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How tough to overhaul?(15 posts)

How tough to overhaul?Alan B
Mar 9, 2001 8:13 AM
I've always done my own tune-ups, but I've never done an overhaul. My local shop charges $130, but really aren't we talking about repacking a bunch of bearings (wheels, headset, BB, pedals -- did I miss anything?)? I have the Bicycling Mag repair manual, which, despite what anyone thinks about the magazine, seems to be a goo manual. What would I spend on tools? How difficult is it to adjust things correctly (like the hubs) for a novice? How long does it take the first time through (I figure I could do it piecemeal, rather than all at once. Any advice? Thanks.
re: How tough to overhaul?JBergland
Mar 9, 2001 8:51 AM
IMO doing a complete overhaul is not something you can just decide to do. There are many bike-specific tools that are required and having the experience to do things right the first time takes years to develop. That being said, bringing your bike to the local shop every time you need something done will never yield you the experience you need.

I have learned by working on what I'm knowledgeable about and have tools for. As my tool collection and experience grow, so does what I'm capable of working on. The guys (and gals) at the LBS are good people to get to know. They can help with advise and information that you might not have. They are also very helpful when something needs to be fixed after you 'fixed' it. I have done this on more than one occasion!!;)
You can do itCory
Mar 9, 2001 9:15 AM
I built my first bike using the Bicycling Manual, so the information's there. Be sure you have a newer edition--mine dates from the friction-shift days, but newer ones discuss cartridge bearings and STI and clipless pedals. If you need a new book, look at Zinn's, too. It's at least as good as Bicycling's.
Hubs are'll develop a feel for them quickly. Replacing and adjusting cables is simpler than you probably think, if you haven't done it. Just follow the book. I've rebuilt a dozen or so old-style bottom brackets, but never a cartridge one, so I can't tell you about that. How hard can it be, though?
I've had most of my tools for 15 years, so I'd be guessing at what they cost now. Nashbar (for one) sells a complete tool kit for about $60, but it has some stuff you'll rarely use. If you have ordinary household/garage tools, you'll need allen (hex) wrenches, cone wrenches and a few other things. If your LBS won't give you a good price on bearings (one where I live charges 25 cents PER BALL), you can get a bag of 100 in several sizes from Nashbar for $2.90.
re: How tough to overhaul?grz mnky
Mar 9, 2001 9:57 AM
Your question is too broad to answer with any sort of precision. A lot of it depends upon the individual, their skill level, patience, and attention to detail. It all comes down to how you value your time. If you want to learn then expect to make some mistakes, become puzzled, do things over several times, make trips to shops for tools and parts, and ask lots of questions. Oh yes, you will prbably damage a few things along the way. While $130 sounds like a lot of money, it may actually be a bargain for some people and a bit steep for others. If truing the wheels is included and you have no idea how to true a wheel then it's not a bad price.

What you're talking about is really gaining experience. I can do an overhaul quite quickly, but then I have many dollars invested in tools and years of experience. Still, there is always something to learn. To me it is a form of therapy as long as I'm not being rushed and can work out in my well lit shop, with tunes playing, a nice fire in the wood stove and perhaps an adult beverage or two.... The point is you have to enjoy working on bikes and learning new skills, otherwise you're better off letting the shop do it.

My suggestion would be to tackle some easy things first and see how it goes. Cleaning and repacking the front wheel bearings might be a good start. You'll need a couple cone wrenches, rags and some good grease. Learning to adjust the bearings is a basic, but valuable skill.
$130 is obscenecampy dropout
Mar 9, 2001 10:19 AM
even if they are repacking bearing, replacing cables/housing and tape and tubes, AND waxing the frame
$130 is obsceneMuriel Creer
Mar 9, 2001 3:18 PM
Sorry, but $130 is far from unreasonable money to work on a machine that will take me down hills at 55 mph, carry me 200 miles in ten hours, and on which I play in traffic between Ford Expeditions and RTD buses.
I think campy dropout is saying . .c40owner
Mar 9, 2001 4:00 PM
You can do ALL of what you say for a lot less money. It's not $100 for 50mph decents . . . $130 for 55mph . . . and $150 for 60mph.

