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The basics - what do I need to know?

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The basics - what do I need to know?

Old 09-23-22, 07:59 PM
  #1  
Cramic
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The basics - what do I need to know?

I’ve been riding for about a year (Giant TCR) and, to my shame, my basic knowledge re. basic bike maintenance and repairs is next to nothing.

I wouldn’t even be confident repairing a puncture…at home, never mind on a ride (but, do have the kit.)

I lubricator my chain every 3-4 weeks and keep my tyres at the correct pressure and that’s about it.

So! I’m planning to get somebody around to teach me. What would you consider the basics I need to know/should cover in a 1-2 hour lesson? A list would be great. Puncture repair and confidently removing wheels is high up my lift. Chain repair. Applying handlebar tape.

Many thanks!
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Old 09-23-22, 09:35 PM
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The larger sports stores in USA offer classes like this, often for free.

Even my local bike club throws a maintenance morning once in a while.
Though these are not to maintain bike, but to learn how.

Look around, you’ll find them.

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Old 09-23-22, 10:07 PM
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The single most important thing to know if you're going to ride a bike more than a few miles from home is how to fix a flat. Flats happen, and are only slightly less likely then stepping into dog poo.

After that, basic fear and brake adjustment, small jobs like replacing things like brake shoes of gear or brake cables, basic wheel alignment.
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Old 09-23-22, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
The single most important thing to know is how to fix a flat... After that, basic fear...
It's good to be scared sometimes, but don't overdo it.
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Old 09-24-22, 05:38 AM
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Just watch a youtube video on removing and installing a quick release wheel/ Changing a intertube and taking your chain off.
Patching tires suck. I just take a extra intertube on long rides.
Only tools you need are a pair of plastic tire levers and a chain tool and a cheap bike multitool.
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Old 09-24-22, 05:39 AM
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https://www.parktool.com/en-us/blog/repair-help
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Old 09-24-22, 06:46 AM
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If there's a bike co-op in your area, they may offer classes. And volunteer there if you can.

I agree, flat tires are the most common reason bikes aren't ridden.

Safety of course is most important, so keeping the brakes working and preventing problems should be high on the list.

I see a lot of old bikes donated to a nonprofit I volunteer at, and one of the most common reasons is shifting problems. They can be finicky and annoying and take some experience and money to fix, but aren't as important.
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Old 09-24-22, 06:48 AM
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This was my source, Sheldon Brown-Bicycle Technical Information
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Old 09-24-22, 07:18 AM
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The previously listed Park tool and sheldon brown can get you through all of the basics and far more.

I love the sheldon brown site but I would start with park, they have both article and vidoes

a good book that covers vintage and modern is Zinn and the Art of Road bike maintenance (there is a mtb verson also) https://www.amazon.com/Zinn-Art-Road...dp_ob_title_bk

there is a park book also that looks good but I don't own it yet

Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair https://www.amazon.com/Park-Tool-Blu...76553066&psc=1

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Old 09-24-22, 07:20 AM
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The basic repair skills while on the road is how to repair/replace a flat tire...if you're using a tube in a tire system.
This includes how to remove the wheel, remove one side of the tire, remove the tube, replace the tube, inflate the tube once in the tire, put the wheel back on the bike and having the bike in a good gear to resume your ride.
A properly maintained and adjusted bike doesn't often need any other road side service...unless something goes wrong.

General maintenance skills for in the 'shop' should be how to CLEAN and lube your chain...adding layer upon layer of lube is a nasty practice. Cleaning your bike and wheels, inspecting the bike's parts...which should always be done while cleaning the bike. Checking the gear, generally the rear derailleur needs the most attention as it does the most work. How to clean your brakes and brake surfaces.

These are the basics and generally don't require specific tools...other than routine chain stretch checking with is made easier with a specific tool which, fortunately, doesn't cost a lot of money.

You could start by asking in a local bike shop of good repute. Or you can ask someone you ride with whose bike always looks the cleanest, has no or very few problems during group rides, etc...Don't expect something for nothing and if the person is willing pay them for their time, if they refuse, gift them with something nice. While classes are useful I'd prefer a one on one working with my bike. I'd ask if someone with the necessary skills would be interested in teaching me basic/routine cleaning, adjustment and maintenance of my bike. If someone is interested, pay them...don't expect something for nothing. The skills you learn will last for the rest of your life, make servicing and maintaining your bike easier and you can pass it along to a friend, etc...at least the basics.

