Advice please -- DIY or LBS ???
I'm doing a drivetrain upgrade on my '03 S-Works Epic. Some older parts started to go, and I would like some advice from shop/pro wrenches on whether it is worth doing the job myself, or taking it to my local mechanic...
My front XT der developed ton of play recently and a prodigous rattle. Meanwhile my rear (right) XT rapidfire shifter doesn't always engage when I use the thumb lever (probably some worn out internals), and I've been nursing it along for a year or so waiting till it completely failed. Now, the combo of the two problems is too aggravating to make it thru another 24hr race. Add to that that my rear XTR der is 5 yrs old, and I want to upgrade to rapid rise shifting pattern to help climbing...
So I have a new XT M761 front der, a new XTR M960 SGS rear der, and a pair of new XTR SL-M952 shifters + cables sitting at home.
I'm a relatively competent home/trail mechanic (I use a torque wrench, clean everything religiously, fix brakes, true wheels, etc) but I usually try to avoid adjusting my deraileurs. I've also heard from several sources that the drive train on the Epic can be tempermental to adjust... Should I take a swing at trying to set up the new rapid rise myself -- or should I just drop the bike off at the shop????
i try to do as much as i can myself, if i get stuck i just got to the LBS then the cost is always minimized than if they did the whole job themselves.
i have a '04 Epic Marathon, and yes, you do you have to be very precise with the derailler set-up on it.
i like to change cassettes/chains at about 1000 miles, that seems to help save my shifters, still got '93 XT rapidfires on my GT hardtail with over 5000 miles on it and they still work like new. i've been biking for 15 years.
I'd go for the DIY.. if you get really stuck adjusting, you'll have everything installed and it'd just need a tuning at the shop to get things right.
I'd plan on it taking 2-3 hours, so factor that into your decision.
park site has very good instructions .. read through 'em before beginning.
post w/ any questions.
Give someone a fish and they can eat for the night. Teach them to fish and they can eat forever.
If you have the least bit interest and are somewhat competent, then learn to do it yourself. A very good idea to read a how to and take the time to do it right. If you don't have the time or are easily frustrated find a good shop or a good friend who is into it.
From my personal experience, getting the derailleurs dialed in is the worst part of DIY bike work. With that said, if you have the patience, it's well worth it, and each time you do it, the job gets easier.
As mentioned earlier, in a worst case scenario, you bring it to the LBS for fine tuning. At least you'll have everything mounted, and the cables routed.
Just my thoughts.
'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery
I do a lot of maintenance myself but I'm lucky to have a good friend with all the tools...and I mean ALL the tools. Having someone walk through things with you is best and if you're willing to pay attention and learn you can avoid going to the LBS for most things.
There is no substiutue for experience though,and a well seasoned mechanic can spot problems that most of us wont see. Recently, I just could not get my rear derailleur dialed in and ended up taking it to a shop(only so much you can impose on the friend) to have them look at everything closely. It seems that someone at another LBS has put my B-tension screw on my rear derailleur in backwards . I never would have realized that and would have been frustrated beyond belief trying to get things right without success. On the other hand, I downloaded a maintenance PDF for my hub the other day and tore it half apart. I was able to lube and reassemble it without issue and got rid of a nasty squeak. I'm not sure of the money I saved but I know I would not have been able to ride the next day if I hadn't taken the plunge and tried.
The more complicated it is, the more that can go wrong.
Feedback -- How it went...
Anyway, here's the update on how it went...
First, I realized I meant to order the M760 front der, not the M761 (bottom swing -- doesn't fit the Epic frame) which was sitting useless in my basement next to my bike; so I located the correct part at a local mail order bike shop and picked that up. New rule of thumb -- don't drink wine late at night and order bike parts online.
Removal/installation of the shifters and old ders was a no-brainer. Once I got to the housing stage, I realized that Shimano gave me 3 segments of housing, but my Specialized used 4. A little comparison showed there was no way to cut the 3 provided pieces to match the 4 on the existing cables, and I wasn't going to re-use any of the old gunked up housings on the nice new cables.
So I dropped it at the LBS and the regular mechanic I usually go to tells me for $16 he'll put the new chain on and do the finishing touches to tune the shifting tomorrow... No worrys, happy to support the LBS. With any luck the @#&! rain will hold off and I'll be on the trails Saturday! Side benefit -- LBS will adjust the cables for me after the stretch.
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