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Thread: How to work with a bike shop - will they teach me why my brake adjustment didn't work

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    Default How to work with a bike shop - will they teach me why my brake adjustment didn't work

    Note - I have not spent much time in bike shops. Only been riding approx. 1.5 years.

    The gist of my question is this: Rather than just fixing /adjusting my brakes so they work "properly", will a good local bike shop show me how my own adjustment didn't work?

    The longer story:
    I'm learning to adjust my brakes. They're disc brakes. I've taken a short-ish bike maintenance class (at The Bike House DC Coop). I've taken other bike maintenance classes, and one of the All the Cycle Ladies workshops. I've worked on mine and others' brakes at the Coop, and worked with very experienced mechanics there.

    I now know how to adjust the cable, and move the disc in and out , and to use the barrel adjuster. But just barely. I adjusted the front brake recently, and now it squeals terribly, and doesn't grip well.

    So the Q is: will a shop just fix it for me (for a price) - or is it *reasonable* to expect/ask them to show me how to adjust it myself next time.

    Or should I just keep playing with my tools til it works?

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    rcannon100 is offline Puppies! Puppies! Puppies! Puppies! Puppies!
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    Which shops have their service areas up front where the customers come into the shop - and which shops have their service areas way in the back or downstairs??

    A good shop has good service. Their assets, their capital, is their customers. There is no way to beat Amazon selling tubes. You beat Amazon by providing service.

    So yes..... good wrenches will work with you and show you.

    Just bring them lots of this: Wrenches love this:



    And yes - I will plug my team's shop. Bikenetic is FANTASTIC and the wrenches have many a time smacked me upsidethehead and shown me how to adjust a brake or a cable or a headtube. They get sick of me being in the store.

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    Thanks!

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    rcannon100 is offline Puppies! Puppies! Puppies! Puppies! Puppies!
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    You can also volunteer with Phoenix Bikes. Tuesday night is volunteer night. Two hours of bike building. Refurbishing um "vintage" bikes. No concerns about messing up a $2000 Bianche. Hone your skills and help Phoenix. There will be an experienced wrench there of whom you can ask questions.

    I will say that Phoenix's inventory right now is full (anyone need a great dual suspension mountain bike??) So last Tuesday night I just helped sort tools.

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    Thanks so much. I am going to the "tear a bike apart" (!) All the Cycle Ladies workshop next week at Phoenix. I do live in Petworth now, so The Bike House coop (Petworth, starting in April) or Gearing Up are places I might look into - since they're closer.

    FYI I sent you a PM on here too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcannon100 View Post
    And yes - I will plug my team's shop. Bikenetic is FANTASTIC and the wrenches have many a time smacked me upsidethehead and shown me how to adjust a brake or a cable or a headtube. They get sick of me being in the store.
    I keep buying pie and they haven't locked the doors on me yet.

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    from the perspective of a wrench: most of us don't mind showing a customer how to walk thru simple things on a bike. brake adjustments would generally fall into the "simple" category. But bear in mind there's kind of two ways that I will show folks how to do something.

    The first is the "It's okay, it's only a bike" method. Often customers see the service side of a bike shop like the service side of a car dealership. I like to break down that barrier, if it helps the customer feel more confident as a bike owner/operator (hell, I want all of my customers to love their bike more than their car!). So, if a customer wants to know "how we adjust brakes," I'll show them in a way that tries to gloss over the idiosyncrasies and focuses on the simplicity of a bike in general. Bikes (for the most part) are beautifully simple machines, and I love when a customer has a small "eureka moment" when learning that a bike is not a thing that is better or worse than their capabilities as a home-mechanic, but rather, that they learn that the bike is something with which to be engaged. You don't work ON a bike, you work WITH a bike. I'm trying to build trust that bike mechanics aren't grumpy wizards, and we're not the same as auto technicians in a lot of respects.

    The second method is the "You can do this!" method. Here, I'll focus on pitfalls and idiosyncrasies a little more because I don't want a customer trying to adjust their brakes to completely fubar something because I gave them false hope that it's stupid easy to fix anything on a bike. And that everything a shop wrench does is entirely replicable at home, for cheap/free and in a way that makes bike shops eventually die. I'll often tell customers looking to do more home wrenching, "it's one thing to fix something on a bike. It's something else entirely to do so while making money." Home wrenching is perfectly fine by me, but when it takes someone 3 hours to adjust a front derailleur and it still doesn't shift well, one should start to question the value of their own time. 'Cause, that fder adj. would usually only cost $15-20 at a shop. And, it's the kind of job I'd generally be happy to do on the spot and show the customer that "it's okay, it's only a bike!" I might even do it for free if it helps convince a customer that bike shops are here for a good reason.
    Last edited by Harry Meatmotor; 01-11-2018 at 06:26 PM. Reason: grammur and spelleing

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    Oh! and we love beer and pie.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Meatmotor View Post
    ....the bike is something with which to be engaged. You don't work ON a bike, you work WITH a bike.
    Your post reminds me of a quote from Rollins (which I think was borrowed from Aristotle, I get confused)..."That which you work against will always work against you. That which you work with you will come to resemble".

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    A good shop example. I was in a shop once when a young dude came in and dropped off a wheel with a flat tire to have it fixed. The mechanic/owner said "hey 'kid', when are you going to let me show you how to patch tubes so you can fix this yourself instead of buying a new tube and paying me to install it?" Did they go out of business for being so generous? No. They grew the shop so successfully it was purchased by a chain.

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