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My top 10 pet peeves in bike mechanics

Old 10-14-19, 07:16 PM
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Le Mechanic
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My top 10 pet peeves in bike mechanics

I've worked as a bike mechanic since the early 80's in the bicycle industry in shops, manufacturing, Etc. I realize there are many different levels of bike mechanic from the home DIY'er to the PRO level race mechanic, but there are some things I see on a highly frequent basis that really bugs me on how other mechanics do certain things. This is my list of those top 10 things. Let's hear what you think and what topics bug you!

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Old 10-14-19, 07:25 PM
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The video begins with 48 seconds of bla-bla-bla promising some kind of "top ten list". Enduring stoically through this 48-second intro I finally got to "OK, number one on the list...", which made me sigh with relief ("Finally!"). This was followed by extra minutes, minutes and minutes of bla-bla-bla. I stopped watching after 3:00 mark, never even finding out what that "number one on the list" was.
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Old 10-14-19, 07:41 PM
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Nope, not gonna bite....
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Old 10-14-19, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by AndreyT View Post
The video begins with 48 seconds of bla-bla-bla promising some kind of "top ten list". Enduring stoically through this 48-second intro I finally got to "OK, number one on the list...", which made me sigh with relief ("Finally!"). This was followed by extra minutes, minutes and minutes of bla-bla-bla. I stopped watching after 3:00 mark, never even finding out what that "number one on the list" was.
It's number 8
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Old 10-14-19, 07:56 PM
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I bit and besides the very distracting nature of the image (I think he's riding a bike but could be a camel for that matter) understood all his points. Agreed with a few, don't care to ever mention a few more.

One of my gripes is when paid professionals use the work "toss" instead of install. I'm a full believer in the Barnett view that pro mechanics don't throw parts at their customers' bikes. Even when done rightfully so (as in anger) the part doesn't know enough to stay attached and then align/adjust it's self correctly If we want to feel respected and worth the labor rates we fight to raise we need to also talk professionally. To say "I'll toss that BB onto your bike" sounds like Trump talking, all show and little thought. Andy
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Old 10-14-19, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Nope, not gonna bite....
Don't let it scare you, it's basically a 20 minute rant on bad mechanic practices in the bicycle industry and the DIY'ers on Internet forums. So, approximately 2 minutes per topic. Don't worry, it won't hurt.....much!
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Old 10-14-19, 08:22 PM
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I thought that it was a video. You know, there were images, moving images you'd call them. Maybe some people would call it like a small film. It seems like these days there are a lot of words for those things. On youtube as well, which is on the web. Videos on the web can be good and they can be bad. So this post is really just to talk about your video on the web. You made it, and I watched it. Maybe a video is the wrong word, because it's more of a discussion. The audio is a large part of videos and that's something some old timers can forget. Really the video could have been anything. You've got some nice glasses, a helmet, a little cap. Some kind of back pack. But it's the discussion and the content that's really more important. So i'd like to talk about that and in talking about that we'll get to how i felt about it and my opinion, which is just only my opinion after all based on watching the video, but also based on the subject. And it is an interesting subject, or rather, maybe not interesting but something which I would like to hear about others thoughts and also offer my own based on my experiences. Yep. Maybe I won't get to the video in this post but just say that I did watch it and it was a video and I hope you all had a good time reading this post and please share your thoughts on the post and how you like to post.
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Old 10-14-19, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
I bit and besides the very distracting nature of the image (I think he's riding a bike but could be a camel for that matter) understood all his points. Agreed with a few, don't care to ever mention a few more.

One of my gripes is when paid professionals use the work "toss" instead of install. I'm a full believer in the Barnett view that pro mechanics don't throw parts at their customers' bikes. Even when done rightfully so (as in anger) the part doesn't know enough to stay attached and then align/adjust it's self correctly If we want to feel respected and worth the labor rates we fight to raise we need to also talk professionally. To say "I'll toss that BB onto your bike" sounds like Trump talking, all show and little thought. Andy
Yes, I agree with the "toss" point 100%
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Old 10-14-19, 08:55 PM
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TL;DR 'tho I would be interested in knowing the peeves more concise.
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Old 10-14-19, 09:06 PM
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woodcraft- The peeves are there for you to find out.

Not sure how I feel about those who reject reading/viewing yet still want to know what was said. Andy
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Old 10-14-19, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post

Not sure how I feel about those who reject reading/viewing yet still want to know what was said. Andy
I'm not sure why people make 20 minute videos to convey something I could read in print in a couple of minutes.

Interested enough to click on the topic, but not enough to invest that much time.

But I'm an old guy who virtually never watches videos, so I may be out of touch.
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Old 10-14-19, 09:58 PM
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Well, I'm 63 years old and still get the morning paper delivered. Why? Because I like to read stuff that's not bouncing all over the place and has a contrast between the type and the surface (paper/screen) my old eyes can handle. Why do people blab on when they could say a few words? Because they are the one doing the work to film/write/talk, not you. But we are still a relatively free place so we can choose what we spend our time on. It's only when answers are in the article but one is too lazy to read it yet still wants that article's information that I question things. Either read/watch/listen to it or pass it by and don't come asking about it.

