Reasons to learn how to repair your own bike

How good are you at repairing your bike? Bicycles are mechanically pretty simple, but they have quote a few moving parts and if something is wrong with just one part, it can have a detrimental effect to your riding enjoyment.

Cyclists are polarised: some maintain and adjust their bikes, some leave all of that up to their local bike shop.

I hear a few things, repeatedly, from cyclists I speak to:

  1. Bicycle servicing is so expensive!
  2. Every time I send my bike for a service, the shop says I need to replace all these parts. How do I know if they’re being honest with me?
  3. My bike broke while I was riding and I had to walk back home / to the car.
  4. My gears are out of adjustment and I don’t know how to make them better …….etc.

Sound familiar? These (and a whole lot more) are reasons why I decided to offer bicycle repair courses.

Once you have the knowledge, skills and confidence to work on your own bike, you’re in control of your bike maintenance spend and you’ll probably never have to abandon a ride due to a mechanical issue ever again.

chain

Let me address the points that I listed above.

The cost of bicycle servicing and parts replacement. Bike shops see repairs and maintenance as a great way to make money. They can charge for parts and labour, and use this as an opportunity for the up-sell. I have no issue with that, but some shops use this as an opportunity to make as much money as possible, often replacing and charging for parts which may not need replacement.

Drive train components like chains and cassettes being the most common parts replaced at time of service. If you know what you’re doing, you can easily service your own bike and replace the parts that are genuinely worn out and leave the parts which are still serviceable. Tools are available at low cost, like “chain checks” that let you measure how worn your chain is and will indicate whether or not it warrants replacement. It’s really simple to replace a chain, and even a cassette yourself. Cables and brake pads are even easier.

Even if you choose to let your bike shop service your bike, you’ll know when they’re being straight with you, and when they’re ripping you off. Either way, you win.

Mechanical issues experienced while out riding. We all suffer mechanicals at some point – a flat tyre, a broken chain, gears that just won’t shift right. I believe that all cyclists should be able to take this in their stride and sort out the issues quickly and with minimal stress.

Learn how to plug a hole in your tubeless tyres, how to install a chain “quick-link”, straighten a wobbly wheel. Surely better than a long, lonely walk back to the car.

In closing, learn how your bike works and learn how to make some basic fixes. You’ll never regret it.