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  1. #1
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    Beware the LBS

    In Illinois our riding season is just getting underway. I had my bike tuned up over winter by the LBS i bought the bike from (Complimentary tune up). When I got the bike home I noticed the mech. put an ungodly amount of lube on the chain. So much that it dripped on my bedroom floor, sprayed all over my rims when ridden, etc. After my first ride of the season in Southern Illinois, I was inspecting my brakes and found he didn't tighten the bottom nut on my brake bracket.

    Just thought I'd throw a reminder to any beginners getting into mtb. If you have someone work on your bike, check and make sure they did things right! Check your bolts, brakes, inspect the chain, etc. Don't make the mistake I did. Now my bike is in pieces in my room. Need to clean the drivetrain and adjust brakes, etc.

  2. #2
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    For this reason, I learned to work on my own stuff.

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    That's what I'm in the process of doing now haha

  4. #4
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    It also should be pointed out that just because someone works at a bike shop it doesn't mean they know what they are doing. Try to frequent reputable shops and feel free to ask about peoples experience, and look for certified mechanics if at all possible. It's not all that much different then having your car worked on.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by vollmerj
    That's what I'm in the process of doing now haha
    Best advice you could follow. I don't trust anyone to wrench on my bikes unless I know them and ride with them. But I built my last 3 bikes and do all my own wrenching now.

  6. #6
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    Great advice! I bought a Heckler from my LBS, they assembled it for me, the first jump the back tire came off! My bike has the quick release tires and they were so lose you could sneeze on them and the lever would release. I checked the front tire and it was lose too!
    Whatever happens, don't fight the mountain.

  7. #7
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    Though some shops are just ignorant, some just do it to get the bikes back, or sell a "better" bike. Too much lube is classic, collects extra dirt and comes back to bite ya:/ And leaving a brake loose, especially if its disk, gets pricey fast! I've seen shops do that to people and hear mech's brag about it! Luckly the shop I speak of is gone now........gave Haro and Voodoo a bad name though

  8. #8
    Afric Pepperbird
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_papa_nuts
    It also should be pointed out that just because someone works at a bike shop it doesn't mean they know what they are doing. Try to frequent reputable shops and feel free to ask about peoples experience, and look for certified mechanics if at all possible. It's not all that much different then having your car worked on.
    This +1

    I live in a professional biking town (MTB Olympians and Tour de France riders live and ride here), with great professional wrenches. Once a long time back I had a complimentary tuneup and the wrench botched it to hell. I switched shops, and since then every other wrench in town has been knowledgeable and great.

    Do some inquiring, and shopping around.

  9. #9
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    I too am learning how to do my own work. Its not that I don't think competent people work at my LBS. Its just the fact that nobody cares as much about your stuff as You do.

  10. #10
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    As a LBS wrench, I have to fix other mechanics' mistakes all the time. it's sad. some bike shops cannot attract, or afford, qualified mechanics and end up hiring teenage boys who know how to change a flat, but that's about it.I was one of those kids once. it's exciting to have a "cool" job and everyone has to start somewhere, but the management should know what mechanics can be left to work on their own and which ones to watch more carefully.

  11. #11
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    I learned to work on my bike its not hard and I enjoy it all it is is a few cables a chain and brakes not much to do. It is really hard to mess up your bike if you watch online how to vids.
    At first it is confusing but after a few tear down and lube jobs you will be good.

  12. #12
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    This is one of the ways LBS's lose business to the internet. It really is too bad. No one is going to be loyal to an LBS that provides lousy service.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpeters
    I learned to work on my bike its not hard and I enjoy it all it is is a few cables a chain and brakes not much to do.
    I like to say that working on bikes is just complicated enough to present a challenge, and yet simple enough to be enjoyable.Whereas working on my old, rusty automobiles is a completely different story.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crosstown Stew
    Best advice you could follow. I don't trust anyone to wrench on my bikes unless I know them and ride with them. But I built my last 3 bikes and do all my own wrenching now.
    I think the main reson for going to LBS is when you worry about over tightening bolts and screws, as torque wrenchs are insanely high cost i believe this the main reson many go to bike shops just for their torque wrench

    Other than that maybe fork tune service, but that also possible DIY but then again torque puts up

    what do you do? torque wrench or no torque wrench that is the question..

