I’m not necessarily speaking in terms of selling bicycles out of your garage, but a place where you can wrench on your own bike and perhaps a few of your friend’s bikes. For those that have been to my tornado torn garage, they’ll know that I’ve got a pretty messy set up, but it works for me. Here’s a few tips to help you create your own repair shop.
1. Basic tools. You can find your most basic tool kit from online retailers like Pricepoint.com, Nashbar.com and etc. They generally run about $45-$50 per kit. These tool kits usually has most of the items you’ll need to work on bikes such as a cassette tool, chain whip, bottom bracket tool and a set of allen wrenches just to name a few.
2. Repair stand. This is a worthwhile investment. If you don’t have a repair stand, get one! Its way easier to work on bikes if you have a stand. You can get them through some of the same online retailers that I already mentioned. Sette offers 2 models that are very affordable. One is a wall mounted unit that sells for about $58 and the floor stand model is around $90. Other brands can cost up to $150. If that seems expensive to you, just remember, it is an investment. Every time you work on your bike, you’re saving money.
3.Air compressor. I have a small pancake style compressor that I bought used for $50. These are great in airing up your tires and for cleaning your bike.
4. Vise clamp. I actually don’t have one of these yet…but I sure wish I did. There have been so many times when I really needed to use it. Get one, you’ll eventually use it.
5.Truing Stand. These run about $60 and up. But if you don’t want to get one of those, check out the video below.
6. Optional items. The following aren’t “must haves” for your shop, but it sure does make it more fun to be in there.
-Stereo. Gotta have the tunes when you’re wrenching.
-Mini Fridge. You keep beer in there, and only beer!
-Storage-If your garage is not large enough I would consider buying a pre made shed or building. Be sure to first do your research first. You can look up company reviews online, like this one where a client compared General Steel to Armstrong Steel.
-Parts washer. This is another one of those things that I consider an investment. I found this gem @ the local Harbor Freight for $44. I use Simple Green as my solvent and this sucker cuts down my parts cleaning time in half. What’s great is I can remove my whole drive train and place it in the tank then scrub away.”
If you think that’s quite bit of stuff to have in your garage or the price tag might scare you, don’t worry. Personally I’ve collected all my stuff through the years and often bought stuff used. My mini fridge was given to me when I was helping my friend move. My stereo was also a freebie. Craigslist is a great place to find tools. I’ve often seen mini-fridges listed for as low as $25 and parts washers for about the same price.
Anyhow, once you get your shop going, you’re actually going to start saving money. Why? How? Dude, just think about it, if you wrench on your own bikes, there’s no need to take it in to the LBS and pay all that labor. In fact what I would do is this…let’s say you need a tune up, find out how much that would cost from your local shop, rather than taking it to them, do the work your in your garage and “pay yourself.” Set that money aside for more bike tools!