In the past few months the local bike shop put together a highly customized new Surly Pugsley for me, completely rebuilt both my Gary Fisher Big Sur mountain bike and a Trek 1200 road bike, and tuned up my Trek Madone. In addition, I rebuilt my old Trek 4300 mountain bike from the ground up. As a result, all of my bikes are in perfect condition and ready for summer. This is really good news because last week I was at the local bike shop and heard one of the mechanics tell a customer that the turn-around time for a bike repair is now seven days. Now that Spring is here nearly every bike shop in the Midwest is busier than a one-armed paperhanger—even if your bike only needs a simple tune-up you are going to have to either wait a week or do the job yourself. The good news is that bike repair is not all that difficult if you have a copy of Bike Repair, an app for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android platforms.
I own four different bicycle repair manuals and they all do an excellent job of explaining how to make almost any repair to a bike. However, when I rebuilt my Trek 4300 the only guide I really needed was the Bike Repair app. Some bike manuals go into excruciatingly painful detail for every repair, and while and I sometimes appreciate such detail, most of the time I just want to know how to get the job done quickly and some illustrations to guide me along the way.
Though I am an avid cyclist, I usually don’t do much work on my own bikes—the mechanics at the local bike shop are highly skilled and they work a lot faster than I can. However, a few weeks ago I decided to rebuild a bike on my own—not only for the experience, but because I think it will help me if my bike ever seriously malfunctions when I am 50 miles away from home. It comes as a shock to most cyclists, bu many of the repairs you need to make to your bike can be done with a simple multitool like the one you probably already have in your seat bag (the Topeak Alien II 26 function multitool is my favorite).
Bike Repair has illustrated guides for the installation, adjustment and repair of most bicycle components. It has sections on: Wheels, Front Derailleur, Rear Derailleur, Chain, Handlebar/Headset, Pedals/Cranks, Cantilever Brakes, Center Mount Brakes, V-Brakes, and Disk Brakes. In addition, there is a troubleshooting section where you can follow a flowchart of questions to identify your specific problem and then see how to get your bike running in perfect shape again. The directions are clear, easy to follow and well illustrated.
Before you buy any bicycle repair manual I would suggest you try the Bike Repair app first. If you need help overhauling and adjusting a Campagnolo hub equipped with an oversize axle, well, this app is not going to suit your needs. Bike Repair has 55 highly detailed photo repair guides and over 70 bicycle problems explained—I’d guess that covers at least 80% of the problems cyclists have with their bikes. The Bike Repair app for iPhone, iPod and iPad is available through Apple iTunes for only $3.99. The Android version is available for download from the Bike Repair Website. This is one of the few products I wholeheartedly recommend without any reservations at all.