What jobs should I be able to tackle myself?

rumbataz
rumbataz Posts: 796
edited January 2016 in Workshop
I'm trying to depend less on my LBS as they often charge a lot of money for doing very little. A good example is how they told me they had adjusted my brakes as they were rubbing and how much time it took them so they charged me quite a bit.

After researching brake adjustment, I realised that all they did was loosen the caliper bolts, squeeze the brake lever, and then tighten the caliper bolts - literally a 2-minute job!

Here's what I can do so far on my own (bear in mind that I class myself as a beginner!):

1. Change tyres/tubes;

2. Replace disc rotors / brake pads;

3. Saddle/seatpost fitting/adjustment;

4. Fitting new pedals (hex key and 15mm spanner ones);

5. Gear indexing;

6. Lubricating gear shifter cables;

7. Front/rear mech adjustment;

8. Brake adjustment.

On my To-Do list are chain replacement and rear cassette replacement. What other jobs should I learn to do so that I don't have to rely on my LBS so much?

Comments

  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    I've drawn the line at headset bearings simply because you can damage a frame by stuffing it up and it isn't something I need to do frequently enough for it to be worth investing in a decent headset press.

    Otherwise pretty much anything. Once you've got past the idea that bottom brackets are mysterious occult things that no human should ever touch it all becomes pretty straightforward. There isn't much that isn't just about undoing things then doing them back up. I am now dabbling with building my own wheels.

    Helps not to be dependent on one bike so there is no time pressure to learn the new skills.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Have you considered doing a home mechanics course? There are thing you can learn to do new and also learn how to do things you think you know how to do better.
  • dwanes
    dwanes Posts: 954
    Once you have done any job once, you soon realise how easy any job is.
    Like any DIY job, the right tools can help to save heartache.

    Youtube can be a great source of information.
  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    There is very little on a typical road bike that anyone with a bit of brain shouldn't be able to handle.

    Pretty much all I won't do is stuff like facing on new frames etc.

    Build up the right tools over time (and buy decent ones). A book like the Park Tools blue book are a great starting place and, as above, there are so many videos on YouTube etc. That pretty much anything can be learnt easily enough.
  • keezx
    keezx Posts: 1,322

    1. Change tyres/tubes;

    2. Replace disc rotors / brake pads;

    3. Saddle/seatpost fitting/adjustment;

    4. Fitting new pedals (hex key and 15mm spanner ones);

    5. Gear indexing;

    6. Lubricating gear shifter cables;

    7. Front/rear mech adjustment;

    8. Brake adjustment.

    On my To-Do list are chain replacement and rear cassette replacement. What other jobs should I learn to do so that I don't have to rely on my LBS so much?

    Well, if you can 1-8 , then you can everything....
    Bikes in general are pretty simple things.
    It's not so much about the tools, but rather having expierienced things.
    Nobody ever touches my bikes besides me and when I should post a picture of my toolkit it would be hilarious for most of the readers here....
    Just by the tool you need for the next job and DO IT.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    There is very little on a typical road bike that anyone with a bit of brain shouldn't be able to handle.

    Bleeding hydraulic brake lines
    Pulling through internal cables
    Fitting fork steerers correctly
    Servicing hubs


    Jobs that are not uncommon on modern bikes and not as simple as they would appear at first.
  • Matthewfalle
    Matthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    All of it - it's a bicycle, not a space ship.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • 964cup
    964cup Posts: 1,362
    Bleeding hydraulic brake lines
    Pulling through internal cables
    Fitting fork steerers correctly
    Servicing hubs
    Still all things you can do yourself. You just need the right tools. Whether it's worth buying them is, of course, your call. There are mechanics I'd trust to work on my bikes, but not many - not because I'm amazing, but because so many are either pressured for time or not sufficiently interested - so I prefer to buy the tools.

    The only jobs I've farmed out in the last two years have been facing and reaming a (steel) headtube - 'cos I can't justify the cost of the tools - and repairing a carbon frame - 'cos I'm not an idiot...

