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Thread: Learning basic home mechanics for road bikes

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    Default Learning basic home mechanics for road bikes

    My favorite bike shop has recently gone out of business and the mechanic is moving on. There are other shops I can go to for big things but they are far enough away that I'd like to become more capable for the routine stuff. I already have the Lennard Zinn Art of Road Bike Maintenance and I've watched a number of the Park Tool/Calvin Jones videos and found them very helpful for specific tasks.

    I draw the line at buying a special tool - if it's something that can be done with wrenches and pliers up to a torque wrench or cutting a cable I'd like to be able to do it. Reaming, facing, derailleur hangers, wheel truing and that sort of stuff I'm happy to bring in.

    Any suggestions for other generalized books or videos that do a good job of covering mechanical and electronic shifting for road and time trial bikes?

    Thanks,
    David
     

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    Default Re: Learning basic home mechanics for road bikes

    You Tube has pretty much everything I've ever needed. For bikes and just about everything else. Replaced radio and speakers in daughters car, assembled a frame and fork into a entire bicycle, that actually worked!. "How to" search is your friend.

    Good luck!
     

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    Default Re: Learning basic home mechanics for road bikes

    no way to learn it but to do it. go get an old road bike and work your way through restoring it to working condition. you'll learn plenty along the way, it's how I learned everything i know save for a few things that actually do require someone to teach you

    there are certain bike-specific tools that are unavoidable. square taper crank pullers and shimano cartridge bottom bracket tools are well worth having, as are a set of cone and headset wrenches. square taper + threaded headset tools are quite unnecessary if none of your bikes use those technologies, of course.
    some may ask: why rock out now?
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    Default Re: Learning basic home mechanics for road bikes

    Donít disassemble Campagnolo or Shimano dual pivot brake calipers. Ask me how I know. (Yes, I got them reassembled, but not without growing a few more gray hairs.)
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: Learning basic home mechanics for road bikes

    Shimano has some video that is very good on modern parts. See if you can find the Shimano "STEC" instructional videos. Dealers and there employees can watch. I do not know if they are available to the public. They feature tools needed, torque values and more. Also Shimano and SRAM both have technical instructions online. These are a great resource. Do not fear the derailleur hanger/alignment. The Park Dag tool works great. From my experience in the shop the common cause of shifting issues is bent hangers. If you are near Cincinnati...
     

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    Default Re: Learning basic home mechanics for road bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by megapope View Post
    no way to learn it but to do it. go get an old road bike and work your way through restoring it to working condition. you'll learn plenty along the way, it's how I learned everything i know save for a few things that actually do require someone to teach you

    there are certain bike-specific tools that are unavoidable. square taper crank pullers and shimano cartridge bottom bracket tools are well worth having, as are a set of cone and headset wrenches. square taper + threaded headset tools are quite unnecessary if none of your bikes use those technologies, of course.
    If you're running Shimano cranks, you'll need the tightening bolt removal tool and as mentioned a BB tool (or two depending on what BBs you have)

    Once you go disc, you'll want the bleeding stuff for whatever brand brakes you end up with

    I find myself using fewer and fewer use-specific tools these days vs the past. There aren't 3 tools needed to work on BBs any more. There aren't 2 tools needed to work on headsets any more. Cone wrenches? What are they?! etc

    There's different tools like bearing presses, disc brake tools, and electronic tools used now, tho

    M
     

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    Default Re: Learning basic home mechanics for road bikes

    @Chad and @megapope - I appreciate the ideas. I decided early enough to keep most of the bikes cross-compatible which helps a lot, I can tinker with my bike and put up with some lessons learned but I'd like to spare everyone else the drama and shame.

    @Saab2000 - no worries on that one

    @DBordewisch - Thanks! I'll see what I can find on the STEC videos, at first pass it seems like they're all locked down. The Shimano Manual & Technical Documents site is complete and with some persistence I've been able to find at least exploded diagrams if not actual instructions. It looks like they are moving towards interactive manuals, the XTR M9100 one is pretty nice.
    I've gotten an account on the Shimano technology education + certification site, I think that's going to get me most of the way there.

    I get a lot from searching through this sub-forum too - there's a debt of gratitude that I shouldn't leave unspoken.
     

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    Default Re: Learning basic home mechanics for road bikes

    @Gummee

    Luckily, apart from track specific stuff, I'm running all Shimano 11sp. Unluckily, I've got three different bottom brackets, mechanical and Di2 groups, tubulars and clinchers, caliper and cantilever. I get a lot done with a pretty basic tool set but I've always had a good shop to fall back on if I need.

    I should probably start collecting some tools as I need them . . .
     

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    Default Re: Learning basic home mechanics for road bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by weavie View Post
    I should probably start collecting some tools as I need them . . .
    That's what I've done over the years.

