Understanding Bicycle Repair | Bike Tune-Ups & Maintenance
We have always been aiming for increased participation with bicycles. It’s important to keep bicycles properly maintained and tuned to ensure good performance, safety and durability. Having a bicycle should always be simple most local bicycle shops have your best interest at heart, even if sometimes it seems they do not because it is more profitable for shops to do the right thing the first time than to charge for petty services and upsales. Although we cannot speak for all shops out there, Collareta Cycling bike shop certainly makes that the core of our service department. We have over 20 years of experience and the best-in-the-industry certifications to service your bicycle. not to mention, it does us no credit to half-fix something when we know it will fail in a few days or months. We rather explain to our customers the value of having something properly fixed and have you enjoy months if not years of trouble-free riding. A big part of bicycle service and a customer’s ability to get their money and full enjoyment worth out of their bicycle comes from having the right kind of bicycle to begin with. We urge our readers to check out our other blog post “Don’t Buy A Bicycle Before Reading This” for reference.
What are the most common bike repairs?
By far the most common bike repair is fixing a flat tire. These usually simple tube, tire, or tube & tire replacements are the product of road debris getting into the tire as your roll through your street, park, path, or sidewalk, and plague both amateur, enthusiast, and professional cyclists alike. You can get a flat tire right after getting one fix or go months without getting one. The best thing you can do is to invest in a tire liner and keep your tires inflated to the recommended pressure. Most flat tire fixes cost about $30 per tire, but labor and parts vary according to the level of damage, type of bike, and size of tire.
The next most common bike repair is the so-called bicycle tune-up, which is essentially your bike’s regular maintenance. Bicycle tune-ups should be performed by all cyclists at least once a year since the most leisurely rider rides about 2000 miles a year. More active riders should consider a bicycle tune-up between every 8-6 months depending on how much they ride. The bicycle tune-up is not considered a repair but regular maintenance, much like the oil change in your car, this maintenance will keep your bicycle running smoothly. A basic bicycle tune-up will cost around $90-$100, but these prices will vary depending on your location and shop. However, the term bicycle tune-up gets tossed around loosely so here are some key things a basic bicycle tune-up must include to be worth your while.
What is a bicycle Tune-up?
Not a wipe-down, a full bicycle wash where your bicycle’s drivetrain is degreased and cleaned, and then re-lubed. Adjusting a dirty bicycle is a waste of money because the grime stuck on the bike will negate the benefits of the adjustment, not to mention, continuing to deteriorate components and lead to component failure faster.
Gear inspection and adjustment
Inspecting derailleur tensions, and gear indexing is a major part of the bicycle tune-up. Multi-geared bicycles will miss-shift as a result of the decay of primarily shifter cables and housing, and also of the wear out of hard components like derailleurs and shifters. A regular bicycle maintenance schedule is key to prolonging the life of hard parts and maintaining the smooth operation of these components.
Brake inspection and adjustment
Probably one of the most important systems in any moving vehicle, your bicycle brakes need to be inspected and adjusted regularly. Checking for proper pad contact, pad wear, rim or rotor wear, and proper modulation.
Bicycle wheels go out of alignment naturally because of wear and tear (due to vibration) or in the event of an impact (pothole) or accident. Proper wheel alignment is key for a smooth ride and a major part of bicycle safety.
General inspection of the cockpit and Seating
Where you sit on the bike and where you steer on the bike are two key places where an inspection is warranted. Making sure that proper tension, angle, and adjustments are maintained will ensure the smooth and safe operation of your bicycle. Although replacement parts are not part of the tune-up it is a good idea to get your grips or handlebar tape replaced during a tune-up not only will save you money but will keep bacteria from growing on the handlebar, leading to corrosion and possible part failure. Not to mention the health implications that it could create.
General inspection, adjustment, and update of electronic components
Some bicycles now come equipped with electronic components such as electronic gear systems, electric batteries and drive trains (e-bikes), and smart computers that control some of these features. It is important to have these components inspected and adjusted/updated regularly.
Bicycle Specialty Repairs & Services
Other common bicycle repairs are considered more of a specialty service as they only apply to certain types of bikes or need to be done only in the case of component failure or at other non-regular intervals. These services require expert knowledge and an array of specialty tools (each manufacturer makes their specialty tool) and therefore tend to be more time-consuming and more expensive. Some of these other bicycle repairs are:
Bicycle suspension service
Rear shock and front suspension fork service are very important to the smooth operation and safety of those bicycles equipped with these parts. Not to mention that failing to keep a regular schedule of maintenance could lead to equipment failure and cost hundreds of dollars in replacement parts. Suspension service can be done in-house (at your local bike shop) this is usually faster, or sent out to the manufacturer’s service center (to be performed by the manufacturer) usually takes longer. It is recommended that if your suspension is within the warranty period to opt for sending it out to the manufacturer, to avoid any possible warranty negations in the event of failure.
Wheels bearing replacements and service
Bicycle wheels are responsible for over 60% of the performance of any bicycle. Keeping your wheels true and their bearings serviced are a key point in maintaining these components running smoothly. Depending on the type of riding and the type of wheels this service varies in the interval. Wheels bearing services vary greatly in price so it is best to get a quote of the service before committing to performing it.
Bicycle Restoration and Paint
A less common service but one that is very specific to the customer and the bike is having a bicycle frame restored, meaning repainted or refurbished. This is a costly service that requires an especially shop. This is handled usually on a case-by-case basis. Some projects could cost a few hundred dollars others a few thousand, it all depends on the level of complexity and the bicycle that is being worked on. Sadly, some bicycles are beyond saving. It is best to work with an expert advisor when seeking out these types of projects.
Bicycles Customization and Assemblies
Finally, the last component of bicycle repairs is more of a specialty service that is focused on customization and assemblies. These repairs or rather a bicycle customizations will vary greatly in price and time depending on what the project is. Some of those include disassembling a bike for travel, transferring parts from one bicycle frame into another, replacing a component or a series of components, building a custom wheel, replacing or upgrading a suspension system, replacing electrical motors, batteries, or wiring, the list goes on and on. Most shops will offer to do these kinds of services during a tune-up interval to save the customer some of the labor charges, it is a good idea to ask about that to save some money. However, it is always best to get a quote before committing to a particular service.
We hope this overview of what constitutes a bicycle repair or bicycle service helps you next time you need to maintain your bike. If you are local, you are most welcome to stop by for a quote on your next service project or drop off your bike for your regular maintenance. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
And remember a clean bike is a happy bike – Happy riding!