What Can I Learn in a Bicycle Repair Class? (with pictures)

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Once a bicycle tire is changed, it needs to be inflated to the proper pressure.
Once a bicycle tire is changed, it needs to be inflated to the proper pressure.

The skills you will learn in a bicycle repair class may vary according to who is teaching the class, but most classes are likely to cover basic topics such as tuning up a bicycle, performing minor repairs, and becoming familiar with specialty tools. More advanced classes may allow you to learn how to build a wheel, overhaul a suspension fork, overhaul hubs and other bearings, or even restore a vintage bicycle. A bicycle repair class taught at a local bike shop may even focus on doing emergency, on-trail or on-road repairs to help you get home when your bike fails.

Cone wrenches may be used for adjusting the hubs of bicycle wheels.
Cone wrenches may be used for adjusting the hubs of bicycle wheels.

If you are new to cycling, a beginner's bicycle repair class will be most appropriate for you. At such a class, you are likely to learn the most basic repairs and maintenance techniques, such as replacing or repairing a punctured tube, adjusting brakes, adjusting shifters and derailleurs, lubing your chain with the proper lubricant, and adjusting a headset. The person teaching the class will probably give you information on how to keep your bike running properly and smoothly through all conditions, and he or she might offer some tips on how to properly lubricate cables, where to use grease instead of lube, and how to change a tire or tube without damaging the rim of the wheel.

Most classes on bicycle repair will cover basic maintenance and teach how to make minor repairs to a bike.
Most classes on bicycle repair will cover basic maintenance and teach how to make minor repairs to a bike.

Repairing a bicycle often requires specialty tools designed specifically for a certain component. A wheel truing stand, for example, is designed specifically to act as a gauge for measuring the straightness and roundness of a wheel. A derailleur hanger alignment gauge can straighten the part of the frame from which the rear derailleur hangs. A bicycle repair class is likely to show you how to use these and other bicycle specific tools properly without damaging the bicycle or the tool itself.

Bike repair courses sometimes teach how to handle an on-road breakdown.
Bike repair courses sometimes teach how to handle an on-road breakdown.

More involved processes, such as building wheels or overhauling suspension forks, will usually require a dedicated bicycle repair class, since these in-depth processes can take time and require a significant amount of knowledge to execute properly. Wheel building is a difficult process even if you have learned all the steps, and it will take a significant amount of practice to get good at it. You may need to attend several classes to nail down this tricky technique. Suspension forks vary in function by brand and type of shock, so a bicycle repair class may focus on overhauling or repairing one type of fork or several types of suspension systems. This is an in-depth process as well and may require more than one class.

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    • Once a bicycle tire is changed, it needs to be inflated to the proper pressure.
      Once a bicycle tire is changed, it needs to be inflated to the proper pressure.
    • Cone wrenches may be used for adjusting the hubs of bicycle wheels.
      Cone wrenches may be used for adjusting the hubs of bicycle wheels.
    • Most classes on bicycle repair will cover basic maintenance and teach how to make minor repairs to a bike.
      Most classes on bicycle repair will cover basic maintenance and teach how to make minor repairs to a bike.
    • Bike repair courses sometimes teach how to handle an on-road breakdown.
      Bike repair courses sometimes teach how to handle an on-road breakdown.