Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 07-29-17, 05:17 PM   #1
vlicon
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Bikes:
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Honest Bike Mechanics

I'm pretty sure that most bike mechanics are honest and competent individuals. I would expect most people into cycling to be a lot like me! It was disappointing that on a recent out of town tour I left my bike at the shop for a wheel truing. A couple of hours later I got a call on my cell to tell me the bike was ready. He also told me that he likes to check the chain of folks passing through to make sure everything is in good working order. He advised that he measured my chain with his calipers and it looked like it was time for replacement. I got quiet and told him that was surprising to hear because the BIKE only had a little over 500 miles on it. I politely told him I think I should be OK and would go as is. 500 miles later I have the same chain, it measures out just fine and the drivetrain is performing flawlessly. This was disappointing because it was a shop that people have recommended as being a quality establishment. To top it off the wheel didn't seem to be any more true than it was when I had left it.

I mentioned it to a friend who rode cross country several years ago, he said he had a couple experiences like that on his trip. Im pretty sure that this is a fairly isolated case and that LBS truly stands for Local Bike Shop and not something else. Anyone else have similar or differing experiences?
vlicon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-17, 06:11 PM   #2
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, Perfekt 3 Speed of unknown age, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer for exercise. Several others are now gone.
Posts: 3,978
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 506 Post(s)
I find that the small chain checkers will often say that a chain is bad. But if I pull the chain off of the bike and measure it with a four foot long ruler I often find that the chain is good. I change chains at 0.75 percent elongation.

I worked in a bike shop before I went to college, thus I have very little interaction with bike mechanics since I do almost all of my own work.
Tourist in MSN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-17, 07:34 PM   #3
Rowan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Bikes:
Posts: 16,244
Mentioned: 74 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1147 Post(s)
Yeah, get to know how to do stuff on a bike, which will sometime become extremely useful on tour.

If you want to see if people have had bad experiences with LBS, just browse the posts in various forums, starting with general, then going to Bicycle Mechanics.

Remember, bike shops are facing virtual extinction in the face of overwhelming competition from internet sellers. The inability or inflexibility of the industry to keep pace with this has many causes, starting with the distribution networks and agreements, and ending with a large dose of arrogance about skills and knowledge... which leads to situations like the one you have just experienced.

Read, acquire, practise, build, maintain. That is, read up on what you want to do; acquire the appropriate tools; practise what you want to do; build your own bike (it doesn't have to be anymore than a 10 to 15yo reasonably quality bike); and use your skills to maintain.

If you do tour, you will be able to pull together a small tool kit that should get you out of most difficulties. But the interesting thing is, if you have some of these mechanical skills, you will ensure your bike is in tip-top condition before you depart on a tour, and the chances of anything bad happening are much reduced (given that the bike you have is of reasonable quality with durable componentry).
Rowan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-17, 09:55 PM   #4
nfmisso
Nigel
 
nfmisso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: San Jose, CA
Bikes: 1980s and 1990s steel: CyclePro, Nishiki, Schwinn, SR, Trek........
Posts: 2,651
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 266 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by rowan View Post
.......

