Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Do you know how to fix your own bicycle? How important is it to be able to fix yours?

Notices
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.

Do you know how to fix your own bicycle? How important is it to be able to fix yours?

Old 11-20-17, 08:49 PM
  #1  
chrisx
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
chrisx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 924
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 406 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Do you know how to fix your own bicycle? How important is it to be able to fix yours?

Some people can take their bicycle apart and put it back together. Some people can not fix a flat. Even if you tour on the pacific coast route, you could get stranded for a while if you do not know how to fix a broken chain or replace a broken cable. What if you tour on the Baja Divide, how important is it to be able to repair your own bicycle?

As a touring cyclist, how important is it to know how to fix your own bike? In town, a cyclist can take a bus home if need be. Not true on a bicycle tour. I once walked 2 days without seeing anothr person. Not because of a mechanical failure, but because of a crash.

Many years ago, I rode a bicycle from Miami to Seattle, without much mechanical knowledge. By the time I got there I had poor shifting, poor braking, most every part was worn out. The chain was stretched and loose, the brake levers would stick, delayed shifting, everything tired.

Then I took a couple of bicycle repair classes. The sign on the wall said $60 plus parts, for the class. 5 monday nights, 10 or so people in the class. Up the road at Recycled cycles, the sign says, tune up $60 plus parts. What sounds better, pay the mechanic $60 or pay the teacher $60?

Well; I was able to repair that bicycle and ride it down to La Paz, BCS. I left it there with a cracked fork.

I took some more repair classes, volunteered at my local bike coop once a week for a few years, I took the wheel building class 2 times, I own the Park Tool Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repairs.

I am not a profesional bicycle mechanic. Not even a good mechanic. I can keep my bicycle going. Once you know how to change a cable, you replace your cables in a timely fashion. When you know how to put grease on an cable, and keep the shifting smooth, you do it.

In the last 10 years, I have spent $15 2 seperate times on mechanic fees, as I do not own a head set tool. In Seattle and Portland, they have the tool at the coop. In San Diego, the coop is very basic.

Last edited by chrisx; 11-20-17 at 09:09 PM.
chrisx is offline  
Old 11-20-17, 09:06 PM
  #2  
jefnvk
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,214

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3639 Post(s)
Liked 81 Times in 51 Posts
I've taught myself everything short of wheelbuilding WRT bike servicing, and when that need (want?) comes around I'll learn that too. Bikes are not a mechanically complex device. I doubt a competent mechanic can do anything better than me, although I certainly believe they can do most things faster than me.

I don't disparage anyone who can't/won't do their own maintenance, how everyone spends their own money is up to them. I find it beneficial, if for no other reason than knowing how to fix a broken spoke or cable the night before a costly ride or tour, when the shop is closed.

FWIW, a 2' piece of threaded rod, two nuts, and a couple heavy duty washers (I use two at each end) can make a competent headset tool for about $10. Made my own removal device from a copper pipe with two cuts, too.

Last edited by jefnvk; 11-20-17 at 09:12 PM.
jefnvk is offline  
Old 11-20-17, 10:34 PM
  #3  
Kedosto
Callipygian Connoisseur
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,373
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 564 Post(s)
Liked 350 Times in 190 Posts
I just posted this in another thread but I'll repeat it here --

I've built many bikes. I've rebuilt many bikes. I cannot, however, wrap bars. It always ends up looking like it was done by a blind monkey.

I think if you're simply joy riding or a part time weekend warrior then the stakes probably aren't that high, but touring or commuting requires a higher level of commitment and with that commitment comes the responsibility of self sufficiency.

I suppose a credit card can ease a lot of that responsibility but that's just not my style.

