In keeping with my long held desire to learn how to do my own bike maintenance, today I attempted, and from what I can tell succeeded, at changing my brake pads.
1600¥ for a front and rear set of pads, 2000¥ for a colorful set of hex wrenches, and my friends at the park tools blog for advice, and I believe I have reattained the ability to stop my bicycle.
Things I didn’t know going in:
- How hard it would be, or how long it would take.
- If I had all of the right tools.
- How to align the new pads properly.
- Whether or not the pads would even fit.
Now that they are installed I know that:
- It really doesn’t take any time and you don’t have to take the brakes apart to do it.
- You only need like 3 hex wrenches.
- Depending on how low your old pads were, you might need to let the brake cable out a bit to accommodate new, unworn pads.
- If you’re lucky, letting out the cable is enough and you won’t have to mess with the angle or other alignment stuff.
Things I’m still not sure of:
- If I aligned my pads right.
- If my bolts are tight enough.
For the last points, I could very well go to a shop and have them take a look, but given how much I’ve been treated like an annoyance at my favorite Giant Store lately, I’ll probably just ride cautiously until I trust my own work.
So now, I can say confidently that I can:
- Clean and lube a chain.
- Install and adjust brake pads.
- Align a rear derailleur.
- Change pedals.
It’s not a huge list, but it’s a start. I want to know how to maintain and care for my bikes. It just feels good to be able to do.