If you do tour, you will be able to pull together a small tool kit that should get you out of most difficulties. But the interesting thing is, if you have some of these mechanical skills, you will ensure your bike is in tip-top condition before you depart on a tour, and the chances of anything bad happening are much reduced (given that the bike you have is of reasonable quality with durable componentry).
absolutely !!!!
nfmisso is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-17, 11:09 PM   #5
vlicon
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Bikes:
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by nfmisso View Post
absolutely !!!!
That's pretty much my situation, and i usually would take care of those things myself. But I was on vacation and was willing to spend good money to free up my time for other things. Having some basic knowledge about bike maintenance and repair can go a long way to solving problems. But one should also expect honest work when taking it to a "pro".
vlicon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-17, 12:17 AM   #6
dabac
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Bikes:
Posts: 7,113
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 558 Post(s)
I've read on several occasions that chain checker tools are more fast than accurate.
The guy might simply be doing as he's been taught.
No need to suspect anything sinister.
dabac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-17, 07:10 AM   #7
andrewclaus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO, Scottsdale, AZ
Bikes: 1996 REI Randonee, 1983 Trek 620
Posts: 1,106
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 100 Post(s)
If the mechanic used a Park CC-2 tool, it may have had a bent pin. And the mechanic may have been a trainee. Or not the best at truing wheels. The shop I volunteer at definitely has one of those--excellent at everything except wheels. You can tell I'm trying to give the benefit of the doubt here. I like to think that bike mechanics are a trustworthy lot, if not completely competent.
andrewclaus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-17, 08:48 AM   #8
phughes
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Bikes:
Posts: 667
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 55 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
If the mechanic used a Park CC-2 tool, it may have had a bent pin. And the mechanic may have been a trainee. Or not the best at truing wheels. The shop I volunteer at definitely has one of those--excellent at everything except wheels. You can tell I'm trying to give the benefit of the doubt here. I like to think that bike mechanics are a trustworthy lot, if not completely competent.
The OP said the mechanic stated he measured with calipers.
phughes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-17, 09:25 AM   #9
seeker333
__________
 
seeker333's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Bikes: yes!
Posts: 3,322
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 87 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I find that the small chain checkers will often say that a chain is bad. But if I pull the chain off of the bike and measure it with a four foot long ruler I often find that the chain is good. I change chains at 0.75 percent elongation...
+1

I use mostly SRAM chains, 9s. I have found these chains always have ~0.25% stretch (elongation beyond nominal 0.5" per link) when brand new due to manufacturing tolerance.

I measure 24" of chain for stretch, hung on the wall by a finishing nail. The math works out easy this way: 1/16" of stretch over 24" of chain is ~0.25% stretch, 2/16"=0.50%, 3/16"=0.75%. The more chain you measure, the more likely you'll get a good measurement. It's hard to see/read 1/32", but 1/16, 1/8 not so hard.

LBSs are generally honest businessmen. However, I once bought a Pedros spoke wrench and discovered it was poorly made and did not fit any size nipples (all three slots a bit too small). I returned wrench to LBS, explained problem, he then hung it right back up on the shelf to sell to the next sucker.

Last edited by seeker333; 07-30-17 at 09:28 AM.
seeker333 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-17, 10:43 AM   #10
ironwood
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Boston area
Bikes: 1984 Bridgestone 400 1985Univega nouevo sport 650b conversion 1993b'stone RBT 1985 Schwinn Tempo
Posts: 1,336
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 191 Post(s)
Learn to true wheels on the bike. It's a handy thing to know if you are touring. Many years ago I built wheels and trued them by using a suspended bike frame, a pencil and brake pads and a spoke wrench. The wheels lasted for thousands of miles and many years.
ironwood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-17, 03:43 PM   #11
Brian25
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Tucson, AZ
Bikes: Ravello road, mountain and track bikes and tandems. Also Ravello travel trailers.
Posts: 387
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 99 Post(s)
Try to top this story; I open a bike store, have it as a Trek dealership for four years, sell it. Several months later several people go in for simple limit screw adjustments and the new store employee tells them that their derailleur is not adjustable/ is shot and sells them a new one at a ridiculous bilk price of over $100. Just mind boggling
Brian25 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-17, 05:22 PM   #12
BigAura
 
BigAura's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Chapin, SC
Bikes: all steel stable: surly world troller, paris sport fixed, fuji ss
Posts: 3,183
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 478 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian25 View Post
I open a bike store, have it as a Trek dealership for four years, sell it.
If you sold your business in four years then you most like likely realized how tough the bike-shop-business is.
BigAura is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-17, 05:35 PM   #13
robow
Senior Member
 
