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Do you pay the man or fix yourself?

Old 03-03-21, 04:59 AM
  #26  
thehammerdog
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
It's a bit weird being grouped in "the man" category. I remember shaving my face for the first real time at the wet behind the ears age of 23 and many of the HS kids we had as customers treated me quite different then the week before when I had a beard. It would be cool to think we, as a society, have moved on past these pigeon holing terms but that would be naive. Andy
care to explain that rant.?
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Old 03-03-21, 07:05 AM
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I do it all myself, so far. Plus I volunteer at non-profit shops, and share expertise with other volunteers. I'll fix someone's wheel in exchange for help with my new disc brakes or press-fit BB.

Same with work around the house and on the car. I grew up in a family of tradesmen and it's part of the DNA. I enjoy bartering with my neighbors, one of whom has a backhoe and large plow.
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Old 03-03-21, 07:13 AM
  #28  
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I'm only about 3 years into my bicycle hobby. As a kid and then again as a mid age adult I rode bikes and have always done my own work. I will confess that index shifting and integrated brake lever shifters on road bikes are somewhat new to me. I recently had to fine tune my triple front der and can very close to giving up and paying to have it done for me but I took my time, tried to gain a through understanding of what I was trying to accomplish and finally found success.

I love tools and have always done my own car repair even engine and trans swaps. In the 3 years I've been on my bike I have amassed a reasonably comprehensive bike specific tool cart, bike stand and wheel truing stand. I still work full time and have a 1+ hour commute to work each way plus other hobbies that eat up time but I hate even the idea of having to admit defeat on something as simple as a bicycle.
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Old 03-03-21, 07:30 AM
  #29  
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I started repairing my own bicycle back in the early 1970s, and have done so since. There are few problems that I haven't faced at least a few times before over the decades. I like the work, and have a shop dedicated and arranged specifically for bike repair and maintenance.

Also, my wife expects me to fix things that need repair around the house. This includes all varieties of plumbing, electrical, drywall and paint, appliances and automobiles. And everything around the house that can be repaired: jewelry, small kitchen tools, power tools and the like.

Neighborhood kids (and adults, too) bring me their bikes to fix, assemble from the box, or otherwise consult on. Just recently, a neighbor boy that I don't know that well brought me his skateboard asking if I could tighten the trucks and check their function. Afterward, he asked if I could strip off the original decals and take the board to bare wood so that he could paint it himself. "Sure", I said. "Come back in three days." It wasn't bad. I tested the applique and found that it was laser printed on a paper backing, which had been glued down and clear adhesive wrapped. Heat gun for the clear wrap, and water for the underlying glue and paper.

For cars, I draw the line where a specialty tool or a lift is necessary, as we simply don't have the space. Neither do I trouble shoot car electronics, as that simply doesn't interest me.
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Old 03-03-21, 07:37 AM
  #30  
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The only time I've paid someone to work on my bike was the time I had a shop lace up a BMX wheel to a freecoaster hub when I was perhaps 15. there were no internet tutorials around 1996 to help me. since then, I've built dozens of wheels. I'm going to service my Fox fork sometime this month. none of these things are hard. you just need the patience to accept the learning curve and a budget to invest in tools.

personally, I take great pride in fixing things myself. bicycles are really SO simple that I would feel like a total chump doing anything but the most complex tasks. it's not a matter of time or money, just feeling like "what kind of weakling would I be if I paid someone to install a new bottom bracket instead of doing it myself like a functioning adult?"

I also don't know that I can trust all mechanics. I've seen some SLOPPY work come out of bike shops. in the US, at least, there are no training requirements for bike shop mechanics. any doofus can turn a wrench and call themself a professional bike mechanic. there are some very good, professional, trustworthy mechanics out there, but there are many, many lousy ones. I don't want to take that chance.

The only thing I probably won't do is rebuilding the damper on my Fox fork. I've read the tutorials and there's $200 worth of proprietary tools (that's after I found the off-brand ones, not the overprices Fox ones), and I don't want to screw that up.