To inject politics once again- It's like people who say their vote doesn't count and thus don't go to the polls. Yet they want me to listen to their complaints about how the politics/policies are going. Why should I care when you didn't when it came time to poop or not? Andy
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Old 10-14-19, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
I'm not sure why people make 20 minute videos to convey something I could read in print in a couple of minutes.

Interested enough to click on the topic, but not enough to invest that much time.

But I'm an old guy who virtually never watches videos, so I may be out of touch.
It shows a narrowband thought process. Apparently they learned it from broadcast TV: talking heads reading short sentences, narrowband content in a broadband medium. They don't have much to say but they want you looking at their faces.
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Old 10-14-19, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Well, I'm 63 years old and still get the morning paper delivered. Why? Because I like to read stuff that's not bouncing all over the place and has a contrast between the type and the surface (paper/screen) my old eyes can handle. Why do people blab on when they could say a few words?
The thing I've given up on is getting recipes via my wifes ipad. Slow as hell, hard to key, and then the recipes are 40 pages of frickin click-bait. I use a PC to get anything off the web I need. Likewise, reading the paper online is a PITA. I get the paper to avoid that, and to allow me to select instantly what I want to look at. And the comics. And the crossword.

So my pet peeve is off-topic dissembling (unlike the on-topic dissembling I do) . I think spending 30 seconds with the guy that made that video would drive me bananas. Not only that, but in a video that folks can stop watching at any time, d'ya think it might help to get to an interesting point within 3 seconds? This video was made without any consideration of someone watching it, completely negating any value it has.

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Old 10-15-19, 12:11 AM
  #15  
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Whew... what a waste.

Starts with "keep an open mind"... then starts complaining about different methods of doing things, or trying new things or different methods.

Presenting his complaint session while riding a bike doesn't add anything to the video.
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Old 10-15-19, 01:50 AM
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I'm also a pro mechanic, though I've been working less long than you, so I am genuinely interested in your points, but seriously there's no way I'm suffering through 20 minutes of staring at your face as you ride a bike into the wind.

A lot of my peeves relate to new bicycle assembly. Too often this is relegated to the least experienced shop employees, and high standards aren't enforced.
-Unadjusted cup and cone hubs.
-Front derailleurs not repositioned from their factory install--usually set up to not rub in the high/high and low/low and usually shift, but don't perform as well as the FD adjusted closer the large ring with the yaw set precisely.
-Hangers not checked for alignment.
-Sloppy attention to detail--tire logos not aligned to valve, etc.
-No actual thought given to cockpit setup.
-A common thing is poorly adjusted B tension--either too far out for most drivetrains, or not far away out on Sram 1x setups. BTW, I love the new line on the back of Shimano 12 sp MTB derailleurs for setting this correctly. In all cases this has a meaningful effect on shift quality, and if its too close on Sram 1x the guide pulley will actually briefly hit the big cog shifting to it.
-Wheels not really trued; significant windup in spokes.
-Not actually testing to see if bars can be forced to turn on quill stems (needs really high torque and/or assembly paste on some bikes).
-A general ignorance of actual manufacturer spec.

Also, in my opinion, too many mechanics assume too much of what customers want. I make it a priority to understand the customer's concerns, and intended use and goals for the bike, and try to give as accurate an assessment of the bike as possible, with a range of options, and let the customer make up their mind. Also a lot of mechanics will simply schedule whatever a "basic tune up" is when a customer asks for a tune up. For most customers this means that they'd actually like their bike assessed and appropriately serviced, not whatever the shop's "basic tuneup" service package entails. More often than one might think, given a clear, professional assessment, people will choose reasonably comprehensive service appropriate to their goals, funds permitting.

Also, a specific detail: poorly applied tubeless tape. The worst offender is when gorilla tape is applied poorly and the adhesive sticks to the tire so that it fails upon tire removal, because then you have to get the old adhesive off, which is a massive pain in the ass. I've also seen too many wheels where aluminum nipples either seized or fail due to contamination from sealant.

Also it's not great to have mechanics who want to simply replace everything with new parts at all times ("parts installers") or to have their opposite, people who want to painstakingly overhaul every component, possibly by comprehensively scavenging parts, etc, regardless of its value or wear. It's good to be able to service everything, but you have to fairly charge for shop time, and weigh that against the cost of component replacement. For example, I certainly can replace the master cylinder on a Elixir brake lever, but charging fairly for labor and for the service kit, it probably makes more sense functionally and economically for the customer to just replace the accursed thing with an entry level Shimano brake (might do it for an XO trail).

In great part I wish a greater proportion of mechanics treated it seriously like a long term vocation instead of a short term job. I'm encouraged by the work that the PBMA is doing to improve things, and distinguish skill sets in the eyes of the consumer.
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Old 10-15-19, 06:37 AM
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If the person does the work to achieve the end result as contracted, i dont judge there work by the expressed language they use . I have met people that were vulgar, business like, & in between. At the end of the day, I just want to be able to clearly hear what they're saying in the language where my citizenship is from.
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Old 10-15-19, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
I bit and besides the very distracting nature of the image (I think he's riding a bike but could be a camel for that matter) understood all his points. Agreed with a few, don't care to ever mention a few more.