    Everyone with hydraulic brakes should own a bleed kit - they're not expensive and it's essential knowledge. I grant you that not everyone needs a star-nut installation tool, but they're hardly what anyone would call dear. Frankly, though, it's a while since I've bought a bike that had either a star-fangled-nut (as opposed to an expander bung) or a separate crown race (as opposed to an integrated carbon moulding).

    Hub servicing is extremely straightforward, unless you've got Chris King or Rohloff or something. For most hubs with cartridge bearings you don't even really need the proper bearing press - you can make do with the old bearings, some sockets and the usual threaded bar, washer and nut arrangement. Obviously hubs with cup and cone need no special tools at all (unless you count cone spanners as special).
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Bleeding hydraulic brake lines
    Pulling through internal cables
    Fitting fork steerers correctly
    Servicing hubs
    Still all things you can do yourself. You just need the right tools. Whether it's worth buying them is, of course, your call. There are mechanics I'd trust to work on my bikes, but not many - not because I'm amazing, but because so many are either pressured for time or not sufficiently interested - so I prefer to buy the tools.

    The only jobs I've farmed out in the last two years have been facing and reaming a (steel) headtube - 'cos I can't justify the cost of the tools - and repairing a carbon frame - 'cos I'm not an idiot...

    Everyone with hydraulic brakes should own a bleed kit - they're not expensive and it's essential knowledge. I grant you that not everyone needs a star-nut installation tool, but they're hardly what anyone would call dear. Frankly, though, it's a while since I've bought a bike that had either a star-fangled-nut (as opposed to an expander bung) or a separate crown race (as opposed to an integrated carbon moulding).

    Hub servicing is extremely straightforward, unless you've got Chris King or Rohloff or something. For most hubs with cartridge bearings you don't even really need the proper bearing press - you can make do with the old bearings, some sockets and the usual threaded bar, washer and nut arrangement. Obviously hubs with cup and cone need no special tools at all (unless you count cone spanners as special).

    Yes I agree they are all jobs that can be done by yourself but to say they are straight forward to someone doing them for the first time is wrong. Of course if you do them time snd time again they are easy anything on a bike is but these jobs are not every day tasks and not something you would do each time you service your bike but if you want yo do them and don't fo it right you can create problems for yourself. Even following a youtube clip could show yhe same job being done a dozen different ways. And if something goes wrong or unexpected its knowing how to rectify it. I build bikes and service friends bikes all the time but you still get the odd component or job that isn't as strsight forward as it should be for various reasons.
  • Matthewfalle
    Matthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    Star nut installation tool? Tosh.

    Press it in with your hand.

    Thread a bolt in.

    Smack it with a hammer.

    Make sure you do it evenly so it's straight.

    Worked for me for the past 20 years ....
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • StillGoing
    StillGoing Posts: 5,211
    Build the bike from scratch. It's simple enough and I'll never understand why experienced cyclists don't do their own maintenance and service work. Aside from some specialist tools that you'd need once in a blue moon and aren't worth purchasing, a very basic tool kit and improvisation will suffice.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • sniper68
    sniper68 Posts: 2,910
    Build the bike from scratch. It's simple enough and I'll never understand why experienced cyclists don't do their own maintenance and service work. Aside from some specialist tools that you'd need once in a blue moon and aren't worth purchasing, a very basic tool kit and improvisation will suffice.
    This^^^^^^

    I've built(and rebuilt) my last three MTBs and two of my road bikes.There's nothing on a bike that's rocket science.
    Strip your bike down to the bare bones and rebuild as a starter 8)
    A few years ago I bought a Chris King headset off a mate.We removed my forks/old headset and fit the CK in the car park at Edale before an MTB ride......it really is that simple!
    For some reason people seem to see headset installment as a Dark-Art....it isn't.You just need to be careful to press it in evenly.
  • 964cup
    964cup Posts: 1,362
    A few years ago I bought a Chris King headset off a mate.We removed my forks/old headset and fit the CK in the car park at Edale before an MTB ride......it really is that simple!
    For some reason people seem to see headset installment as a Dark-Art....it isn't.You just need to be careful to press it in evenly.
    It's not the fitting, it's the facing (and reaming, for headsets / chasing for BBs) that requires expensive tools, skill and practice. If your frames already been done then fitting a headset is, as you say, child's play.
  • step83
    step83 Posts: 4,170
    To be honest most bikes you can pretty much build it with some basic tools, maybe a couple of specific ones like a a lockring tool an a BB spanner. Nothing that would be crippling money wise, plus the lockring tool with a chainwhip is something you will end up needing when it comes to changing cassettes.

