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Is this too much to pay?

DebSP2011-02-18 21:13:40 +0000 #1
I was looking into Bike Maintenance courses in my area and there are not too many choices. One of the stores close by offers a course put on by Park Tools. It is a full weekend course and the cost is $225.00 includes a manual and the opportunity to do hands on. Has anyone ever taken their course? Is it worth the investment? I am a little mechanical just haven't had much experience with bikes!
indysteel2011-02-18 21:27:39 +0000 #2
I think it sort of depends how much of your own wrenching you hope to do after the course. If you're just hoping to learn some basics, e.g., derailleur adjustments and changing a flat, then I think you could figure it out on your own with a decent book and some Youtube videos. If you hope to do more, then it might be worth it. My DH's response to your question--and he's essentially a self-taught wrench--that he'd rather spend that money on tools. His take is that if you're already mechanically inclined, you can pick up a lot of it on your own.
wnyrider2011-02-18 21:51:10 +0000 #3
Quote:

Originally Posted by DebSP

...One of the stores close by offers a course put on by Park Tools. ...Has anyone ever taken their course? ...

I took the 8 hour class two summers ago. The instructor had a sit down lecture to begin with. Educated us on the history of bikes, the different kinds of bike styles, materials, geometries, and riding performances. The benefits and drawbacks of all were discussed. That was entertaining. But, later I wished I had that time spent back for the mechanical portion.

Basically we all took our bikes apart-- completely. Tires, tubes, wheels all off and separated. Brake and derailleur cables cut and removed, along with housing, brakes, shifters... you get the picture. You have your bike completely disassembled and beginning with the frame in hand, wash and clean everthing.

Even cleaned down to the smallested screw. All the components were checked out. Then we were guided in the reassembly of our bikes. New cables were provided, everything either relubed or greased-- there is a difference, as we were lectured as we proceeded.

That all was worthwhile for me.

The class was just the right size for me as there were only three other guys present. What made it interesting was one had a tri bike, two had high tech mountain bikes and I had my 20 year old 10 speed Puch racer with down tube shifters. So we learned to do with what bike we had. Did that make sense? We would step around our work stations to observe one another occasionally, but did not lend a hand.

I think I paid $125 for that class. It did include the book and cables. I am glad that I went. My only regret is towards the end of the evening the instructor tried to get us to speed up. Things got a little sloppy. We had all the right tools available and that was really helpful. I am a visual learner and the class helped in that regard. It also gave me the confidence to work on bikes more myself rather than rely on someone else. I have since made up for the cost of that class by doing my own wrenching.
Thorn2011-02-18 21:50:45 +0000 #4
I took the weekend tool school. I don't know what I paid -- not quite that, but I thought it was worth it.

The experience was very much what wnyrider describes except our lectures were intermixed with hands-on. E.g., learn about the brakes, now take them off, clean them, and put them back on. We had 4 students with different types of bikes. My bike was in terrible shape and so became the "Attention, class, this is what a bad bottom bracket feels like. Notice the grinding?" Well, except for nearly every part.

The cost of the class was the same as a complete overhaul of a bike. For my $300 hybrid, I'd never pay for a full overhaul, but for my learning experience, yes, it was worth it. I plan on doing it again this year with a different bike.
DebSP2011-02-18 21:45:24 +0000 #5
Thanks for the information. For the course described, they use bikes at the shop. We don't get to work on our own bikes. I really want to take a course but I have limited access. I have watched a few YouTube videos and read my sons bike repair manual, but you can't ask questions. The price just seems a bit steep. I have some time to think about it because the next course isn't until November. I do want to be able to do more than minor adjustments and change a flat. Maybe I need a garage sale special to play around with! You guys are great on this conference!

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