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Old 12-23-05, 10:58 AM   #1
PoorBehavior
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$60 to true & tension a set of wheels?

LBS gave me an over the phone quote in the $15 to $30 per wheel to tension a pair of brand new wheels that came with my new bike. Am I cracked or is this a way high? I have not ridden them yet, they are the stock wheels that just came with my On One 29er. I am willing to pay an honest price but as far as I know they are no better than any other shop in town they are just closer. Should I ride 'em for a bit then get it done or just pick a lower priced shop before I put any miles on them?
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Old 12-23-05, 11:08 AM   #2
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It depends on what they actually do.

If all they do is to tweak a couple of spokes to bring the wheels into lateral true that would be a major rip-off.

If someone takes the time to check every spoke with a tensiometer to bring them up to even tension, "stress relieves," then adjusts the spokes to bring the rim into radial and lateral true, I think that's a fair price.
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Old 12-23-05, 11:20 AM   #3
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Um, if these are new wheels, and you've not yet ridden them, why are you sure that they need servicing? And if they do need servicing, shouldn't the shop that is selling the bike do the work for no additional charge?
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Old 12-23-05, 11:25 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Coyote2
Um, if these are new wheels, and you've not yet ridden them, why are you sure that they need servicing? And if they do need servicing, shouldn't the shop that is selling the bike do the work for no additional charge?
The Bike is from Enlgand and I am not, shipped in. I weigh 235lbs. I talked to Brant at On One and he suggested I get the wheels tension checked because of my less than petite size. The bikes are not custom and the wheels are machine made.
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Old 12-23-05, 11:25 AM   #5
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Velomax just trued my rear Curcult,replaced 4 spokes and all the nipples for 40 bucks.
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Old 12-23-05, 11:35 AM   #6
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I expect the bike dealer quoted you that high price because you didn't buy the bike from them. Some dealers are very resentful of bikes bought elsewhere and brought to them for service, particularly if the new bike owner expects fast or even free service, which sometimes happens.

Their attitude is shortsighted but probably what happened to you.

As a general rule if you buy bikes or components by mail order, either know how to install/service them yourself or plan on paying a significant premium to an LBS to do it for you.
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Old 12-23-05, 11:45 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by HillRider
I expect the bike dealer quoted you that high price because you didn't buy the bike from them. Some dealers are very resentful of bikes bought elsewhere and brought to them for service, particularly if the new bike owner expects fast or even free service, which sometimes happens.

Their attitude is shortsighted but probably what happened to you.

As a general rule if you buy bikes or components by mail order, either know how to install/service them yourself or plan on paying a significant premium to an LBS to do it for you.
Honest and correct I think. I can take care of almost everything I need but I dont have a tension meter.
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Old 12-23-05, 11:50 AM   #8
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Maybe they're anticipating a worst-case scenario. I know I always preferred for the customer to just bring in their wheel parts and ask to have them built, rather than have them try to "help" by lacing it themselves and bringing it to me that way. Some of those beauties, I simply had to disassemble them and start over, making it even more work than a fresh build.
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Old 12-23-05, 12:17 PM   #9
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Check the tension by hand, just squeeze a couple of parralell spokes on both sides of the front and rear, if they feel tight, then spin each wheel and look at the brake pads (I'm assuming it has rim brakes) and see if the distance between the rim and the brake pad is fairly even, within a couple of mm.

If all this checks out, I would just ride it a while, then repeat the above checks.
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Old 12-23-05, 01:27 PM   #10
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$15 - $30 seems reasonable to me. Assuming the wheels are reasonably true to begin with, your cost should be closer to the $15 than the $30.
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Old 12-23-05, 01:33 PM   #11
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For anything close to $50 I would go and buy the tensionmeter and do it myself, assuming you already have spoke wrenches. but those are pretty cheap too.

I would think that it would take no more time than 15 minutes total. It would take me about 15 minutes and I have very little wheel building experience.

Add this to the postal fee and this bike is costing a bit more than you thought , eh?
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Old 12-23-05, 01:42 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by unsuspended
I would think that it would take no more time than 15 minutes total. It would take me about 15 minutes and I have very little wheel building experience.
As I indicated in my original post, it depends a lot on what your standard of quality is. I've done enough of this kind of work to be pretty confident that a job that would satisfy me is going to take longer than 15 minutes per wheel.
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Old 12-23-05, 01:43 PM   #13
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For anything close to $50 I would go and buy the tensionmeter and do it myself
I have to agree. Check out the Park Tensiometer for $60. I always prefer to invest in a tool, especially when it costs about the same as labor I could do myself...even more so when I *should* do it myself.
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Old 12-23-05, 01:58 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by mechBgon
Maybe they're anticipating a worst-case scenario.
I agree. Giving a quote over the phone is a treacherous proposition for a bike shop. It is always easier to quote higher prices on the phone and charge less than it is to quote low and back pedal when you see what you are dealing with. That said, $30 to correctly tension balance a wheel isn't terribly high. If it takes a half hour to do each wheel, the shop will hardly be making a profit after paying the mechanic's wage plus health ins., shop tools/supplies, property taxes, advertising, etc. etc.
I don't think $30 per wheel is price gouging, but it might not be worth it for most customers especially if you can do it yourself.
It would be helpful to know more details like; price of bike, type of wheels, riding style/mileage to put things into perspective. If the wheelset cost $500, then $60 to maximize their performance seems reasonable. If you race then it might be worth it, if you break a spoke in a race and can't finish then you are out the entry fee. So often I see people come in to the shop and buy a $100 handle bar for their bike thinking it will make them faster but their hub bearings are rough and their chain is worn out. Somehow they justify spending that money on new parts but cringe when told how much labor for a Chri King hub o-haul is.
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Old 12-23-05, 03:27 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by unsuspended
For anything close to $50 I would go and buy the tensionmeter and do it myself, assuming you already have spoke wrenches. but those are pretty cheap too.

