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  1. #1
    Cries on hills supton's Avatar
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    LBS tuneup Experience

    Ok, I took my beloved Gary Fisher Advance to the LBS for a tuneup. I expected a few things: a new cable or two, chain and rear cassette due to wear, and the seatpost freed up. I wound up with all new cables (fine), new RD (well, used; but maybe it was in better shape than my old Alivio), new "pods" for both front and rear stuff (the RD shifter was shot, and the front brake lever was very loose, so ok), Acera level. I had requested new grips and new pedals. But the chain and rear gears were untouched.

    Wasn't until I was halfway home that I remembered why I really wanted a new chain: last time I was out trail riding, I snapped the chain. [I'm sure it's a link short now, as we put it back together and I rode it out.] Now, I recall, either on this chain or the last, taking it off and blasting it with some chain cleaner: so it is possible that I had a loose link (Shimano everything on the bike) and that is what gave out. But a quick look at home, with a ruler, shows about 1/8th of an inch of chain stretch. Also, the granny gear on the cassette (and the next few too) show some serious wear--the granny gear actually has a ridge forming, from the metal bending down!

    I also think the BB may be a bit loose; while pedaling, I get grinding on the FD--but only in certain foot positions. I don't feel that much play in the BB, but I think it's worse in certain crankarm positions than others. Maybe the chainring is bent.

    Anyhow, on the good side I didn't pay too much. On the bad side, I don't think my bike is in good enough condition for trail riding. I'm sure they can true rims better than me, but I think I might just start doing this work myself, starting with a new drivetrain.
    '07 Trek Pilot 1.2
    '85 Panasonic Sport 1000 (beater, gone now)
    '69 Raleigh Sprite 5 speed (AW instead of S5, for now)

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by supton
    I expected a few things: ...
    Instead of expecting things, why not just tell them what's wrong and what you'd like looked at?

  3. #3
    Cries on hills supton's Avatar
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    I recall asking about the chain and rear cassette when I brought it in, and was told today that they weren't that worn. They did get the seatpost to move though, for which I'm grateful; however, it's not truly free, as I wasn't able to move it and was told that I need to hit it with some PB Blaster and work at it.

    I dunno, I guess I was expecting them to find a badly stretched chain and worn gears, and recommend their replacement, without me asking--they're supposed to know be able to find this on their own, aren't they?
    '07 Trek Pilot 1.2
    '85 Panasonic Sport 1000 (beater, gone now)
    '69 Raleigh Sprite 5 speed (AW instead of S5, for now)

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    Quote Originally Posted by supton
    I dunno, I guess I was expecting them to find a badly stretched chain and worn gears, and recommend their replacement, without me asking--they're supposed to know be able to find this on their own, aren't they?
    O.K. you really showed them. You went to the trouble of taking your bike in, were without it for however long they worked on it, and got it back with some known problems still not fixed because you didn't want to tell them the things that were bothering you and were testing them. Great you win. Your prize is you still have a worn, short chain and cassette you need to replace.

    And generally, as far as I've seen, a tune up consists of adjustments, but no hardware replacement.

  5. #5
    Feral Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    I had a similar experience recently. My lesson learned: if there are specific things you want to be sure they check, then be sure to have a list for them and for you to double check with them when they're done. Yeah it's a PITA one should have to do that, but that little extra effort in clarification should be worth it.

    I had a tune up once and they worked it over completely, did a lovely job. Sometimes you can't rely on that and have to be a bit more proactive. Oh well.
    Quote Originally Posted by KrisPistofferson View Post
    Did you just say "minarchist?" I'm going to start a 10-page vaginathon because only Libertarians can define Libertarianism. Also, you're mean.

  6. #6
    Feral Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle
    And generally, as far as I've seen, a tune up consists of adjustments, but no hardware replacement.
    For me, "tune up" means the works. It's just a matter of finding a shop that agrees with that. Ok, some take a more basic approach and there's nothing wrong with that. It's a question of knowing who you're dealing with and adjusting your expectations and approach accordingly.

    But I still remember that shop that made my bike sing with a full tune up, and I didn't have to go through a checklist with them. It seems this is typical of the shop, because at my last visit I was again impressed with the staff's level of experience and most importantly attention to detail and the customer. So I'll be going back there often enough.
    Quote Originally Posted by KrisPistofferson View Post
    Did you just say "minarchist?" I'm going to start a 10-page vaginathon because only Libertarians can define Libertarianism. Also, you're mean.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus
    For me, "tune up" means the works.
    To me, that's an overhaul.

  8. #8
    Cries on hills supton's Avatar
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    Ok, I'll remember that next time--"overhaul" versus "tuneup". I honestly didn't know there was a difference; I thought they'd go over it, see what was wrong, see if they could make an honest buck off of me, and I'd get a bike back in good riding shape. My bad. I've riden this bike like 10 miles in the last 5 years (over 1,500 in college though, that's why it's got some heavy wear), but have never been a "real" rider; that's why I had forgotten about the chain snapping bit. I did give them an opportunity though: when I brought it in, I said to not go over $200, as that was a big chunk of a new bike. Which they agreed with, and showed me a couple of bikes less than 2x that.