-Kedosto
Kedosto is offline  
Old 11-20-17, 11:32 PM
  #4  
MarcusT
Senior Member
 
MarcusT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: NE Italy
Posts: 1,398
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 644 Post(s)
Liked 440 Times in 255 Posts
The basics are a must for me. Touring takes you to some secluded areas and something as simple as a flat tire can strand you for a long time. Flats, chains, wheel truing/disc straightening, derailleur repair/calibration, brake setup are among the repairs I can do on the road, and have done all of them. Just a few hours on youtube and anyone can learn how to fix anything
MarcusT is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 12:13 AM
  #5  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,138

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 141 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3201 Post(s)
Liked 547 Times in 315 Posts
I married my bicycle mechanic.

But I can also do the basics to keep a bicycle rolling. I grew up around bicycles and my father did a lot of work on bicycles, so I picked up bits and pieces from him. Then I took two bicycle maintenance courses which helped, and I've done some reading and asked questions and whatnot ...

However, being married to my bicycle mechanic means that I've kind of lost touch with some of it.
Machka is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 01:19 AM
  #6  
B. Carfree
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Posts: 7,048
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 509 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 8 Posts
I can do almost all things that need doing on a bike. However, even though I seek out routes to tour that have very few people, I've never felt that if I had a breakdown I would be stranded for long. I once took a 75 mile ride with my tandem on the roof of a friendly public defender's van to the nearest bike shop from where our headset failed. It would have been a very tough ride if not for his kind offer. People like that are all over; hopefully cycle-tourists strive to be road angels for others as well.
B. Carfree is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 03:51 AM
  #7  
checoles
Senior Member
 
checoles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Hull, England
Posts: 253

Bikes: Tern Link A7 Folding Bike, Marin Gestalt 2019

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 73 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I think if you're gonna go touring, especially remote areas, being able to fix your bike is a must. The basics covered should be -

FIX A FLAT - Can not stress how important that skill is. We take it for granted, but if you've used all your spare tubes and have moved onto the puncture repair kits, you need to know how to do it.

INSTALL A GEAR/BRAKE CABLE - Chances are, you'll be taking a spare one of each, nice and light, and can be slipped into the smallest of pockets on your pannier bags. But if you can't install a new gear cable in the middle of nowhere, you could end up stuck in a gear you really don't want to be in, which as we know, makes a huge difference if you're carrying weight. Especially uphill.

ADJUST GEARS/BRAKES - Even if its just through adjusting the shifter/lever barrels to take the slack out of a cable, it's a great bit of skill, and sometimes, can be done whilst you're still riding!

INSTALL A SPLIT-LINK - If, horrors of horrors, your chain breaks, you need to be able to either A) install a spare split link, or B) in an extreme circumstance, install a new chain. Knowing how to trim them to length, feed the chain through the derailleur properly (Having worked in a Bike Shop, I can't tell you how many chains I've taken off customers bikes and re-routed through the rear derailleur hanger properly. )

But yeah, if you can do them, you'll be fine. As long as you haven't ripped the rear derailleur off, of course

Cheers, Che.
checoles is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 05:48 AM
  #8  
Stormsedge
Senior Member
 
Stormsedge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: East Tennessee
Posts: 678

Bikes: 2017 Trek Domane SL6 Disc, 1990 Schwinn Crosscut Frankenroadbike, 2015 KHS Team 29 FS, 2000 Gary Fisher Tassajara--gone but not forgotten

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 154 Post(s)
Liked 48 Times in 29 Posts
Bikes, motorcycle, cars, truck, yard and house...I prefer to do it myself rather than paying someone to goon it up so I have to do it myself.
Stormsedge is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 05:57 AM
  #9  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,125
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 954 Post(s)
Liked 422 Times in 325 Posts
I personally am very handy and very mechanically inclined. Doing my own work on my bikes is just assumed.

That said, most places I would tour it is possible to hitch a ride when necessary. The more remote, and therefore the fewer passing cars, the more likely it is that any given car will stop to help. If somewhere with only one or two cars per day the odds that each one will stop are pretty high. In more hostile terrain people are especially likely to help, folks just don't tend to let others die in the desert.

I have now and then had a problem that required something I didn't have on hand and hitching a ride was never a problem.

I have been with others who did likewise either because of bike problems or injuries. Sometimes the ride needed to be 50-100 miles. Again they never had a problem getting someone to help.

