Bicycle repair: Teach your customers the ropes
Bicycle shops perform necessary repairs, but in addition, they should be able to offer customers information, instructions, and tools for maintaining their own bikes. As a shop owner, your ability to help customers in this way will have a direct impact on your bottom line.
Everyone needs a basic toolkit in their lives, but for the bicycle owner, at least a basic kit designed specifically for bike repair is necessary. Provide these tools in your shop and consider selling a pre-packaged total repair set like the following.
The toolkit should include:
- Wrench set from 2 to 6 mm
- Chain tool
- Double-ended cone wrenches in sizes from 13 mm to 18 mm
- Gear cleaning brush
- Cassette lockring remover
- Pedal wrench
- Chain whip
- Philips-head screwdriver
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Three-way spoke wrench
- Tire levers
- Patch kit
- Hex wrench
Basic bike maintenance
Bicyclists are a great breed to work with. They love their bikes, they love the experience of riding, and they love being on the road. Probably that all goes without saying. So, encourage them to give some of that love back to their bikes! They’ll be happier and safer, and better customers as well.
Here’s some basic and vital advice:
- Keep your bike cleaned and washed. A dirty bike is a bike prone to corrosion and needs parts replaced more often.
- Check your tire pressure regularly—at least weekly and before any long trips. Maintain even tire pressure to reduce flats and rim damage. Good tire pressure also means better handling on the road.
- Lubricate your chain every three or four rides. The best method is to over-lubricate and then wipe off the excess. Different lubricants are suited to different environments; living in the desert or in the mountains will determine what type you buy. Failure to lube the chain will cause it to wear out sooner, but replacing the chain is the least of your worries. It will also cause your cassette to wear out sooner, and that’s much more expensive to replace.
- Check bolts monthly and tighten as needed, using a torque wrench. Don’t over-tighten. The worst case scenario if your bolts aren’t properly tightened is a serious accident: A handlebar or crankarm falling off can lead to tragedy.
- Know how to fix a flat. It’s the most common on-the-road problem and can leave you stranded.