    [Recently, I took my car to a mechanic, as the left front wheel bearing was howling. While he had it up on the lift, he also took apart the right side, lo and behold, the right side was bad too. Just not making noise. And neither "felt" bad, not until one took off the wheels and the axle shafts, then the slop could easly be felt. He also told me that my shocks were shot, but the brakes that I worry about were just fine. I'm expecting that sort of service, I guess, when I go to a shop.]

    Anyhow, I just wanted some feedback as to whether or not this was "normal" or "expected". If it's normal, then perhaps I'll take one of the other bikes there, expecting just a tuneup, and getting just a tuneup.

    Lastly: are foam grips supposed to be easy to turn? These spin around very easily, more than I recall the old ones. And that seatpost? I dripped some 3N1 oil onto it (no PB Blaster here--yet), hammered on a 1" wrench (it just fits over the top of the post, it's one of those one vertical bolt affairs), and could not make it budge at all. So much for it being broken loose. Time to go find some ammonia and try that.
    '07 Trek Pilot 1.2
    '85 Panasonic Sport 1000 (beater, gone now)
    '69 Raleigh Sprite 5 speed (AW instead of S5, for now)

  9. #9
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supton
    . . . I've riden this bike like 10 miles in the last 5 years (over 1,500 in college though, that's why it's got some heavy wear), but have never been a "real" rider; that's why I had forgotten about the chain snapping bit. I did give them an opportunity though: when I brought it in, I said to not go over $200, as that was a big chunk of a new bike. Which they agreed with, and showed me a couple of bikes less than 2x that.
    Maybe you should either spring for a new bike, or get hooked up with a different mechanic. You've got slightly over 1500 miles on it, and you're experiencing heavy wear on the chain and rear cassette? This is not normal wear.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

  10. #10
    Feral Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle
    To me, that's an overhaul.
    Ah, ok, yes. I never even considered the word overhaul.

    I think the desired service is usually clarified by the way I describe what work I want done. I usually throw in phrases implying "overhaul" anyway.

    Still, I do kind of expect "tune up" to have them at least checking everything out to make sure it's kosher.
    Quote Originally Posted by KrisPistofferson View Post
    Did you just say "minarchist?" I'm going to start a 10-page vaginathon because only Libertarians can define Libertarianism. Also, you're mean.

  11. #11
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    When you bring your bike in for a tune up/overhaul, make sure you tell the mechanic what in particular is wrong. When I check in bikes at the shop, first thing I'll ask is, "Any glaring issues or problems?" That's when they'll say "Oh it slipping on the middle ring and the smallest cog." or "it makes a clicking sound every pedal rotation." You can't expect the mechanic to read your mind.

    Also, it comes down to who does the work. There's mechanics at my shop that will do what we say we'll do in a tune up: lube the cables, true the wheels, adjust the brakes/bearings/derailleurs, and what not. Then there are a few mechanics (and I try to fall into this category) that will do all that, plus more. If the customer is running a full XT setup and it's a little stiff to shift (but it's still hitting all gears fine), I'm going to replace the housing and cable and make sure the shifting is dialed.

    So when you bring your bike in, make sure the mechanic writes on the tag any issues you are having, and when you come pick up the bike, ask who performed the tune up. Take it for a ride, everything cherry? Next time ask for that mechanic to perform the tune up. Not to your standards? Find a new shop, or next time speak with another mechanic and tell him/her your past experience.

    My .02 cents.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    In a nutshell; if you don't tell them what's wrong with the bike they have no way of knowing what to fix.

    You wouldn't go to your doctor and say; 'doctor, I feel ill, cure me!' and expect him to even know where to begin to look. You'll have to give him a specific symptom, just as you would in a bike shop.

  13. #13
    Cries on hills supton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nermal
    Maybe you should either spring for a new bike, or get hooked up with a different mechanic. You've got slightly over 1500 miles on it, and you're experiencing heavy wear on the chain and rear cassette? This is not normal wear.
    This is my first experience with these guys. And a coworker did recommend just replacing the bike, but I thought replacement would be more expensive (didn't realize how much prices have come down though).

    As to the wear, my freshman year in college, I rode it through plenty of mud in the fall, left it outside for the winter, and took it back through the mud come spring. I may have oiled the chain once--and I certainly didn't bother with cleaning it. A year later I started commuting on it; at that point I might have started doing proper oiling. I rode until the chain started slipping, somewheres around the 1000 mile mark. When I did a new cassette and chain, I think that the chain wore fast due to the chainring (and winter commuting in Maine). This chain did wear fast--I think I only went 500 miles while commuting, but it too did see some off road stuff and other abuse.

