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  1. #1
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    Tune up myself or let shop do it?

    Im in college, dont have much $$ but need to tune my bike.

    I always do things myself but I dont know much about mountain bikes.

    I have a completely stock 07 Gary Fisher HKEK that has not been ridden much (and rarely off road) but has also had no maintenance.

    I would like to clean/lube/check everything but dont know where to begin.
    Im guessing I would need some specialty tools (have everything else)..but

    Would it be cheaper/safer to let someone that knows what s/he doing look it over?

  2. #2
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    If you don't know what you are doing, then yes. Let someone with experience and know how do it.
    "Donuts. Is there anything they can't do?"

  3. #3
    ...idios...
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    I'm an advocate of doing-it-yourself, so my advice would be to get stuck in. Check out the basic cleaning/maintenance guide from the beginner's forum and see if any of it appeals. Bikes are very simple machines, at least in terms of fundamentals, and there's no reason other than ignorance why anyone shouldn't be able to clean and tune their own bike.

    What use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings? -
    Diogenes


  4. #4
    2010 RockHopper Comp Disc
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    you might as well try it yourself. Then if you mess it up, you will still have to pay to have it fixed and it will likely be the same price as a standard tuneup. Im not sure if there are levels of tuneups, im yet to see such.

  5. #5
    g3h6o3
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    Do it yourself! I was in the same position a couple of years ago and now I assemble my bikes myself, build my own wheels, etc. You got to start somewhere and you can't seriously mess it up. Check out online resources and learn!
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  6. #6
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    If you're mechanically inclined a tuneup is a great place to start learning. It's fairly simple and it doesn't require a lot of specialty tools. A good book like Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance would make things much easier for you.

  7. #7
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    Check to see if there is a bike co-op shop in your area. You usually can bring your bike down there to fix and use their stand and tools. There is always someone there to assist you if you get into trouble. Also, if you have no money usually you can donate some time there helping other people to square the deal in exchange for using their space and tools. Just an idea.

  8. #8
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  9. #9
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    Thanks for the replies.

    Ive worked on cars, bikes and other things all my life so I have no doubt I can do it, I just wasn't sure what I might screw up by not being able to afford the right tools.

    I have more tools than should be legal to own but none of them are bike tools.

    However I have been reading, pricing tools and went to a REI bike maintenance seminar yesterday.
    After watching how the instructor was flipping things around and adjusting on the fly without care it took my anxiety away. This is my first new and expensive bike, that is working fine so I was a bit nervous to touch it.

    Bought some White Lightning Clean lube. I need to by a chain break tool and stretch gauge. After that Im going to pop the chain, degrease or replace chain/derailleur/cassette/.
    I need to have a look at my brakes, rims and shifter adjustment.

    Do rims need to be looked at often for trueness? Spokes need constant attention?
    How often should I clean/lube hub headset and BB bearings?

    I have so many questions

  10. #10
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    You don't need a stretch gauge, just a ruler. Save a couple of bucks.

    Frank

  11. #11
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    Get a bike stand. That is key to easy bike repair and maintenance. I just swapped components from one broken frame to a new one. I did it without a stand. It took several hours due to awkward handling. I could have cut the time in half with a stand - especially adjusting shifters.

    --
    Bill

  12. #12
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    Good idea
    What stand would you suggest?

    Could I get some recommendations for required tools, good brands/models to pick up and what reputable online bike stores I may purchase them at.

    I was considering the Crank bros multitool, but think I may get a CT-5 and regular allen keys instead (I always carry a swisstool spirit)

  13. #13
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    i prefer park tools but i have never used anything else.

    I'm happen with my park pcs 10 stand

    Get a set of:
    L allens
    screw drivers
    pliers
    any wrenches your bike may need.
    for tune ups get a slick honey type of lube for cables and a park tool chain lube (you can use this on many things besides the chain)

    then build from there... a nice spoke wrench when you learn to true wheels, cone wrenches when you start messing with hubs, crank arm pullers & bb tools when the time comes.

  14. #14
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    Multitools are emergency tools that you take with you.
    Don't use them as shop tools. They aren't built for it and won't last.

    I like the Topeak Alien just not the extra small versions.

  15. #15
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    Yesterday I decided to jump in head first.

    I grabbed a metric hex key set and my Swisstool multi-tool...point being to see what would work while on the trail.

    I started taking things apart, cleaning, put back on and adjusted. The only problem I had was my spoke guard (clear round plastic thing on rear wheel) was cracked and brittle. One small touch broke the teeth and it was wobbling so I had to cut it out with side cutters.

    I have since decided against purchasing a bike specific multi-tool as the Swisstool and a couple allen keys cover most bases in a more elegant way with more essential options IMO.

