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  1. #1
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    Is "Free Lifetime Tune Ups" worth extra?

    My LBS is a bit overpriced but they advertise free lifetime tune ups for any bike purchased from the store. The lifetime is regarding the bike's life, of course...

    Anyways, I am interested in a Specialized Hardrock for 380~ at my LBS with "lifetime tune ups" or I can get the same bike for forty dollars cheaper someplace else. I called the LBS and asked what this perk means, the guy on the phone said its normally a $70 tune up per time, only free for bike purchasers whenever they want. What do you all think? The Yelp reviews don't mention this service much so I don't know how shady this is.

  2. #2
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    Stuff like that is only as good as the dealer,buyer beware. Also im guessing if there busy yours will wait while the paying customer gets looked after first. And it wont cover repairs im thinking. Also im guessing its the life of the bike to original owner. Thats the down side i can see.
    However im just looking at it from a skeptical point of view cause thats how i roll as the kids say.

  3. #3
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    Buyer beware, indeed. On the other hand, it's 40 bucks. If you aren't going to do the tuneups yourself (which you should), you'll get it back after about a tuneup and a half (I'm guessing--I haven't paid a mechanic in years).
    Really, though, a tuneup doesn't amount to much. I'm a so-so mechanic, and I can do what comes with most tuneups in a few minutes: Check/adjust the brakes and shifting, torque a few fasteners and make out the bill. In self-defense, you need to learn how to do it even if you choose not to do it on a regular basis, because eventually you'll have to fix something by the side of the road and you'll know how.
    As the other post said, anything that smacks of repair, including normal maintenance like packing bearings, is probably going to cost extra. And as the proud owner of a $380 bike, you're likely to wait until the guys with the Colnagos get serviced. Buy the bike at the shop you like best, but plan to do the work yourself.

  4. #4
    Blocking your fire exits coffeecake's Avatar
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    Around these parts, "free lifetime tune-ups" sometimes just mean "free" adjustments. To your brakes. And derailleur. Nothing extra. It totally depends on the integrity of your bike shop. I used to get free tune-ups (and they really were tune-ups, not just a couple of twiddles) from our LBS, but as our knowledge has increased, we just do it ourselves, and I feel bad for asking our mechanic to do it for free what we can do at home. Fortunately our patronage (2 bikes, wayyy too much accessories) has paid off in spades at the LBS where we now get discounts on things and some labour costs waived.

    So my advice is, buy the bike you like, but unless you are sure the LBS is going to give you the same care and attention they would to other customers, pay for it yourself or do it yourself. Treat your LBS with respect, and if they're decent people, it'll pay off later. If you're getting scammed on your free tune-ups, take it elsewhere and pay. You'll build up a rep at the other shop (unless all your LBSs are inconsiderate.) Once you build up some knowledge, start doing it yourself. It's not that difficult, and you'll know what you're talking about and whether other people do too.
    Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Tom Pedale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reach View Post
    My LBS is a bit overpriced but they advertise free lifetime tune ups for any bike purchased from the store. The lifetime is regarding the bike's life, of course...

    Anyways, I am interested in a Specialized Hardrock for 380~ at my LBS with "lifetime tune ups" or I can get the same bike for forty dollars cheaper someplace else. I called the LBS and asked what this perk means, the guy on the phone said its normally a $70 tune up per time, only free for bike purchasers whenever they want. What do you all think? The Yelp reviews don't mention this service much so I don't know how shady this is.
    I owned a shop for 6 years and we offered lifetime tune-ups on new bikes and the folks I sold it to also do the same. How is this economically feasible? Very simple. Of every 10 bikes we sold, we probably saw 1, maybe 2 that ever came back into the shop for any service whatsoever.