    I now know (somewhat) better: don't leave the bike out over winter, regularly clean and oil the chain, and replace the chain when stretch is first noticed.
    '07 Trek Pilot 1.2
    '85 Panasonic Sport 1000 (beater, gone now)
    '69 Raleigh Sprite 5 speed (AW instead of S5, for now)

  14. #14
    Cries on hills supton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas
    In a nutshell; if you don't tell them what's wrong with the bike they have no way of knowing what to fix.

    You wouldn't go to your doctor and say; 'doctor, I feel ill, cure me!' and expect him to even know where to begin to look. You'll have to give him a specific symptom, just as you would in a bike shop.
    I pointed out the chain and front chainring when I brought it in, but didn't say "replace". I said, they look worn. I asked about the front brake lever and rear shifter, which appeared very loose. The pods got replaced but not any of the drivetrain. To their defense, if this was a road bike, I'd just ride on these parts until they started slipping, maybe that's their judgement of wear.

    When I go to the Doc, I tell him, "I have a sinus headache, might it be a sinus infection?" Not, "I need some xyz because I have a sinus infection". I figured, pointing out my concerns and then letting them have it was the proper thing, not "I know as much as you do and I need exactly this and this on my bike". As a newbie, I'm still figuring this stuff out; and honestly, by taking this bike to the shop, I thought I could just throw money at it so as to my bike back in good shape, while spending the time learning on my recently acquired road bike all these things.

    Anyhow, I'm just dragging out this thread now. I'll either take it back today and ask specifically for these parts to be replaced; or I'll buy the parts myself and do the work (my road bike has hit snags, so I don't mind switching project bikes).
    '07 Trek Pilot 1.2
    '85 Panasonic Sport 1000 (beater, gone now)
    '69 Raleigh Sprite 5 speed (AW instead of S5, for now)

  15. #15
    Feral Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Your experience is sounding more and more like my recent one. Yes you may be at fault for various reasons relating to lack of clarification.

    I wasn't sure whether I had misjudged my LBS' service or if it was me being narky. A subsequent visit to my good LBS here in the UK confirmed their dodgy handiwork.

    But hey...

    "If there's any doubt, there's no doubt"
    Quote Originally Posted by KrisPistofferson View Post
    Did you just say "minarchist?" I'm going to start a 10-page vaginathon because only Libertarians can define Libertarianism. Also, you're mean.

  16. #16
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattP.
    When you bring your bike in for a tune up/overhaul, make sure you tell the mechanic what in particular is wrong. When I check in bikes at the shop, first thing I'll ask is, "Any glaring issues or problems?" That's when they'll say "Oh it slipping on the middle ring and the smallest cog." or "it makes a clicking sound every pedal rotation." You can't expect the mechanic to read your mind.

    Also, it comes down to who does the work. There's mechanics at my shop that will do what we say we'll do in a tune up: lube the cables, true the wheels, adjust the brakes/bearings/derailleurs, and what not. Then there are a few mechanics (and I try to fall into this category) that will do all that, plus more. If the customer is running a full XT setup and it's a little stiff to shift (but it's still hitting all gears fine), I'm going to replace the housing and cable and make sure the shifting is dialed.

    So when you bring your bike in, make sure the mechanic writes on the tag any issues you are having, and when you come pick up the bike, ask who performed the tune up. Take it for a ride, everything cherry? Next time ask for that mechanic to perform the tune up. Not to your standards? Find a new shop, or next time speak with another mechanic and tell him/her your past experience.

    My .02 cents.
    That is how we do it as well. I want to know if the customer is having an issue so we can talk about what it might cost to fix and what stop gap can be done if the budget does not allow for full repair.
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  17. #17
    Dr.Deltron
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev.Chuck
    That is how we do it as well. I want to know if the customer is having an issue so we can talk about what it might cost to fix and what stop gap can be done if the budget does not allow for full repair.
    That + I like to do the same shake-rattle-n-roll with the customer that I do looking over garage sale/thrift store bikes.
    SHAKE the bearings. HS, BB, hubs, pedals
    RATTLE check by dropping the bike from about an inch up.
    ROLL the wheels and cranks
    Check for tire wear, brake pad wear & chain wear.

    So if Supton were to bring his bike to me, I would check over all items with him. Then I would get back to him with a thorough estimate after having carefully gone over the bike completely. Chain stretch is a standard to check when going over a bike for a "tune-up". At least for most of the shops I've worked in. One shop even checked frame alignment!~

    To me a "tune-up" is to check everything completely. Make minor adjustments such as screwing in barrel adjusters and taking out the slack in the wire. Center brake pads to the rim etc.

    An "overhaul" is to pull apart and rebuild/replace those parts of a bike requireing special tools/knowledge.
    Items that were discovered in the "tune-up". Such as a worn driveline.

    Supton's bike wouldn't have left my shop with out his knowing that the chain was stretched, and the cogs were worn. (and the knowledge of the difference of cogs and rings! )

    So for a shop to return a bike with a bad driveline and not mention it..., That's Baaaad.

    Of course, I have the pleasure of having my own bike shop.
    I fall victim to all the above foibles when I take my CAR in for "service"!




    C'est la vie, huh?

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