Bike Repairs: DIY or Outsource?

These are the essential repairs all cyclists need to know!

 

If you ride your bike frequently, you’re inevitably going to need to tend to certain maintenance tasks.

Some of these are relatively simple fixes that you can save time and money by doing yourself, but if you’re not an experienced bike mechanic, it’s likely you’ll need help with the rest.

So which projects should you handle yourself and which should you leave to the pros? Here’s a list of some of the most common issues we see along with our take as to whether you should DIY or outsource it.

1. Removing and Replacing Wheels

Traveling with your bike often necessitates removing your wheels to make sure your bike fits in a car trunk or meets the requirements for bulky luggage on a plane. This is a perfect example of a fix you’re going to want to learn, if only because you’ll find yourself doing it frequently, usually without your handy bike mechanic nearby.

Verdict - DIY [Tutorial]

2. Spokes 

Adjusting and truing spokes correctly is a practice that requires not only great skill, but also specialist equipment and experience. Getting a balanced wheel with a perfect rim is a task that your local professionals are worthy of.

Verdict - Outsource

3. Stuck Seatposts

If some parts haven’t been greased before installation, they can get fused together which makes removing them a heartbreaking experience. This is a task for your local bike mechanic, who hopefully doesn’t have to resort to power tools.

Verdict - Outsource

4. Punctures

According to Murphy’s Law, punctured tubes can and will happen at the worst possible times. Subsequently, they’re the type of fix you don’t want to find yourself unable to perform when you’re cycling alone. Knowing how to locate holes, make proper patches and replace tubes are essential repair skills.

Verdict - DIY [Tutorial]

5. Suspension

If your bike has some issues with suspension, this could be something you should leave to the professionals instead of risking making things worse. Hydraulic suspension can be particularly tricky with their seals requiring special attention.

Verdict - Outsource

6. Chain Maintenance

Your bike’s chain is always worth keeping an eye on for signs that it needs a clean, a good oiling, or to be replaced altogether. Riders need to be familiar with the indications of heavy wear and knowing when and how to remove and replace a chain. If you ride a single speed, fixed gear or internal hub, this is especially important to check on.

Verdict - DIY [Tutorial]

7. Winter Maintenance

A cold stretch is tough on a bike’s components. When your area’s roads get coated with ice and salt, conditions are perfect for rust to set in quickly. It’s a good idea to bring your bike into your local shop at least once a year and a post-Winter checkup will ensure you’re riding safely and rust-free after a harsh winter.

Verdict - Outsource

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Having the knowledge to fix every problem with a bicycle will be next to impossible for most riders, knowing when to admit you’re stuck on a repair is actually a great opportunity to learn from a professional.

If you want to advance your maintenance skills, look in your area for resources such as DIY workshops and training courses. For those of you who want to expand your self-reliance skills, the Chainbreaker guide to repairs is a fun and informative book packed full of illustrations and tips that will get you up to speed on every aspect of DIY bike repair.