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My Home Bike Repair Shop: 1.5 years later and still growing. New video?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

December
12
2012
My friend Craig shamed me into getting this retractable air hose reel last week (my hose was loose on the floor prior to that), and I took the time to mount it to the ceiling. Working with the air hose is so much easier and more convenient now. Thanks for the great suggestion, Craig!

My friend Craig shamed me into getting this retractable air hose reel last week (my hose was loose on the floor prior to that), and I took the time to mount it to the ceiling. Working with the air hose is so much easier and more convenient now. Thanks for the great suggestion, Craig!

When I completed the initial build of my home Bike Repair Shop in August 2011 I had a pretty decent collection of bike repair tools and a fairly well-rounded home shop set up. I had the tools I required to perform all general maintenance tasks, as well as pretty much any Level I or Level II repair (and some Level III repairs).

Back in August 2011 I had already amassed some amount of experience working on my own bikes, but was still pretty wet behind the ears. That lack of experience was evident in the video tour of my home shop (which can be found here) by how often I referred to bike repairs as “frustrating”. While I had a background in mechanical repairs (mostly from working on my own cars as a teenager), bike repair was an entirely new ballgame.

Since I posted that video almost 1.5 years ago I’ve gained a lot of bike repair experience. I no longer find working on my bikes frustrating; iIn fact, I very much enjoy the time I spend in my home bike shop! I find working on my bikes quite relaxing, and the satisfaction of doing all my own maintenance, repairs and builds is immense.

It’s been more than 1.5 years since I’ve had any of my bikes in a “professional” shop. Not only have I saved a small fortune in repair bills, there’s no down time while I wait days for repairs to be completed. I also know the job is done right every single time, and that’s important to me.

Park Tool Professional Wheel Truing Stand (TS-2.2), Park Tool Tilting Truing Stand Base (TSB-2), Park Tool Rotor Truing Gauge (DT-3), Park Tool Bladed Spoke Holder (BSH-4) and Avenir Pro Spoke Wrench Set.

Park Tool Professional Wheel Truing Stand (TS-2.2), Park Tool Tilting Truing Stand Base (TSB-2), Park Tool Rotor Truing Gauge (DT-3), Park Tool Bladed Spoke Holder (BSH-4) and Avenir Pro Spoke Wrench Set.

Over the past year and a half I’ve added dozens of new tools and bits of shop equipment when they were needed. I now have a very well-stocked Level III+ home bike shop, and there are very few tasks that I could not accomplish with the tools and supplies I have on-hand. There’s a short list of tools I still would like to add to my collection, but I see no point in purchasing them until they are required for a repair.

As my home Bike Repair Shop has evolved I’ve diligently updated the list of tools and supplies: it’s always 100% up-to-date. That said, I would like to take all new photographs of the shop and shoot a new video.

When I posted the original bike shop article I didn’t think it would have a very wide audience here on JSF. I was sure wrong about that! Aside from the JSF members who are avid bike enthusiasts, the number of people who have discovered the article from Google searches is astonishing! Looking at the blog stats for JSF, that article is in the top five of all-time popular blogs.

For casual cyclists having a full-blown shop probably doesn’t make much sense, but I do feel everyone should be able to perform basic bike maintenance. The reason I feel that way is because taking your bike to a shop is a pain, and so people often blow it off until there is a major problem. Riding a bike that is not properly adjusted and tuned is not only hard on the components, it can be frustrating to ride (at best), and even unsafe.

John Stone Fitness Comments

9 Responses to “My Home Bike Repair Shop: 1.5 years later and still growing. New video?”
  1. I’m envious of your setup. I only have a basic performance brand trueing stand that I have had for years, I need to upgrade. Have you attempted a fork rebuild/oil change yet? Probably one of the hardest maintenance items depending on the fork. On another note, I had to give my 29r back to Titus but they say they have a new carbon version frame with my name on it for next year.

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    • That truing stand was something I put off purchasing for a long time, but now that I have it it’s been a godsend. My American Classic AMs are still as true as the day I bolted them on (love those wheels!), but I learned the art of truing by practicing on the Bontrager Duster wheels that came stock on my Fuel. The Dusters were constantly out of true (garbage, IMO), but they made for great wheels to learn on.

      The rotor truing gauge has also proven to be indispensable. No more brake rub or squealing.

      I have not done a fork rebuild, as none of my forks have yet required it. About the only shock-related repair I’ve had to do so far is a seal kit on my rear shock, which was a breeze.

      I can’t wait to hear what you think of the Titus carbon frame. As you know my next bike is going to be a full-on XC racing 29er, and so your thoughts will be directly relevant to that. My friend Mike told me that Ibis is also working on a carbon 29er frame, and I’ll be watching for that, too.

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  2. I always like to change out fork fluids at least once a season so your fork is probably due for an oil change, while you have it apart it is wise to put in new seals. You will be amazed what good, high quality fork oil feels like compared to the oem stuff. Cant wait for the carbon Rockstar:
    http://www.titusti.com/2012/11/rockstar29-carbon-the-wait-is-nearly-over/
    Same geometry as the aluminum version but about 1 pound lighter. I will just be getting a frame and building it up, XO drivetrain, AC wheels for sure.

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  3. X2 on craigstr’s fork maintenance suggestions! I pull mine apart every 2 months and change out the seals/oil. Lots of dust here so it makes a huge difference! You don’t notice the fork getting rougher because it’s such a slow process.

    Not sure what you have but my Fox 34 is trivial to take apart. Maybe 30 minutes start to finish for changing seals/oil/etc. It’s also nice to just get a hands on feel for the internals. Makes dialing in the fork more intuitive. You might also consider playing with the spacers to see if you like a little more or less travel. My F34 came with 20 mm spacers to reduce it to 120mm. I pulled the spacers and it just came alive for me! Amazing what 20 more mm of travel will do.

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    • Thanks as always, Craig. I was remiss in my blog for not mentioning how much you, along with several other JSF members, have helped me as I’ve learned the art of bike repair over the past couple of years. THANK YOU! 🙂

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