One of my gripes is when paid professionals use the work "toss" instead of install. I'm a full believer in the Barnett view that pro mechanics don't throw parts at their customers' bikes. Even when done rightfully so (as in anger) the part doesn't know enough to stay attached and then align/adjust it's self correctly If we want to feel respected and worth the labor rates we fight to raise we need to also talk professionally. To say "I'll toss that BB onto your bike" sounds like Trump talking, all show and little thought. Andy
As a customer, I'd take that as implying that it's an easy installation, taking little time with no risk of failure. An affectation that I wouldn't really take seriously.

I didn't watch, but my 2 cents on the only thing that's peeved me with mechanics, is when they fib a little for the shop. Maybe it's shop policy. There's no such thing as a take-off for example, because nobody upgrades - they just buy new bikes. No used parts, and no used bikes either.
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Old 10-15-19, 06:56 AM
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Some of the world's best public speakers, that's all they can do is talk. And generally, the people who are the best at doing things well, are not so good at explaining them. "Getting the desired result" is just a gift they have.

EXAMPLE: Many of the riders who win the Tour de France (or other high profile sporting events) are so inarticulate about how they got the win, you almost question whether they were really there. Yet they still accomplished the feat, somehow.

IMO, how well a person speaks has almost no relation to how good they are at getting results, in fact, I would go so far as to say that the more charismatic, polished, and articulate a speaker is, the smaller the chances are that they really know their subject well. They're just "good talkers" by nature. So I would not put much weight on a person's delivery, with regard to whether or not they are knowledgeable.
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Old 10-15-19, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
Some of the world's best public speakers, that's all they can do is talk. And generally, the people who are the best at doing things well, are not so good at explaining them. "Getting the desired result" is just a gift they have.

EXAMPLE: Many of the riders who win the Tour de France (or other high profile sporting events) are so inarticulate about how they got the win, you almost question whether they were really there. Yet they still accomplished the feat, somehow.
Excellent point. That's why many of the most accomplished athletes make poor coaches. They can do amazing feats but don't understand exactly how they do it and can't explain it to others. The old somewhat cynical quote; "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach", has some merit. Good coaches often can't do what they understand but can explain the techniques to others with the needed talent.

Apparently they learned it from broadcast TV: talking heads reading short sentences, narrowband content in a broadband medium. They don't have much to say but they want you looking at their faces.

Another good point quite likely explained by the fact they have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week of air time to fill and have a dozen or more competing channels with the same problem. Look good and cater to very short attention spans. You have to keep the viewer numbers up because that's how advertising revenue is generated.
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Old 10-15-19, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Soody View Post
I thought that it was a video. You know, there were images, moving images you'd call them. Maybe some people would call it like a small film. It seems like these days there are a lot of words for those things. On youtube as well, which is on the web. Videos on the web can be good and they can be bad. So this post is really just to talk about your video on the web. You made it, and I watched it. Maybe a video is the wrong word, because it's more of a discussion. The audio is a large part of videos and that's something some old timers can forget. Really the video could have been anything. You've got some nice glasses, a helmet, a little cap. Some kind of back pack. But it's the discussion and the content that's really more important. So i'd like to talk about that and in talking about that we'll get to how i felt about it and my opinion, which is just only my opinion after all based on watching the video, but also based on the subject. And it is an interesting subject, or rather, maybe not interesting but something which I would like to hear about others thoughts and also offer my own based on my experiences. Yep. Maybe I won't get to the video in this post but just say that I did watch it and it was a video and I hope you all had a good time reading this post and please share your thoughts on the post and how you like to post.
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Old 10-15-19, 09:15 AM
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Watched for 2 minutes then couldn't take it anymore, which is a shame since I am interested. I wish, instead of a video showing you riding and rambling on, you just listed your points in text. That way I could have read, understood, and probably provided some good comments in that same 2 minutes. I really hope you consider doing this, because like I said, I am interested.
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Old 10-15-19, 09:42 AM
  #23  
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Ok, we mostly agree that this video is insufferable. Let's learn something. What are the traits that make it so? I'll start:
1) A long, rambling, uninteresting introduction about stuff that's not on topic
2) Poor production values (sound, etc)
3) Idiotic setting (why do this video while your on a bike? Stupid!)

What else?

And if you make a video, you can use the list to know what to avoid.
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Old 10-15-19, 10:35 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Le Mechanic View Post
......there are some things I see on a highly frequent basis that really bugs me on how other mechanics do certain things. This is my list of those top 10 things. Let's hear what you think and what topics bug you!
Now, aren't you glad you asked?
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Old 10-15-19, 10:59 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
woodcraft- The peeves are there for you to find out.

Not sure how I feel about those who reject reading/viewing yet still want to know what was said. Andy

I watched part, but gave up- guess I didn't want to know that bad...
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