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  1. #1
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    How many people actually work on their own bikes?

    I am curious, I was talking to a worker at a bike shop and he said that majority of biker riders don't work on their own bikes. Why is that? Is it because they would rather spend their time out on the road or just scared they will screw up their bike?
    Sometimes you wonder why things fall apart and then you realizze..a bolt is missing.

    www.mrmetric.com

  2. #2
    Hazardous to your health!
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    im afraid ill mess up my bike and itll cost more for HUGE adjustments when it only needed small adjustments lol However, i am starting to work on my bike now, in fact in a few weeks i plan to replace the chain all by myself
    2011 Specialized Rockhopper: Captain Tires, Disc Brakes, 24 speed

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  3. #3
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    the same reason you are not a banker, truck driver, sky diver. they don't want to

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMetric View Post
    I am curious, I was talking to a worker at a bike shop and he said that majority of biker riders don't work on their own bikes. Why is that? Is it because they would rather spend their time out on the road or just scared they will screw up their bike?
    Your LBS guy is likely correct. We on MTBR represent a skewed sample base. In the wider scheme of things, most whom I know go to a shop. Some do a few things themselves, and go to the shop for the rest. Some go to the shop for everything.

    Some just plain don't like to wrench. Nothing wrong w/that. I hate working on my car, so I pretty much always take *that* to the shop.

    Some are afraid of screwing up.

    Some might be capable but too busy.

    All sorts of reasons. Liking to ride a bike and liking to work on a bike are really two different things. One does not necessarily need to lead to the other.

  5. #5
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    I love working on my bike.

  6. #6
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    I do what I can. If it's something I am afraid of screwing up or I can't figure out, I'll take my bike to the shop. For instance, when the time comes to press in the headset on my new frame, I'll take it to the shop. I don't want to chance destroying a $100 headset when my shop will do it for $10 and if they break it, they pay for a replacement.
    Cannondale F29 carbon
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  7. #7
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    Who on here actually rides their bikes? I'm just kidding, but reptilezs by far has the best response. So true.

  8. #8
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    Mountain Bikes aren't cheap. Fiddling around when you got no idea what you're doing could cost you.

    Regular maintenance - tyres, chains brake wiring I'm happy to do myself.

    But it's always nice to just hop over to your local, support their business and maybe just chat a little bike talk.

  9. #9
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    I try....tools, patience and finesse projects tend to limit me.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sasquatch rides a SS View Post
    Who on here actually rides their bikes?
    I am a poser. But forums.poser.com doesn't seem to exist, so I come here instead.

  11. #11
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    I haven't taken my bike to a shop in a couple years. I do most things myself. In fact, I just serviced my fork yesterday.

  12. #12
    Down South Yooper
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    I've not been serviced by a bike shop since the 1990's sometime, I'd guess. No black art here. Take your time and anything can be one.

    Plum
    This post is in 3B, three beers and it looks good eh!

  13. #13
    Chamois Dropper
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    I do all my own work as well. Of course coming from a mechanical background doesn't hurt. I'm somewhat new to bike repair, but a few bucks on some special tools and time spent researching goes a long way. I sometimes get a little apprehensive ordering an expensive part when I'm not 100% sure it will work, but so far so good. The members here have been a great help as well.
    2008 GT Force
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  14. #14
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    I do all my own stuff. I dont trust the bike shop folks to do anything. Also, in the amount of time it takes me to go to the shop, wait for the bike, then go pick it up, I could do it myself alot faster, and know that it was done correctly.

  15. #15
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    I used to assemble bikes in a shop back in the 90's so I picked up a few tips from the mechanic at the time. Lack of the correct tools has been a problem since then.

    However I recently got a bicycle toolkit which has all the specialist tools like cassette tool, chain whip, crank extractors, BB tool etc.

    A truing stand is on my list now.

  16. #16
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    Mostly scared that I'll screw it up. It's a catch-22. If I try to figure it out and mess it up the LBS gives me a dirty look because they have to fix it. If I bring it in to get looked at before messing with it, there's the same dirty look because they figure you should be able to do it yourself. I can't win.

    I wish LBS could give quick lessons on the simple things instead of getting the death stare of stupidity. I'm not mechanically gifted but trying to learn as I go. I'm a visual learner so any kind of basic lesson is appreciated. Most shops don't have/don't want to take the time to do that hence the catch-22.

