Do you do your own repairs?

hopeful Posts: 76
edited July 2007 in Road beginners
Just wondering, do most people do their own running repairs? I tend, wuss-like, to call at the LBS for the slightest of things. When I do psych myself up to try something myself, I usually end up making more of a mess of it. I'm going to look out for maintenance classes but what do most of you do?


  • Yorkshireman
    Yorkshireman Posts: 999
    I do all my own maintenance and parts replacement, but not wheel building. I will true them etc, but I find building them fiddly and time consuming - the LBS only charges £10 and will have them ready in an hour if I catch them at a quiet time.
    Colin N.

    Lincolnshire is mostly flat... but the wind is mostly in your face!
  • Mosschops2
    Mosschops2 Posts: 1,774
    I'm with you hopeful.

    I'll have a read online of sheldon brown, or a forum, then try to do what looks right, but invariably never really get to the bottom of the problem..... I find it a little frustrating, even embarrassing, but struggle to make any noticeable difference to the problem. It is only rare, but I also use th LBS.

    I think a cycle maintenance course sounds like a great idea. Just to point you in the right direction really. I'm sure there are some basics about the overall set up of the bike which I've never really appreciated, and consequently am destined to struggle.

    It's like anything really - if you've never used Powerpoint, you're unlikely to knock out automatically timed professional looking presentation at your first attempt. Even worse, I find that I struggle to learn from my mistakes, as I'm not sure a) exactly what the problem was b) what I did c) what effect it had :? :? :? !!
    baby elephants? Any baby elephants here?? Helloo-ooo
  • Yorkshireman
    Yorkshireman Posts: 999
    'Getting it wrong' can be as informing and instructive as getting it right (The man who never made a mistake, never made anything useful) :lol:
    Colin N.

    Lincolnshire is mostly flat... but the wind is mostly in your face!
  • nicklouse
    nicklouse Posts: 50,675
    'Getting it wrong' can be as informing and instructive as getting it right (The man who never made a mistake, never made anything useful) :lol:


    Hopeful have browse of the Parktools site, linky below, has some vert good how toos.

    For some courses, if i may direct you to the Workshop and Tech section in the MTB section there is a sticky called tech links and .... there are links to some training orgainisations.

    Oh, do my own and other peoples.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • pieinthesky
    pieinthesky Posts: 417
    Doing your own maintenence is fairly simple (until you get to MTB suspension) and worth learning as you do save money and you can then fix things yourself when you cant get to a bike shop.

    Before attempting a job you must first fully understand how the components work, how they come apart and how they go back together. A good book or a few minutes browsing the internet will usually tell you what you need to know. Understanding how things work is the key to DIY maintenance.

    You will also need a few specialist tools. You do not need to use these very often for them to pay for themselves. You can buy cheap tool kits, but you might not need half the tools in them so it could be better to purchase them separately as and when you need them.

    If you are not sure about something, do some more research before starting, ask on this forum. If all that fails take it to LBS

    Dont be afraid of failing, most home mechanics have cocked up at some point, just try to know your limits so it isnt too expensive. If a job goes wrong and becomes a nightmare take a step back and think before proceeding. It is quite possible that the LBS would have found it a problem too!
  • fossyant
    fossyant Posts: 2,549
    I do all my own maintenance (and get called upon when non-cycling friends bikes break)

    Just takes a while to build up all the tools you'll need (and it's a bit costly) but bakes are really simple to maintain.

    The only thing I don't do is build wheels, but I'll happily true them up (just a case of getting the technique).

    Touch wood, I've never had any mechanical failures, but the bikes get cleaned and checked after every ride - if some thing's not 'feeling right' then it's investigated and corrected. (Sad that I am).

    That's probably why my best bike is 15-16 years old and still runs like new ?
  • Random Vince
    Random Vince Posts: 11,374
    gradually been learning to do it myself since i was 12 when me and my brother took our bikes appart "to see how it goes together" got them back together and almost working

    my family has always had a "if it breaks try and fix it" mentality - we try to beat the AA man when the car breaks down, if you fix it before he gets there you get points, bonus points for fixing it just in time for him to help close the bonnet!

    got to the stage where the bike shop fits my headsets, bottom brackets, bleeds my disk brakes and one day might service my forks

    they also do my wheels
    My signature was stolen by a moose

    that will be all

    trying to get GT James banned since tuesday
  • hopeful
    hopeful Posts: 76
    Thanks, everyone, for the advice and solidarity! Am very keen to get going on acquiring a bit of technical knowledge and understanding. I'm not usually cack-handed, but what looks easy in the books/ youtube videos somehow gets complicated when I try it myself -- I'm guessing this is partly to do with lack of appropriate tools.

