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Bike Parts Compatibility - Is it a problem for you?

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Bike Parts Compatibility - Is it a problem for you?

Old 11-19-22, 09:47 PM
  #1  
Admanseven
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Bike Parts Compatibility - Is it a problem for you?

Hi All,
I'm Adam. I'm a professional bike mechanic of 13 or so years, currently living in Rotorua, NZ.
Doing a little research project and I would like to hear your stories around Bike Parts Compatibility.

If you're a regular customer/consumer, I'm interested to know if Bike Parts Compatibility is, or has been, a stumbling block for you at some point.
Does it guide where and how you shop?
Does it make buying online difficult, or impossible?
Do you find all the bike standards a bit confusing sometimes?
Would you buy more parts online if it was clearer to you that something "definitely would" fit your particular bike?
If you shop online, how do you generally find out what parts to buy?

If you're in the industry, I'm interested to know how it affects you or your business.
Does it take up time or resources answering questions related to parts fitting a customer's bike?
Is it difficult for sales or customer service staff to find the information they need to determine something will fit a customer's bike?
Do you see parts being returned that were not the right ones?
Do you think customers would buy more parts online if they were confident they were going to fit?

I hope you can help me understand this problem a little better...

Thanks in advance for your help.
Regards,
Adam
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Old 11-19-22, 10:02 PM
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Old 11-19-22, 10:41 PM
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If you have been a mechanic for 13 years I’m guessing you’re well versed on current components and work-arounds.

The tough part is the older stuff. I’m not in the industry, but I don’t see a good way forward trying to find old parts to do repairs.

As an example, someone brings in a high end 90’s mtb with quill stem, cantilever brakes, 1” steerer suspension fork that is shot.

John
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Old 11-19-22, 10:54 PM
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Tl;dr
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Old 11-20-22, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Admanseven View Post
Do you find all the bike standards a bit confusing sometimes?
Does it take up time or resources answering questions related to parts fitting a customer's bike?
Is it difficult for sales or customer service staff to find the information they need to determine something will fit a customer's bike?
Do you see parts being returned that were not the right ones?
Yes.
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Old 11-20-22, 10:08 AM
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I'm sorry, I forgot the question.
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Old 11-20-22, 11:03 AM
  #7  
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I mean for customers just buying random stuff yes they have issues as you know being a 13 year mechanic.

For a mechanic of 13 years probably not as many issues. I do have some mechanics who struggle here and there but usually because they decided not to do the research. Luckily I am a gear nerd so I have been able to help out and find compatible stuff fairly easily. Shimano has the tech docs and SRAM has manuals on their site and maybe more and there are resources like the late great Sheldon Brown 's website and plenty of other stuff out there on the web plus you have the Sutherlands and Barnetts manuals and Lennard Zinn's Art of ______ Bicycle Maintenance so it should be super hard. You can also do some trial and error sometimes you can get stuff to work. We certainly have done a lot in the shop people said you can't do and it works fine with no issues but that is par for the course at a professional bike shop with knowledgeable staff.

I had one staff member make a claim that SRAM Force was lower than Rival and convinced other people of that but it happens once and while where people are less than informed and they influence people.
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Old 11-20-22, 11:17 AM
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Not too much of a problem finding compatible parts. I'll try to research online first, but if still not certain, have some good LBS around that can help, and of course, there is the Bike Mechanics section here. I'm far from being up to date with all of the current component offerings, but between the web, LBS, and Bike Mechanics section here, I can manage.
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Old 11-20-22, 11:28 AM
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I am well aware of what is compatible and what isn't, even my local bike shop guy and knows his stuff quite well. When I had my two MTBs built back then 6 years ago, he told me "Very wise choice of parts and components". I always try to know and learn what I should be buying or what I shouldn't.
I use sites like ebay, bike components and bike 24 are where I shop mostly and alwas find what I need or want most of the time. Money isn't an issue for me so when I want something I do spare money and then buy the goods.

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Old 11-20-22, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
If you have been a mechanic for 13 years Iím guessing youíre well versed on current components and work-arounds.

The tough part is the older stuff. Iím not in the industry, but I donít see a good way forward trying to find old parts to do repairs.

