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Not sure about the tune-up job at my LBS

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Not sure about the tune-up job at my LBS

Old 03-11-14, 09:15 PM
  #1  
mattstuehler
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Not sure about the tune-up job at my LBS

All,

My kind sister recently gave me a 1990 Trek 1400 that's been sitting in her garage for at least 10 years.

Because I'm not an expert, I thought I'd bring it to my local bike shop to have them judge it's road-worthiness, and give it a full tune-up. The shop offers a "standard" $60 and "comprehensive" $120 tune-up; I opted for the comprehensive version.

So yesterday, after a week, I picked up the bike. They told me the bike was in fine shape, and after the full tune-up, it should serve me well.

As I was standing in the store - the mechanic noticed that the front tire was flat, so he pumped it up. No big deal, I thought.

I paid the balance, put the bike on my car rack, and brought it home. As I was unloading it, the front brake pad fell off. No big deal - I found the screw on the ground that holds the pad in the brake arm, and put it back together.

Otherwise - the bike looked like it was in fine shape.

This morning, I went to take it for my first ride, until I noticed the front tire was flat again.

Now I'm staring to wonder - I just paid $120 for a "comprehensive" tune-up, and they didn't seem to notice that the front brake pad was loose, and the front tube is flat. What else did they miss? Did they really do the tune-up?

So... I'm trying to decide what to do, and I'm interested in your opinion.

I don't know the bike shop THAT well - I've had my old mountain bike tuned up there a few times and the drivetrain replaced, and I've been happy with the service. Of course, since I'm not an expert, I'm not even sure I'd recognize shoddy work.

They're pretty friendly, and forthcoming with advice - I've always appreciated their expertise.

I've been happy to give them my business, in part because I really like supporting local businesses, especially a small, local bike shop. The owner and mechanics seems like good guys, and happy to help.

If you think these two details (missing the flat tire and loose brake pad) are insignificant or excusable - that's fine with me, because I easily fixed both myself. I'd hate to insult them over nothing and burn that bridge.

On the other hand - if you think that it suggests they didn't do a good job in the first place - would you bring it back? Should I still be concerned about the road-worthiness of the bike?

What would you do?
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Old 03-11-14, 09:42 PM
  #2  
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I'd bring it in and speak to the manager.

IMO the first flat is more forgivable, because odds are the bike tires were flat or nearly so when the bike came in, so the mechanic inflated them to pressure when he worked on the bike, then it was still Ok by the time he was done. It could have gone flat between then and when you came to pick it up.

BUT

That's where my patience would end.

When someone comes to pick up a bike and the tire is flat, simply pumping it up is an indication of a non caring attitude. The mechanic must have known the tire had a leak, since it couldn't have been left flat when the bike was worked on. Tires don't go flat by magic, so had air, now doesn't means a leak. Of course it might have been flat all along, but that would mean that someone did a comprehensive overhaul without noticing.

The brake shoe confirms that the work was shoddy. No way is that forgivable.

So go back, speak to the manager, explain the situation, and ask that the entire bike be given a proper once over by a different mechanic.

After that, find a new shop.
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Old 03-11-14, 09:42 PM
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I wonder what a $120 tune up covers... that a $60 tune up does not. Was there any new parts involved? Or was it just grease, oil, checking, adjusting, and supposedly making sure everything is tight.

The brake pad was missed and... shouldn't been. The type of error I would expect from a human. And one more reason to like our dogs.

The tire.... is no big deal. Bicycle tires don't hold air for prolonged periods of time (like cars do). It would have been almost impossible to spot such a slow leak while in the shop. You'll likely want a new tube. Cyclists own their own pumps and generally replace tubes and/or repair their own flats. Most cyclists carry an extra tube and/or patches and some sort of tire tools and small pump.

Lots of YouTube Videos on how to do this:

Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
.... So go back, speak to the manager, explain the situation, and ask that the entire bike be given a proper once over by a different mechanic.
I like that too!
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Old 03-11-14, 10:06 PM
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maybe the cost of everything is higher in his secret location?
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Old 03-11-14, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
maybe the cost of everything is higher in his secret location?
WTF does that mean fietsbob? I'm sure everyone appreciates your contribution.
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Old 03-11-14, 10:54 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by reddog3 View Post
WTF does that mean fietsbob? I'm sure everyone appreciates your contribution.
Some of us live in expensive places. You know - $1-$1.5M for a 1200-1500 square foot 1950s 3 bedroom ranch house. $3000/month 2 bedroom apartments. $90/square foot retail space ($135K annually for a tiny 1500 square foot LBS which isn't as affordable as it sounds because that's triple-net which requires the tenant to pay property tax, building insurance, and maintenance).

Around here a local not-so-competent shop gets $70 for wheel builds versus half that elsewhere for a good job.

