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The bike repair and maintenance thread

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I though it might be useful to create a place for sharing questions, experiences, and tips on bike wrenching.  Or maybe it's just a place to commiserate about busted knuckles, ruined rides, and empty wallets. There are obviously lots of bike-specific forums that are great resources for this, but they tend to get overrun pretty quickly by bike snobs and other trolls. Since we all are in the same general area and more-or-less know each other through ski conversations this might be a friendlier place to share experiences.

With that said...   Bike repair and maintenance has always been a love/hate thing for me. I got into mountain biking in the early 90s (in my 20s). I was a broke college kid living in a small apartment.  I didn't really have skills or space to do a lot of maintenance and I definitely didn't have the money to constantly buy parts.  I used to get really frustrated that repairs and maintenance took more time than actual riding!  It was one of the things that made me drift away from riding for a bunch of years.

Now I'm in my 'second life' of riding. Getting back into it I made a conscious decision to embrace bike maintenance. I invested in all the right tools and I make time to keep everything constantly dialed in. I still learn as I go, but I actually enjoy it now. 

This post is getting too long. I'll get into my latest repair saga later...


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I took a multi-week course on bike maintenance years ago and switch my tuning shop over to a bike tuning shop every year.  Not particularly advanced or great at it, but I get by.


The key is definitely having a good repair stand to hold the bike up off the ground to work on.   They make ones with legs, but I have one I bolt onto my tuning workbench, sticking out about a foot.

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On 4/23/2021 at 5:32 PM, SkiMangoJazz said:

I took a multi-week course on bike maintenance years ago and switch my tuning shop over to a bike tuning shop every year.  

That actually sounds pretty amazing.  These days there are so many Youtube tutorials, and tech is changing so fast, that I'm not sure a course would hold up as well as in the past.  But still, focusing some time on a course would force the learning.

My shop stays half ski/board half bike all winter because I try to ride year round.  I have a couple of good stands and you are 100% right about how important that is!  It solves everything from keeping your work at hand level (cassettes etc) to orienting your bike the right way (brake bleeds etc). 

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I mentioned my latest repair saga when I started this thread but I didn't get into it.  Here goes...

Early November 2020:  I was riding West Barnstable Conservation Area (AKA Trail of Tears) when my rear hub exploded.  It was a long slog out with no pedal-power. Fortunately it was mostly downhill.  I dropped my bike off at well-known shop on my way home and basically said "do what you gotta do".  (side note: I won't mention the shop by name in this saga. They had some big fails in this story but they did everything they could to make it right.  They are well liked and I'm not here to bash them).   The shop didn't get back to me for over 2 weeks.  It was Thanksgiving time by then so I didn't want to bug them. When I finally called to check they said they'd been trying to find a new hub but due to all the supply chain issues they were struggling (this is a real thing!!).  The best option if I wanted to ride this bike in the next 6 months was to by a new wheel.  I agreed and asked them to get me one.  New wheel meant new cassette, meant new chain.  I few more weeks later they had it all in and I picked up the bike with new wheel/cassette/chain with a price tag of $350.

As excited as I was to have my bike back, it was now ski season and I was trying to get some early turns.  So my bike sat there.  When I finally had a day worthy of riding I found that the tire on the new rim was flat.  I  mean really flat.  Tubeless tires take on a whole new level of flat when they've been sitting for a couple of weeks and all the sealant is sticking to itself inside the tire.  I pumped it up and heard leaking everywhere.  By now my ride was opportunity was gone.  I added sealant, pumped it up, and had sealant coming out through the base of the valve stem.  I pulled the tire off, re-taped the stem, refilled with sealant, put the tire back on, and pumped it up.  I still had some air coming around the stem and I also had air and sealant coming out most of the spokes!!!  Anyone who has dealt with dismounting and remounting tubeless tires knows that it's not something you want to do over and over.  So this crap wheel needed to go back to the shop.  Unfortunately I was still trying to ski and the shop was on winter hours, so it took a while to get it there.  When they finally got to it they agreed that the wheel was a piece of garbage.  They were super apologetic about selling me crap and promised to make it right.  

Making it right meant starting the wheel search all over again.  This time the only thing we could find that was compatible and available was a Stan's Carbon wheel for ~$800.  And that was going to take awhile to get.  I sucked it up and said yes.  They fully credited me for the crap wheel, gave me a discount on the Stan's, and did all the labor for free.  Still, now I'm in for close to a grand and 3 months without my bike. I finally got it back in rideable condition in early February 2021.

On my first ride there was a TON of noise coming from the drive train when under load.  I assumed the age of the older derailleur was  being exposed by everything else being new in the rear end.  So I replace that ($150).   Took a couple of hours to do that.  Next ride, same noise.  I figured it has to be in the front end of the drive train (everything else is new).  Broke down the whole bike, ultra-cleaned the cranks, chainring, pedals, pivots, etc and put it all back together.  Same F-ing noise!  Gotta be the bottom bracket.  Ordered a new bottom bracket ($50) and a BB pressfit tool ($80).  Waited a few days for all of that.  I spent a few hours tearing  down the bike again, including the BB, and rebuilding it.  SAME NOISE!  

The only thing left is that that the old front chainring must be having trouble meshing with new chain and new everything else. A new chainring is <$100. But for now I'm letting it go.  I'm just riding it and living with noise. Maybe it will all wear in together.  Or more likely it will drive me nuts and I'll break down and buy the parts.  Stay tuned on that.

What's your saga??


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  • 2 months later...

Went for a ride Friday evening and my dropper got stuck in the down position. Lucky for me it happened at the bottom of the hill near the parking lot so the ride out wasn't bad. The dropper on my YT Jeffsey is a YT-branded seat post (YT Postman) and there isn't much available on the web about how to service it. Reached out to YT support and got a quick reply that it is just a rebranded SDG Tellis. Found the SDG videos on youtube showing how to do the full service on it. Easy to follow and even easier to actually do. Turns out things had just loosened up and the cable wasn't pulling on the actuator enough to activate the cartridge inside. A good clean, lube, and tightening up, and it's working like new. I'm really impressed with the design of the Tellis. The internal cartridge is intended to be replaceable if it ever fails or gets damaged. I found it quite a bit easier to work on than the PNW dropper my son has on his bike and the KS I have on my fat bike. Only draw back is that it requires a special tool to work on it. I made due with what I have in my shop, but I went ahead and ordered the tool ($5) for the future.

Edited by 2manyhobbies
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