So for those who are not mechanically inclined it isn't the kiss of death. That said anyone can and should learn a few basic things like being able to fix a flat.
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 06:25 AM
  #10  
PedalingWalrus
Senior Member
 
PedalingWalrus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Maine, USA
Posts: 1,542

Bikes: Corvid Sojourner, Surly Ice Cream Truck, Co-Motion Divide, Co-Motion Java Tandem, Salsa Warbird, Salsa Beargrease, Carver Tandem

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 512 Post(s)
Liked 364 Times in 190 Posts
funny, I just signed up for a 5 week bicycle repair class last week. Only, mine was $150 :-) ...

I can fix a flat, fix a broken chain, replace brake pads, wrap bars, change parts but I can not:
tune a dérailleur
true wheels
never took apart hubs, cogs, bottom brackets

I figured I could improve in the class and a friendly setting where I can just work on my bike when it's freezing outside nowadays. :-)
PedalingWalrus is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 06:35 AM
  #11  
checoles
Senior Member
 
checoles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Hull, England
Posts: 253

Bikes: Tern Link A7 Folding Bike, Marin Gestalt 2019

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 73 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
funny, I just signed up for a 5 week bicycle repair class last week. Only, mine was $150 :-) ...

I can fix a flat, fix a broken chain, replace brake pads, wrap bars, change parts but I can not:
tune a dérailleur
true wheels
never took apart hubs, cogs, bottom brackets

I figured I could improve in the class and a friendly setting where I can just work on my bike when it's freezing outside nowadays. :-)
The great thing about all that, is that if you pay attention and remember things, you'll make that $150 back over the course of the next few years through fixing your own bike and not paying labour prices for mediocre jobs like truing wheels and changing a BB.
checoles is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 06:53 AM
  #12  
mev
bicycle tourist
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Posts: 2,026

Bikes: Trek 520, Lightfoot Ranger, Trek 4500

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 340 Post(s)
Liked 128 Times in 96 Posts
I'm not particularly mechanically inclined and when I have a choice for overhaul service, I'll bring my bike into a shop.

Common things like tires, tubes, spokes and chains are not a big deal and I've taken a one-week bike school where we took major systems apart and reassembled them, so I've got the basic ideas and knowledge of how things work but not a lot of practice. On tour, I'll also bring the bike in if a major subsystem seems like it gives warning signs it might fail. I also make sure my bike is in good working order before a major trip.

I've had a few failures on the road, where I did end up with assistance from a passing motorist:
- derailleur ripped off on the Dalton Highway in the mud*
- hubs failed a few times, once in Canada, once in the USA, once in Thailand and once in New Zealand
- cracked rims on Alaska Highway and a few other times, but typically be able to ride some distance on them

On paved roads at least, I haven't travelled far where there aren't at least some vehicles each day. This includes rides around Australia, across Russia and in all 50 US states. So I agree it is better to at least be able to take care of basic stuff, have basic tools/spares along that match the scale of your journey - as well as how remote it might be from occasional traffic.

(*), In that case, I walked for about 6 miles, got a ride for another 13 miles to a point of civilization where I left my bike and got a ride with a mini-bus for another 140 miles. I returned the next day with a rental car and retrieved the bike. Could I have shortened the chain to make a single-speed in the rear? Yes, I had skills/knowledge to do that, but initially, it was still rather muddy and even later it was quite hilly.
mev is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 07:31 AM
  #13  
andrewclaus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO and Tucson, AZ
Posts: 2,595

Bikes: 2016 Fuji Tread, 1983 Trek 520

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 599 Post(s)
Liked 477 Times in 314 Posts
So many people do not ride their bikes because of a flat tire they don't know how to fix and can't afford to pay shop rates. Or the shifting isn't working right and they don't know you can often fix that by turning a barrel adjuster.

I volunteer at a coop where the mission is to teach people how to fix their bikes. We have a build-a-bike program where for $60 you get an old donated bike, use of a stand and the shop tools, tutelage and advice from paid and volunteer mechanics, a few new important parts (brake shoes, cables, housings), and free access to a good selection of used parts.