I'm guessing the original poster neglected to mention they were in Boston the first time around which would let current and former residents judge the reasonableness of $60 and $120 tune-ups.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 03-11-14 at 10:58 PM.
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Old 03-11-14, 11:01 PM
  #7  
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I measure the quality of the bike store and their employees by quality of their service. Selling a bike its an easy job. Fixing it the right way and making customers happy is something different.
Instead of talking to the manager, I would just rather find a new shop that cares more. Flat tire is a bummer, but other things tell me they did a sloppy job...
I have a bike store near my house. Bought all my bikes there, but their service was so bad that I found other /perfect/ service in other town. Its not that convenient since it's adding 30 mins drive time comparing to the sloppy place, but if I need done something quick and the right way - its a no brained and peace of mind.
Still, thanks to the sloppy service at the first store, I learned all I needed to know from Youtube and from few lessons at the "good" shop, bought all tools I needed, and I started fixing all the bikes myself. Its easy, fun and save you a lot of $$$.
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Old 03-11-14, 11:05 PM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post

The tire.... is no big deal. ..... It would have been almost impossible to spot such a slow leak while in the shop.
Dave is much more forgiving and tolerant of poor work than I am. The leaky tire should have been obvious to any pro. Consider, th bike is worked on, and presumably the tire was filled (not doing so is poor work in itself). So a few days later when the bike is picked up the tire is flat. That could happen, and it would be nobody's fault. In fact it's fairly common, and isn't an issue. The issue is simply topping it off when the flat is discovered and is obviously a leak, having gone flat in a few days.

Did the person, who handed over the bike think the flat would fix itself, or his mechanics don't fill tires, or did he just not care? It doesn't matter, because whatever the answer is, this is a place not to go back to.

BTW- one service dept trick I learned some 40 years ago from Eddie-King of Bikes, was to top off both tires when bikes were taken in for repair. Then if the mechanic who worked on them later on noticed a tire was soft, he knew there was a leak, and could deal with it before rolling a newly repaired bike out to the customer with a flat. It's that kind of attention to detail that separates shops that cae from those that don't.

I might have been more forgiving of the loose brake shoe, (though not much, since this is something that is supposed to be checked) had it been the only thing, but there's enough here to call it a pattern of not caring.
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Old 03-11-14, 11:09 PM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post


....I'm guessing the original poster neglected to mention they were in Boston the first time around which would let current and former residents judge the reasonableness of $60 and $120 tune-ups.
With respect, this has nothing to do with anything, nor is it an excuse. The shop set the price, not the customer. It's not like there was a sign there, saying "due to high overhead, out $120 tuneups will be quick once overs. For quality tune ups we need to charge more"
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Old 03-11-14, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Did the person, who handed over the bike think the flat would fix itself, or his mechanics don't fill tires, or did he just not care?
You missed something...OP said he just paid for $120 "Comprehensive" tune-up. The one that includes doing everything right /including checking the tires/ is a "Super duper" tune-up for $180. OP shouldn't be a cheap bastard...its all his fault!
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Old 03-11-14, 11:49 PM
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Take it back and get an explanation - A good bike shop will keep you happy...
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Old 03-12-14, 05:23 AM
  #12  
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Basically agree with FB. Flat tire rolling the bike out to a customer does not mean top it off, it means investigate what the tune mechanic missed and fix it on the spot.

I don't quite understand how a brake pad could be loose enough to fall off and not be noticed during a tune, but I can imagine how it could be missed.

If you go back to the same shop, you give them an opportunity to make good on the situation. Maybe they swap tubes and fix the flat for free, offer apologies for the brake situation, which should horrify the service manager.

If you want to continue using that particular shop, confront them. If you'd rather not, you really don't gain much by going back and telling them about it. I'd still be compelled to write a short email note explaining things and see how it plays out, just for my own personal edification.
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Old 03-12-14, 05:23 AM
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Just be glad your not near Toronto. I went to a LBS last weekend and he wanted a $ 150 for a comprehensive tune up. The bikes I have aren't even worth that much.
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Old 03-12-14, 05:33 AM
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Neither item is acceptable, the flat should have been apparent when rolling the bike out for delivery and never presented to the OP, the loose brake is sloppy work regardless of the shop location.
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Old 03-12-14, 06:12 AM
  #15  
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Thanks for all the comments received so far.

Sorry I forgot to include my location - I'm in a suburb of Boston.

Re: prices - the shop was offering a winter special - about 15% off the regular prices. In general - the prices seem pretty comparable to other shops in the area.

As I mentioned - the flat, by itself, is no big deal. I can definitely fix that by myself. Same with the brake pad.

I guess what I'm really asking is whether those are two things that could easily be overlooked in an otherwise perfectly competent tune-up. Or, does it suggest that I should be worried about what else might have been overlooked?

The reason I'm asking about this is that it's not just an ordinary tune-up of my regular bike; this is a 24 year old bike that's been sitting in a garage for at least the last 10 years, with a totally unknown amount of mileage on it. So, I was really hoping that they'd give it a careful review.