  17. #17
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    Some people like food better when someone else cooks it. A lot of my plumbing customers are more than capable of most repairs but feel better about the repair if they spend money on it. Some are looking to screw some one out of money for the repair.

    I don't parachute but for me I would pack my own chute. Same for my bikes.
    lean forward

  18. #18
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    Got my 1st shop job at 16 years old. Been working on my own bikes since then. I have always enjoyed taking things apart and understanding how they work, my father must have spent a fortune having the bikes I either rode the hell out of, or took apart to get fixed. But dad always made sure I was on 2 wheels.

    I am 30 now.

  19. #19
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    lots of people who own good bikes, their time is worth more than the price they pay the shop.

  20. #20
    the catalan connection
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    My riding buddy neither goes to the shop nor does it himself...he invites me to her house for lunch which has a nice big terrace, a bike stand and always cold beer in the fridge
    "Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordly evidence of the fact." George Elliot

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob13bob View Post
    lots of people who own good bikes, their time is worth more than the price they pay the shop.
    They can probably afford good bikes because they do their own maintenance.

  22. #22
    ouch....
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    I am a construction machinery mechanic and engineer but some things are just not mine:
    lacing and truing is not relaxcing for me but makes me squirelly

    way back in 1993 there have been no good bicycle mechanics in Germany, so one had to learn the hard way..

    so this is for my friends in the LBS
    ????

  23. #23
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    In most cases, you can purchase whatever tool is necessary to perform a repair or adjustment for less than what your lbs will charge you to do the same thing. And you get to keep the tool, do the next time the issue comes up, you are all set. There are limitless resources online to learn how to do things. I do all my own repairs, and taught myself everything. I'll still support my lbs when I can't wait for an online order, or I'll even buy the necessary tools there. I own 4 high end bikes that I perform about 500 dollars worth of maintenance/installs/adjustments per week on. Mostly just switching parts and experimenting with different set-ups. This would not be possible if I were to bring it to the shop each time. This is also a huge learning experience, and an even huger money saver.

    PEACE!
    Gets chain-ring tattoos on both legs!

  24. #24
    local trails rider
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    I don't do everything.
    Most people that are into cycling that I know (as opposed to people who just ride to school or work etc) do at least some work on their bikes.

    I have never:
    - faced a headtube or BB shell because the tools are pretty expensive, I don't need it done often, and the LBS doesn't charge all that much for the job.
    - cut a steerer tube because I let the shop install headset and fork while they have the frame for the facing.
    - laced a wheel because it just seems like so many things to put together and I've found complete wheels for less than the individual parts would cost.
    - bled the brakes. Don't know why.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bethany1 View Post
    Mostly scared that I'll screw it up. It's a catch-22. If I try to figure it out and mess it up the LBS gives me a dirty look because they have to fix it.
    Don't even worry about that. We all make a mistake now and then. I remember once I broke two detanglers in a row while working on a BMX bike. The shop guys and I laughed about that one for a long time. I still laugh when I think about it. They were happy because they sold not one, but two(!) detanglers in just a days time.

  26. #26
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    I do everything myself. wheel lacing, tube facing (only if needed), whatever. I'm a tinkerer, and I love how everything works/goes together on bikes... If I didn't have to support a family, I'd be a bike mechanic simply because I enjoy doing it.

  27. #27
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    Do all my own work other than I'm not equipped for facing etc and I find you can buy wheels cheaper than building. I am mechanically inclined and after all, a bicycle is a pretty simple machine.
    I started working on my bikes long before the internet - now, its just way too easy with all the videos and instructions out there.
    I've just finished building 3 frames up and took all of them in for the face and chase. I realized at the time that it was the first time I'd ever been to the bike shop for work.

  28. #28
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    My dad did a lot of the mechanical work at home. His drive was to "save money$$", and he felt he could take the time to do things better than a mechanic did.. He taught me and my brother to work on cars; brakes, wheel bearings, water pumps, etc. I took to it, found it fun, my brother didn't.
    To me working on anything you own is an individual choice/like/dislike, and we do what we have to. Not EVERYONE does their own car work, taxes, plumbing, electrical, construction, roof repairs, oil changes, and bicycle work, etc. And the "why" is an individual choice.
    I bough my first motorcycle in '81 and when the piston skirt broke I didn't have the $$$ to re-build it. I had some tools for working on my car, so I bought a shop manual for the bike and asked a LOT of people for info, ideas, suggestions and help in re-building it. I liked doing it so I really got into it, to the point of doing speed work on engines for people, for $$$.

