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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    What I have learned over my 3 years of commuitng on repair and maintenance

    Get a repair stand and learn to do the basic stuff yourself like chains, tires, cables. There is repair stuff like brake bleeding and wheel truing I still pay for. Prices vary from shop to shop, I found out with a rear wheel build their was a $40 price spread.

    If you have lower end parts, sometimes its better to just replace rather than maintain. I had some shimano hydraulic brakes where they needed a bleed and new pads at a $100 for both brakes. A new set of brakes with new pads was $60 from amazon.

    My views on online buying have changed, from supporting my LBS to mostly online because of cost. Being Canadian a store like MEC is a great source for parts tires, chains,brake pads and tubes. There are times when I can buy 2 chain online for the cost at my LBS.

    As my repair skill improve I rely less and less on my LBS, a bittersweet change. With online shopping and DIY my repair and maintenance costs are about $400 less this year. Not bad for someone who rides 8000km in a year.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    Oct 2016
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    It's a shame that it is more expensive to service a perfectly good set of brakes than to replace them completely, but that is the nature of bike shops and their complete reliance on labor charges to keep the doors open. I've worked as a bike mechanic for over 15 years, and I know how the game works. Speaking specifically to bleeding Shimano hydraulic brakes, I swear they are the easiest brakes to bleed, and pad replacement is stupid easy. You could buy a litre of Shimano hydraulic brakes fluid and the bleed kit for cheaper than one bleed at a shop, and you'll probably die of old age before you run out of the fluid. You Tube has a lot of great videos walking you through the process.
    Anyway, I've been commuting for years, every day, year round, and the best thing I ever did was buy a commuter bike with a Gates Carbon belt drive, which literally never needs maintenance. Plus, a front generator hub to power front and rear lights, so I never have to worry about charging batteries, or being stuck without lights. Plus, the lights are bolted on, so theft is not an issue.
    Anyway, I know a new bike is not on everyone's list, so the best thing you can do with the bike that you have is to spend a few minutes after every ride just giving it a quick wipe down, which will give you the opportunity to catch problems early. That will save lots of money in the long run.

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