8 ways to raise the blood pressure of your bike mechanic

From dirty bikes to press-fit bottom brackets, everything your mechanic doesn't want to see or hear

It’s fair to say that being a bicycle mechanic can be a difficult job. With a huge list of different maintenance tasks to perform it means that not every day is equal in the workshop.


Here at BikeRadar we had a word with our ex full-time mechanic, Jonny Ashelford, on the things that really yank his crank. With that in mind, here are eight ways to stress out your local mechanic.

1. Bringing in a filthy bike

Workshop dos and don'ts
Nope, we wouldn’t want to work on it either.
Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media

The last thing a mechanic needs is to be covered in road grime, mud or even worse… a top tube that’s still soggy with sweat. Some folk really do need to learn how to clean a bike.

2. Anything that involves internal cable routing

Workshop dos and don'ts
But it looks so pretty…
Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media

Yep, it might look slightly better but it’s a lot of time and effort for something that offers no real mechanical advantage. A real pet hate of Jonny’s is the recent generation of disc-equipped road bikes with hoses that route through the fork.

3. Press-fit bottom brackets

SRAM press-fit bottom bracket
Press-fit, where creaking is the norm.
Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media

We tried to press (ahem) Jonny further on this topic, but feared he’d get too upset. For an epic rant on press-fit bottom brackets refer back to this brilliant piece, I’ve had it with press-fit bottom brackets, from BikeRadar’s former technical editor James Huang.

 4. Chainstay mounted brakes

Access issues can lead to mechanic issues
Good in the wind tunnel, bad in the workshop.
Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media

A nightmare to access and set up, these aero-friendly stoppers sure aren’t a mechanic’s best friend.

5. Tyre and rim combinations that just refuse to cooperate

A small pile of mountain bike tyres
Not all tyres and rims get along, particularly when it comes to tubeless.
Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media

Fact: some rims and tyres simply don’t go together well and others refuse to work at all, and that’s before we add the new-school element of tubeless tyres.

6. TT Bikes in general

No TT bikes on a Friday
TT bikes: not a Friday afternoon job.
Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media

From fiddly fairings to the time-consuming assembly of aero bars and the aforementioned chainstay-mounted brakes, the time-trial bike is not a Friday afternoon task.

7. Asking to borrow their tools

Who's got my tool?!
Have you seen the 5mm?
Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media

This one’s for those who are lucky enough to work alongside a mechanic. Should you be fortunate to gain access to a mechanic’s toolbox, you best make sure you put anything you borrow back where you found it.

8. “Can you just…”

Workshop dos and don'ts
Better leave him to it.
Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media

The phrase that precedes a task that’s considered both quick and easy… but it never is.


Are you a mechanic? Have you got more to add to this list? Let us know using the comment box below…