    There were of course, the customers who brought their bikes in more often. These customers were likely using their bikes more and were becoming "enthusiasts". They were getting free service, but they were also buying things as well (tires, pumps, clothing etc). We always looked at the opportunity to tune-up a customer's bike as a way to build a loyal customer by taking care of his service requests. Many returned the favor by becoming loyal customers, just like any other business.
    "Learn how to handle hot things. Keep your knives sharp. And above all, have a good time" - Julia Child

  6. #6
    Blocking your fire exits coffeecake's Avatar
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    ^^^ So that's why I never seem to save any money. Damn you LBS and your accommodating manner!
    Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
    ~ Oscar Wilde

  7. #7
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    If you ride a Hard Rock like a mountain bike is supposed to be ridden, you will be breaking parts well beyond what your free tune up covers.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
    May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

  8. #8
    Senior Member Tom Pedale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
    ^^^ So that's why I never seem to save any money. Damn you LBS and your accommodating manner!
    Is clever...no?
    "Learn how to handle hot things. Keep your knives sharp. And above all, have a good time" - Julia Child

  9. #9
    Senior Member Tom Pedale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
    If you ride a Hard Rock like a mountain bike is supposed to be ridden, you will be breaking parts well beyond what your free tune up covers.
    That rider will end up replacing parts..or more likely, buying a Stumpjumper..
    "Learn how to handle hot things. Keep your knives sharp. And above all, have a good time" - Julia Child

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Whose "lifetime"? Yours? The bicycle's? The life of the shop?

    When the shop closes down in 2 years ... where's your free "lifetime" tune up?

  11. #11
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Just take your bike into your local shop, for the free tune-ups, during non busy periods - you will get fast turnaround, and you will both be happy.....

    That's the beauty of a LBS - their accomodating customer service, but, it works both ways. Your accomodations are just as important to both your needs.

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


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  12. #12
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    For me, I would save the $40 because I do my own tune ups. I don't feel like having to drive out of my way TWICE to get a bike tuned, even if its "free"

    And, I bet their "free" tune up doesn't include wheel truing AND tensioning, which are two of the most important aspects of keeping a bicycle in proper tune.

    Keeping a bike tuned is pretty simple. I would rather work on my bike than on my car...

    However, if you don't feel you want to wrench on your bike, then buy the lifetime tune up. If you keep the bike for a long time, its probably worth it for someone who isn't going to do their own work

  13. #13
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    My LBS offers a lifetime tune up for any new bike purchased from their store. I have yet to take advantage of that offer due to their long turn around time, I can tune my own bikes, and as previously mentioned, the hassle of getting the bike to the LBS and back.

  14. #14
    Listen to me powers2b's Avatar
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    I would say it depends on the shop.
    There are a lot of shops that I would not want near my bike.
    There are some that go above and beyond.
    For most new riders it is a great no hassle deal.
    In my experience the bike usually outlasts the owners interest in cycling, so lifetime of the bike can mean several generations of a well adjusted bike hanging from the rafters of the garage.

    Enjoy
    Quote Originally Posted by SBFixed View Post
    You're a dick, if your bike gets stolen I hope that you don't get a thread.

  15. #15
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    Use the $40.00 savings to start your own tool set and learn to do manitenance yourself. It's not that hard, except derailler adjustment and fine tuning take a while, and maybe a little swearing. However, in no time your bike will be in perfect tune, all the time, and your swearing will be tip-top, too. bk

  16. #16
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    I think this is a good deal for someone that doesn't do their own maintenance, this is a good deal for bikes that would be falling apart from lack of maintenance and neglect because the owners don't realize that there is something wrong.

    I just got a new bike this winter with 2 years of free maintenance, but I doubt that I will ever use it except before my next tour in September. I normally do all my own wrenching unless I don't have the proper tools.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Tom Pedale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Whose "lifetime"? Yours? The bicycle's? The life of the shop?

    When the shop closes down in 2 years ... where's your free "lifetime" tune up?
    Well..you're done then..the shop I used to own is approaching it's 30 year anniversary. If you drag your 1981 model you originally purchased there,
    your free tune-ups "are good to go"...though there may not be much to work on!
    "Learn how to handle hot things. Keep your knives sharp. And above all, have a good time" - Julia Child

  18. #18
    Senior Member Tom Pedale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by powers2b View Post
    I would say it depends on the shop.
    There are a lot of shops that I would not want near my bike.
    There are some that go above and beyond.
    For most new riders it is a great no hassle deal.
    In my experience the bike usually outlasts the owners interest in cycling, so lifetime of the bike can mean several generations of a well adjusted bike hanging from the rafters of the garage.