But if you think there is a relationship between shop labor and speed, I'll change the oil in car for $700!
Depends on what is doneKerry Irons
Mar 10, 2001 6:31 AM
To me, a complete overhaul is tear the bike down to the frame, take everything apart, clean, lube, replace worn stuff, and then bring it all back to "good as new" performance. It requires cone wrenches, allen wrenches, open end wrenches, sockets, several sizes and types of screwdrivers, crank puller, chain ring bolt tool, chain tool, chain whip, special cassette/BB tools, and a torque wrench to get that 70 nm BB tightness right. I do this once a year to our family's "good" bikes, and it typically takes longer than 8 hours per bike. I doubt I could ever find a shop to do what I do for $130, and I would seriously question whether a typical shop would have the skills to do all this. However, to see whether $130 is reasonable, you have to know exactly what is being done.
re: How tough to overhaul?NEIL
Mar 9, 2001 10:24 AM
There are some good comments going on here. If you are a complete novice, I wouldn't suggest getting into overhauling bottom brakets and headsets by yourself. It's a recipe for a big headache and some ruined parts. But, I wouldn't ever run to the shop anytime needed adjusting either.

I've built and torn down bikes down to the bare frame countless times, laced my own wheels (an advil moment) and rebuilt everything from start, except for STI levers. (those came apart alright, but never went back together). It is quite fun to learn and not really all that hard, you just need the right tools and learn all the tricks. When I strip down to a frame in the winter to redo and regrease everything and install new cables, it would take me a good part of a saturday to do it right and do a thorough job. Most all of what I learned over the years is from referring to a detailed bike maintenience book and experimentation. And yes, I've sheered off my share of lockrings, torn brand new handlebar tape, lost loose bearings on the floor and realized I installed caged bearings backwards only after I get it back together. It takes patience and the right tools the experience to use them.

You might find a local rider who does all his own work and ask if he would rebuild your bike for fee and allow you to watch and learn. You might ask around in the local bike club. It's the best way to learn if you can follow somebody else's example on your own bike.

interesting questionAlan
Mar 9, 2001 12:21 PM
This is interesting because I was asking myself the same question six months ago. I committed to buying tools slowly, and doing one thing at a time in order to avoid being overwhelmed. I own both the Bicycling and the Zinn books, and only the Zinn book sees the light of day anymore.

Just as someone else here mentioned, I started with replacing the bearings in the front hub (Ultegra), so I needed cone wrenches ($5 total), bearings ($3 for 100) and some grease. Zinn's book walked me through the whole thing, and it was relatively painless.

Next up was the rear hub and freehub, so I needed the cassette tool ($5), a chain whip ($6?), more bearings, an adjustable wrench, and a screwdriver to pop off a seal on the freehub. I derived a GREAT deal of satisfaction from disassembling these components, replacing the bearings, and reassembling everything. Again, Zinn walked me through the whole deal with no problem. My cassette looks like new, and both wheels are smooth as butter.

Then I tackled the pedals. I needed a pedal wrench ($16?) and more grease. I didn't replace the bearings there, I merely cleaned and repacked them. Like the wheels, the pedals feel like new.

Next up is cable and tape replacement. I bought the tape ($10), cables ($25-$30), and cable cutters. Maybe I'll tackle that this weekend. I already own a bottom bracket tool ($7?) from when I was dealing with a squeaky BB. I'm going to leave the BB alone for now.

Looks like my headset will wait until next year for an overhaul. I have replacement pads for my brake calipers, but there is still some life in the original pads.

You can do it, just be patient and methodical. And get Zinn's book!
re: How tough to overhaul?Alan B
Mar 9, 2001 12:23 PM
Thanks guys, for all the comments and encouragement! I am already proficient at major tune-ups, replacing cables, etc., but a little scared of the bearings. I'm planning on buying a second wheelset in the next month or two, so I think I'll start off by rebuilding the hubs on my old set and see how that goes. If it goes OK, I'll move on to the headset and bottom bracket. The pedals are new, so they should be OK. The LBS is walking distance if I get into trouble! Thanks!
Consider a Torque Wrenchgrz mnky
Mar 9, 2001 1:10 PM
It's the best way to make sure things go back together correctly and are neither too tight nor too loose. You can get an excellent 3/8" dial type from Sears. The pointer scale ones are OK, but not nearly as good.
Consider a Torque Wrench...grz mnky....12x23
Mar 9, 2001 5:25 PM
I notice the Park wrenches in Excel Sports measure in/lbs. Component installation instructions give torque ranges in in/lbs. The torque wrenches I've seen in auto parts stores measure ft/lbs. When I've asked I get a blank stare and an "I dunno" about torque wrenches registering in/lbs, or converting ft/lbs to in/lbs. Does the Sears tool measure in/lbs?
Conversion chartsAlan
Mar 10, 2001 6:25 AM
Conversion charts are available on the web.
Conversion charts12x23
Mar 10, 2001 8:48 AM
Thanks Alan. I figured it was just too darn simple to divide in/lbs by 12 to get ft/lbs. I had asked a number of mechanic types, tool geeks, and whatnot if it was as simple as converting inches to pounds and none could answer.