Home maintenance

pmcdonald

Well-Known Member
This is a broad question that will no doubt generate a range of answers, but what bike maintenance tasks would people consider within the skill of the average Joe or Josephine?

Some background: I've ridden analog bikes all my life. I've been fortunate that my bikes up until recently have been extremely simple and low maintenance (read that as I've done nothing but change the odd tyre and they've survived my neglect just fine). I've got by with the occasional tyre and calliper brake change and puncture repair.

All that changed with ebikes: 1) I'm riding dramatically more than I did, 2) the speeds I do are harder on the components, 3) these components are more complex than I'm used to.

So to expand on the original question, given many of us are pretty useless with our hands and haven't built up a workshop of tools, what maintenance tasks are straightforward enough to tackle at home with the help of Park Tool videos and cheap and easily purchasable tools, and which should be sent to the LBS? (For context, last time I had to repair the tube in my previous rear-hub equiped ebike it took me 2 hours :oops: so I'm not joking about the all thumbs thing)
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Change the tire or tube. You may have to do that out on the road, you may have forgotten to charge your cell phone to call your wife. I go so far out from the bike shop, I carry all the tools and two tubes. The first one blew immediately one time. Sometimes you don't spot the wire through the tire first time. My wife, the bike won't fit in her car. She'd have to rent a u-haul truck. She's not experienced driving those.
Learn to change the brake pads. Learn to change the brake cable or shift cable.
BTW oil the shifters & brake handles, cable entrances & exits, stem & seat post pivots & fasteners, derailleur pivots & takeup wheels, every two weeks. Unless it never rains on your bike. Lots of $25 bikes at the charity resale shop with all those things rusted up. I use an eagle pump oiler & sus32 hydraulic fluid, also known as typeAsuffixA ATF from the grocery store. NOT DEXRON.
I changed my chain for the first time in April. Took me 2 afternoons, including removing the first try and replacing it on the right path. Learning involves viewing your mistakes, then studying, then correcting them. Next time it will take me one afternoon. BTW I started trying to repair my bike in 1958. I'm better at it now.
Worst job was an IGH that the shifter pawl kept popping off of, making it unrideable. Never fixed it. Replaced with a derailleur, $260 wasted. Learned how to lace wheels on that, but not how to order the right length spokes the first or second time.
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
From what I've read on this forum, the average Joe or Josephine here shouldn't do anything other than inflate their tires, oil their chain, or wash their bike.
Could not say it better. I'm sick when I have to approach my e-bikes with some tools...
(You forgot about charging and replacing the batteries).
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
Learned how to lace wheels on that, but not how to order the right length spokes the first or second time.
I learned how to lace spokes when I was 66. Decades wasted riding around on crooked wheels because I didn't know the simple task for trueing a wheel.

As for those spokes, the spoke online calculators don't even agree with each other. Probably rigged so they only work if you buy your spokes from the guy who wrote the program.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
I'm an engineer by training. In my younger days, most engineers were hands-on guys (very few gals). We'd fix our own cars when we could, paint and hang drywall, fix our TV's, and waste time bragging about it on Monday.

I'm a poor judge of what Joe and Josephine can do, but I'd like them see them challenge themselves. Used to be a scout merit badge for changing a bike tire. Heck there was one for building a radio out of wire and an old oatmeal carton. I never got mine to work.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I'm a poor judge of what Joe and Josephine can do, but I'd like them see them challenge themselves. Used to be a scout merit badge for changing a bike tire.
I'm a West Virginian. When I was there, men didn't play basketball, or football, or baseball, or watch TV all weekend. TV service was terrible, as was the only AM radio station. Men built & repaired things, in small groups, to avoid driving to the state capitol to go shopping. Two rugged mountains on the way to the state capitol, made me throw up in a bucket most trips. Nobody had a pickup truck, they were too slow over the mountains. Men drove V8 Buicks, Oldsmobile, Cadillacs. My Mother warned me to never buy a car without a V8 motor. My Dad built a barbeque pit, a bicycle seat for toddlers (me) and repaired various appliances like washing machines. My grandfather built a house out of scrap lumber in 1911, which is still occupied. Also a smoke house for roasting pigs. This throwaway culture is for flatlanders that live 6 blocks from Sears(Amazon).
 
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JayVee

Well-Known Member
I do "as much as I can", which covers most maintenance tasks. My routine includes changing pads & discs, bleeding the brakes, swapping out chains and cassettes, indexing derailleurs, swapping out front chainrings, and doing some minor electrical cabling. If you can master those skills, it will already get you pretty far. I've covered 28,646 kilometers on my e-bike with just that. I also broke a rear hub, but decided that it was better to buy a brand new rear wheel costing 140 euros instead of replacing the rear hub myself and lacing my own wheel. You have to choose your battles...

The most limiting factor is for me is my own physical strength. If you're physically fit a lot of this stuff is not rocket science. Getting it done is more about being a hard head than anything else. It will be frustrating at the beginning, but the more you do it the easier it will become.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
Any repair is in the grasp of anyone that has a computer. All you need is the right tools, your phone to take pictures before you start, and youTube. Must be 20 videos for every single thing you want to do with your bike.
 