    Brake bleeding tools, a pair of tubes a plastic bag an couple of zip ties ;)

    If there was one thing that helped with building and maintaining a bike, id say its a bike stand. Even then they can be picked up for not a huge amount of money.
  • 964cup
    964cup Posts: 1,362
    To be honest most bikes you can pretty much build it with some basic tools, maybe a couple of specific ones like a a lockring tool an a BB spanner. Nothing that would be crippling money wise, plus the lockring tool with a chainwhip is something you will end up needing when it comes to changing cassettes.

    Brake bleeding tools, a pair of tubes a plastic bag an couple of zip ties ;)

    If there was one thing that helped with building and maintaining a bike, id say its a bike stand. Even then they can be picked up for not a huge amount of money.
    Kinda. I'd say a torque wrench and some carbon assembly paste is essential for building with carbon, and you may well need some more specialised tools for changing chainsets, depending on your BB type. Decent set of hex and torx wrenches won't be given away with cornflakes, but will stop you rounding off bolts. You'll need some small sizes like 2, 2.5 and 3mm for things like brake tension adjustment. If bleeding brakes, don't forget a suitably-sized piece of wood to keep the pistons apart (or the relevant expensive OEM piece of plastic...)
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,562
    All of it - it's a bicycle, not a space ship.
    This, very much this. Bicycle mechanics are not rocket scientists.
  • jgsi
    jgsi Posts: 5,062
    A few years ago I bought a Chris King headset off a mate.We removed my forks/old headset and fit the CK in the car park at Edale before an MTB ride......it really is that simple!
    For some reason people seem to see headset installment as a Dark-Art....it isn't.You just need to be careful to press it in evenly.
    It's not the fitting, it's the facing (and reaming, for headsets / chasing for BBs) that requires expensive tools, skill and practice. If your frames already been done then fitting a headset is, as you say, child's play.

    Are you talking about modern or knackered but still worth preserving kit here?
    If you thing is old steel because your life mission is to preserve, then possibly more expert knowledge and a whole of tool shed of arcane tools are needed... but on modern frames .. come on... who last faced a bottom bracket? having said that.. it's not that hard anyway is it?
    Oh if you are buying from a modern framebuilder , delivering a half finished frame should entitle you to kick him in the bllx.
  • Elfed
    Elfed Posts: 459
    All of it - it's a bicycle, not a space ship.

    Haha, so true!
  • Here's what I can do so far on my own (bear in mind that I class myself as a beginner!):

    Speaking as someone who is pretty clueless and always manages to find interesting ways to mess things up..
    1. Change tyres/tubes;

    Yes, 100%. In fact you *must* be able to do this as a cyclist, otherwise don't go out. If you can't change a tyre and tube and you get a puncture, what then?
    2. Replace disc rotors / brake pads;

    Never used discs so can't comment, brake pads are usually pretty easy, just an allen key bolt
    3. Saddle/seatpost fitting/adjustment;

    Easy as it comes, undo the seat post clamp, take the seat post out, slot the new one in. Saddle adjustment can range from easy to infuriating, but again just an allen key job
    4. Fitting new pedals (hex key and 15mm spanner ones);

    Get yourself a pedal spanner with a pedal allen key on the end. The difficult part about it is getting old pedals off which may have ceased. Often takes strength and a lot of swearing. Just make sure you're turning them in the correct direction. Some swearing can be avoided if you grease the pedal threads before you fit them.
    5. Gear indexing;

    A bit more tricky depending on your starting point. GCN has some excellent videos on how to do it. Considering yesterday I installed new cables and indexed new dérailleurs from scratch anyone can ;)
    On my To-Do list are chain replacement and rear cassette replacement. What other jobs should I learn to do so that I don't have to rely on my LBS so much?

