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The Added Joys of Servicing Your Own Bike

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The Added Joys of Servicing Your Own Bike

Old 10-07-13, 08:33 AM
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Sculptor7
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The Added Joys of Servicing Your Own Bike

The other day I did not do my usual ride but decided it was time to give a little back to my trusty Trek.
Got it up on the bike stand to a comfortable height and cleaned, lubed and adjusted the derailleurs.
Looked over the cables and tires and such and cleaned all the gunk out of the crankshaft area.

It all left me with a good feeling of accomplishment. I am not a bicycle mechanic but I guess I do have some added technical skills after years of sculpture and owning an old house. Just got a bunch of books and started reading. Also, great tutorials on the web. While I recognize that many people might find it intimidating or not to their taste, it is a fact that riding a bike you have given a little tender care to is really very satisfying.
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Old 10-07-13, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Sculptor7 View Post
The other day I did not do my usual ride but decided it was time to give a little back to my trusty Trek.
Got it up on the bike stand to a comfortable height and cleaned, lubed and adjusted the derailleurs.
Looked over the cables and tires and such and cleaned all the gunk out of the crankshaft area.

It all left me with a good feeling of accomplishment. I am not a bicycle mechanic but I guess I do have some added technical skills after years of sculpture and owning an old house. Just got a bunch of books and started reading. Also, great tutorials on the web. While I recognize that many people might find it intimidating or not to their taste, it is a fact that riding a bike you have given a little tender care to is really very satisfying.
Scultor7,
Good for you. I'm acquiring bike mechanic skills as I go also. I really want to learn how to properly true wheels and perhaps learn how to build them. Free myself from the bike shop. Sounds like you're on the right path too.

jsjcat

Last edited by jsjcat; 10-07-13 at 09:03 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 10-07-13, 09:35 AM
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Nice!

I do most of my own bike maintenance myself too. I'm frankly surprised at how many people don't. For me, it's because it's often more convenient to just do it myself, and because I want to be experienced enough to make field repairs if necessary.

Oh, I've had my snafus ... the latest was routing the brake cables backwards (e.g. routing the brake cable from the rider's right to the front brake and the brake cable from the rider's left to the rear brake), but what do you expect when a Bass Ale is mandatory part of the job?
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Old 10-07-13, 09:56 AM
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I love the ride quality of an impeccably maintained bike. I ride with fellows who have creaks, groans, clanks and clunks, vibrations and grinding noises. How can they be oblivious to this?

Anyway, good job to the OP!
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Old 10-07-13, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
Nice!

I do most of my own bike maintenance myself too. I'm frankly surprised at how many people don't. For me, it's because it's often more convenient to just do it myself, and because I want to be experienced enough to make field repairs if necessary.

Oh, I've had my snafus ... the latest was routing the brake cables backwards (e.g. routing the brake cable from the rider's right to the front brake and the brake cable from the rider's left to the rear brake), but what do you expect when a Bass Ale is mandatory part of the job?
Actually routing the brakes "backwards" makes sense. Your right hand is usually your dominate hand and therefore stronger. Front wheel braking allows for better control when stopping otherwise why would motorcycles use that arrangement. I believe Sheldon was an avocate(sp) for "backwards" braking. The belief that it increases the chances of going over the handlebars has not been proven.
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Old 10-07-13, 10:57 AM
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I ride with fellows who have creaks, groans, clanks and clunks, vibrations and grinding noises.
Couldn't agree mor Phil, I've always built and maintained my own bikes. My main riding buddy just doesn't care, dry chain etc - eurgh!
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Old 10-07-13, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
I love the ride quality of an impeccably maintained bike. I ride with fellows who have creaks, groans, clanks and clunks, vibrations and grinding noises. How can they be oblivious to this?

Anyway, good job to the OP!
Phil,

Please be discreet, that wasn't my bike being noisy.