As an example, someone brings in a high end 90ís mtb with quill stem, cantilever brakes, 1Ē steerer suspension fork that is shot.

John
That is true and the question is the mechanic willing to find spare parts to restore the bike? Ebay has penty of spare parts but on a side note, not every bike tech is willing to spend time and to find rare spare parts to do the fix. I know one in the past who refused to work on bikes that weren't modern and bought in his shop.
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Old 11-20-22, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by georges1 View Post
That is true and the question is the mechanic willing to find spare parts to restore the bike? Ebay has penty of spare parts but on a side note, not every bike tech is willing to spend time and to find rare spare parts to do the fix. I know one in the past who refused to work on bikes that weren't modern and bought in his shop.
My response is that as a hobbyist, no it isn’t to much effort to find parts.

But from someone in business, yes it is too much effort. I buy most of my parts on eBay. There is always a risk that the parts have issues. Timing a auction end with a bid that fits a budget would be a nightmare for someone in business.

If the customer is willing to pay you the hours you spend and an exorbitant amount for an NOS XTR or Dura Ace component, that might be a different story. But by-and-large it should be a non-starter. Even more so if the repairs do not meet the hopes and dreams of the customer.

John
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Old 11-20-22, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
My response is that as a hobbyist, no it isn’t to much effort to find parts.

But from someone in business, yes it is too much effort. I buy most of my parts on eBay. There is always a risk that the parts have issues. Timing a auction end with a bid that fits a budget would be a nightmare for someone in business.

If the customer is willing to pay you the hours you spend and an exorbitant amount for an NOS XTR or Dura Ace component, that might be a different story. But by-and-large it should be a non-starter. Even more so if the repairs do not meet the hopes and dreams of the customer.

John
You are correct in your analysis that from a business stand point iti s not really profitable, yes and there is always a risk that part may have. Regarding theprice of some NOS Dura Ace 7700,7800, 7900 and even older NOS XTR or XT parts, prices have litterally skyrocketed. Some times, I think it is better for the customer to buy the frame first and then the components with spares in mind rather than shelling out money for a complete new bike but have it assembled by their local bike tech. Having something a la carte can be a more interesting alternative quality wise than something made in big volumes .
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Old 11-20-22, 05:17 PM
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I have one bike and only run 7400/7700 Dura Ace, so I donít have to worry about compatibility issues. When I need to replace a part, I hit eBay, like a lot of folks here.
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Old 11-20-22, 06:06 PM
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It's sporting goods. It's reasonable for things to be compatible for a few years to keep things running. It's not reasonable for thirty years. Most people don't maintain interest that long or they want something new. The reasons for doing things one way are overwhelmed by new ways being better. It's reasonable for different companies to make different stuff to compete, there's no milspec to follow.

Freewheels and freehubs and drivers are a good example. Freewheel hubs had a proble, their limit on number of cogs and the poorly supported axles that started cracking when confronted with 7 speeds and mountain bikes. Freehubs fixed that and allowed for 12t top gear. The 8 speed version fixed a forward-compatibility problem with the 7 speed version that let it last until 11 speed, and allowed 11t top gear. But they incurred their own - especially that they put a lower limit on the cog size, and cogs digging in to the cog carrier. The xD driver solved those and allows a 9t top cog. I haven't looked a the new Shimano driver close enough to see if it's better than the xD or just deliberately different for business reasons. Will it stick? Shimano blew a lot of time getting on board but then they have a lot of market power. What's next? Not sure.
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Old 11-20-22, 06:41 PM
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It would have been useful if Shimano had built in greater compatibility between its assorted mt. bike groups and road groups in terms of allowing road shifters to work with mt. derailers, etc..... would have made it easier to build up touring bikes, drop bar mt. bikes, etc... with mix and match.
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Old 11-21-22, 05:07 AM
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It has been my experience that compatibility has gotten much worse as the number of available gears has gone to 10 and beyond. There seems to be plenty of availability from distributors and retailers to support older bikes, just not at the higher quality levels. As others have mentioned, if you want XT / XTR level components, you have to go looking in the secondary market like Ebay. Proprietary parts, particularly for suspension forks can be a challenge to source. Hydraulic disc brakes are another area of componentry that suffers from parts availability and compatibility issues. Many Shimano braking systems are not rebuildable and Shimano is not forthcoming with acceptable lever / caliper mixing and matching. There are intrepid individuals whose experiments have shown what combinations do work but a bike shop, with concern for liability, may not want to support any combinations not blessed by the manufacturer. In my opinion, the real downside for the consumer is the local bike shop can't stock everything and repair / replacement of anything beyond the most common items requires ordering from somewhere, making getting the bike back in service take even more time.