When I'm teaching, I stress what can be done on the road or trail. I worked on bikes for five decades without access to a shop, so I also stress what can be done at home with a few simple hand tools or special homemade tools like the headset tools mentioned above. I've built a few sets of wheels with a truing stand made from an old frame and fork and a dishing tool fabricated from a piece of bed frame. (After the first set I bought a $6 nipple driver!)
andrewclaus is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 08:06 AM
  #14  
J.Higgins 
2-Wheeled Fool
 
J.Higgins's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 2,486

Bikes: Surly Ogre, Brompton

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1385 Post(s)
Liked 672 Times in 455 Posts
Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
I doubt a competent mechanic can do anything better than me, although I certainly believe they can do most things faster than me.
Ah! I can totally relate to this, because I am the consummate jack-of-all-trades. I've been employed in the mechanical arts my whole life. Fighter jet mech in the USAF, and industrial repair machinist.I was born into a machinist family, but many of my uncles and cousins were electricians, plumbers, carpenters, bricklayers - I got a big family - my mother was 1/14, and my dad was 4/8. I grew up learned about all trades so to speak. I know how to do electrical work both in industrial applications and residential. I know the codes. I know how to do plumbing. My wife's father, grandfather, etc, were all plumbers. When I was dating my wife, I'd go on calls with her father, and he taught me a lot. I know carpentry and woodworking.

Thing is, I hate it. I know electrical work, but I hate doing it. I know plumbing, but it sucks. I know carpentry, but it sucks. I do it because I have to if I want lights, running water, and a roof over my head. Its kind of like going to the Dentist. You may not like it, but the alternative is a mouth full of rotten teeth.

I'm a perfectionist, so everything I do takes WAAAAAY longer than a pro would do it because they have the tools, and they have the expedient techniques. What @jefnvk says rings true because you only have to know what something should look like and what you want and the rest is achievable.

So to totally agree with @chrisx I will say that everyone should know how to work on their bikes. You figured out how to ride it, right? Makes sense to take the next step. Good thread, chrisx!
J.Higgins is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 08:55 AM
  #15  
manapua_man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 1,023
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 223 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by chrisx View Post
How important is it to be able to repair your own bicycle?
They're not very complicated, so I kinda feel like there isn't much of an excuse for not learning how to do the full assembly and adjustment at least. Taking your stuff to a shop is fine, but IMHO it's best to at least know how to do something, even if you can't be bothered to do it yourself most of the time.
manapua_man is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 09:07 AM
  #16  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 12,586
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2490 Post(s)
Liked 780 Times in 650 Posts
I figure that particularly for touring, if one takes an interest in knowing how to do stuff on your own, the chances are much better that will be more familiar with your bike, and in my experience, problems do not usually happen in an instant, but can be noticed a long time beforehand.

I also think that becoming more knowledgeable in how to fix given areas of a bike also helps in being more in tune to detecting problems, and or knowing why its not good to cross chain severely lets say all the time, or force shifts while climbing without a quick back off of pressure, etc etc.

in the end, this all reduces the likelihood of having problems on the road during a trip that could likely be avoided.
djb is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 09:25 AM
  #17  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 25,851

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, a black and orange one, and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 138 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5247 Post(s)
Liked 2,805 Times in 1,657 Posts
Originally Posted by chrisx View Post
As a touring cyclist, how important is it to know how to fix your own bike? In town, a cyclist can take a bus home if need be. Not true on a bicycle tour. I once walked 2 days without seeing anothr person. Not because of a mechanical failure, but because of a crash.

Then I took a couple of bicycle repair classes. The sign on the wall said $60 plus parts, for the class. 5 monday nights, 10 or so people in the class. Up the road at Recycled cycles, the sign says, tune up $60 plus parts. What sounds better, pay the mechanic $60 or pay the teacher $60?