    In '82 i needed to borrow a bike for my first Tri, and a big time bicycling friend lent me a bike that was in pieces. He taught me how to put it together, which I really enjoyed. From then on I read all I could read in bike magazines about bike building and repairs and asked a lot of people for info, suggestions, etc. And started buying the needed tools. And I've always enjoyed working on my bikes. There is something to say about "pride in your own work". I've built a wheel set but THAT I feel is an art and I leave that to the "wheel artists". As they say:"Whatever works for you".
    Training on Hills Builds Character, That's How I Got To Be One!

  29. #29
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    I've always worked on my bikes since I was young. We did not have a real bike shop in the town I grew up in, rather just a mechanic in the back of a local hardware store. I would hang out there and buy the parts I needed from that store, but do the work myself. I think I built my first set of wheels at 16 or 17 years old, after reading an article on wheel building in Popular Mechanics. In fact I am still riding a set of wheels I built back in the early '80s on my touring bike and I have not broken one spoke on those, likewise I built the current wheels on my road bike around the same time and still riding those wheels as well.

    On my new CX bike, I am having the LBS fit it with a headset, since I have never worked with the newer headsets and lack the tools to do that myself. But I'll be assembling all the rest of that bike myself. That way I'll know how to fix anything if it goes wrong on a ride.

  30. #30
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    I do the work myself, except for facing/reaming the headtube and bb shell of new frames. I even started building my own wheels. Do I enjoy wrenching on the bike. Not really, but I enjoy the work being done right (usually the first time). Unfortunately, the main reason I do most of my own work is that I do not trust the shops. Too many screw-ups by "well-respected" shops.

  31. #31
    Dave's not here.
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    I work on my own bike because my LBS just plain sucks. For this reason, I have learned how to do all repairs and maintenance on my bike and I have purchased the necessary tools I need to do it. I am the type of person that likes to tinker with things and figure out how they work. I guess it's in my nature to work on things and figure out how they work. I have always been like that.
    Craig

  32. #32
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    I do all the work on our bikes. It would look bad otherwise, I fix other people's bikes for a living.

    - Joel
    Cycling is Serious Business.

  33. #33
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    I learn out of necessity almost 35 years ago (I'm 49)and I have to say I get almost as much joy working on them as riding them, I even try to make my own frames but I suck at it so I stop after making three.

    The only time I start to dislike working on bikes was working at shops, do to all the stupid politics and cheap skate bosses so I quit working on shops and now I enjoy wrenching as much as ever did even if I wish I know how to work on current suspension forks and shocks since is the first time in many years I contemplate taking the shocks to a shop to get them work on..

    Ps: when I was working at shop I try to encourage/teach people as much as possible to work on their own bikes and share the of self reliance, even if the bosses and managers did not like the idea to much.

  34. #34
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    I do all of my own work. After my first crappy HT i built my next 3 MTB's with youtube videos and a couple of maintenance books. Owned a few road bikes and ended up restoring a few vintage road bikes. I like bikes.

    I now own just 1 mtb bought from a shop (giant trance x)
    And 1 city commuter built up (old ross eurosport)

  35. #35
    Huckin' trails
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    I first had my lbs to do some basic stuff when I was new to the sport, like BB cleaning, installing a chainguide, trying wheels and such. But I was always there watching how and what they did and asking questions about the process and how they do it and they were always happy to answer and teach me up. Now I've learned pretty much everything I need and which tool is required so I do it all by myself. Paid $15 to get the work done, but in exchange I learned how to do it next time and now it's free.
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  36. #36
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    I started to do all the work on mine and my GF's bikes. At first some of the repairs / upgrades took a while but it's nice to learn things yourself. Plus, I like being independent.
    On the flip side, I have a brother that rides both road and mtb and he doesn't even change his own flats. He doesn't mind spending the $$'s and doesn't have the desire. I still haven't been able to figure that out.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pooch View Post
    On the flip side, I have a brother that rides both road and mtb and he doesn't even change his own flats. He doesn't mind spending the $$'s and doesn't have the desire. I still haven't been able to figure that out.
    Nothing really wrong w/that. I used to try to do my own automotive work, but realized one day how much I hate working on cars. We've good mechanic about six blocks away, and I am happy to pay him.

  38. #38
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    It's fun, what else is there?