In conclusion, I would say that compatibility issues are minimal for folks who do most of their own work and are willing to use sources like Ebay to find the parts they need. Retail service establishments have some different challenges that make it simpler and more profitable for them to steer customers to newer, supported equipment. I suspect, for both shops and DIY types, the compatibility issues will get worse in the future as both e-bikes and electronic shifting proliferate.
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Old 11-21-22, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by georges1 View Post
You are correct in your analysis that from a business stand point iti s not really profitable, yes and there is always a risk that part may have. Regarding theprice of some NOS Dura Ace 7700,7800, 7900 and even older NOS XTR or XT parts, prices have litterally skyrocketed. Some times, I think it is better for the customer to buy the frame first and then the components with spares in mind rather than shelling out money for a complete new bike but have it assembled by their local bike tech. Having something a la carte can be a more interesting alternative quality wise than something made in big volumes .
This is my biggest fear on my Derosa, as it was built with a new Campagnolo Athena 11s many years a go, and it's still going strong. But I worry come 10 or 15 years later, and i need to replace something, I won't be able to find it, or at a reasonable price.
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Old 11-21-22, 02:53 PM
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My biggest problem with Bike Parts Compatibility is the needless capitalization when people use it in a sentence. (Unless, of course, it is referring to a new brew pub or restaurant.)
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Old 11-22-22, 06:59 AM
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I am down to one bicycle. It is a thirteen year old touring bike and some parts are not easy to source. The new issue of Adventure Cyclist has a review of a Moots Route ESC that retails for $13,193. The writer, Dan Meyer, writes that “a Moots is still considered to be a bike for life.” At 69 years old, this Moots might be a bike for life for me, but I doubt a twenty-five year old will be able to find the parts to keep it going for that long.
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Old 11-22-22, 08:01 AM
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I think it's gotten worse recently with changes from "one-size fits all" QR to variations in TA standards for road bikes at least, this adds another layer of complexity to the equation.

BB "standards" are well documented an annoying too.
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Old 11-22-22, 08:55 AM
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In the 21st century, one must be very good at google to be a decent mechanic
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Old 11-22-22, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles Lathe View Post
I am down to one bicycle. It is a thirteen year old touring bike and some parts are not easy to source. The new issue of Adventure Cyclist has a review of a Moots Route ESC that retails for $13,193. The writer, Dan Meyer, writes that “a Moots is still considered to be a bike for life.” At 69 years old, this Moots might be a bike for life for me, but I doubt a twenty-five year old will be able to find the parts to keep it going for that long.
I don't think it will be that hard, there are plenty of resto-mods going on or people doing outright proper restorations as needed with the correct parts. Also not all of us in the shop are 25 many of us are 30s and older and even still one of my staff is currently 25 or so and became the service manager at 19ish and really did an excellent job and help keep our service department running efficiently and did better than I had expected. It never felt like we had some kid running it he knew his stuff and knew when to ask for help when he didn't as ANY good mechanic should. Any mechanic though could run into trouble age is just a number. I have seen mechanics of all ages stumped on something. Sometimes you just need a different perspective on it or look at it a different way which some people don't always do, they are like I gotta fix this and instead of I gotta step back and re-think it and then fix it.

Usually titanium bikes especially the nice ones are thought of as those forever bikes and I think the modern stuff certainly yes, the geometry is good the materials have the comfort in them but the stiffness we want but in the end titanium if welded properly which Moots knows how to do can last a really long time plus you don't need to paint it or anything and if you get a scratch you can use a scouring pad to remove it and if you want to paint it go ahead or if you want to do some anodizing you can do that as well.