RT
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Old 10-07-13, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by overthehillmedi View Post
Actually routing the brakes "backwards" makes sense. Your right hand is usually your dominate hand and therefore stronger. Front wheel braking allows for better control when stopping otherwise why would motorcycles use that arrangement. I believe Sheldon was an avocate(sp) for "backwards" braking. The belief that it increases the chances of going over the handlebars has not been proven.
I had that thought too. Most are right handed, and the front brake is more critical than the rear brake. So why does everyone do it the other way?
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Old 10-07-13, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
I had that thought too. Most are right handed, and the front brake is more critical than the rear brake. So why does everyone do it the other way?
Not everyone Victor,

All my bikes are set up with the front brake on the right (surprised you never noticed ). The other advantage was that when Jackie and I were in Scotland, all the hire (rental) bikes were set up with right-front . . . well, really, all the bikes in the U.K. are set up that way. So no change for me!

To the OP: Yes, I work on all my own bikes (and my wife's bikes) and only go to the shop when I need something done that I don't own the correct tools for that job. Like: pressing in BB30 cups and a huge (well, too large for my press) lower fork crown. Oh, well, yes and a "fine-tune" on a new SRAM red "Yaw" front derailluer.

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Old 10-07-13, 11:54 AM
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Sounds?

Originally Posted by robtown View Post
Phil,

Please be discreet, that wasn't my bike being noisy.

RT
Hey, Robert, I never said "gasping".

Seriously, I rode Fountainhead last weekend with a college friend who is a technical singletrack freak, but he wasn't quite ready for some of the required climbing there. We stopped at one hilltop, and he was wheezing audibly. Unnerving...the thought of a multimile fireman's carry through the woods.
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Old 10-07-13, 12:39 PM
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Replaced my brake pads last week - and am now enjoying a luxurious braking experience.



As for right-front braking - yes your right hand may be measurably stronger than your left but the difference isn't likely enough to be an issue - squeezing brake levers to the max travel just doesn't take that much strength.

Last edited by DiabloScott; 10-07-13 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 10-07-13, 12:53 PM
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There was group riding last Saturday so I had their bikes in to check over last Thursday. Most of them just required a clean and lube but it was surprising how many had the Deraileurs just out of kilter. While up on the stand it was an easy job to adjust but one bike was so far out on front and rear adjustment I was surprised he could find any gears and without dropping the chain off the crank. Only took a few minutes to fix but that bike had special attention after finding that.

But bikes require regular "Checking"- even if nothing is wrong. Every bike had the cables- brake pivot points and interior of the Brake levers and changers lubed. Chains were cleaned- measured for wear and re-lubed- Wheels checked for true-brake effectiveness checked. 30 minutes on each bike and they were safe enough to do the 160 mile they had planned. What they are like now I have no idea but I did get a text from the leader saying that all riders and All bikes did the ride and only 4 punctures between the 10 riders.

Think the annoying thing is that I do not ride their bikes- they do- but whenever I am out with them I can pick up the faults by listening to the bikes. Pedal/crank/seat post clank---Gears not adjusted right--and those other mysterious noises that must be something coming loose- breaking or even falling off. I would have thought that anyone that had done as much training as them would have an inkling that something is not right and not wait for me to turn up 3 rides later to repair their bikes.
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Old 10-07-13, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
Replaced my brake pads last week - and am now enjoying a luxurious braking experience.



As for right-front braking - yes your right hand may be measurably stronger than your left but the difference isn't likely enough to be an issue - squeezing brake levers to the max travel just doesn't take that much strength.
Yea, but as long as you can choose, why not pick the best combination? Another imponderable mystery ... like why we drive on parkways and drive on parkways. lol

Nice job adjusting your brake pads ... I wish mine wore that evenly.
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Old 10-07-13, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
Yea, but as long as you can choose, why not pick the best combination?
Who's to say that's the best? You could also say that the risk of going over the bars is higher if you have the stronger hand on the front brake; so left-front is safer.
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Old 10-07-13, 02:16 PM
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need to clean my chain, thanks for the reminder ...
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Old 10-07-13, 02:59 PM
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A clean, lubed bike is a happy bike.