I took some more repair classes, volunteered at my local bike coop once a week for a few years, I took the wheel building class 2 times, I own the Park Tool Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repairs.
Being able to fix anything...including not a few MacGyvers...hasn't done me any harm. Being an analytical kind of guy, being able to fix my bike and understand what I'm fixing as well as how to choose parts that don't require a lot of fixing to begin with has paid lots of rewards over the years.

I, too, took a bicycle mechanics class about 30 years ago. Over that 30 years, I've made a lot of mistakes and ruined a lot of parts but each failure has taught me something along the way. As I tell the students in the mechanics class I now teach, the difference between an amateur and a master mechanic is the value of the parts that have been ruined.

If you aren't still volunteering at your co-op, I suggest you go back and re-enlist. I've volunteered at my local co-op for 7+ years now and, even with a very deep knowledge pool, I learn something about bikes on a continual basis. I see things that I never thought you could do to a bike and keep it rolling. I've had to tear apart components that I've never seen before and deal with adjustments that I've never worked with. But I would never have seen those parts nor figured out solutions to others problems without physically being at the shop. They don't call me "the derailer whisperer for nothin'

As for the tools you don't have, get one or figure out how to make one. A headset tool is actually pretty easy to make from parts from your local hardware store. Better yet, if your co-op doesn't have a tool, donate one! I've donated a lot of tools to my co-op over the years. People always thank me for my generosity but, as I tell them, I do it out of naked self interest. If my co-op doesn't have a tool, it's harder for me to work on bikes. I donate the tools I do because I want to use them. If other people benefit, that just gravy on top!

Finally, you took the wheel building class twice (another class I teach at my co-op). Have you practiced it? That's the only way to become a good wheelbuilder. Build wheels, ride 'em, wreck 'em, figure out why you wrecked 'em and build some more but build them better the next time.
__________________
Stuart Black
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.

Last edited by cyccommute; 11-21-17 at 09:29 AM.
cyccommute is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 09:56 AM
  #18  
Sharpshin
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: San Antonio TX
Posts: 799
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 152 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Before my first tour I completely dissembled and put back together my bike under the tutelage of a local bike shop; their $300 full service for $400.

I did everything and learned what parts I'd rather leave to a skilled mechanic 🙂

I carried enough tools on my Tours to deal with everything except replacing the bottom bracket or a headset (doesn't take all that many), but spent money for premium units of those before I left.
Sharpshin is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 11:40 AM
  #19  
mstateglfr 
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 15,115

Bikes: '18 class built steel roadbike, '19 Fairlight Secan, '88 Schwinn Premis , Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara Trionfo

Mentioned: 120 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9433 Post(s)
Liked 5,798 Times in 3,354 Posts
I do all the maintenance and have built up a bunch of bikes. I think its important to have a full understanding of what connects to what on a bike and why. That, to me, is most important for any serious riders as it helps to diagnose problems. Knowing what and why stuff connects to each other and also how to change a tune and spoke. Those 3 things are most important for touring, i'd say.


The one area I suck in is wheel building. Terrible at it- I conceptually struggle. I have a set of wheels I should lace to new rims, but havent started it for over a year because I dont like the idea of getting frustrated.

This winter I am taking a frame building class and will build up a road bike. Most likely I am going to build wheels for it as I havent found what I want at the price i want. Yup- gonna hate that. I might try a new wheelbuilding guide to follow...maybe rephrasing everything will help.
mstateglfr is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 12:08 PM
  #20  
boomhauer
Senior Member
 
boomhauer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 774
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 224 Post(s)
Liked 43 Times in 30 Posts
Never had a problem I couldn't fix...after watching the appropriate YouTube video.
boomhauer is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 12:26 PM
  #21  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,977
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1496 Post(s)
Liked 189 Times in 128 Posts
I fix most things on my bikes, but leave some stuff to the experts. Suspension fork rebuild, wheel building and anything requiring a special tool I will never use again. Every trip with my travel bike requires almost complete disassemby and reassembly twice, with minimal tools. Takes about an hour.
alan s is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 01:13 PM
  #22  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 9,899

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2904 Post(s)
Liked 1,044 Times in 841 Posts
If you have a good mechanical aptitude, for a bike tour you should learn to do as much as you feel comfortable doing on a bike.