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Old 03-03-21, 07:55 AM
  #31  
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"A man's got to know his own limitations." I'm competent in most bicycle issues. If I take the time to think it through, I can teach myself most others. Sometimes it helps, to ask somebody who knows more than I do. There is no shame in that. I don't have very much experience with hydraulics or electronics, for example. The wisdom comes in knowing when and who to ask. Some jobs, like adding threads to a steerer tube, the more confident the guy who you are talking to sounds, the less likely he has ever actually done the job.
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Old 03-03-21, 07:57 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
i feel worthless and weak. have been fixing my stuff for decades but this week i gave in and will pay big $$ for the
"tune up" no time energy motivation oh yes no skills ...get the bike back Thursday. im excited to ride but hate to pay out for tune up.
I don’t build wheels, but I do everything else on my bikes. I like working on stuff, and I’ve been doing it long enough that I can do as good a job on my own bikes as any LBS wrench, quite apart from the cost and the turnaround time. I do all the work on my older cars, including a complete rebuild of one and engine-out work on the other, but will continue to leave the newer family car to the pros as long as it’s under warranty

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Old 03-03-21, 08:09 AM
  #33  
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I've always done all my own work with rare exception when I need something major or unique.

I work on other people's bikes for extra income and enjoyment. And from what I see on those bikes, there are a lot of mechanics who don't know how -or more likely don't care enough- to do quality work. Cantilever brakes that approach the rim at odd, asymmetrical angles, cross-threaded but still just jammed in bottle cage bolts, direction-specific tires mounted backwards, brake cable housing used for shifting. Of course, some of these issues could be from the factory or the low-paid, low-skilled employees some shops have assembling new bikes. But I still, it doesn't make me want to turn my own bike over to a shop for repairs.

That said, there was one shop owner, Bob Perry at Bikes Unlimited in Greenfield, MA, who, whenever he laid hands on my bike, magically caused it to run buttery smooth. I think over several decades of being a shop owner and former racer, he developed an innate ability to heal bicycles by the laying-on-of-hands. Unfortunately, he passed away a couple years ago, so I'm once again alone in the wilderness.
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Old 03-03-21, 08:30 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Geepig View Post
I used to be a car mechanic, and most of the mechanics I worked with were very good, although some of our clients were not as smart about how their cars were fixed as they thought they were. I used to wipe the excess grease from the suspension ball joints after pumping fresh grease in to reduce the amount of road dirt that would stick to it and make its way under the so-called 'dust seal'. Then some clients would get on their knees to check, not see old gooey grease sticking out around the joints, and so assume that no regreasing had occurred.
I can relate! And then there are the others that if you leave the excess grease on would complain about how dirty you left their car...
Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
Also, my wife expects me to fix things that need repair around the house. This includes all varieties of plumbing, electrical, drywall and paint, appliances and automobiles. And everything around the house that can be repaired: jewelry, small kitchen tools, power tools and the like.
Same here.
Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post

personally, I take great pride in fixing things myself. bicycles are really SO simple that I would feel like a total chump doing anything but the most complex tasks. it's not a matter of time or money, just feeling like "what kind of weakling would I be if I paid someone to install a new bottom bracket instead of doing it myself like a functioning adult?"

I also don't know that I can trust all mechanics. I've seen some SLOPPY work come out of bike shops.
.
+1
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Old 03-03-21, 08:31 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
care to explain that rant.?
If you were around in the 60’s, and probably before, “the man” is not a compliment. The man is considered a synonym for the authority/government/police, as in a threat to one’s youthful lifestyle.

John

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Old 03-03-21, 08:34 AM
  #36  
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"My papa said son, don't let the Man get you and do what he's done to me
'Cause he'll get you
'Cause he'll get ya now, now"
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Old 03-03-21, 08:41 AM
  #37  
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I find by the time I would load a bike up, take it to the shop, wait for it to get repaired, and return to pickup, I can usually just do it myself.

