Bicycle Repair School....$90?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Edudbor, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. Edudbor

    Edudbor New Member

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    The local bicycle shop near me offers Bicycle Maintenance Classes during their non-peak business months. It's $90 dollars and they cover everything they'd do in their $100 maintaince package. I'm not sure exactly what that covers (it was listed on the wall, but I didn't write it down or anything); but it sounded fairly extensive.

    How did you all learn to fix your bikes? Did you just spend time trying different things; tightening/loosening until you got it to do what you wanted (I had a ton of trouble with my front derailer / triple crankset. It *still* isn't right :( ). Would I be better off buying a book on the subject, or would this be a good deal?
     
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  2. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    If you really want to be able to "do everything" on your bike, and plan to be in cycling for a while, I'd say the class could be a great deal. I'd want it to include "live demos" so you can watch how a pro does it; that's the best way to learn.

    Getting the right tech information is always an issue. A basic maintenance book (eg, Zinn), combined with the Parktool site and the specific instructions on the component can all be helpful.

    Learning to maintain your bike is a fine goal, but OTOH, you could just rely on a good LBS. A lot of guys here, experienced riders and racers, don't do much on their own bikes other than tire/tube changes and chain lube. When you've got good equipment properly set up, the stuff just doesn't need maintenance very often...... you may be learning a lot of stuff in the class that you won't need to actually do for a few years, or maybe never.
     
  3. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    dhk2 pretty much covers it. In a course like this, you are going to learn how to repair all kinds of bikes. If you have aspirations to be a bicycle mechanic, then take the course. If you are only looking for information to maintain your own bike, I would suggest that you get a book and check out the on-line help sites.

    I learned all that I know from 40 years of experience. Trial and error is a great training aid, although it is expensive. I also spent a couple of years working as a bike mechanic many many years ago.
     
  4. chainstay

    chainstay New Member

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    Sometimes with a triple front derailleur it is simply faster and more economical to let a bike shop set it up and adjust it the first time, and then you may just have to make minor adjustments after that over time---for example tightening the cable a little bit as the cables stretch. Sometimes even a bike shop mechanic struggles with the initial setup of a triple derailleur, so I wouldn't feel bad if you struggled on your attempt. I once struggled with one and ended up going to more than one bicycle shop before anyone got it right.

    Besides learning to do some things yourself, it also worthwhile to find out where the best bicycle mechanic in town is located. Ask your co workers opinions. I have found that there is often a huge difference between the capabilities of mechanics at various shops. I only have one that I trust in my city now.

    This bicycle repair book is pretty good too.

    http://www.amazon.com/Bicycling-Complete-Bicycle-Maintenance-Repair/dp/1579548830/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-2922906-6691604?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1190931905&sr=8-1
     
  5. chainstay

    chainstay New Member

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    Seems like I recall you mentioning that you live in northern Colorado. If so, perhaps there is an REI near you? Anyway, REI generally has some basic, less expensive bicycle repair clinics if I recall correctly, but I suppose they wouldn't be having their next repair clinics until the spring. If there is one in your town, it might be worth contacting them and seeing what the deal is.
     
  6. Edudbor

    Edudbor New Member

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    There is actually an REI about 5-10 minutes north of the LBS I was going to go to. I'll give them a shot before I show up for this class; just to see what they cover/cost/etc...

    Otherwise, I think I probably will end up going to this class. It's sounds like it's probably going to be more than I want to know, but I should learn all of the things I want to know too - so it's a good trade off.
     
  7. mongooseboy

    mongooseboy New Member

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    Ive learned most of the bike repair i know just by doing things and reading online (sheldonbrown.com is a great source of FREE information put on by a nice man!). Parktool's site also has a lot of info as well. Yes, ive made mistakes, but ive learned from them. most mistakes were very minor: too short/too long cable housing, forgetting to grease threads, etc.

    However if you dont have much mechanical inclination, then the $90 is probably well worth it, as well as the bicycle mechanic book put out by bicycling magazine/rodale. Speaking of which, i need to find the book for my own reference.

    I personally think the hardest part is learning to set up/tune derailleurs/shifters. Brake pads should be next on the list. Truing is pretty easy, once you understand how spoke tension affects the wheel.

    GOOD luck! once you learn to repair your bike on your own, youll never take it to a bike shop again! About the only thing i take my bike in for anymore is for broken spokes. I dont (yet) have a truing stand/tensionometer so i leave that up to the "pros"

    take care!

    ps: working on your own bike is EVER so rewarding! sure it takes time, but the nearest bike shop for me is around 25 miles away and takes 40 minutes to get to, fixing things myself is about 20 times faster ;)
     
  8. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    You really don't need a tension meter. All you need to do is get good at feeling the tension when you pull on the spoke. You really don't need a trueing stand but it makes things easier. I know you are out of work at this time, but when you get back to work, you can pick up a decent Minoura Workman Pro Trueing Stand for less than $50.00 from Bike Nashbar or Performance. Good luck with your job search. I just changed jobs myself and I was either over qualified or under qualified for nearly everything I looked at.
     
  9. kleng

    kleng New Member

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    I would also consider the parktool website for the "repair how to's" and the tech doc's of the manufacturers, if your mechanically inclined. I've done all the wrenching myself given these internet resources including major tasks such as hub bearing and bottom bracket replacement, headset overhauls etc.. Make sure you have the right tools though. I'd spend the 90 bucks on a good bicycle specific tool kit first.

    [​IMG]

    The Park Tool "Blue book" is a fanatastic great resource as well. http://www.parktool.com/products/detail.asp?cat=19&item=BBB%2D1#

    Here is an example of what they have on the sites
    http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=145
    http://techdocs.shimano.com/techdocs/blevel.jsp?JSESSIONID=G9xB1sQ0KGj2NJpy44826gMbZR1JQvtnyTyMz8h2CKpvZWsSFlMT!785357091&ASSORTMENT%3C%3East_id=1408474395181679&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302051957&bmUID=1191014721945
     
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