If you ride bikes, then you need to maintain those bikes. And, while there’s no replacement for a good knowledgeable bike mechanic for big tasks, there’s a lot you can do yourself at home. From simple shifting adjustments to replacing bar tape, you can learn most of these things from the good ol’ Tube of Yous.
Before we get into all the fun details though, let’s first talk about tools. If you’re new to bike maintenance and/or repair, then you’re going to need stuff to work on your two-wheeled fitness machine. The good news is that we have a pretty exhaustive list of things you’ll need for most basic tasks, which should be more than enough to get you started. So, you should probably read that first if you haven’t already. Or, read it again if you have. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Once your bike workshop is filled with all the tools you need, it’s time to get to the nitty gritty. I recently built a road bike from the ground up, and while I’ve done many of the things required before (I moonlighted in a bike shop for several years), I’ve never done all these things at one time. I hit some snags along the way, and YouTube was there to save my build—all in all, I think it turned out pretty damn good, too.
But I digress. If you’re in the market to learn some junk—especially bike junk—then boy do I have a list for you.
The Best Resource Out There: Park Tool Company
If you read my piece on bike repair necessities, then you likely noticed one specific company appeared there a lot: the Park Tool Company. These guys make the highest-quality and most trusted bike tools on the market. But the company doesn’t just make excellent tools—it has an excellent YouTube channel to show you how to use said tools.
The best things about Park Tool’s videos is how easy they are to follow, but still incredibly thorough. For example, the company’s video on how to wrap drop handlebars shows multiple ways of wrapping bars and tells the pros and cons of each so you can decide which is better for the way you ride. That’s awesome!
Like most of the other channels I’ll mention in this list, there’s more to Park’s channel than just repair videos, too. You’ll find general tech tips, explainers, instructions for the company’s products, all other sorts of incredibly useful bike stuff. Really, if I were just going to point everyone to one single resource, this would be the one.
Another Great Option: GCN Tech
Park Tool is great, but if you’re looking for another resource (sometimes it helps to watch different videos from different people to really get a feel for certain projects), then GCN Tech—the Global Cycling Network‘s tech channel—is also one to keep an eye on.
GCN’s main channel focuses on the general aspect of cycling, showing off great rides, and covering different types of builds. But the dedicated tech channel is where it’s at for all sorts of killer build, repair, and maintenance stuff. It covers everything from simple stuff like how to install bottle cages, to far more detailed repair how-tos like how to true wheels. It even covers what not to do when working on your bike, along with a slew of other excellent subjects.
You can find all of GCN Tech’s maintenance videos in a nice tidy list, but the channel has a lot more to offer than just that, so dig around for a little while. There’s so much great content that it would be almost impossible to watch it all.
What I’m trying to say is this: if there’s a specific thing you need help with, there’s a good chance GCN Tech has a video to show you how to do it. The calming British accents are just a bonus.
For Vintage Bikes: RJ the Bike Guy
When it comes to bikes, I’m very much a modern road cyclist. But I also appreciate vintage bikes, as they stand the test of time and often are a great starting point for new cyclists because you can pick one up on the cheap. But they also require different kinds of maintenance than newer bikes, which is where RJ the Bike Guy comes in.
RJ does a lot with older bikes, like breaking down a freewheel or upgrading the bottom bracket. But he also does other cool stuff, like upgrading a Specialized Hardrock he picked up for $15. There’s a lot of good, everyman-level stuff on his channel. Highly recommended.
Also, he covers other things on his channel, like car stuff, house stuff, fitness stuff, and tools and stuff. Those are all his chosen names, and I like it. Stuff is universal, my man. Keep up the good work.
To Watch People Build Bikes: Gee Milner
If you already mostly know what you’re doing but want to see how other mechanics do things (read: don’t need step-by-step tutorials), then there’s nothing better than Gee Milner’s Dream Bike series. Oh man.
Basically, this series has mechanics from all over building the most beautiful bikes on the planet. Road bikes, mountain bikes, gravel bikes … all kinds of bikes. But they’re all set to very chill, serene music, and there’s no talking at all. Very subtle tool clanks here and there, but for the most part, it’s just folks building bikes to chill-ass music. It’s so good—and if you only watch one, make it the Muc-Off 3T Exploro build. It’s so beautiful I weep at the very sight of it.
Really, I think of it as ASMR for bike mechanics. Also, it’s a great way to see how other mechanics do things, so you can learn from it.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of bike repair channels on YouTube—just a look at some of the ones that I really like to watch or have found valuable. There are plenty of others out there, and if you have one that you love, I’d love to hear about it. I’m always in the market for more bike stuff to watch on YouTube.