  15. #15
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    I still can't true wheels. I can disassemble and rebuild everything else though. Luckily wheel truing isn't expensive, and there's a great shop in the next city over. 3 crap ones local though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blablablacksheep
    I think the main reson for going to LBS is when you worry about over tightening bolts and screws, as torque wrenchs are insanely high cost i believe this the main reson many go to bike shops just for their torque wrench

    Other than that maybe fork tune service, but that also possible DIY but then again torque puts up

    what do you do? torque wrench or no torque wrench that is the question..
    You can get a deflection beam style torque wrench for less the 50 bucks from Sears that will work fine in most cases. And Park sells click type wrenches for a reasonable price. Might as well invest, they will save you money in the long run.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim-H
    I still can't true wheels. I can disassemble and rebuild everything else though. Luckily wheel truing isn't expensive, and there's a great shop in the next city over. 3 crap ones local though.

    why not? its so easy. I watch a youtube video on how to do it, and did my own in 15 minutes.

  18. #18
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    Always spreading good cheer, I see, ja001son.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_papa_nuts
    You can get a deflection beam style torque wrench for less the 50 bucks from Sears that will work fine in most cases. And Park sells click type wrenches for a reasonable price. Might as well invest, they will save you money in the long run.
    lol not in UK
    the beam ones are 50 and the clicker ones are 150+
    not including the heads which you need either

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by blablablacksheep
    I think the main reson for going to LBS is when you worry about over tightening bolts and screws, as torque wrenchs are insanely high cost i believe this the main reson many go to bike shops just for their torque wrench
    Nah. Once you get outside these forums, most people don't have the time nor the interest nor the motivation to do their own work. It's like with cars. The number of enthusiasts is really a small percentage of the population. Everyone else goes to a mechanic.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by blablablacksheep
    lol not in UK
    the beam ones are 50 and the clicker ones are 150+
    not including the heads which you need either
    I got a nice click one on ebay.de for like 25 euro for the guy in the UK.

    http://shop.ebay.de/?_from=R40&_trks...All-Categories

  22. #22
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    When my girlfriend and I bought our last walmart bikes, it was pitiful. I took my bike out onto the front porch and the front tire fell off. Went to lift my bike up to take it into the house and the handlebar twisted around backwards and the seat moved sideways. Upon closer observation, the front reflector was loose. And that was just mine. On my GF, her front deralieur was raised an inch or so too high and I wondered why I couldn't get it adjusted right.... her wheels wobbly, front brake is crooked and I have no idea how to fix it. even the sprockets in the back (term?) wobble and I don't know why. Whoever put those bikes together didn't have a clue. I got mine adjusted okay but there's no hope for hers. I'm getting rid of mine anway when my Windsor arrives. But she's keeping hers and I can't talk her out of it for the life of me.

    I agree. Beware when somebody else works on your bike!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ja001son
    why not? its so easy. I watch a youtube video on how to do it, and did my own in 15 minutes.
    Not enough patience I guess.

  24. #24
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    the pleasure of keeping your own stuff up to snuff

    I am learning more and more everyday about keeping my bike in perfect running condition. This really provides enjoyment and it also allows me to see whats going to happen next. Buy a set of tools and get to it!
    Pack your lunch for work everyday and you will be able to afford a set and some other devices to make your investment last longer than intended.
    cleaning your cleaning supplies is the ohm of life!

    its therapeutic!
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by gemini9
    When my girlfriend and I bought our last walmart bikes, it was pitiful. I took my bike out onto the front porch and the front tire fell off. Went to lift my bike up to take it into the house and the handlebar twisted around backwards and the seat moved sideways. Upon closer observation, the front reflector was loose. And that was just mine. On my GF, her front deralieur was raised an inch or so too high and I wondered why I couldn't get it adjusted right.... her wheels wobbly, front brake is crooked and I have no idea how to fix it. even the sprockets in the back (term?) wobble and I don't know why. Whoever put those bikes together didn't have a clue. I got mine adjusted okay but there's no hope for hers. I'm getting rid of mine anway when my Windsor arrives. But she's keeping hers and I can't talk her out of it for the life of me.

