Dumbest Home Mechanic Mistakes

+1 here. Just thought it was the newly waxed chain “settling in”. I managed 70km


Not really Home mechanic, but equally stupid.

I was riding along on my way to the cinema and noticed the front QR looked a bit loose, so rather than stopping, used left foot to kick it closed while rolling along. Skewer didn’t budge. Decided to kick it harder. Kicked it really hard. Just as my foot bounced off the skewer realized that this might not go well. Foot went into front wheel and bike stopped dead. Face went into pavement and I had a nice chat with some people from the ambulance service before not going to the cinema. Front QR was solid all along.


My first sti brifter bike was a cyclecross. Wet & dirty as they get (cyclecross bikes not Sti’s) I use to jet wash it all the time. With 8,0000 Psi at Magnificent close range. I’d surge gritty rock up brifters, degrease then clean with jetwater to delube of neccesant grease only to think a little Wd40 will be sufficient as it has great mechanical properties. Needless to say a year n 1/2 is a good life for a brifter, no? When I look in the mirror the pessimist in me still thinks it just might be Shimano.

I was also going through fulcrum wheel bearings for the sake of it.



Waited 6 months for a frameset and by accident ended up cutting the steerer tube so far down it doesn’t even pop out of the headtube.

As they say, measure once and cut once after you’ve misread your marking. Expensive mistake. New aftermarket fork on its way.


This. I was in a rush (wanted to get to bed early) and managed to get the chain routing wrong three different ways in succession.
Luckily I had the foresight to count how many times I got it wrong so I knew how close I was to “the limit” of the number of quicklink re-uses (does anyone actually keep track of this?!).


Yes, I’ve done the cut the DI2 wire. I now use SRAM ETAP after blaming the Shimano design😀.

And who hasn’t threaded the chain around the pin on the rear derailleur!

My most recent one was unthreading the stem cap too far out and having everything drop down in to the frame. Luckily I was able to jiggle it around and get it out, but I was really fearing an embarrassing trip to the shop.

Despite my stuff ups I persist and I can do most things myself now. And while I am not a shop level mechanic I take my time as it’s not a business so the payoff is that my bike has never been better maintained.


Reading the torque from the manual, 6Nm. Driving out the thread. Swearing at the manual. To find out the next day the manual said 3 Nm for that specific bolt.


Some beauties here.

I managed partly to disassemble a Campag Ergo lever while trying to fit a new cable. That was a time-consuming rescue. I also managed to forget to set a limit screw and shifted into my spokes 25 miles from home, wrecking the RD hanger in the process and needing to call a ride home.


Broke an internal copper cable sheath because I was ‘sure’ the frame had a 70mm bb and therefore needed an Italian bb.
Installed hydro brakes for the first time. Didn’t push the olive far enough in, met my riding mates with a sweet skid. Hose popped out and fluid pissed out all over the ground.
Cracked a couple of carbon seatposts because I ‘didn’t need’ a torque spanner.
Snapped chain because I ‘didn’t need’ to peen a campag chain.
I still enjoy it, but I’m now acutely aware that I’m a shit mechanic.


Few years back when gravel was becoming a thing, I found a 20km+ stretch of gravel near Ripley. Rode it a couple of times on a road bike with 23s, no dramas, a bit shaky but fun.

Then I invited a few mates for a ride to show them how much fun gravel is only this time I thought I’d play it smart. Bought some shitty 27s Contis I never used before (Sport or something).

Two kilometers in I puncture. No worries, change the tube and we keep going. Another 2km in, I puncture again. Get a tube from a mate and we keep going. Then someone else punctures followed by me again.

At this point we have no spare tubes left, I’m riding on a flat wheel (front) and of course puncture the rear like literally after 1km riding on a flat front.

I tell the guys to leave me, no point riding with me at 10km/h. The heat was about 38 I think and I had about 10-12km of gravel to ride on 2 flat wheels.

Made it to the paved road at which point I was still 40km from home. Another 5km (quite smooth compared to gravel) I thought fuck it, I’ll get a heat stroke or something. Pulled out my phone, called my wife and admitted defeat.

Never touched that road on a road bike again.

I have a gravel bike now and will smash that sucker tomorrow on 47s to restore the equilibrium (whatever that is).


I knew my rear disc brake pads were nearly worn out but didn’t want to waste money changing them early, so I planned ahead and carried the spares with me. One late summer afternoon as the light was fading it was clear that they really needed changing, so at the top of the hill I flipped the bike over to swap them out before the long descent. As I’m laughing and showing my friends how the pads were worn down to the metal backing, I absentmindedly squeezed the brake lever, and popped one of the pistons right out of the caliper. To get home was about 5km of technical downhill single track, in the dark, with only a front brake, hands covered in Dot fluid, with my mates sniggering. Front brake completely faded and I had to walk several sections while it cooled, but luckily the only injury was to my pride (and wallet for new piston seals).


And I thought I was tight. You actually preferred changing out the pads mid-ride to leaving a bare amount of braking surface on the pad? That is next level.


Years ago a neighbor overhauled his bike the night before we were going to ride up Mt. Diablo in the SF Bay Area. About half way up the climb his bike started making loud, strange, noises while pedaling. Then, a bit later, his chainrings fell off with just one super loose bolt still in the crank. The other four had completely vanished. He had forgotten to tighten the chainring bolts. The other neighbor riding with us and I each donated one bolt and he rode home with three bolts.


I’d got my Enigma frame back from beadblasting and was installing the new groupset, hungover… Was installing the front brake cable outer and I’d fed the inner through the outer for some reason that escapes me now. Grabbed the cutters and snip. Only to realise the inner was now too short.
Thankfully my LBS gave me a replacement inner cable just for giving him a laugh.


New groupset installation. Set up the front derailleur cable. Snip snip. Now where’s the long cable for the rear?



I did that with a brake cable once. That’s how I learned that a set comes with a long and a short one.


Oh no, my steel bike’s build was perfectly done.
Oh look how perfect.

But…Maybe… please don’t look under the front derailleur’s problem solver…otherwise you would see what happened when I forgot my torque wrench was still on 9Nm…
(Hush, nobody knows about it)


did you crush the seat tube… ouch.

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Also crushed my soul

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Putting my cassette back on late Friday night after a full clean. Was living in a small apartment at the time so was doing it on the balcony in poor light.

Next morning running a bit late to meet up with my bunch 10km away, the gears were all over the place as I hustled to meet the boys. Skip-grind-jump-clatter!

Upon arriving I thought it just needed some cable tension adjustment when I realised my problem - 2 cogs flush against each other with 2 spacers together!

I meekly rode home and called it a day.