Bike maintenance: DIY? Or get someone else to do it for you?

bike maintenanceOne of the most pleasurable moments as a cyclist is when you manage to solve a bike problem for yourself. This normally is followed by plenty of congratulating yourself and also telling all your friends you’ve fixed the problem so they can congratulate you too!

Others are quite happy taking their bike to a knowledgeable friend in return for a few pints or the nearest bike shop.

So in this weeks “Forum Friday” I want to know which you prefer..


If you want to find out more about bike maintenance you can join the newsletter to get my free downloadable guide to basic repairs or if you’re an iPhone user then grab the Bike Doctor app that will show you how to repair your bike using your iPhone.

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19 Responses to Bike maintenance: DIY? Or get someone else to do it for you?

  1. Mr Richie 01/10/2010 at 9:19 am #

    A bit of both – small repairs myself if I can, anything major to the bike shop (plus a shop service every 1-2 years).

  2. Jonathon 01/10/2010 at 9:42 am #

    Easy stuff like replacing brake pads I do myself.

    If I can’t be bothered getting up to my elbows in grease, and want someone else to deal with the frustration, I drop it into the shop and generally combine a specific task with a service.

    • Andreas 01/10/2010 at 10:23 am #

      I tend to agree – I’ll do 90% of jobs myself but if it comes to a point when I know it’s going to take me ages I’d rather get someone else to deal with it!

  3. David 01/10/2010 at 10:15 am #

    With small children in the house time for bike servicing is in short supply so I take it to a shop.

  4. Katie 01/10/2010 at 10:26 am #

    I go to the bike workshop at 56a in Lambeth. They teach you how to do it yourself, so kind of in between getting someone else to do it, and DIY. http://www.56a.org.uk/

    I’ve never had anything particularly big to do to my bike yet, though.

  5. James 01/10/2010 at 10:35 am #

    I keep my bikes running myself, but don’t really have the tools or know-how for bigger jobs.

    For advice, repairs and servicing I can’t recommend Simon at the London Cycle Workshop in Wandsworth highly enough: http://www.thelondoncycleworkshop.co.uk

  6. Mike 01/10/2010 at 10:52 am #

    I do brake pads, fix punctures on the road and regular clean and lube myself but have bike shop do the more fiddly stuff and major work

  7. Neil 01/10/2010 at 10:52 am #

    I work as a mechanic in a shop at weekends so of course I sevice my own bikes as well. Usually I give my bikes a mini service once a week and a little extra if required.

    It amazes me the number of people that come to the shop with their bikes to get a punture fixed. We charge £13 for a job that takes 5 minutes and the only tool required is a pump.

    On the flip side, a friend recently replaced his entire drivetrain at great expense to solve the problem of a slipping chain. When that didn’t fix the problem he asked me to look at it and it turned out to be his rear hub that was knackered. If he’d asked me, or gone to a shop, in the first place he’d have saved himself a lot of cash.

    For most people a compromise between DIY for small jobs that don’t require a lot of tools and going to a shop for bigger repairs seems sensible. But remember a small outlay on some basic tools could save you a quite a bit in the long run. Most bikes don’t require that many tools, it’s just when you have lots of different bikes you need lots of tools. And there are plenty of tutorials available on the web that will guide you through most jobs.

  8. Corin 01/10/2010 at 11:23 am #

    I try to do regular clean-degrease-relube of the chain and cogs, and do my own brake tightening/pad replacements, and puncture repairs (plus new tyres recently), but for anything more major I head to a professional.

    I’d love to learn more maintenance, but living in a small top floor flat with no outside area it’s hard to find the space to dissassemble my bike :(

  9. Tim 01/10/2010 at 12:30 pm #

    What has changed my attitude and willingness to have a go at stuff I previously would have gone to the repair shop is the purchase of a workstand. Having stuggled for years and years on floors and without the proper kit. Having a stand has made me realize how much easier jobs can be. My free time is precious and sometimes it is worth paying someone else to gain the extra free time. The stand though has given me the confidence to try more complicated jobs.

  10. Murphy 01/10/2010 at 2:18 pm #

    I’ve just signed up to do a bicycle maintenance course at Evans cycles and would be interested to hear from anyone who’s taken part! I want to learn how to do as much as possible, but i’m quite new so currently take it to the shop!

  11. John 01/10/2010 at 6:20 pm #

    When you notice some things wrong on the ride home and the bike shop has either shut or wants a week to do it is when you start to find out how to DIY the problem!

  12. Diana 01/10/2010 at 7:24 pm #

    I have to admit, I rarely do repairs myself :/ After using one well known chain for a while who were fairly rubbish so now I use Dan @ Mobile Cycle Service – and I always call him in to do any repairs and maintenance. He’s much cheaper than most of the shops -and gets my bike running really well. Highly recommend him – and he and his team are really nice guys http://www.mobilecycleservice.co.uk

    That said, I really should learn to changea tyre…its pretty rubbish that I can’t..

  13. Stephen Forde 03/10/2010 at 8:56 pm #

    Get this book isbn:9781844254217 its new and improved and covers them hub gears.

    Go on one of these courses http://www.promtb.net/courses/maintenance.htm

    Get a 8 mm,10mm and two 15mm spanners (its a leverage thing) a set of Allen keys, a flat head screw driver, a punture repair kit and a spare inner tube.

    Learning to change a tyre is the most useful when your out and about so learn to change both back and front ( yes that includes you Brompton riders no one likes a coward)

    Then move on to brakes, gears and all those fiddly adjustments and cables. Before you know it your that bloke or lass going into a bike shop to pick up that frame you ordered.

    Dont be scared. Unless it snaps in half it can be fixed

  14. Phil 04/10/2010 at 12:22 pm #

    I do as much maintenance/repair/replacement as I can, but there are some jobs I cannot do on the pavement outside the house ( no room indoors ). For example, wheel truing; I really should be doing this myself, but I have nowhere to rig up a pair of old forks outside.

  15. Hill 04/10/2010 at 5:04 pm #

    Half the reason for having a bike is the joy of maintaining it. It may sound a bit warped to some people, but sometimes I almost will my bike to have something go wrong so I can fix it.
    Don’t be scared of your bike – if it’s broken then have a go at it, and if you still can’t fix it then eventually take it to shop. It’s not going to cost anymore than it would have done if you didn’t have a go and you might learn something, save money, and get it back on the road much quicker than a shop can manage. However, something as simple as fixing a puncture is barely in the realms of bike maintenance – it’s up there with simple life skills like changing a light bulb. The worst bit about punctures is they are unbelievable boring to attend to; not that they are difficult.

  16. thereverent 04/10/2010 at 9:39 pm #

    I take my bike to a shop for bigger jobs as I don’t have the time or space to do.
    With most small jobs I’ll do it myself.

    Tim’s comment above reminds me I must buy a stand to make maintenance easier.

  17. Wenners 24/10/2010 at 5:27 pm #

    Before getting a workstand, 50/50. After getting a cheap stand from Claes Ohlsson 90/10. The 10% being not having the tools for changing the bottom bracket. I will however get the required tools for next time…

  18. MikeF 10/10/2012 at 7:12 pm #

    Up until my 20s, I’d do the basics myself (punctures, cable swaps, brake pads etc) and anything else was into a shop.
    But I got the cycling bug, so wanted to do as much as possible myself. Having a step dad who was heavily into bikes really helped, so I started doing everything myself. I’m now so obsessed with bikes and bike maintenance/ repair that I now work for a local Halfords, as their main repair mechanic. However, it’s not the best environment for me as I care about the bikes more than anything else, so I’m sure I will be in a specialist bike shop by this time next year :)

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