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Do You Work / Maintain Your Own Bikes?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Do You Work / Maintain Your Own Bikes?

Old 09-04-15, 10:53 PM
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Eyenigma 
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Do You Work / Maintain Your Own Bikes?

It's fair to say the people on this forum are avid cyclists, probably at the sharper end of the spear when it comes to overall cycling population. I'm curious – do you work on your own bikes or entrust the LBS to do it? And to what degree do you get hands on? Changing group sets? Doing your own tune up and maintenance? Building your bikes from scratch? Ethically and logistically I struggle with what the right thing to do is. I (somewhat) buy into the whole "support your LBS" thing, but when you're out of a rig for a few days it's no fun.
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Old 09-04-15, 11:38 PM
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Ethically, I'm happiest building my own bike. Oh, which I've done the last 4 times I wanted a new bike. Haven't bought a full new bike since 1992.
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Old 09-04-15, 11:42 PM
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Have never sent a bike to a shop for work in 42 years of riding. Bought my last 2 bikes from a shop though.
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Old 09-05-15, 12:27 AM
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I generally buy a reasonably recent used bike with good components and then customize the little stuff (seat, pedals, handlebar etc.) and then do all maintenance myself. Never built up a bike from scratch but am considering it...
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Old 09-05-15, 12:29 AM
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Depends on what needs to be done. I can't rebuild a wheel so that's an LBS task. I can do most things though, which is good if one has multiple bikes as labor costs can add up.

Generally speaking, I try to do my own wrenching. If I get stuck, I have a friend who is pretty decent. If he gets stuck I go to the LBs.
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Old 09-05-15, 12:33 AM
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I'm two years fresh into the sport. I do most of the work myself, leaving the issues that involves safety to the LBS.
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Old 09-05-15, 01:10 AM
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Do all the work on my bikes. Only thing I don't want to do is service the forks on my mountain bikes. Don't have the confidence to work on them yet.
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Old 09-05-15, 01:19 AM
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I do most of the work on my bike, however, work on my wheels has been done by the LBS in the past. Since I have a set of backup wheels, my bike is always rideable.

Dennis
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Old 09-05-15, 02:16 AM
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Mechanically born & raised. I like my local bike mechanic & I throw him money from time to time but, the only time he works on my bike is if it requires a tool I don't have or want to own.
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Old 09-05-15, 03:10 AM
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I would say it depends on how much time and money you have. I started on bikes as a student. So to save cash I did all the work myself. Over time I accumulated all the tools and know-how to maintain my bikes. The last two bikes I built from ground up.

So, yeah. I guess it depends on how much time and cash you have. If you have plenty of income and no time, because you're busy working, then help out your local bike shop for sure! For me, it is already too late. I do all the work myself, and for sure I would like to open a bike shop so I can help all those out there that don't have the time or need the help!

cheers
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Old 09-05-15, 04:34 AM
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Do You Work / Maintain Your Own Bikes?

Originally Posted by pressed001 View Post
I would say it depends on how much time and money you have. I started on bikes as a student. So to save cash I did all the work myself. Over time I accumulated all the tools and know-how to maintain my bikes. The last two bikes I built from ground up.

So, yeah. I guess it depends on how much time and cash you have. If you have plenty of income and no time, because you're busy working, then help out your local bike shop for sure! For me, it is already too late. I do all the work myself, and for sure I would like to open a bike shop so I can help all those out there that don't have the time or need the help!
I am one as you describe, in boldface. My first adult bike was a Schwinn Suburban, and as a college student I did a lot of work on it, including cleaning bearings. Time eventually became too much of a premium, so now my LBS does it all.

Besides time, I have never had good facilities to work easily. Even now we live in a relatively small, but elegant condo, and my wife would frown on a room with a bike stand. Having the LBS do it all, in my case is a really good deal. The shop is one block away, and they will fix many things at a convenient time for me. They are so expert that they can do these things quickly, better than me, and often spot problems that I did not see. Whenever I leave the shop, the bikes ride as if new again.