Seeing how people are keeping bikes going from the 60s and 70s I think this shouldn't be super hard down the line. 40-60 years for some of the bikes and older that some of the C&V folks have means there will be hope for the modern stuff and especially with the wireless group sets coming out no need to wire anything and the tons of machinists and 3d printers and stuff that is coming I wouldn't worry too much again.

Yes maybe some of the youngest guns at a shop might struggle but that is always the case with anyone new to a subject unless they are an absolute genius. However most shops have someone who has been around for a bit or knows people who have. Plus with the ease of finding information online it will only get better.

Also I want one it has plenty of tire clearance and these use loads of MUSA parts so I might even consider the possibility of a complete bike (which is a rarity for me)
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Old 11-22-22, 11:17 AM
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All four of my bikes have Campagnolo groupsets. I'm well aware of compatibility issues, but it is more of an irritant than an obstacle. When in doubt the internet steps in to clear things up (Bikeforums is great, so is the Campagnolo website).
I shop for bike parts and accessories mostly online and do nearly all wrenching myself.
A website providing an overview of cross-compatibility would be nice to have, but not a game changer for me. There are, however, a lot of people who are less obsessive than me, and I get the impression that I'm not even that far along the obsessive spectrum compared to some folks here (I say that with admiration for the detailed knowledge that some members have!)
What would really be nice, but I'm not going to hold my breath, would be if someone were to produce affordable parts compatible with older standards. You'd probably have to have a financial death wish to try that though.
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Old 11-23-22, 06:40 AM
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The medium and format you've chosen here are unlikely to give you good data for your research project, as you can see from the replies above. In none of the replies do you get answers to all of the questions. For the few specific questions that are answered here and there, the responses are so variable that it would require you to interpret/categorize the replies, which would open your conclusions up to criticism on the basis that you misinterpreted/manipulated the data.

Also, the questions are not well designed, which will make it difficult for you to categorize the responses, much less draw conclusions based on the data. Take, for example, the question "Does it guide where and how you shop?" This is a yes/no question (which is good), but say I answer "Yes" (see below): does that mean that the compatibility issue affects where I shop? Or how I shop? Or both? In my case, it affects both, kind of. It affects where I shop on-line, but not where I shop when going to a brick and mortar shop (I use one LBS, unless I have trouble on the road where I'll find the closest shop). If I order on-line, I order from a site with a simple and generous return policy so if I get the wrong part I can return it without financial penalty. Compatibility issues affect how I shop if I order from my LBS: I am very specific about what I'm ordering (e.g. "quick link for a SRAM PC-80 chain for an 8sp drivetrain", instead of "hey, I need a quick link for my chain"). So, you can see that you need a better question to generate responses that will give you high quality data.
The last question is particularly poor, in that it is not designed to elicit a limited number of replies, one could answer in many different ways, again making it difficult to categorize the replies.

You need to: (1) redesign your questions to elicit specific sets of responses (e.g. either yes/no, or provide a set of multiple-choice responses, with or without "other" as a choice); (2) choose a better medium - a forum such as this, in theory, would be a good choice because one of the main functions is for people to swap information about bikes and riding, but in practice the main purpose is entertainment, so you'll get a lot of garbage (humorous or even intentionally misleading) responses; (3) provide the questions in a format that encourages the responder to answer all of the questions (for example, a questionnaire, either .pdf or, preferably, web-based; and (4) you need to provide an incentive for people to answer your questions, whether that be tangible (e.g. a fun app they can download at the end) or intangible (e.g. explain how the outcome of the study could benefit them in the future), otherwise your data set will be so small as to be meaningless.

Good luck.

If you're a regular customer/consumer, I'm interested to know if Bike Parts Compatibility is, or has been, a stumbling block for you at some point.

Does it guide where and how you shop? Yes
Does it make buying online difficult, or impossible? No
Do you find all the bike standards a bit confusing sometimes? Yes
Would you buy more parts online if it was clearer to you that something "definitely would" fit your particular bike? No
If you shop online, how do you generally find out what parts to buy? Google search

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Old 11-24-22, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Admanseven View Post
Bike Parts Compatibility - Is it a problem for you?
No.
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