A rider looking over the bike and notices a crack in the rim of a wheel and gets it replaced under warrantee is a happy, and unscathed, rider.
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Old 10-07-13, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
Who's to say that's the best? You could also say that the risk of going over the bars is higher if you have the stronger hand on the front brake; so left-front is safer.
So why do they reverse that on English bikes? I think the real reason, is that you signal with your left hand, and it's safer if your going to grab one brake, that it be the rear brake, with the left hand. In the UK signalling is done on the right, and therefore if your going to grab A brake, it's going to be the rear. I think in the future when most bikes have hydraulic brakes, it will be sensible to operate both brakes with a single lever, and the electronic shifting will be a single lever on the other side.
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Old 10-07-13, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Wogster View Post
So why do they reverse that on English bikes? I think the real reason, is that you signal with your left hand, and it's safer if your going to grab one brake, that it be the rear brake, with the left hand.
Well I'll take your word that they do. You know where else they do it? Italy - where they drive on the right; in fact we used to call it "Italian brake setup". I think it's just plain convention, passed on from bike mechanic to apprentices for generations.

And here in USA, a cyclist usually signals a right turn with his/her right arm... not the left arm thing that car drivers had to learn 40 years ago. I presume the analagous left turn signal is true for cyclists in UK.

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Old 10-07-13, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
Who's to say that's the best? You could also say that the risk of going over the bars is higher if you have the stronger hand on the front brake; so left-front is safer.
Hmmm ... good point!
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Old 10-07-13, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
Yea, but as long as you can choose, why not pick the best combination?
As long as no one else ever rides your bike, you're OK. If they do, there's the real possibility that they will either stop too slowly or too quickly.
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Old 10-07-13, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
Nice!

... I'm frankly surprised at how many people don't. ...
It is the cost of the specialized tools to do anything besides routine maintenance.

I am slowly building up my tool kit - buying what I need as needed. I did this out of necessity as I could not find a bike shop in the area that did a good job for any reasonable price. There is a definite great satisfaction in being able to true your own wheels or fixi a bottom bracket issue or doing bearing maintenance, etc.
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Old 10-08-13, 07:28 AM
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The more you know about how to maintain your bike the better off you will be. I have always ridden with a trunk pack that has a mini bike shop in it. There is almost no reason to have to walk home. Also I dont know how many times I have stopped to repair other peoples bikes on the trail. A lot of people carry nothing when they ride.

And BTW if you do a lot of your own repair, you will save yourself a lot of money.
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Old 10-08-13, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by GeneO View Post
It is the cost of the specialized tools to do anything besides routine maintenance.

I am slowly building up my tool kit - buying what I need as needed. I did this out of necessity as I could not find a bike shop in the area that did a good job for any reasonable price. There is a definite great satisfaction in being able to true your own wheels or fixi a bottom bracket issue or doing bearing maintenance, etc.
Yea, I hear that. Buying tools has never been a problem for me ... my philosophy is that the two things in the world you can almost never waste money on are tools and books. Even so, I begged off buying a steering tube cutter the last time I did a build. And back in the days when steel clusters threaded onto finely pitched aluminum hub threads, that was a job I screwed up so often, I finally decided that was a job for the shop.

I think the day I decided to do 95% my own maintenance was when I needed a new cassette installed for a ride the next day, and no shop could do it within the time frame. One thing nice about doing it yourself ... you're always at the top of the queue.
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Old 10-08-13, 07:59 AM
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I've been doing the basics since I got the bike 2 years ago. but since I also restore old VWs as a hobby, I figure after 3000 miles its time for some more in depth maint. I just changed the chain and thinking about taking the brake calipers and derailleurs off for a through cleaning and lubrication.

Not sure if i'm digging a hole I can't get out of but I like to tinker and figure if I can rebuild a carb I can work on a rear derailleur.
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Old 10-08-13, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by oldnslow2 View Post
I've been doing the basics since I got the bike 2 years ago. but since I also restore old VWs as a hobby, I figure after 3000 miles its time for some more in depth maint. I just changed the chain and thinking about taking the brake calipers and derailleurs off for a through cleaning and lubrication.

Not sure if i'm digging a hole I can't get out of but I like to tinker and figure if I can rebuild a carb I can work on a rear derailleur.
Lol ... true dat. I bow down to you, sir ... carbs are complicated!

You know, that is another thing I learned doing self-maintenance. Those idler pulleys? They're not identical. The guide pulley (top one) has a different amount of play (at least the Shimano version does). I found that out after buying some blingy red anodized pulleys (still somewhere in the garage, unused).
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