    Chain replacement - first thing is getting some plastic gloves from Wikos, then you need a chain tool. Then like me you break the chain tool and have to get another one ;). To make life easy when replacing your chain fit it with a KMC quick link, makes chains easy to fit and easy(er) to take apart again.

    I found this video very useful https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uirUIGh9fyc

    Cassette replacement is easy, unfortunately another thing which requires special tools. Namely a chainwhip (only used for removing the cassette) and a lock ring tool, and a spanner - adjustable one is fine. Simply a matter of taking the old one off and then slotting the new one on. If I can manage to do it in 5 minutes in the boot of my car, then you can too ;)
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    Everything on a bike is either screwed into place, or clamped. As long as you can understand the process of undoing nuts, bolts & screws and then doing them up again there really is nothing to it. The cost of a few tools is far outweighed by the satisfaction and longer-term savings of doing it yourself.

    The easiest way to learn is to put aside a Saturday and strip your bike down to its constituent parts [down to the washers]; use takeaway or ice-cream tubs to keep everything together, and take photos if you think you won't get it right. Clean everything to look like it's just come out of a bike shop, put it all back together lubing as you go then go & watch a film or something. Once you've done that, check that everything is correctly tight and that anything that should move does, and what shouldn't doesn't. There's nothing on a bike that's so difficult that it can't be understood or logical thought can't resolve - e.g. are the brake shoes the right way round to stop the blocks flying out the first time you try to stop. Check it, recheck it, then ride it.

    The argument against headsets is valid, but it's not a reason not to do every other job on the bike.
  • As above, I'm pretty clueless, I can't undo a barrel adjuster without the entire thing springing apart in my hand and then having to spend the next 30 minutes fighting to get the bugger back in.. But I just managed to build up a bike from parts and a frameset - with the exception of the headset.

    I've learned a hell of a lot in a short space of time too, so it's worth doing.

  • 1. Change tyres/tubes;

    2. Replace disc rotors / brake pads;

    3. Saddle/seatpost fitting/adjustment;

    4. Fitting new pedals (hex key and 15mm spanner ones);

    5. Gear indexing;

    6. Lubricating gear shifter cables;

    7. Front/rear mech adjustment;

    8. Brake adjustment.

    On my To-Do list are chain replacement and rear cassette replacement. What other jobs should I learn to do so that I don't have to rely on my LBS so much?

    Well, if you can 1-8 , then you can everything....
    Bikes in general are pretty simple things.
    It's not so much about the tools, but rather having expierienced things.
    Nobody ever touches my bikes besides me and when I should post a picture of my toolkit it would be hilarious for most of the readers here....
    Just by the tool you need for the next job and DO IT.

    Please do so! Just dont count on it being there for long before the mods remove it for being inappropriate.
  • 964cup
    964cup Posts: 1,362
    Are you talking about modern or knackered but still worth preserving kit here?
    If you thing is old steel because your life mission is to preserve, then possibly more expert knowledge and a whole of tool shed of arcane tools are needed... but on modern frames .. come on... who last faced a bottom bracket? having said that.. it's not that hard anyway is it?
    Oh if you are buying from a modern framebuilder , delivering a half finished frame should entitle you to kick him in the bllx.
    Both. I had to have the headtube reamed on a Condor Super Acciaio I picked up s/h recently, and it's good practice to have the BB done on any threaded BB frame, if only to chase any errant paint out of the threads. I grant you that most of the bikes I've built recently have been carbon with pressfit BBs of one description or another, but I'm currently chasing down an Alan Record Carbonio, and that will be going to a trusted shop to have the headtube and BB checked out and faced/chased if needed. Won't stop it flexing like a wet noodle, but they just look the nuts and it's intended for the Eroica so some flex will probably be helpful (assuming it doesn't fall to bits...)