JimiC

New Member
I'm an engineer by training. In my younger days, most engineers were hands-on guys (very few gals). We'd fix our own cars when we could, paint and hang drywall, fix our TV's, and waste time bragging about it on Monday.

I'm a poor judge of what Joe and Josephine can do, but I'd like them see them challenge themselves. Used to be a scout merit badge for changing a bike tire. Heck there was one for building a radio out of wire and an old oatmeal carton. I never got mine to work.
I have built several analog bikes from the frame up and have most of the Park Tools catalog in my garage. Of course most of those were lightweight with QR hubs and none had any electronics other than a bike computer. I recently came out to go for a ride to find my hub motor eMTB on its side with a flat rear tire (once the tire deflated the kickstand was too long and tipped it). First problem - 18mm nuts on the rear axle (adjustable wrench to the rescue). Next challenge - with the nuts nice and loose, the wheel wouldn't drop out. I was concerned there was something locking it in place, but nothing was there. A little gentle persuasion with a soft-head mallet finally got the wheel free, then I couldn't budge the tire bead with my standard levers. Oh, this is my first tubeless-ready tire and rim, so I finally figured out if I 'broke' the bead on one side and moved it into the middle of the rim, I could create enough space to lever the tire off the rim. Found a pinhole in the tube where it had been rubbed by a fold in the rim tape (nice work installer!), patched it, reinflated and got the wheel back on and the power cable plugged back in. Quite an adventure and has me looking at more puncture-resistant solutions so I don't have to try and do it in the field on a ride.

TL/DR: patching a rear tube on a rear-hub motor bike is a PITA.
 

BillyKidd

Member
Is anyone aware of a post perhaps that gives a good list of Park tools that would be good to have on hand? All I have is time right now waiting for a bike to come in. Maybe could spend some time procuring some tools. Question on spoke tightening. Is the amount to tighten a spoke based on torque with a special tool or do you use a tension gauge per spoke?
 

byunbee

Well-Known Member
Any repair is in the grasp of anyone that has a computer. All you need is the right tools, your phone to take pictures before you start, and youTube. Must be 20 videos for every single thing you want to do with your bike.
I'm finding that part of the enjoyment owning a bike is learning to tinker on your own. There's a certain level of satisfaction in that.
 

byunbee

Well-Known Member
Is anyone aware of a post perhaps that gives a good list of Park tools that would be good to have on hand? All I have is time right now waiting for a bike to come in. Maybe could spend some time procuring some tools. Question on spoke tightening. Is the amount to tighten a spoke based on torque with a special tool or do you use a tension gauge per spoke?
There's a few tools I've bought when I got my bike and I'm sure the list will grow over time.
 
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BillyKidd

Member
Awesome, thank you byunbee. Does anyone have a few dollars they could loan me til my wife lets me back in the house? Funny when I started my journey I thought a $1200.00 bike was way out there. $4k later I am looking at the $5.5k bikes and thinking maybe I stretch this a bit further. Maybe I am ill. Great list and many thanks again to you all!
 

byunbee

Well-Known Member
Awesome, thank you byunbee. Does anyone have a few dollars they could loan me til my wife lets me back in the house? Funny when I started my journey I thought a $1200.00 bike was way out there. $4k later I am looking at the $5.5k bikes and thinking maybe I stretch this a bit further. Maybe I am ill. Great list and many thanks again to you all!
Sadly, that's a normal process we all go through...😏
 

BillyKidd

Member
Question on spoke tightening. Is the amount to tighten a spoke based on torque with a special tool or do you use a tension gauge per spoke?
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Question on spoke tightening. Is the amount to tighten a spoke based on torque with a special tool or do you use a tension gauge per spoke?
I torque them until the ping when I hit one with a screwdriver is the right pitch. Thud is the wrong sound. then if the wheel is crooked, I tighten up the ones that point away from the side that is too far over. You can loosen the spokes on the side where the rim is too close to.
That list of tools byunbee bought is rediculous. I'm never changing out a bottom crank. Changing the rear sprocket cluster is only possible when the bike is new. I did it to my new bike to get different speeds. When the bike is old you could melt the sprocket with an acetelyn torch and it still wouldn't turn. Buy a new wheel, or like I did, a donor bike with good wheel at Salvation Army resale.
I did buy a chain breaker. Actually 3 of them, 2 of which didn't work. Make sure the one you buy matches the # of speeds your rear sprocket cluster has. For popping the master link tight I used a snap ring expander tool.
You can avoid the whole brake bleeding piston collapsing ordeal by buying mechanical disk brakes. Totally adjustable with a 5 mm allen wrench and a 10 mm combo wrench. Need needle nose pliers to move the cotter pin to let the old pads off.
I did buy a chain wear indicator, which told me my chain was worn out (at 5000 miles) before the tips of the sprockets wore off.