I put a high premium on mechanical aptitude, either you have it or you don't. If you don't have it, I don't think you should let that stop you from enjoying cycling. While I would encourage these people to know how to change a tire, adjust their brake cables and adjust their derailleur cables, I would not encourage them to learn how to do stuff that they are not comfortable in doing. If someone thinks a prerequisite to going on a bike tour is knowing how to do stuff the would rather not do, I would hate that fear of the unknown to stop them from going on a bike tour.

A couple years ago, while helping a guy in a campground with his rear wheel, he said "I suppose I should buy a spoke wrench." I told him not to, because if he had one he might be tempted to try to use it. But if you do not know how to use a spoke wrench, you are better off not being tempted to try it.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 01:54 PM
  #23  
Steve0000
Full Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 239

Bikes: LHT disc, Cannondale CAAD8, Cannondale Super 6, Avanti Agressor MTB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
You should know the basics at least, anything more is the icing on the cake which may keep you on the road. We met one young spaniard on his first bike tour who didn't know how to remove the wheels to replace a tube. He did not have a quick release skewer and didn't know the tool needed to loosen the nut. He would have been in real trouble if he needed to do this in the countryside.

I have learnt to fix a puncture, replace a spoke and true the wheel, change a brake or gear cable, adjust the gears, adjust the brakes, change brake pads (disk and rim brakes), adjust the cones and replace the chain. This fixes most problems on the road. In addition, I have replaced the entire groupset on a bike but had to borrow the tool to remove the BB. I had to replace the front derailleur on one tour. I would not carry the tool for the BB on tour as the shop I would need to buy from could do the job anyway. I carry basic tools including a chain whip and cassette tool.

You are better to spend any money on learning how to do the repair yourself rather than paying someone to do it and never learning. In the latter case, you never have the skills when you most need them.
Steve0000 is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 01:57 PM
  #24  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,343 Times in 850 Posts
In 1957, or thereabouts, I took mt 3 speed bike apart then added components to make it a 27 speed.

3 by 3 by 3 speed..

66-69, in the Navy ..

1975 I made my own frame & fork with borrowed tools and space.. (still have it)

80s in bike shops 87 i got to go bike touring..





Last edited by fietsbob; 02-07-18 at 04:26 PM.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 11-21-17, 02:44 PM
  #25  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 25,851

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, a black and orange one, and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 138 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5247 Post(s)
Liked 2,805 Times in 1,657 Posts
Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I do all the maintenance and have built up a bunch of bikes. I think its important to have a full understanding of what connects to what on a bike and why. That, to me, is most important for any serious riders as it helps to diagnose problems. Knowing what and why stuff connects to each other and also how to change a tune and spoke. Those 3 things are most important for touring, i'd say.


The one area I suck in is wheel building. Terrible at it- I conceptually struggle. I have a set of wheels I should lace to new rims, but havent started it for over a year because I dont like the idea of getting frustrated.

This winter I am taking a frame building class and will build up a road bike. Most likely I am going to build wheels for it as I havent found what I want at the price i want. Yup- gonna hate that. I might try a new wheelbuilding guide to follow...maybe rephrasing everything will help.
If you have been taught the Barnett Bicycle School method of tire lacing, I can understand how you can be frustrated. I've been building wheels for nearly 40 years and I can't make head or tails out of their method.

Jobst Brandt and Eric Hjertberg both use a method that is much more intuitive. There's no "key spoke" or spoke counting. Basically the spokes are separated into 4 group. One set (1/4) of the spokes are laced radially, then the next set is also laced radially. The hub is then twisted to take up the slack and the other two sets of spokes are laced into place. It's really pretty simple. The link at the bottom of the article is what I've used since 1986...I even have the hard, oil soaked magazine copy of it. I use the technique with a couple of modifications to teach my wheelbuilding class.
__________________
Stuart Black
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
cyccommute is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.