Test Your Bike Repair IQ

12.18.2007 | 12:06 pm

A Note from Fatty: I’ve got a story up on BikeRadar today. You can read a preview below, or click here to read the whole thing.

An important part of being a cyclist is knowing how to identify common mechanical troubles and knowing how they can be repaired, as well as how to give accurate information to bike mechanics, on the rare occasion you find one necessary. Take this handy quiz to help you identify how much you know about diagnosing and repairing common bike problems.

1. You hear a creak coming from somewhere in your bike. What should you do?

a. Immediately stop and call your bike mechanic. The bike is seriously damaged; any further riding will almost certainly cost thousands of dollars to repair.

b. Lubricate all moving parts with whatever chain lube is handy. You are bound to get the correct one eventually, right?

c. Ignore it. The squeaking is caused by friction, so it stands to reason that eventually that the two things that are rubbing against each other and making that infernal racket will eventually wear each other down, and the sound will go away, or at least subside.

d. Turn up your iPod. Hey, the sound went away!

2. Whichever thing you did in question 1 didn’t work. What do you do next?

a. Fix the bike yourself. You have tools and a bikestand, so you must be a mechanic.

b. Quickly admit defeat and meekly take your bike into the shop.

Click here to continue reading “Test Your Bike Repair IQ” at BikeRadar.com

PS: The cartoon that goes with it is especially awesome this time, but you’ve got to read the caption. Click here to see the cartoon.


  1. Comment by Dan K | 12.18.2007 | 12:31 pm

    Great article, and I love the answer sheet! Get the bikeradar people to move the article to the right a smidge, away from the left of the page, and it’ll be complete!

  2. Comment by Mike Roadie | 12.18.2007 | 12:44 pm

    I always consult my Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance first, and then take to the shop confessing ignorance!

    Great cartoon, BTW!

  3. Comment by bikemike | 12.18.2007 | 1:24 pm

    when someone comes into the shop and says something broke “just riding along”, i usually say something like, ” i’ve been turning wrenches in here for 20 years, i got no idea how to fix this crap”. gets their attention real fast.

  4. Comment by BurkeInTheOzarks | 12.18.2007 | 2:33 pm

    I’m getting a sense of déjà vu…

  5. Comment by BurkeInTheOzarks | 12.18.2007 | 2:40 pm

    Is this a super secret contest to see if anyone remembers this posting from back in November of ‘05?

    If so, does that mean I won?

    If not, should I have kept my mouth shut?

  6. Comment by Marrock | 12.18.2007 | 2:48 pm

    I have a bike mechanic?

  7. Comment by lowrydr | 12.18.2007 | 6:41 pm

    There are wrenches that fit this thing? I thought you just let the rust keep things from falling off!

  8. Comment by Marrock | 12.18.2007 | 7:09 pm

    Duct tape!

  9. Comment by Lifesgreat | 12.18.2007 | 7:13 pm

    While riding, I carry basic tools so the repair job will be easier for the kind soul who will stop and me. . . ;)

  10. Comment by Lifesgreat | 12.18.2007 | 7:14 pm

    Insert “help” between “and” and “me”. oops

  11. Comment by aussie kev | 12.18.2007 | 7:41 pm

    “He munged up my bike” – once again fatty provides me with my word of the week !!!

    merry christmas from down under – i will check back in in the new year


  12. Comment by MBonkers | 12.18.2007 | 9:28 pm

    I usually wait until a club ride and take advantage of the subsidized mechanics along the route. That’s IF I can make it to the first rest stop. PS, they need to carry tires for major blowouts. I Passed 4 mechanic stops on Bike to Work day last year with a candy bar wrapper holding my tube in my tire and NO ONE had a tire. I would’ve even paid full price!

  13. Comment by Little1 | 12.18.2007 | 11:23 pm

    “drop it on the derailleur from a height of 4 feet (2.1 Kilometers).”

    uh…ja, maybe not quite hey, more like 1.2192 METRES… I only raise this as I am 5ft1 and most definately not close to 2km tall! I don’t think any one would even make a bike that is big enough for someone 2.1km tall.

    By the way 2.1km is 6889.7638 feet…

    Using the useful answer tool I got 100%, I’ve never got 100% before thanks fatty!

    p.s. I support Dan K, please ask bike radar for a bit of margin on the left!

  14. Comment by Weean | 12.18.2007 | 11:38 pm

    Little1, you can’t expect an American to understand metric. Or English.

    Nice post Fatty. I’m off now- have a fantastic Christmas, and I’ll read you in the new year.

  15. Comment by Tim D | 12.19.2007 | 3:33 am

    Found out on Friday that my friend who has breast cancer will have to have chemo. She says she is going to get some scary wigs for when she comes back to work. Can I ask for your possitive vibes on her behalf?



  16. Comment by Boz | 12.19.2007 | 5:23 am

    Bike Radar can’t fix it – it’s metric.

  17. Comment by Lowrydr | 12.19.2007 | 5:35 am

    Metric? Isn’t that like foreign or something?

  18. Comment by fatty | 12.19.2007 | 6:46 am

    little1 – here’s a tip: if i make an outrageous mistake in a comedy article, there’s a reasonable chance it was a joke.

  19. Comment by will | 12.19.2007 | 6:56 am

    1. You hear a creak coming from somewhere in your bike. What should you do?

    e. Buy a new bike

    (I guess that’s why my garage is full of slightly damaged bikes)

    It’s time to send my wife to bike repair school

    merry x-mas

  20. Comment by blinddrew | 12.19.2007 | 11:50 am

    hey! i’m a mechanical engineer, it’s not my fault! I have to take these tools everywhere because no-one else i ride with does! And they don’t know how to use them properly…

  21. Comment by mark | 12.19.2007 | 12:39 pm

    I thought that “4 feet (2.1 kilometers)” was the funniest thing in the entire article. Thanks for the laugh, fatty.

  22. Comment by David | 12.23.2007 | 2:59 am

    I agree with Mark. The answers to Q7 were hilarious!

    Merry Christmas!


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