    Enjoy
    Re: "well adjusted bike hanging from the rafters of the garage" I worked in a shop where a gentleman would bring in 2 bikes every year and tell us "install new tires & tubes, tune 'em up so I can hang them up in the garage until next year."
    "Learn how to handle hot things. Keep your knives sharp. And above all, have a good time" - Julia Child

  19. #19
    Senior Member Tom Pedale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nymtber View Post
    For me, I would save the $40 because I do my own tune ups. I don't feel like having to drive out of my way TWICE to get a bike tuned, even if its "free"

    And, I bet their "free" tune up doesn't include wheel truing AND tensioning, which are two of the most important aspects of keeping a bicycle in proper tune.

    Keeping a bike tuned is pretty simple. I would rather work on my bike than on my car...

    However, if you don't feel you want to wrench on your bike, then buy the lifetime tune up. If you keep the bike for a long time, its probably worth it for someone who isn't going to do their own work
    In the shop I once owned, our "free tune-ups" included wheel truing and tensioning. The best way to avoid doing this was to sell brands that had properly tensioned wheels from the factory. The worst offenders in this regard was Bianchi. During the assembly process of a new bike, we would properly tension the wheels, which greatly reduced customer dissatisfaction down the road. Bianchis also had the worst dropout alignment..easy to fix with d/out alignment tools. Bikes made in Asia (Taiwan or China) generally had the best overall consistency in paint and assembly. Hate to offend any "Europhiles", but in popular price ranges ($300-$1000) everytime we un-crated a new Bianchi , we would look for something that was left undone at the factory..because we knew there was always something. With Trek & Specialized, we didn't have those concerns. Still, with the latter two brands, we found higher consistent quality in the Asian origin bikes than the U.S. made. I'm not trying to offend anyone..that's just the way things sorted out. This was in the early to mid 90's..
    "Learn how to handle hot things. Keep your knives sharp. And above all, have a good time" - Julia Child

  20. #20
    Senior Member Tom Pedale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    Just take your bike into your local shop, for the free tune-ups, during non busy periods - you will get fast turnaround, and you will both be happy.....

    That's the beauty of a LBS - their accomodating customer service, but, it works both ways. Your accomodations are just as important to both your needs.
    You make some excellent points!
    "Learn how to handle hot things. Keep your knives sharp. And above all, have a good time" - Julia Child

  21. #21
    Senior Member colombo357's Avatar
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    For every good LBS there are a dozen bad ones. $40 extra for lifetime free tuneups is too cheap. A real $70 tuneup includes wheel truing a complete lubing. A free tuneup is probably nothing more than adjusting the brakes and shifters (with the barrel adjusters, no less).

    PASS.

  22. #22
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    I would pay the extra $40 for the free tune-ups. When you take it in to have them tune it up, ask if they will talk you through what they're doing. The shops I've dealt with have been happy to do this with simple jobs. This way, for $40 you get some one-on-one instruction on basic maintenance and are well on your way to doing it yourself. Sure, you could just read Sheldon Brown's tips and learn on your own, but nothing beats seeing it done.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    You need to get specifics as to what is covered in that tune up. It might just be labor for some adjustments. Parts are a big part of the repair business and that may not be covered. Removing and replacing cables, chains, etc. may not be part of the free deal.

  24. #24
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    I don't think I'd really let 'free tuneups' sway me anymore. It did on my first bike, but things I've noticed.

    a) The turn-around time at the shop is really slow, I'm guessing they nudge paying-customers up-top
    b) At my LBS, its a 'basic' tune-up -- it can act as credit towards their full-on tune-up.
    c) Parts still cost money
    d) The LBS I got my bike-shop at now, is no longer as convenient to get to as it used to be since I moved, I'd rather pay for it to be done at a location that is easier for me to pick up / drop off from.

    I want/need to learn how to do the basic adjustments myself anyways so the 'basic' tune-up isn't quite the selling point that it used to be - having to wait up to 4 days to get my breaks adjusted during peak-season is rather annoying.

  25. #25
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    I purchased my bike in February, my LBS has the free tune up, after 1000 miles, I brought it back, got the free tune up for the year.

    I also purchased two new road bikes, shoes, tires, ect.

    Building a relationship is more important to me then $40. I had a tire replaced, free. A flat fixed free. A tire fixed when I threw a spoke (the second time) free, and a guarantee that if it happens again they will replace the rim, free.

    My point is, its a business relationship, whats 40 bucks when they know your going to spend money, and you know your going to be taken care of?

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