What is Standard? a shop perspective…
We feel sorry for you, all you want to do is fix, update or buy a new bike but you’re faced with “Standards” what axle width are you running? What is your inside rim diameter? What year is your group set? Is it long cage or short cage? What freehub is fitted? Is your headset internal, semi integrated, integrated or mixed? What bottom bracket are you running, cartridge, external, press fit, BB90, BB30, GXP, ISIS, square-taper? The list goes on and on…
Sometimes we know the visit to your local bike shop can be frustrating, all of the shops try to keep their knowledge up to date but diagnosing a “Standard” part quickly can be tricky. To be frank, the industry doesn’t help itself either. A lot of brand websites FAQ or Tech sections are of little help and if your local store doesn’t sell your brand of bike they don’t always have access to accurate dealer websites or tech helplines. We can get around the problems with an investigation in the stand but during peak season there is often a week or two wait to get it in the mechanic’s stand, no good if you’re wanting to get out there and ride that evening or weekend. We try and keep a good relationship with our peers, we help them out if they need proprietary parts for a Trek bike they may have in their workshop and it goes vice versa.
What can you do in a doomsday prepper style to make sure you’re ready for the worst? Forums? YouTube? Mates? The good news is that the internet has a lot of accurate information but equally a lot of poor advice too. When you buy your new bike, ask for the full spec. we love questions like that and are more than happy to give you a list of the critical spares Bottom Bracket, Headset, Hub, Freehub, bearing kit (full suspension), rear mech hangers from the off, it’s all part of the service and in our opinion every bike shop should do this for you too. The likelihood is in our mind is that you will still need to visit your local workshop due to you not having some specialist tools and techniques to hand, modern bikes are engineering marvels and the boundaries are getting wider.
Since the advent of GCN, GMBN and the long running Bike Radar YouTube channels you can find accurate advice and techniques to help remedy your bicycle maladies, though the risk is on you. Sometimes the tools required are quite expensive, spending £200 or more on a tool that you likely to use at most once a year has to be questioned. So what tools do we think you should have at home? Simple.
- A decent set of allen/hex keys. Preferably a separates set with a ball end for hard to reach areas, but not putting the final torque in though.
- A chain wear checker. The most important tool in your stash for saving money.
- Decent flat head and Philips screw drivers in multiple sizes.
- Pliers and snipe nose pliers
- A set of snips and a high quality cable cutter.
- A chain tool with the correct size pin for the speed chain you use.
- A chain whip and locking ring tool.
- the correct bottom bracket tool for either cartridge or external. Press fit bottom brackets require specialist tools and a careful technique, so we do not advocate you do this yourself unless you have a high level of competency.
- A torque setting tool. Remember you do not have to go to the maximum stipulated on the part.
- Chain oil, bearing grease and fiber grip gel for carbon parts.
- A small soft rubber mallet.
- Bike friendly cleaning products from degreasers to disc brake cleaners and brushes.
- A track pump with a gauge.
- Plenty of rags!
All of these tools, with practice will help you maintain your bike enough so you only have to see us for specialist jobs, wheel build and complete overhauls. Bearing in mind that all these tools add up to around £300, its still quite an investment but it’s worthwhile knowing your bike better.
Overall though keep a good relationship with your local bike shop, it’s not about selling you kit; it’s about keeping you rolling safely. We are always happy to advise, though as mentioned not always able to wave the magic wand to get you rolling straight away.