robow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 3,004
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 167 Post(s)
Our local bike shop mechanic is unfortunately very poor. It's really not so much his fault in that he is a nice fellow but has had almost zero training and zero education before the new shop owner said to him, "you're now our new bike shop head mechanic" Until that moment I'm not sure he had ever changed a flat. He watches youtube videos in order to get a feel for how to fix something because the new owner won't spend any money to send him to school and he fired the original mechanic before the present fellow could learn from him. I go down there to help him out when I can but if you could see the things that leave the shop, you would be amazed and you should be thankful if you do have a decent mechanic and consider tipping him or taking him lunch or some treats.
robow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-17, 06:34 PM   #14
Brian25
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Tucson, AZ
Bikes: Ravello road, mountain and track bikes and tandems. Also Ravello travel trailers.
Posts: 387
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 99 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
If you sold your business in four years then you most like likely realized how tough the bike-shop-business is.
I was actually in the bicycle industry for over fifteen years. A store owner for over twelve, I know how difficult the business is, but it does not mean that you have to loose your integrity and rip people off, well at least I can say that I didn't.
Brian25 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-17, 06:57 PM   #15
manapua_man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Bikes:
Posts: 894
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 178 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
I like to think that bike mechanics are a trustworthy lot, if not completely competent.
Same. I think most are pretty honest, but a lot of them haven't actually worked on many bikes before getting hired.
manapua_man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-17, 04:36 AM   #16
NoControl 
Look Ma! No Hands!
 
NoControl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: New Hampshire
Bikes: Surly ECR, 1953 Dunelt
Posts: 739
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 420 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by manapua_man View Post
Same. I think most are pretty honest, but a lot of them haven't actually worked on many bikes before getting hired.
Or they've only worked on their own bikes and have not encountered the full spectrum of bicycle repair issues yet, not to mention developing good customer service habits.
__________________
"I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks" -Daniel Boone
NoControl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-17, 05:30 AM   #17
mev
bicycle tourist
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Bikes: Trek 520, Lightfoot Ranger, Trek 4500
Posts: 1,328
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 82 Post(s)
I am not the most mechanically inclined. I know how to fix many items on my bikes but am also willing to have a shop service things. General philosophy that mechanics who do this daily are more often more competent.

In South America, I've found more separation between sales and service sides of the business. For example, shops that mostly sell bikes/parts and repair places that mostly service. Some crossover, e.g. a shop might sell parts and install them and a few full service places but more the exception than the rule.

In Lima, Peru I decided to have some worn parts replaced, e.g. chain and brake pads and ended up picking a shop with a not so good mechanic. Chain went fine, but fiddled for longest time with the brake pads. Eventually told me I should replace rotors. Didn't seem quite right for the front rotor that was fairly recent and not worn much. I was about to have the rear rotor replaced when I noticed their replacement was stamped "organic pads only", so had it replaced with a spare I had with me.

Front brakes were rubbing within first day and one of the front pads fell out while riding a week later.

Overall, not the best experience that I chalk up mostly to my not doing it myself and accidentally picking a mostly sales ship without a good mechanic.
mev is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-17, 07:32 AM   #18
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Bikes: 8
Posts: 27,966
Mentioned: 60 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2855 Post(s)
Bike mechanics with skills gathered over a long career? , there is a lot of turnover, it's not a well paying job (waiters and bartenders get more money, thru tips)

the owner may not even have kept up with the engineers that make the latest gizmos on bikes..

leave the high end bike home , tour on something simpler , non exotic parts.. 36 spoke wheels.
low-mid line components.
fietsbob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-17, 07:46 AM   #19
mstateglfr
Senior Member
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Bikes: '87 Miyata 912, '80 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8, '90 Fuji Saratoga, '90 Diamondback Ascent EX, Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4
Posts: 5,175
Mentioned: 44 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1392 Post(s)
Funny timing- I took a mountain bike in to a shop last week because the rear brake cable is incredibly loose. Brakes work great, but there is no tension and the cable tings the frame 100x/minute when using it on trails.
Anyways, the shop is a large and popular one that I know well. Half the staff was out because they were working the week across Iowa on RAGBRAI.

I had tried 15 ways to tighten the cable and still have the brakes work well, but it just didn’t work. Vbrakes. So I took it in for the experts.

I just picked it up yesterday. The cable is tighter…and one of the brake pads is sitting against the rim! They put a new cable on(I had put one on in February). Good lord.
I paid the $14 and left. Not worth the argument and certainly not worth giving it back to them to work on.

Time to try to adjust it on my own for the 16th time. Ive never had a brake of any type be this wonky.





Anyways- misery loves company and bike shops arent perfect.
mstateglfr is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-17, 08:24 AM   #20
manapua_man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Bikes:
Posts: 894
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 178 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Bike mechanics with skills gathered over a long career? , there is a lot of turnover, it's not a well paying job (waiters and bartenders get more money, thru tips)

the owner may not even have kept up with the engineers that make the latest gizmos on bikes..

leave the high end bike home , tour on something simpler , non exotic parts.. 36 spoke wheels.
low-mid line components.

The differences between "high end" and "low end" bikes really aren't great enough to make me think that such a thing is much of an issue. They're not complicated machines, even when you get stuff like electronic shifting involved.

Now if we were talking availability of parts, sure then that approach is justified.

Last edited by manapua_man; 07-31-17 at 08:28 AM.
manapua_man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-17, 09:15 AM   #21
36Oly_Rider
Senior Member
 
36Oly_Rider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Bikes: Black Beauty; The Lone Ranger; Samsquantch
Posts: 346
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 55 Post(s)
I've heard of places calling them "Bicycle Service Technicians" because "honest" and "mechanics" generally aren't synonymous with each other (usually automotive) and some people have a tendency to generalize and think negative or feel they are getting ripped off by all "mechanics".
36Oly_Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-17, 09:19 AM   #22
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Bikes:
Posts: 14,856
Mentioned: 71 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3777 Post(s)
Petco has openings for "Guest Experience Specialists."
indyfabz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-17, 09:39 AM   #23
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee
Posts: 3,657
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 405 Post(s)
OTOH, I've had a few really good experiences while touring:


I was nervous about starting a tour with a new bike (long story, "old" frame broke 8 miles in, REI replaced the entire bike). A shop in Ashland, VA checked the wheels and declared them tight and true. REI in Bailey's Corner set me up right, and the Ashland shop was right - minimal wheel troubles on tour. No charge.


Over 3,000 miles later, I had a slight wobble coming down the pass into the Bitterroot Valley. Hellgate Cyclery (I remember THAT name!) in Missoula touched up both wheels, working me into their flow. Perfect for the rest of the trip, and for years afterward. Charge: $7.


I got lazy after a few more hills, and asked a handyman-with-a-bike-shop to swap out brake pads in Idaho (maybe outside Clark Fork?). I had carried the pads 4,000 miles, and he swapped them out, doing a bang-up job. He didn't want to charge me, but he took a handful of slightly stale Fig Newtons.


Those kinds of experiences balance out the "Your bike looks OK, $60 please" nonsense in my book.
pdlamb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-17, 01:38 PM   #24
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Cilo Dura-Ace 12 Speed Road Bike
Posts: 2,925
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 324 Post(s)
People love to complain. It is what we do best. Everyone you are dealing with is human and sometimes people make mistakes or are taught a bad practice and it continues, sometimes not.

I would rather have a mechanic that looks over the entire bike than one who just does something quick and stays quiet. Especially since if something happens to the bike or to you as a result of the bike because what happens next is potentially legal trouble or just a very angry customer chewing you out. I have seen it before and I don't like it to happen again. A good competent mechanic should go over the entire bike and make sure it is safe and nothing is worn out. Sometimes people get a little overzealous or have less than accurate tools but better safe than sorry.
veganbikes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-17, 02:58 PM   #25
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, Perfekt 3 Speed of unknown age, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer for exercise. Several others are now gone.
Posts: 3,978
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 506 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Funny timing- I took a mountain bike in to a shop last week because the rear brake cable is incredibly loose. Brakes work great, but there is no tension and the cable tings the frame 100x/minute when using it on trails. ....
Do you need some of those plastic donut shaped things that silence the cable when it slaps against the frame? If so, go back to the shop and ask them to give you some gratis.
Tourist in MSN is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

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



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:26 PM.


 
  • Ask a Question
    get answers from real people!
Click to start entering your question.
I HAVE A QUESTION