Self maintenance vs Shop maintenance

Trickytoon Posts: 5
edited August 2011 in MTB beginners
Ive been riding for about a year or so now, and having bought what i consider to be a fairly solid beginner bike (Specialized Hardrock Disc) I've not had to do any maintenance to keep it on the trails.

The past year of abuse seems to have taken its toll, however, and today the bike was constantly switching gears, even on fairly easy ascents. Im keen to save as much money as i can and I want to learn more about looking after my bike, but im scared that if i start messing with it i could end up with it out of action and a big bill.

Given that it looks like a chain/cassette swap is needed is this easy to do for a beginner? My only other option is to take it somewhere like Evans - do they do a good job/are they value for money? I reckon if i do it myself some upgrades might be affordable..... :wink:


  • nicklouse
    nicklouse Posts: 50,675
    sounds more like cable tension or mech set up issue.

    see Parktools for how to.
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  • cooldad
    cooldad Posts: 32,599
    If you follow the Parktools stuff, most things are fairly easy, and it's much more satisfying to DIY.
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  • kdawg74
    kdawg74 Posts: 271
    +1 for DIY, plenty of good adice on here and a good buy is the Park tools big blue book.
    Everything covered for a beginner and easy to follow.
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  • getonyourbike
    getonyourbike Posts: 2,648
    Another for DIY
  • quattrojames
    quattrojames Posts: 157
    DIY here too. Working on your own bike at home with the internet to help you is a great way to learn, and it might help you one day when you break something out and about.
    2011 Cannondale Trail SL 29er HERE
  • stumpyjon
    stumpyjon Posts: 4,069
    As above but if it is time to swap cassette and chain it's not difficult, you just need a chain whip, cassette lock ring removal tool and a chain splitter, none of which are massively expensive.
    It's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

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  • scale20
    scale20 Posts: 1,300

    Once you start having a go at it you will be amazed how easy things are. When it comes to drivetrain, mechs and shifters they look daunting but you soon come to learn how it all works.

    When I built my first bike up I had no internet, a lot of it was trial and error, just sitting there turning screws on mechs to see what happened. I didnt have a workstand, I hung the bike from a joist in my attic bedroom!

    Buy a tool as and when you need it and your collection will soon build up, I would say the 1st good tool buy would be a good set of hex keys similar to these- ... elID=55960

    There have a been a few time that I have got it wrong and had to take in to my LBS, but at least I gave it a go!
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  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    I of course diy it.

    jumping gears could be:

    worn cassette
    mucky or worn cables

    Replace cable (its a couple of quid from an lbs) clean cable outer with a blast of Teflon spray, WD40 or similar to wash the dirt out and refit and reset the indexing.

    If that fails time for a new cassette and possibly chain too.
  • Thanks all - following the parktools guides seems really straight forward and I think it will make it all the sweeter when i hit the trails on a bike ive looked after.

    Thanks for the advice.
  • Nice question and advice. I always get a mate to do it but never had the confidence. I miss out on rides if he doesn't have time to fix it. Very fustrating. I'll give it a go with Park tools book. Cheers chaps.
  • angry_bird
    angry_bird Posts: 3,786
    Nice question and advice. I always get a mate to do it but never had the confidence. I miss out on rides if he doesn't have time to fix it. Very fustrating. I'll give it a go with Park tools book. Cheers chaps.

    You could always get him to teach you while he's doing it too.

    DIY is the way forward, no need to worry about LBS (or mates) being too busy and having to wait.
  • yup, only way is to do it your self unless its something you really havent the tools or knowledge for, forums like this are a god send, youtube is great too for how to vids
  • bluechair84
    bluechair84 Posts: 4,352
    You'll find that keeping a bike in good running order isn't hard either, it just takes a first few attempts to see how things work and you'll be a master after that.
  • getonyourbike
    getonyourbike Posts: 2,648
    I've just re-affirmed my love of DIY. I've just done a full service and even true the wheels for the first time. Truing wheels isn't actually a dark art like some think. :D
  • DanMayor
    DanMayor Posts: 12
    I too was an absolute noob when it came to bike maintenance. However, when my gears started to act funny, I switched on YOUTUBE and had a go at it. When I got back to the trail I had a huge smile on my face. And, if I may say so myself, I think the gears are now better tuned than when I got it from the shop :)
  • d3matt
    d3matt Posts: 510
    I had gear problems on my new bike. After a visit back to Halfords for the six week service, then a visit to the local bike shop, the problem still wasn't fixed. Finally I brought some tools and with the help of this forum and Youtube I learnt myself and finally fixed it. I did have to do some upgrading too but having some spare components have been invaluable at times and kept me running.
    Learn yourself. There's plenty of people who will help on this forum. Nothing is too difficult and the skills you learn may get you out of a problem if something breaks while you're riding.
    You also get a great satisfaction from fixing things yourself.

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  • kinmofo
    kinmofo Posts: 172
    DIY everytime. also, cables are cables right? u can get cables from wilkinsons for 1/3 the price of lbs :) just dont buy anything else for your bike from wilkinsons, its crap lol.
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