    I agree. Beware when somebody else works on your bike!
    What does this have to do with service at a LBS? They're Walmart bikes. A team mechanic couldn't make a decent ride out of the parts they're made of, let alone a kid wrenching at a LBS. To the OP, that's a pretty broad accusation. There are lots of good LBSs out there among the crappy ones.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpeters
    I got a nice click one on ebay.de for like 25 euro for the guy in the UK.

    http://shop.ebay.de/?_from=R40&_trks...All-Categories
    sadly anything outside UK unless really really low cost just isnt worth importing given the UK charges, maybe when the dollar vs pound is 2:1 , but atm just isnt worth while.

    Though i have seen a couple in axminster, for around 60 which look good.

    Out of interest which scale one should i look for, for when using on bike? there seem to be so many it insane, even the park beam ones come in about 3 types

  27. #27
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    It's kinda comical how there seems to be a fixation W/torque wrenches any more.

    An experienced mechanic using the proper length wrench/ratchet can approximate TQ values close enough for all but the most critical applications.

    Head bolts, rod bolts main bearing cap bolts on an engine yes.

    Every fastener on a bicycle?

    Combination wrenches vary in length to apply the right amont of TQ to the size fastener they are used on.

    1/4 drive sockets for small fasteners & 3/8" drive for everthing else (larger fasteners) on a bike will apply the proper TQ when an experienced mechanic W/some "feel" is on the end of the wrench/ratchet.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by XCSKIBUM
    It's kinda comical how there seems to be a fixation W/torque wrenches any more.

    An experienced mechanic using the proper length wrench/ratchet can approximate TQ values close enough for all but the most critical applications.

    Head bolts, rod bolts main bearing cap bolts on an engine yes.

    Every fastener on a bicycle?

    Combination wrenches vary in length to apply the right amont of TQ to the size fastener they are used on.

    1/4 drive sockets for small fasteners & 3/8" drive for everthing else (larger fasteners) on a bike will apply the proper TQ when an experienced mechanic W/some "feel" is on the end of the wrench/ratchet.
    A torque wrench just takes the guess work out of if. You may be able to get something "tight" by hand but but you have no idea how tight. With a torque wrench you can guarantee you got it right and are not going to damage the part, it's going to work as intended and your not causing a safety issue. It's just good practice that is easy to do.

    Working in a shop I try to use a torque wrench for everything I can, it just ensures safety and quality standards are as high as I can get them and it's just a good habit I try to pass on. Not to mention it goes a long way for liability purposes, I have 5 torque wrenches on my bench (and a tension gauge, and various other measuring devices), try to sue me .

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_papa_nuts
    A torque wrench just takes the guess work out of if. You may be able to get something "tight" by hand but but you have no idea how tight. .

    No idea? That's a bit of a stretch. It's been a looong time since I have "damaged the part" or had something not work as intended.

    I've worked on motorcycle engines/transmissions as well as automobile engines/transmissions.

    There are times when the proper TQ as well as the proper TQ pattern are critical, for every fastener on a bicycle is not one of them.

    Yes, TQ wrenches are a good idea, especially for an inexperienced mechanic, but I wouldn't let the lack of a TQ wrench prevent me from doing much of the work on a bicycle.

  30. #30
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    Yeah, I do almost everything on my own bike. This spring I took a bike into the shop because there's something wrong with the rear hub. It was fixed by them last fall and the bike is still under warranty.

    The other thing I took into the shop was a front wheel. I laced a new rim onto the front wheel and I needed it trued. I'm glad I took it in. The dish was WAY off.

    Other than that, I've done the rest of the work myself.
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  31. #31
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    blablablacksheep, I don't use a torque wrench. I do everything by feel and don't use aluminum bolts. Alum bolts are easy to strip but with steel or ti you can feel when the treads are tight. Carbon stuff I'm more careful with but you can still feel it without any problems.

  32. #32
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    with aluminum parts, I usually don't worry about precise torque but with carbon bars, stems, and steerer tubes, i don't fool around with guesswork.

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