New Poll: Who works on your bike?

Our ‘How to’ category is very popular on this site and on, so we are interested to know who does the majority of the maintenance, repair and upgrades on your bike?

Do you do it yourself?

The Mechanic at your LBS?

Or your buddy?

In any case, check out our ‘How To’ categories. Click Here for BikeCommuters, Click here for MtnBikeRiders.

If you have a tip or a ‘how to’, share it with us by emailing it to and don’t forget to vote!


  1. Ghost Rider

    All me, baby…I only go to a shop to have wheels built, and I’m working on eliminating that task by learning to do it myself.

    I hate to say this, but I just don’t trust most bike shops with my finicky and wonderfully outdated friction-shifting vintage bikes. LBS Kids these days just don’t appreciate old components!

  2. Evan

    I’m kind of learning as I go. Although I’ve always ridden bikes, working on them myself is something I’ve only become interested in within the past year or so.

    I read books and look online and do what I can, and bring it into the LBS when I need help and/or advice.

    It’s funny though…I recently bought an old bike on craigslist and paid $45 for a “tune up” before I did any work of my own. Only after I got the bike back and did some research and work on it myself did I realize that I had paid them $45 for about 10 minutes worth of work! Lesson learned.

  3. RL Policar

    I’ve been doing all my own work since I was 12. I’ve never had a need to build a wheel…But it wasn’t until recently that I actually got pretty good with truing.

  4. Mike

    Do it all myself except for that wheel / spoke thingy. For some reason that skill eludes me.

  5. Rick

    I try to do as much as I can myself. No matter how much I read or do, I still cannot get brakes to work just right.

    Truing a wheel was ugly… now it is only mildly unattractive.

  6. Gabriel

    I do, which is where that funny sound comes from…

  7. Russ Roca

    DIY saves DOUGH.

    I was pretty mechanically inept until I started playing with bicycles. Since then, I have a new appreciate for good tools.

    I’ve assembled a bike from the ground up and have built around 4 wheelsets….not rocket science but it does take patience and the right tools….

    I think if I can do it, anyone can. I don’t think I ever used a dremel before until last year. It takes, like anything worth doing, time, patience and the plain acceptance that you’re going to screw up the first few times at bat.

  8. Ghost Rider

    Russ, what do you use to calculate spoke lengths? I have a lot of trouble figuring that out via the publicly-availabe “spokecalc” databases, as the hubs and rims I want to use rarely appear in such databases. Do you do all the diameter measuring yourself?

  9. Jamis_Bater

    I try to do most of the work myself…if I have the tool. I do like supporting my LBS though. There are some jobs that I could really screw up and then get the ole stink-eye from my mechanic when I sheepishly bring it in. A friend of mine doesn’t even do his own bar tape, so at least I’m not that bad.

  10. SteveG

    I used to use an LBS for all my repairs, tune-ups. I was worried about trying to repair my good bikes and screwing it up. When I bought a Dept. Store Bike for commuting, I started to work on it myself, and over the course of a year have done quite a few repairs, including a number of wheel repairs (replacing spokes, truing the wheel.) Now, I work on my good bikes, too, and use a number of books and websites as a resource for when I need help.

  11. Ghost Rider

    I should add that I’ve always felt that doing my own maintenance, building and repairs gave me the perfect excuse to collect bike tools — I’ve been collecting them since I was 9, so by now I’ve got quite the collection! Some real oddballs in there, too…like a Maillard Helicomatic freewheel lockring remover/spoke wrench/bottle opener, 10 flavors of other freewheel removers, odd Park brake wrenches that they don’t make anymore, etc.

  12. Priscilla

    I am lucky enough to have an amazing mechanic in my own home….he does work for me in exchange for hugs and kisses. ;D

  13. joel

    Little from column A (me), little from column B (LBS). Like Ghost, I have concerns about LBS people because my main rides are older. When I took my 74 Schwinn Speedster to the shop I frequent and the owner showed me his mid 50s 3-speed, those concerns vanished – for that shop. When I move I’ll have to start all over again.

  14. Russ Roca

    Ghost…hmm…most of the rims I’ve used have the ERD on a label somewhere around the rim….short of that, I do just measure out the rim…

    As for the hub, I’ll either use the database or bring it down to my LBS and the mechanic will measure and give me the dimensions….he gave me a nifty little measuring graph from a Wheelsmith book that makes hub measurements easier….it is a bunch of hash lines (sort of like a ruler) that you line the flanges of the hub up against and you measure those lines rather than the actual hub…it makes for better OLD, and flange to center measurements…

  15. Ghost Rider

    I wonder if we could get a photocopy of that measuring graph? Sounds like the perfect tool rather than using digital calipers like I’ve tried.

    A few of the rims I have in my collection don’t have any ERD labels…one of the many reasons I haven’t tried tackling a wheelbuild yet.

  16. Noah

    I do damn near everything on my own bikes, but I leave the more complicated stuff on my Trek 1200 to the wrenches at my LBS, as it comes with lifetime free labor for repairs, tune-ups and maintenance.

  17. Nick

    I always used the LBS and just fixed flats and hooked up lights myself. After getting disappointing results from the shop over the past year I decided to do more of my own stuff. I don’t know if I was being blown off by the too cool teenage mechanics or if my bike was too plain to deserve attention but I figured my best efforts wouldn’t be any worse than what I was getting from them. Reading Sheldon Brown gave me enough confidence to change all the cables myself and that worked out well so I guess I’ll keep it up. Still, I’d rather pay a mechanic who actually listened to me and then paid attention to his work.

  18. Mike C

    I leave big stuff requiring big specialty tools to the LBS. Facing a head tube, facing/chasing a bottom bracket and installation of headset is what the LBS is doing on my new frame–I’ll build out the rest of it. Wheel building, while it’s something I’d love to learn, is something I currenly leave up to others. My son’s new 29er came with two free tune-ups, so we’ll take advantage of that. But otherwise, I do all maintenance and upgrades on bikes for me and a few other family members. It’s fun, I like to tinker… and bike parts are cheaper than motorcycle parts…

  19. alan

    i do all mine. i learn as i go. if i have questions the wonderful interweb tends to have the answers. plus being as i’ve been riding fixed gear bikes they’re simple enough to start learning on. i built my daily from the ground up and learned a lot that way. my mountain bike is a tad more complicated though, lol.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *