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Old 09-06-10, 12:42 PM   #1
Timtruro
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At Least Respect The Bicycle

I recently let it be known around the neighborhood that I have a modest bike repair room in my house and would be happy to do some minor repairs, tune ups etc. for a small fee. Well, last week I got a call from a neighbor who asked if I would tune up a couple of bikes. I said 'sure' and they dropped them off later that day. They reported that they just needed a tune up (couple of brake pads rubbing), need to be cleaned and lubed etc.

Well you can't believe how much rust was on the chains, wheels caked with dirt and pitted from being left in a basement somewhere for a long while etc. I ran into the neighbor while I was working on the bikes and asked if he had ever heard of oil or grease. I said it in a joking manner and he laughed. Well, after $42.00 worth of parts and about 5 hours of work, the bikes are ready. I could have spent a lot more on parts but wanted to keep the cost down since they said they will only be riding them ocassionaly. I am not going to charge much for labor because I enjoy working on bikes, but am thinking in the future I will look at the condition of the bikes before I take on any more such jobs and give an estimate (which will be high if I don't want the job )

Bottom line, I am just disappointed, I guess, to see how people neglect such fine machines (in this case one was a Raleigh and the other a Giant).
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Old 09-06-10, 01:27 PM   #2
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I read this post to my bike and it broke out in tears.
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Old 09-06-10, 02:26 PM   #3
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Very few people take any care at all of their equipment, judging from the bikes I see on the local trails. The only ones that are in excellent condition belong to guys who do their own work. bk
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Old 09-06-10, 04:01 PM   #4
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I agree with your take a look at it first stance. I got in over my head once (more work than I anticipated) and got tired of telling the owner (a friend) that I needed more parts. He said it wasn't shifting...I assumed it needed an adjustment...it had a broken r/d and I had to order the part...then the old cables were crap and, well you can see it rolls downhill pretty quick.
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Old 09-06-10, 04:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Timtruro View Post
...but am thinking in the future I will look at the condition of the bikes before I take on any more such jobs and give an estimate (which will be high if I don't want the job )
I'm guessing you never worked in a bike shop. When a bike comes in for a tuneup and it is dirty (aka filthy), a minimum of $10 is tacked on as a cleaning fee. And if its really dirty or in really bad shape then an additional $5 per hour is added for the inconvenience.

Have fun.
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Old 09-06-10, 04:27 PM   #6
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At a charity ride earlier this summer the ride director said there were 105 flat tires the first day alone. Says alot to me about how many folks keep their bikes.
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Old 09-07-10, 05:49 AM   #7
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You better give estimates. If someone let a bike sit around deteriorating for years they may have never had a "tune up" or its been so long they are don't know what professional repairs cost. They may be expecting a $35 total bill - not $42 for parts alone.
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Old 09-07-10, 09:05 AM   #8
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I was an adult at my sons' boy scout troop ride. One kid got his bike off the car got on it, and the chain broke within ten feet. No biggie, I had my travel tool just for this type of thing. The kid brings the bike and chain over, and I can see the chain is red from rust. It hadn't seen oil since it left the factory.
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Old 09-07-10, 11:48 AM   #9
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I read this post to my bike and it broke out in tears.
Weak, thanks for the warning! I'm not mentioning this post to my bike at all. Mums the word.
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Old 09-07-10, 12:06 PM   #10
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no different than most things people own.

"would the check engine light have anything to do with all the smoke coming from my engine?"
"there is oil in my lawn mower??"
"the dust coming out of my heater vent is because I didn't change my what? my filter? What is that?"
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Old 09-07-10, 12:35 PM   #11
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There is a difference between a bike that has occasionally had some adjustment and one that has been run into the ground. Last year I aquired 7 old Girls bikes. Managed to make 3 up out of the 7. I chose the better coloured bikes for the girls in the road- but only one bike looked as though it had ever had any maintenance. But the 3 that were built up all had New chains- New cables-inner and outer and The wheel bearings were all repacked with grease that had some fluidity to it- instead of the hard balls of wax like substance they had. Reckoned it still cost me 30 per bike ($50) to give away.
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Old 09-07-10, 01:02 PM   #12
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people don't know unless they are told. when you buy a bike at walmart, they don't explain maintenance.

i know someone who tried to sue GM because no one explained to her that the oil had to be changed when she bought her Saturn.
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Old 09-07-10, 03:32 PM   #13
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I'm guessing you never worked in a bike shop. When a bike comes in for a tuneup and it is dirty (aka filthy), a minimum of $10 is tacked on as a cleaning fee. And if its really dirty or in really bad shape then an additional $5 per hour is added for the inconvenience.

Have fun.
You guessed right, never worked in a bike shop but have worked on bikes at home of and on for years, mostly my own. After working on these two, I can easily see why an amount would be tacked on for a cleaning fee. I would have been embarrased to bring them to a bike shop.
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Old 09-07-10, 04:23 PM   #14
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Sad, but I cannot say I'm surprised. I live in the Northeast. Bicycles, even the finest ones, frequently get left in dirty garages, or worse, just outside, fully exposed to the elements. Then, their owners wonder what went wrong when they take them out for that first spring ride. Uh-huh. These tend to be the same people who call the LBS and try to "make an appointment to have air put in the tires". Hey, don't laugh. My LBS says they actually get these calls, always during that first really warm stretch in April.

My Gunnar is in my apartment with me.
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Old 09-07-10, 04:40 PM   #15
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I'm riding with a lady right now that makes bicycle maintenance a pleasure. She is in tune with her bike and notices little things that need adjustment... Says her front derailleur is difficult to shift so I oil the hinges and tell her to work it up and down between the 3 chainrings. Not only does she appreciate it, after a couple of weeks she says the FD is working better and thanks me again. So I put another drop of oil on it and say "you're welcome". I don't mind volunteering work when it is appreciated.
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Old 09-07-10, 06:12 PM   #16
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i know someone who tried to sue GM because no one explained to her that the oil had to be changed when she bought her Saturn.
How long ago was that? When I bought my Saturn it came with FREE lifetime oil changes (I had to pay for the filter). Unfortunately "lifetime," in this case, ment the lifetime of the company.
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Old 09-07-10, 06:21 PM   #17
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I'm riding with a lady right now that makes bicycle maintenance a pleasure. She is in tune with her bike and notices little things that need adjustment... Says her front derailleur is difficult to shift so I oil the hinges and tell her to work it up and down between the 3 chainrings. Not only does she appreciate it, after a couple of weeks she says the FD is working better and thanks me again. So I put another drop of oil on it and say "you're welcome". I don't mind volunteering work when it is appreciated.
I think so too.

I recently did some "pro bono" work for one of my wife's co-workers. Somebody had recabeled his bike and didn't do a very professional job. His rear brake didn't work at all. I recabeled the bike and I also replaced his crappy brakes with some from my spare parts collection. I only charged him for the stuff that I had to buy out-of-pocket. He has been so grateful and he's been riding the bike several times a week since. What a pleasure!
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Old 09-07-10, 06:45 PM   #18
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I started working on bikes purely by necessity. I started riding with a personal trainer friend and his cronies. Most of these guys are true athletes and animals when it comes to athletic endeavors. They are also some of the most inept people mechanically that I have ever met. I got tired of listening to their derailleurs making noises, bald tires going flat, chains slipping, etc. So instead of working on their bikes on the side of the road, I started tuning them up in my shop. I once changed a bottom bracket with a changing tool, a closed end truck wrench and a 3lb. hammer. All this while standing on top of the wrench with all my weight. Aluminum frameset with six year old bottom bracket never been greased or cleaned. The bearings were shot.

Now I do all my friends bikes, especially after the local LBS tunes them up and after 5 minutes, the RD is talking back to us.

I ride two different carbon fiber bikes, and they have a tendency to resonate any noise through the frame. Nothing bothers me more than a squeak, pop or other mechanical noise that doesn't belong while I am riding.

I appreciate your predicament, I respect my ride and have never been left on the side of the road.
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Old 09-08-10, 08:43 AM   #19
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How long ago was that? When I bought my Saturn it came with FREE lifetime oil changes (I had to pay for the filter). Unfortunately "lifetime," in this case, ment the lifetime of the company.
this was in 1996. she may have also had the free changes, but never took the car in for ANY maintenance until the engine seized. I could write a book about this girl, she also wanted to sue the city for ticketing her whenever she parked in front of fire hydrants - her defense was it was always the only open space to park on the block.

too bad saturn is gone, i was thinking about getting that hybrid vue
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Old 09-09-10, 04:50 AM   #20
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As a year-round rider in the N.E. I need to add....clean does not equate to well maintained and conversly dirty doesn't mean ignored or abused.

I've occasionally brought my Trek (foul weather bike) into the shop in a pinch and when I return to pick it up I often get a comment about how they were pleasantly suprised at the overall condition of the bike. It's filthy and rusty and appears neglected, but it's not. A crappy looking bike usually doesn't attract much attention locked outside for hours at a time. I like that, it works well for me.

So be careful not to be overly judgemental of books by their covers, or bikes by their dirt.

On the other hand, I do agree that many, many folks are totally clueless about maintainance. Oh well, to each his own.
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Old 09-09-10, 05:19 AM   #21
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One of my coworkers had a bike that he stored under the wood deck for 10 years, didn't even move it when he stained the deck. He gave it to another coworker and seat post was seized, I was surprised that any thing even rotated.
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Old 09-09-10, 06:26 AM   #22
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people don't know unless they are told. when you buy a bike at walmart, they don't explain maintenance.

i know someone who tried to sue GM because no one explained to her that the oil had to be changed when she bought her Saturn.
Yeah, because reading the Owner's manual would require literacy skills. I wonder how many owner's manuals never even get unwrapped?
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Old 09-09-10, 06:28 AM   #23
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Sad, but I cannot say I'm surprised. I live in the Northeast. Bicycles, even the finest ones, frequently get left in dirty garages, or worse, just outside, fully exposed to the elements. Then, their owners wonder what went wrong when they take them out for that first spring ride. Uh-huh. These tend to be the same people who call the LBS and try to "make an appointment to have air put in the tires". Hey, don't laugh. My LBS says they actually get these calls, always during that first really warm stretch in April.

My Gunnar is in my apartment with me.
Please explain this "first really warm stretch in April." I live in South Florida, April is already hotter than a crotch!
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