Are you working on your own bike yet? Or are you still paying someone to do it for you?

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Ok this letter is directed to some of you people that are STILL taking your bikes to you the LBS. Sure there’s valid reasons why you need to take a bike to the LBS for some repairs or services such as “I like to get reamed when paying for a tune up.” People also take their bikes to get their wallets emptied to “change a flat.”

In reality, if you have a set of these…

and these…then you’re pretty much going the right direction.

Here’s the thing, about 85-90% of all mechanical problems that occur with your bike, you can fix! Seriously, there’s no need to spend your cashola just to have some teen age kid or a guy that still lives at home to fix your bike.

All you need are some basic tools such as a set of allen wrenches, bottom bracket tool, cotter less crank remover, diagonal cutters, pliers, chain whip, cassette remover and a bottle opener, that’s for the beer!

You can actually get a decent home mechanic tool set from places like or

The best thing to do is get one of those kits that I mentioned from either retailer, just consider it as an investment. Then watch or read some of our Tech Tips, or get a buddy to show you how to fix things, better yet, get a DVD that shows you how to repair bikes. Fixing bikes isn’t rocket science. You’d have to be really We Todd Did if you can’t figure out how to tune a derailleur, its really simple. Just like with anything, the first time can be apprehensive, but with a bit more practice, you can start saving some major dough and start socking that money away for your kids college fund or towards your dreams…a Monkey Space Ship!

RL Policar

RL Policar is an avid mountain biker and the Editor In-Chief of and Between the two sites, he's published well over 4,000 articles (and growing).

9 thoughts on “Are you working on your own bike yet? Or are you still paying someone to do it for you?

  1. Just picked up a set of tools last week for $40 for the simple reason that I’m a cheap a$$ and don’t want to pay anyone for anything. Dead sexy , but extremely cheap.
    Your videos are very helpful since most of the parts have changed since I last worked on bikes.

  2. I’m guilty of taking my bike to my LBS for front deraileur adjustments. I was given the “Zinn & the art of mountain bike maintenance” book last X-mas. I followed step by step to the ‘T’ AFTER I read the steps to adjust the front deraileur 2-3 times. I could not adjust the damn thing! The chain still rubbed the cage. I got so discouraged that I took the bike in for service and watched the mechanic perform the adjustment. Luckily I wasn’t charged for the adjustment that time but I did take my bike recently AGAIN for the same adjustment. That time I was charged. Since I failed the first time, this second time I said screw it. I’ll pay. I can read construction plans and build large buildings but I can’t adjust a deraileur… go figure.

  3. I do all my own maintenance. It is a good excuse to drink beer and buy more tools.
    I figure the worst I could do is screw it up and have to take it to a LBS anyway, so I might as well try.

  4. KonaDawg,

    Funny you mention that. I have a friend that is a Mechanical Engineer by trade, super sharp guy…but when it comes to putting his hands on stuff to work on, he has the hardest time.

  5. I do all my own work. Year ago, I was freaked out about setting up deraillers and bottom brackets, but I made myself learn how to even adjust those. It’s all so incredibly easy that I feel sorry for people who won’t just relax and give it a try.

  6. The danger of doing your own repairs is that you may discover what kind of incompetent work you were getting when you shelled out at the LBS.

    As a bike commuter, I’d love to have a shop that offered professional service. Drop it off–one less thing to do on the weekend. But in my area you’re just paying twenty bucks to play Russian roulette with your frame and components.

    Also those “Starr X”-style stationary bottle openers fit very nicely on water bottle bosses.

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