Because the bikes are a major transportation mode for me, keeping them in good repair is critical. We save a lot of money on transportation, so further using the LBS is even more cost-effective. I tip well, not, “To Insure Prompt Service,” but because I am so appreciative of their work. Hats off to Back Bay Bikes.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 09-05-15 at 04:50 AM.
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Old 09-05-15, 04:44 AM
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I do everything myself but I'm mechanically inclined and enjoy stuff like that. I know guys who probably have the IQ of a genius but couldn't put a round peg in a round hole and are too scared to even try. They would rather pay someone else to do it. They would call their insurance company to send someone out to put a spare wheel on when they have a flat tire on the side of the road and wait three hours instead of doing it in 10 minutes.
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Old 09-05-15, 05:24 AM
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Yes. Build mine from scratch & maintain.
Don't enjoy it the way I used to. Too much other life stuff going on.
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Old 09-05-15, 06:39 AM
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I do 99% of my own work, but have a LBS with a great mechanic to back me up when I run into a issue.
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Old 09-05-15, 06:41 AM
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Pretty much do everything myself. I enjoy the work. Have made friends through it. Gives me something bike-related to do on rainy days.

Suspension-forks I sometimes send to a shop. Depends upon the fork model and my mood. Don't enjoy working on my Fox forks, but I'll tear down my Rockshox ones ... usually. (Have one laying in pieces right now).

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Old 09-05-15, 06:46 AM
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To my mind, wrenching on a bike is part of the riding experience. I like a bike that rides right and that means I need to stay on top of the mechanical issues.
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Old 09-05-15, 07:33 AM
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This probably isn't fair...but I do ALL my own work...but then again, I was a professional mechanic for a bunch of years.
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Old 09-05-15, 07:52 AM
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I take mine to the shop. I use two and both stock everything needed. They even fix anything while you wait if you like.

I can do it myself but don't have the time. Between work, family, other hobbies and interests, and riding, there isn't enough left.
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Old 09-05-15, 09:40 AM
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I do all my own work, and so far it's better than the work of at least two shops around here. I doubt I'm better, but I can afford the time to do it right. I also keep maintenence to a minimum. Change things at the same time. E. g., chain, rear tire, rear shifter cable all at 3000 miles. Everything else at some multiple of 3000. True my wheels, but at 20-25 K miles, just buy another low cost wheel set for maybe $200.
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Old 09-06-15, 12:16 AM
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I do all my own work to maintian and repair 4 active bikes for me and the few bikes for the family. Except wheel truing. Everything else including a full build up from bare frame is me. I like that part of the sport. I do have backup bikes so timing is not usually a critical issue.
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Old 09-06-15, 12:38 AM
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Everything myself except wheel building or truing. Don't have the tools and never had someone show me the proper way. I guess I will eventually try to learn that.
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Old 09-06-15, 01:11 AM
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I do 100% of my own work on my bike (and some work on bikes for friends and family). I started with my Dad's help (some) back when I was about 10 or so, perhaps earlier. Building wheels, truing wheels, lubing, etc. Not a lot of "scratch builds", but got a bare frame build under my belt this winter, and have a couple more in progress. Shortly I'll do a build starting with bare tubes... Hmmm, I did do a SIGNIFICANT modification of a bike frame last year too.

The only thing I can remember not doing was I broke a steel bike rack near a small town in the middle of Italy 20 years ago, so I had it welded so I could finish my trip.

I'm not always the most proactive with the work on my bikes, but I get them done as needed.
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Old 09-06-15, 01:54 AM
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Don't want to pay for oxy cylinder rental so I don't do my own brazing, but I'll set it up and take it to my local engineering workshop if I need to do something. I have some argon so I can do alloy MIG welding on racks and stuff. Everything else I do myself. Helps that when I was a kid my friends and I had easy access to the local rubbish tip and a big brother who also raced to show me how to build wheels and suchlike. I don't think our bikes stayed the same for more than 2 weeks at a time.
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Old 09-06-15, 02:04 AM
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I do most of the preventative maintenance myself. I'm in the process of gathering tools for working on road bikes. Next I plan on getting a work stand. I'm tired of getting down and crawling on the floor to work on the drivetrain. Of course if it deals with headset bearings or rebuilding/trueing wheels or something of that nature, I will leave it to the bike shop.
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Old 09-06-15, 05:20 AM
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The only maintenance I do myself is day-to-day stuff - cleaning the drivetrain once in a while, repairing flats/replacing tires, swapping brake pads (when swapping wheels), stuff like that. I helped in putting my Casati together the first time, and assembling and disassembling it when I took it on vacation, but I've never been mechanically inclined, and am clumsy when it comes to handiwork. I did manage to figure out how to get the brake lever re-attached to the bars of my fixed gear bike when it slipped off the other day. Although I do believe it's important to understand how the machines we operate work, and I am interested, I could never be a reliable mechanic. I have enjoyed trusting my cars, motorcycles and bikes to those with developed expertise and skill - they always turn out much nicer than I could have made them.
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