  39. #39
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    In the last few years I have had to visit a shop to face bottom bracket on a titanium frame.

    Everything else - much faster and simpler to just do at home. Not even the $$ - but I would much rather spend them on parts and other toys.

  40. #40
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    I'm a heavy duty repairman by trade and sometimes I just get sick of wrenching. I found a nice little LBS around the corner that will answer millions of questions and really take time with you.

    Mostly I'm very particular and end up doing things myself to acheive results to my liking, but if time is an issue or a task like changing my ghetto tubeless tires feels like a hassle I'm happy to thow a couple bucks to the LBS to get it handled.

    Trails end bike shop Home

    Don't tell anyone how good they are or they will get to busy to spend all day talking bikes with me

  41. #41
    FresnoGiant
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    I do all my own work. Build my bikes from frame up, and do all wrench work except hub service. Just haven't learned how yet.
    As for how common this is; of the group of about ten guys I ride with regularly, I am the only one that does this. Most of them go to the LBS or to my garage to have work done.
    I do it for several reasons. I am curious about how things work, I like hands-on stuff, I don't trust other people with my life, and I take pride in being a do-it-yourself'er.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMetric View Post
    I am curious, I was talking to a worker at a bike shop and he said that majority of biker riders don't work on their own bikes. Why is that?
    Many reasons, answers, and it depends...

    1. Is there a friendly, reasonable bike shop near by, or along the routes you travel

    2. Area you a person, who enjoys tinkering, or just a rider. Of course, there's some learning involved, either from books, mags or others.

    3. If you're an old timer, changes are you you grew up, when people worked on things mechanical, as there were no electronic toys.

    4. Many things I need done, I can do quicker, than a drive to shop, leaving it there, another trip to pick it up, maybe a follow up trip. So it's worth investing in a few tools and some knowhow, regardless how you acquire it.

    ...the list goes on...

  43. #43
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    I'm not mechanical at all. I'd eventually like to learn how to take apart and put together a bike and maintenance. Not because I want to build a bike, but so I can better understand the mechanics of everything.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRILLINDK View Post
    I'm not mechanical at all. I'd eventually like to learn how to take apart and put together a bike and maintenance. Not because I want to build a bike, but so I can better understand the mechanics of everything.
    That is an extremely rewarding and worthy pursuit.

    It started for me when I was about 10 yrs of age. I got a beating from my father because he came home from work to discover his lawn mower torn apart. In my defense it was killing me to not understand how you could just pour in some gas, pull the string, and make power.

    Good luck on your journey, just don't let curiosity kill the cat.

  45. #45
    All fat, all the time.
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    I enjoy doing a much as I can on my bikes. Haven't learned to lace a wheel from scratch though...some day.
    Only other things I dont do are the ones like face/chase, as the cost of tools isn't worth it for personal use.

  46. #46
    Huckin' trails
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    I've always been mechanical inclined, but when I was young (~5) i started playing around on computers and stuff. At 10 I was able to do a full computer install for both software and hardware and now I'm helping out people in school for installing softwares and learning how it works. I've started really working on bikes in early 2009 and commuting daily in summer that year. First MTB in April 2010 and since I had build up myself about 5-6 bikes and rebuild a few.

    I have learned and now I can service hubs, BB, headset, forks and rear shocks, drivetrain, build wheels, setup disc brakes, true my rotors, etc. This forum has been very helpful and I like to return the favor whenever I can.

    And I like to learn how things work. Still have to put back the lawn mower engine back together though.
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  47. #47
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    I do all the work on my own bikes (and my friends' bikes). I've spent the money on the needed tools, so I never have to go to a shop again. It's because having the shop do all the work would cost too much, and if I do the work I know it's been done right.

  48. #48
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    Noob here... I would love to learn how to do basic maintenance on my bike and then work my way up to more complex things and eventually do my own build. Do you guys have any good resource suggestions for someone who is completely clueless about bicycle repair?

  49. #49
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    I have to completely agree with bad mechanic. When I do the work, I know that it is done right. I am also saving tons of $$ that will be used for more tools and beer.

  50. #50
    Huckin' trails
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjarrett79 View Post
    Noob here... I would love to learn how to do basic maintenance on my bike and then work my way up to more complex things and eventually do my own build. Do you guys have any good resource suggestions for someone who is completely clueless about bicycle repair?
    Take your bike apart. Than come here to ask questions on how to put back the parts you have problem with
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

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