I'll farm out things that require expensive tools or ones I don't yet own like chasing & facing or hanger alignment. Hanger alignment tool is probably the next thing I'll purchase.
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Old 03-03-21, 08:43 AM
  #38  
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I do most of my own bicycle work. Part of that is that I'm cheap, part is I enjoy getting my hands dirty every month or two, part of it is I hate getting the bike off the rack in front of the bike shop instead of rolling it in the front door, and part of it is I know when it'll get done (especially this past year!), part of it is that the wheels I build or re-touch have fewer problems.

There's a couple jobs I'll pay the shop to do. There's still a few jobs for which I don't have the tools, and labor is often cheaper than those tools. Then there's adjusting the front derailer. I'll try it twice, and if it's not right, pay someone to tweak it for me. That job isn't worth the aggravation to do it myself.

Paying the man? Must be tough living in a zero sum world. Even on a purely cash balance basis, spending a few bucks a year on LBS labor that means there's a good LBS in town has paid off for me a couple times, where I got into a situation I needed help to keep a bike running instead of buying a new one.
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Old 03-03-21, 08:58 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
I find by the time I would load a bike up, take it to the shop, wait for it to get repaired, and return to pickup, I can usually just do it myself.

I'll farm out things that require expensive tools or ones I don't yet own like chasing & facing or hanger alignment. Hanger alignment tool is probably the next thing I'll purchase.
BB- and headtube-specific tools are probably rarely worth the investment for a home mechanic unless you process a LOT of bikes. on my current mtb, I installed the BB myself without facing the BB shell, then realized I should have done that. I removed the BB cups and took it back to the shop where i bought it and they faced the shell for free as a service they would have included with the purchase of the frame. that was very generous!

head tubes! ugh, I've bought, ridden, and sold several steel mountain bike and gravel bike frames over the past few years: Salsa, Surly, Soma, Vassago. when I got ahold of a headtube reaming/facing tool on them, I found that most head tubes are horrible. the headtube on my Vassago Jabberwocky was basically an oval. I could barely get the reamer started in there and I had to use a tone of cutting oil to get it to bite. the headset cup would barely fit in it at all until I did that.

I wish derailer hanger alignment tools were more accessible. the Park one is $80 and worth every penny if it saves you from getting your derailer sucked into your spokes even once. but for most people, that seems like a lot of money for a tool that does just one thing. there are some alternatives from lesser known brands out there and I'd like to know how they compare for the home mechanic. I work on a lot of bikes for neighbors and that might be worth buying. I don't need one for my bike but I see a lot of bikes that have been tossed around with mangled derailers.
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Old 03-03-21, 08:58 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
If you were around in the 60’s, and probably before, “the man” is not a compliment. The man is considered a synonym for the authority/government/police, as in a threat to one’s youthful lifestyle.

John
This! And to make the OP's reference even more ironic is that cycling has long been considered a fringe activity, people who decide to work the bike industry generally don't do so from a profit or power motive (unlike other professions that are closely allied with those in power like the police) and often are following their non conforming path. Given the recent social happenings (BLM and such) I am surprised that someone would see my agreeing with the social movement sentiments being a rant.

But as I've said before, each generation needs to label the world in a way that makes it their own. Andy
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Old 03-03-21, 09:07 AM
  #41  
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I do most of the work on my bike myself. I don't true or tension wheels. I have tried, and it's just not in my wheelhouse (unintended pun).
The result of my attempts may be seen on "The Flintstones".