    A good pair of cable and housing cutters are key. I have a pair of Shimano -10 cutters, a Pedro's cutter, and now a Knipex cutter. I've accumulated over the 30+ years I've been doing this bicycling thing.

    I've built more than a few wheels with a Minoura folding stand. You don't NEED a TS-X.X stand to build good wheels.

    I've built more than a few bikes on a folding PBS stand on top of a TV cart before I found a Park shop stand/base for sale at a price I could afford.

    These days, I'd say get an Enduro BB puller of the style you're running in your bike(s), a bearing press set, and a blind bearing puller set.


    ...as you need them.

    M
     

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    Default Re: Learning basic home mechanics for road bikes

    consider a spoke wrench an absolutely necessary tool. a good stand just makes it easier/faster, but not necessary

    agreed, get tools as needed. makes no sense to have a square taper crank puller and bb tools if you are on modern stuff.
    you will probably never need a reamer/facer
    a work stand is a good investment and makes things much easier. Park are good, but the Feedback models are too, especially because their folding models beat the Park in my book
    invest in some decent allen keys. they are worth it--maybe not the super high end models to start, but bondhus/park/pedros at least

    if you have access to the s-tec videos, they are good and the same site has other technical reference material (and a good if slow-paced forum)
     

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    Default Re: Learning basic home mechanics for road bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by giordana93 View Post
    consider a spoke wrench an absolutely necessary tool. a good stand just makes it easier/faster, but not necessary

    agreed, get tools as needed. makes no sense to have a square taper crank puller and bb tools if you are on modern stuff.
    you will probably never need a reamer/facer
    a work stand is a good investment and makes things much easier. Park are good, but the Feedback models are too, especially because their folding models beat the Park in my book
    invest in some decent allen keys. they are worth it--maybe not the super high end models to start, but bondhus/park/pedros at least

    if you have access to the s-tec videos, they are good and the same site has other technical reference material (and a good if slow-paced forum)
    I have at least 3 sets of allen keys. Of the 3, I like the Weras the best, with the Pedro's a close 2nd.

    M
     

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    Default Re: Learning basic home mechanics for road bikes

    STec and si.shimano.com will have 99% of what you need. the remaining 1% is learned via hands-on work.
    -Dustin

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    Default Re: Learning basic home mechanics for road bikes

    There should be a sticky for top 10 essential bike tools you should own.
     

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    Default Re: Learning basic home mechanics for road bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by megapope View Post
    no way to learn it but to do it.
    I would add, no way to learn it but to do it on lots of different bikes. It’s the size and breadth of your sample that makes this style of learning successful. I know lots of amateurs who think they’re professionals because they’re pros at working on their own one or three bikes. This doesn’t help with spotting trends across bikes, components, groups of components, and the structures that integrate frames, components, wheels, etc.

    To the OP: consider interning with a local mechanic. Maybe there’s a chance before he leaves the business?

    Also, get a derailleur hanger tool. I love my Abbey tool, but I’ll concede it’s too expensive for the average amateur to justify. The Park-knock-off from Super B does the job just fine, albeit slower and with uglier construction. For the average amateur, slower is better anyway. There’s a few bike-specific tools that you will need, bar none. This is one of them. Things like BB cup tools and a $2 Shimano preload adjuster are others.
     

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    Default Re: Learning basic home mechanics for road bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Applesauce View Post
    I would add, no way to learn it but to do it on lots of different bikes. It’s the size and breadth of your sample that makes this style of learning successful. I know lots of amateurs who think they’re professionals because they’re pros at working on their own one or three bikes. This doesn’t help with spotting trends across bikes, components, groups of components, and the structures that integrate frames, components, wheels, etc.

    To the OP: consider interning with a local mechanic. Maybe there’s a chance before he leaves the business?

    .
    i certainly respect the work that professionals do in any field, i really do, but this is ridiculous advice in the context of this thread. The OP says he wants to learn some basic home wrenching skills, and will leave serious tasks requiring specialty tools to the professionals, and you seem to be suggesting he cant learn without working on a huge fleet of bikes and he should consider interning with a mechanic.

    that's lunacy man. bicycles, even today are really, really simple mechanically speaking. anyone with access to amazon.com, youtube and the park tools website can perform the basic maintenance tasks on a bicycle.

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    Default Re: Learning basic home mechanics for road bikes

    I didn't get the impression that the OP was looking to turn pro, just to be able to maintain his own stable of bikes now that his local mechanic is no longer in business. As a hobbyist, I have deliberately avoided a number of recent developments in bicycle design--press fit bottom brackets (which already seem to be on the way out), hydraulic brakes, boost spacing, etc.--so as not to overtax my limited maintenance skills and set of tools. If / when my kids get bikes that have those technologies (thinking of hydraulic discs in particular), they can learn to do their own wrenching!

    Mike
     

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