    After looking my bike over I saw lots of things I never knew where there, like a little sticker saying "mans best friend" I definitely had fun dialing it in (thanks youtube) and I will be working on my bike myself

    Thanks for all the help guys/gals

  16. #16
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    Multi-tools are good to have for emergency repairs on the trail and generally don't make for good maintenance tools. Buy one or two tools at a time, whatever you can afford, or just pick up one of these http://www.nashbar.com/bikes//Produc...2_126939_-1___

    As for the spoke guard, don't worry about it. You don't need it. Just make sure your rear derailleur is adjusted properly so it doesn't jump off the cassette.

    Doing the maintenance yourself saves money and brings great personal rewards.

  17. #17
    I Fought The Lawn
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    Quote Originally Posted by SNIPER
    Yesterday I decided to jump in head first.

    I grabbed a metric hex key set and my Swisstool multi-tool...point being to see what would work while on the trail.

    I started taking things apart, cleaning, put back on and adjusted. The only problem I had was my spoke guard (clear round plastic thing on rear wheel) was cracked and brittle. One small touch broke the teeth and it was wobbling so I had to cut it out with side cutters.

    I have since decided against purchasing a bike specific multi-tool as the Swisstool and a couple allen keys cover most bases in a more elegant way with more essential options IMO.

    After looking my bike over I saw lots of things I never knew where there, like a little sticker saying "mans best friend" I definitely had fun dialing it in (thanks youtube) and I will be working on my bike myself

    Thanks for all the help guys/gals
    those little stickers (i had the exact same one on my '96 wahoo, '98 sur, '98 supercal, '01 hkek) are there for that very reason, so you look closely at your bike. the more you look and figure out system operation, the more experience you'll gain, soon, you'll be able to diagnose, once diagnostics is settled (its a big step, given the thousands of frames, hundreds of frame styles, scores of components, and the vast ocean of physics) then you can start working on becoming a master at it. if youre subdued, you can keep your talent to yourself, making legendary bikes in your garage, if you want something more, well, the sky's the limit. there are many flavors of 'pro' in the cycling world. sure, everyone knows the pro riders, and why shouldnt we? they're the ones out there on the bike, right? well consider this; its a minority that gets lucky enough, is fast enough, and is fit enough (your weight is a huge thing, lighter people equal lighter machines, lighter machines equal victory) to race for the podium, but a pro mechanic, well he just has to know his stuff. and know it well. being able to change a flat in less than ten seconds, being able to work to perfection EVERY TIME. NO HOP. bead PERFECT.

    also of great importance is being able to tune a suspension so your champion dosent bob on climbs or become fatigued on long straights, or cant gain traction in gnarly areas.

    getting derailleurs to shift, quickly and accurately. and being able to know why thats basically impossible.

    the mysterious creak. work at any bike shop and i swear......

    you see, the elite of cycling dont stand on podiums taking champagne showers, they're in the back, by the trailer, analyzing the bike before it goes for photos.

    what im saying is, i guess, my five year old daughter knows how to ride a bike, it took me twenty years to learn how to build it.


    and im still not done

  18. #18
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    building bikes isnt rocket science. theres also a huge, massive difference between trying to tune your bike up at home and being a race mechanic.

    fixing bikes is easy... really easy. you just have to do it a few times and you'll have it down. you can tune up a bike without tools, on the trail in about a minute. you'll always have to do the initial limit screw settings at home, which will take a little longer and are easier with a stand, but even doing that is a very simple job.. but your routine tune-up really can be done mid ride while your buddies take a water break or something, or even done at the shifters while riding.

    if you can follow simple instructions you can fix a bike.. building wheels take a bit more skill, know-how and that sense of feel, and even that isnt too hard to learn (hard to learn to do quickly though!).

    so dive right in! theres not much to screw up.

  19. #19
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    I got tired of shop mechanics who didn't know what they were doing.
    I've had to redo about 50% of the jobs I've taken to the shop or had to reject the work and have it done over. After having to rebuild a fork a couple months after having it serviced. Having to redo my chainrings after having a worn out one replaced. Having a fork spring replacement take 3 weeks instead of 3-4 days and having a bash guard installed without the required spacers to keep it off the big ring I do most of my own maintenace.

    When I have a shop mechanic I can trust I have them look the bike over once or twice a year. Otherwise I do it myself and if something is bent or broke or squeals when it isn't supposed to or doesn't work I dig into the manuals, websites, Utube and figure out what needs to be done.

    I picked up the Lifu toolkit as a basic place to start and have picked up specific Park tools as needed. Sometimes other manufactures make better stuff or as good at a better price but most of the time the Park stuff works. The local shop sometimes has it when I need it quick othewise mail order / internet usually runs 50-75% of retail.

  20. #20
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    Thanks for everyone's comments.

    I have played with my bike and found it is really simple. Not many tools needed either.
    Youtube helped me learn lots quick. Soon Im going to play with my spokes. I hope I dont turn my rims into cheerios

  21. #21
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    Cherrios are not a problem.

    Tacos on the other hand are a big problem!

  22. #22
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    I dont have as much a problem with tacos as I do burritos...wheeeeew

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