    Anyhow, I'll keep trying and learning.

    All the best.
  • HuDDy25k
    HuDDy25k Posts: 21
    yeah i fix a flat tyre now and then but the AA lads are really good lol :D
    MaDe In ThE MoUnTaInS Of BaRnSlEyStAn
    My Bike:- ... =Bike3.jpg
  • Bike repairs are a bit like car repairs, seams like a good idea at the time until it it all goes tits up. It's then that that you realise thats why God invented garages.
    On a more serious note, if you are not confident with what you are doing do you really want to find out at 25mph down hill.
    Anything where I have to guess goes straight to the bike shop, it least that way the job should be done properly by an expert and not a plank like me (I hope)
  • I do all of my own repairs and building. I have yet to find an LBS who gave consistently decent service - sometimes they'd be fantastic, while other times they can be crap (from one shop, I've had brake cable bolts that were only finger tight amongst other dodgy goings on).

    Admittedly, like Random Vince, I've learnt gradually over the years, firstly on older bikes before moving to better quality equipment.

    Personally, now I'd never trust someone else with my own bike repairs. I save a few bob and fully understand the workings of various parts and the bike as a whole, so I (in theory :D ) am more likely to see/feel when a component is about to give up and replace it before it affects me.

    Give it a go, start with small jobs and see how you go. Buy a couple of decent repair manuals and read/consult/cross reference before you attempt anything and check up with the experts on this forum and you can't go far wrong (I hope!!!)
  • wastelander
    wastelander Posts: 557
    Went in at the deep end - my first home repair (tubes/tyres excepted) was a complete rear hub strip down/reassemble...this weekend! After taking that on I've got the confidence to believe that with the right tools I can take on most jobs on bikes. Use something like Park Tools website or a good manual and take your time...if something doesn;t go back together then you;ve done something wrong so retrace your steps and try again.
  • Some years ago, my union called a series of strikes. I used the third of these to strip down my drive train. "I'm losing money while on strike, but I can save some money by doing my own maintenance" I thought smugly.

    1. I couldn't remove the crank using the crank removing tool. "Richard's Bicycle Book" suggested hitting the crank a couple of times with a hammer. I didn't have a hammer, so I hit the crank with my adjustable spanner. I still couldn't remove the crank, so I hit it again. And again. I still couldn't remove the crank, but I did manage to bend the arm of the crank remover. I lost it big time, and beat the crank furiously with my adjustable spanner. Then I discovered that the spanner had shown its displeasure by becoming a non-adjustable spanner. I came very close to hurling the spanner through a window, but luckily managed to calm down. I progressed to trying to remove the gear cluster from the rear wheel.

    2. I discovered that my gear block removing tool was the wrong design to remove the block I had installed. I therefore decided to catch a bus to the local bike shop, show them the rear wheel and buy the correct tool. I boarded the bus, placed the wheel in the luggage space, then got off the bus leaving the wheel behind. I took five paces towards the bike shop, then realised. I chased the bus, shouting "please please stop", but failed to catch it at the next stop. I then telephoned the bus depot, who were unhelpful and could not tell me when the bus was due back. As it was a circular bus, I then caught the bus in the opposite direction and spent a couple of hours trying to intercept "my" bus. My efforts were useless and eventually I gave up. Another call to the depot resulted in the news that my original bus was back, but there was no unclaimed wheel on board.

    3. I then returned to the local bike shop, shamefaced, to ask them to sell me a new rear wheel. Being a Wednesday, the shop was closed. The entire adventure had cost me an expensive adjusting spanner, a "Daysaver" bus ticket and an entire rear wheel plus block.

    :oops: :roll:
  • Yorkshireman
    Yorkshireman Posts: 999
    Dear Turbo,
    For some the learning process comes easy ... For the rest of us it's at best 'interesting' and at worst 'painful' ... Perseverance pays off in most cases ... Stick at it mate :lol:
    Colin N.

    Lincolnshire is mostly flat... but the wind is mostly in your face!
  • Having the correct tools is the biggest struggle.
  • woody-som
    woody-som Posts: 1,001
    Always do my own repairs. Buy the correct tools, and good ones, they will last a lifetime, and save you money in the long run.

    The advantage of doing your own repairs though has already been said, you know how things work, and notice if something is going wrong sooner. Also if you know how things work, if it breaks on the road, you can usually fix it or bodge it to get home.