I would think that it would take no more time than 15 minutes total. It would take me about 15 minutes and I have very little wheel building experience.

Add this to the postal fee and this bike is costing a bit more than you thought , eh?
HAHAHAHAHAHA.... *grins*

That really is funny as hell. Brother you hit it dead on the head.

Thing is, this ain't braking the bank and I am feeling OK about the whole thing. After getting the bike and dealing with all the small stuff I am still way more satisfied than I should or normally would be. I guess it is easier to accept the hit when you are getting something worth the cost and from what I can tell On One makes a real nice bike.
If I can find a tension meter local I will probably do it myself, I would much rather be able to check it whenever I wanted anyway. It is interesting to see what the average cost is though, I have bled enough on the trail to at least be able keep my direction but I really have no idea what to expect once I walk into a shop.
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Old 12-23-05, 03:31 PM   #16
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So some of you guys think you can true and Elite or a rear Curcult in 15 min?
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Old 12-23-05, 03:37 PM   #17
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I know a lawyer that was whining about paying $60 to true a set of wheels. I asked him how much he would charge the owner of the bike shop for a two minute phone call. He said that the two minute phone call would cost $100. His billing rate is $400 an hour, and he bills in quarter hour increments.

It is interested to me that doctors, lawyers, accountants, plumbers, electricians all think that their skills and time are valuable...but they seldom think that the skills and time of the guys working at the LBS are valuable.
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Old 12-23-05, 03:38 PM   #18
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I would also point out that a spoke wrench and a tensiometer do not magically endow one with the ability to true, round, dish and tension wheels Some people are quick learners, of course. Good luck
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Old 12-23-05, 05:42 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by ctp
I have to agree. Check out the Park Tensiometer for $60. I always prefer to invest in a tool, especially when it costs about the same as labor I could do myself...even more so when I *should* do it myself.

This is why I picked up a used X-ray and sugery equipment. With just that, and a Grays Anatomy, I removed my own appendix.
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Old 12-23-05, 05:54 PM   #20
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This is why I picked up a used X-ray and sugery equipment. With just that, and a Grays Anatomy, I removed my own appendix.
Yeah, but that's a one-time repair so you'll never get your money back. Ever considered going into the business?
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Old 12-23-05, 06:29 PM   #21
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I think it is cool that you want to buy the tensionmeter and do it yourself. Being self sufficient is a part of biking, I think it was even in the IMBA rules of the trail (or something to that effect). I think the people that want to do there own work are more an exception than the norm though. People like us (people that are members of an on line bike forum) are bike enthusiasts, we enjoy the sport in it's entirety. There are a lot of people that just ride and don't want to work on their bikes or aren't mechanically inclined that would think $30 to true and tension a wheel is a good deal (or not know the difference). Most bicycle service departments are geared towards those people. Most of us know how to work on bikes, so paying any amount to someone else for service would be considered unreasonable. Here's the cool part; if you buy the tensionmeter from a LBS they will probably make more money on the tool sale than the labor that they would have been doing. This is why so many people open up bike businesses that don't do any labor. I say buy the tool and enjoy. Buy it from your LBS; feel good about it and hopefully get some free tech. support for it if you need it.
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Old 12-23-05, 06:47 PM   #22
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This is why I picked up a used X-ray and sugery equipment. With just that, and a Grays Anatomy, I removed my own appendix.
As I sit here smirking, I think... That has to be the snarkiest one yet, Christmas came early! Thanks!

personally I watch for the hot chick...
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Old 12-23-05, 06:55 PM   #23
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With the shop I go to, its $7 to $14 per wheel, but I have droped so much money there they did both for $7 plus tax. Start going to a shop and keep your money there, after they know you ride a lot, they will go out of there way to keep you on the road.

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Old 12-23-05, 07:40 PM   #24
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My local shop charges $18 to tru a wheel. I brought in a rear wheel I had just received over the internet to have a casette installed. When he spun the wheel he mentioned that it was a little out of true in two places. So he charged me $12 to fix the wheel and install the casette. I'm sure if I called first and said I had a wheel that was out and needed a casette installed they would of quoted me much more.
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Old 12-23-05, 08:13 PM   #25
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I put together a bike ordered off the internet, The wheels weren`t perfect. The LBS quoted $15 a wheel, or$50 for a tune up to include trueing. Best deal I have seen.
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