General tools all 'riders' should have include a set of metric Allen wrenches, chain stretch checking tool, tire levers, floor pump, chain cleaning kit ( I prefer the Park chain cleaner and Muc Off, they will do a great job and the chain stays on the bike, a torque wrench...most people over tighten which is not good for carbon frames and parts, a work stand...while not a MUST HAVE I consider it a must have and one can be purchased at a reasonable price...it may not be fancy or the easiest to use but worth every penny in the long term, lubes for the chain and fiddly bits, cleaning and polishing materials, etc which are usually the rider's/mechanics favorites/preferred bit of kit.

These are the basics for routine servicing and maintenance and doing it on a weekly basis will make you more proficient over time.
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Old 09-24-22, 07:43 AM
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Agree with all above suggestions and I would say learning to fix a flat is the most important and lubing your chain is essential. WARNING: Lots of "lively" debate on anything related to lubrication but experiment and find what works for you. I would also agree checking out YouTube vids for learning repairs as they are needed. Be patient, take your time when attempting something new, be prepared to invest in some decent tools and asking here is always helpful. And respect to you for wanting to learn. I have some friends that use me as their mechanic, and I always try to teach them how to do it themselves, but most aren't interested which makes me want to find some new friends.
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Old 09-24-22, 03:18 PM
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Joining this forum was a good idea and using the internet to find answers to bike topics is another tip mentioned by others above - here's a nice little video on drive train cleaning - I catelog all the information I collect from this forum and the internet on my computer for reference later .


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Old 09-25-22, 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Cramic View Post
The basics: what do I need to know?
Two nuts can be locked together on a threaded bolt. That's how a bicycle works. It's all super simple.
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Old 09-25-22, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Kai Winters View Post
This includes how to remove the wheel, remove one side of the tire, remove the tube, explore for the source of the flat, replace the tube, inflate the tube once in the tire, put the wheel back on the bike...
Added an important step to minimize a subsequent flat.
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Old 09-25-22, 09:28 AM
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Youtube is your friend!
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Old 09-25-22, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
Added an important step to minimize a subsequent flat.
Oh ! Good one...missed it...glad you picked up on it...chapeau
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Old 09-25-22, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by surferrosa View Post
two nuts can be locked together on a threaded bolt. That's how a bicycle works. It's all super simple.
w...t...f...???
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Old 09-25-22, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Kai Winters View Post
w...t...f...???
Well, this *is* an important concept in the servicing of hubs, but... yeah... WTF?
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Old 09-25-22, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
Well, this *is* an important concept in the servicing of hubs...
It's *the* concept in how a bicycle works. Look at every rotating component.
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Old 09-25-22, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
It's *the* concept in how a bicycle works. Look at every rotating component.
Hmmm... not sure I agree. However, it does seem to be one of the most difficult-to-understand concepts in bicycling!
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Old 09-25-22, 07:25 PM
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"The Basics" does not include adjusting the bearings in a hub and if one is going to go through the effort to "adjust" the hub bearings you may as well disassemble, clean and grease the bearings and races...if there are races...whilst at it.
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Old 09-28-22, 07:48 PM
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Thanks for all the helpful replies. I had already checked bike shops in my area and few offered what I was looking for. My schedule means I don’t have a cycling club (can’t get out at the usual times) and ride mostly solo or with a couple of mates who are similarly useless when it comes to the basics!

Anyway, my plan had been to post on AirTasker for somebody. I used this thread to come up with a small list of things I’d like to learn and offered $100AUD ($65USD). No takers.

I appreciate its not a usual job for AirTasker, but I figured I’d find at least one enthusiastic amateur, but not to be! Perhaps people think I didn’t offer enough?

My friend made, what I consider to be, an interesting observation: this isn’t a cheap hobby so “enthusiastic amateurs” probably don’t need $100 or have better ways of earning it.

I’ll post again at some point. A local shop dies offers courses, but you need to get ten people together (whilst I have a group who would be interested it’s like herding cats). And I do hope to join a club at some point.

Until then I’ll make do with the YouTube videos!

Thanks again for the advice.
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Old 09-29-22, 09:45 AM
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The best experience will come from just digging in and getting your hands dirty. I’ve read bikes described as “soft technology,” meaning they aren’t high-tech. Start simple and go from there.

What’s on the list of things you’d like to learn?

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Old 09-29-22, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Cramic View Post
I wouldn’t even be confident repairing a puncture…at home, never mind on a ride (but, do have the kit.)
Just practice installing and uninstalling the tire and tube. If you are concerned about messing up something on your bike (e.g., disc brake), buy a cheap 700c wheel, tire, and tube for said practice.
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Old 09-29-22, 11:18 AM
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As I get older the most important part of my rides has become my Pre-Flight check list. Just saying...
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