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Old 03-03-21, 09:16 AM
  #42  
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If I wanted a certain wheel set created that was not already on the market for purchase, I'd rather give the work to someone else. Whether it's a shop or private person, whatever seems best for my build in my opinion. Could I do it myself? Yes. Do I have the tools to do it myself? Yes. Do I want to do the wheel building myself..... Soooo who does wheel building & what do they charge for labor for a 29ner 32 hole road setup?
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Old 03-03-21, 09:24 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
I wish derailer hanger alignment tools were more accessible. the Park one is $80 and worth every penny if it saves you from getting your derailer sucked into your spokes even once. but for most people, that seems like a lot of money for a tool that does just one thing. there are some alternatives from lesser known brands out there and I'd like to know how they compare for the home mechanic. I work on a lot of bikes for neighbors and that might be worth buying...
$40 on AliExpress. Perfectly fine quality for periodic use.
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Old 03-03-21, 09:51 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
i feel worthless and weak. have been fixing my stuff for decades but this week i gave in and will pay big $$ for the
"tune up" no time energy motivation oh yes no skills ...get the bike back Thursday. im excited to ride but hate to pay out for tune up.
I grew up on a farm and was working on machinery before I was 10. I guess this is why I find it amazing that so many people find working on a bike so complicated and black science. The fact is bikes and their adjustment and care is VERY simple. With a few proper tools, grease and oil, a cyclist can save themselves a lot of money.
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Old 03-03-21, 10:59 AM
  #45  
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I hate to pay someone to do something that I can do myself...most of the time anyway. (side note: That reminds me of a guy I served with in the military years ago who once said “I wish the doctor would tell me what to look for in a rectal exam. I’d do it myself.”) Of course time and motivation do become a factor, understandably. I do all the work on all of my older bikes. The last time I paid a shop to do sometime for me...it was to chase the threads on a threaded fork simply because I don’t own a die/chaser that size.

Dan
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Old 03-03-21, 11:12 AM
  #46  
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I enjoy working on my own bikes (and occasionally the bikes of friends) and there are only a few tasks that I either don't have the tools or knowledge to do. I came across one of those tasks recently and took my steed to a small LBS that I've been buying stuff from for 20+ years. I was very disappointed to find the work was sloppy, incomplete, and put scratches in other parts in the process - very amateurish. Thankfully, I was able to do some research and correct the issue myself, but I'm left with scratched parts. This is not a judgement of LBS work, in general. It's just an isolated incident with a shop that I won't be using any more. On the plus side, I learned how to do something new.
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Old 03-03-21, 11:35 AM
  #47  
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I have been tinkering with my bikes and studying bicycle mechanics for a few months now but I've been volunteering at a local bike community workshop. Ever since I started doing that I've found it hard to find the motivation to work on my own bikes. I too sometimes stare at my bikes and just want them fixed on the spot and save time. Careful, never over do a hobby or else it might end up feeling like a chore and that is the worst. Set yourself a limit to how much time you'll dedicate to fixing your bikes.
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Old 03-03-21, 12:57 PM
  #48  
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I do almost everything myself.

I use shops for stuff like
  • truing wheels - I'll kludge it myself to get it working, but appreciate folks with years of experienceexperience taking it from there.
  • Changing wheel bearings: I've done it myself a couple times, but it was a big PITA without the right tools.
  • Facing a head tube if needed.
  • Building a wheel.
  • I will ship my rear shocks to someplace like PUSH or Fluid Focus for a full rebuild every few years - I do the regular air sleeve maintenance and seal changes myself, but I don't want to mess with the nitrogen in the dampers.
  • I will ship a fork or shock out for a custom tuning... that is beyond my skill set.
Everything else I take care of myself. But there is nothing wrong with taking it in if you lack the time, skills, or interest in doing it yourself. That's what shops are for.
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Old 03-03-21, 04:52 PM
  #49  
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I’m pretty sure that I’ve never had any work done (on any of my bikes) by a professional bike mechanic. That’s not to say I wouldn’t, just that I’ve yet to have the need. Most of my bikes are from the last 3 decades of the 20th century and are, by and large, easy to work on and repair. I’ve collected quite an assortment of bike specific tools over the years and enjoy doing my own work. I do have one bike from the mid nineties with Campy “ErgoPower” brake/shift combo units. I’ve yet to have any issues with them but if any develop, I do believe a trip to the LBS will be in order.
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Old 03-04-21, 11:17 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
Time vs need. If it makes sense, why not have it professionally done?
I like to do whatever I can but, after multiple tries on the SAME new brakes that I tuned to perfection on my bike (and failed to get it right on my wife's), gladly paid the man for a few minutes in the rack to put 'em right. Miffed at myself and the inexplicable voodoo of life. Still, some days you just hafta put on the big boy pants and admit it ain't gonna happen....
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