaccurate and will show wear on new chains, this has been shown many times.
I would not be able to do that with a ruler, just saying.

I use a caliper which measures decimal parts of a mm and at the same time is able to stretch the chain taking up the wear tolerances. Besides that, if you want to protect your cassette without having to replace it, the tolerance you have to measure is too small to capture with a ruler.

The wear takes place within the pins and bushings, which would move the inner and outer plates further apart ever so slightly. But then there is also wear between the inside of the roller and the outside of the bushing. The latter is not measurable with a ruler.

If the cassette is cheap, like Ultegra, I don't bother, ride until things almost fall apart for way more miles than just a chain going out of spec. Then replace both. But Dura Ace, or Super Record cassettes are pretty expensive to replace.
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Old 02-16-15, 11:53 AM
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I do 95% of all my own work. I recently purchased a new Trek Emonda and sat with the mechanic that built it up and learned a few tricks. For my birthday a few weeks ago, my son got me a gift card from the shop good for 2 hours of private lessons from the same mechanic. We talked and figured learning how to true a wheel would be a good skill to learn.
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Old 02-16-15, 12:27 PM
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I do 99% of my own work, mostly because I like fixing things on the fly when they go wrong and also because the last couple times I've tried to get a shop appointment for routine service the shop had a 2 week wait. I guess it's good that they're busy!
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Old 02-16-15, 01:26 PM
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I do almost all of my own work now. I still have not built any wheels, but I true and check the tension on my wheels when I have to. I derive a lot of joy and serenity from working on my bikes and doing little stuff on my car and truck. You can term it the "zen effect."

If you are a knowledge worker who has no hobbies that involve using your hands, then a lot of calmness and peace can be derived from working on things that lets you use your hands in conjunction with your mind.
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Old 02-16-15, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by velociraptor View Post
LBS mechanics are definitely hit or miss - for a variety of reasons that could include age, experience, patience, etc...and training
All our guys are trained, They went to a school and learned how to properly do everything. They have the certifications to back it up. Do they occasionally make mistakes? Sure.

Frankly we see a lot of home spun stuff and, more power to the folks that try to fix it themselves, but much of it is not very good.

We have classes where we will teach customers how to wrench their own bikes. They bring their bike in and if they go through the whole series, they will have disassembled and rebuilt their entire bike. Taught by a mechanic who used to wrench for the Under 23 US National Cycling Team.

I think that cheaper smaller shops hire homes schooled mechanics and hope for the best because they run the business like a hobby and don't want to make the proper investment in the business and people.
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Old 02-16-15, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ColnagoC40 View Post
That is about what I get out of a Campy chain, using their wear measurement specifications. (2000-3000) ...
i've heard that McDonalds recommends throwing the last half of a big mac away. and if you really want a whole one you should buy two. seems reasonable to me.
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