I don't want to slam the shop, and I'm perfectly happy to give them the benefit of the doubt if you think these things seem like minor details. Or maybe the mechanic just had a bad day. But if you think it means they charged me $120 but didn't really do anything, I guess I need to call them on it.
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Old 03-12-14, 06:36 AM
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Hi all,

The problem here is that any tune-up plan/offer has to indicate exactly what is going to be done to a bicycle, so you can decide which offer you prefer based on the work that is going to be done. From my point of view, a $120 "comprehensive" tune-up must include replacing inner tubes, brake pads, and cables. Also, it must include verifying that all bolts are tight (including brake pad bolts), adjusting the braking and shifting cables (obviously because they are new ones), replacing broken spokes and truing the wheels. You may think that this is too much for "just" $120 but, apart from the $15 of the material, you just spent working hours and, for what I have mentioned, a professional should not spend more than two hours (> $50 per hour).

To sum up, I think that the work on OP's bicycle has been poor or negligent. A reputed LBS must offer some quality in the work. As it has been said here, selling a bicycle is not determinant judging the work quality but making a tune-up is. I recommend to the OP to talk to the boss in order to know what has been the problem so that it is not repeated in the future. I think this is better than moving to another LBS, but that depends on its response.

Regards,
Pedro
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Old 03-12-14, 06:42 AM
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The work was unacceptable, but sometimes things happen. Take it back and have a straightforward discussion with the manager. If there's an apology and an explanation, OK. Perhaps you give them another shot in the future. If not, go elsewhere.
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Old 03-12-14, 07:19 AM
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First take the bike back and give the shop a chance to make it right with you. Then if they resist, tell them you will never be back, and you will be sure and tell all your cycling friends not to go there.

This is reason enough to do your own spring maintence if you have the knowledge and tools. Bike shops cant afford to do all the checks, cleaning, and maintence I do, even for $120. I check and clean EVERYTHING. Added up over the several days I do this full maintence, it will probably total 12 hours.
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Old 03-12-14, 07:19 AM
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Way out here, $60 is flat rate labor, parts on top of that, where the OP is is unknown..

a lot of that time, is just cleaning the bike , because the owner didn't bother .

NYC with 3 taxing authorities ,and Honolulu, likely charge more , because rents are higher for the shop, overhead, and all that.

guy doing the work still at min wage ..

$120 & No Parts? <I have to guess, IDK>

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Old 03-12-14, 07:31 AM
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OP should take the shoddy repair back to the lbs and speak to the manager. This has happened with past employees at the shop where I manage, and I have always fixed the bike personally on the spot free of charge. Depending of the oversight sometimes I would throw in extras. It's embarrassing when it happens, but at the wages lbs's pay it is difficult to find good solid consistent help.

And if they refuse to fix it(which they won't) never return.
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Old 03-12-14, 07:55 AM
  #21  
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I just noticed this from a LBS i go to

Deluxe Tune-Up Package - This package provides your bike with the periodic maintenance recommended by the owners manual. With this package, we will adjust all the major systems, including:

Shifting System - Adjust derailleurs & cables
Braking system - Adjust brakes, pads, & cables
Wheel system - Adjust hubs, true & tension spokes
Steering System - Adjust headset
Bottom Bracket - Adjustment

This maintenance is recommended based on normal usage. Parts are Additional -
$120.00
So $120 covers adjustments. The mechanic probably put the bike on a stand, did some checks and inspections, and probably forgot to tighten a brake pad screw. I imagine this time of year shops get busy with people pulling old bikes out of garages and storage and wanting to ride.

Someone that gets paid minimum wage makes a mistake! It sounds like most people posting here don't ever do the same.

I would take the bike back, have them check the pads to be sure they are adjusted right, and say I am disappointed with the service. They should apologize and make everything right.
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Old 03-12-14, 08:08 AM
  #22  
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Ok...

Fixing flats is not included in the tune-up, so no harm there.

The loose brake pad bolt is trivial; an easy mistake for anyone to make. No harm there either.

The bike is very clean, the bar tape has been redone, and the seat height was changed, so I'm guessing they took it out for a ride. All this tells me they actually did the work.

The only thing I noticed is that the front derailleur is a little off (it rubs the chain when it's on the small ring). So, I'm going to take it back in and ask for an adjustment on that.

But bottom line, seems like they did a fair job for a reasonably low price.

Thanks again for everyone's perspective on this.
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Old 03-12-14, 08:09 AM
  #23  
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I'd say take it back and ask them to do it again. Sounds like they didn't do a good job the first time around.
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Old 03-12-14, 08:59 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by mattstuehler View Post
Ok...

Fixing flats is not included in the tune-up, so no harm there.

The loose brake pad bolt is trivial; an easy mistake for anyone to make. No harm there either.

The bike is very clean, the bar tape has been redone, and the seat height was changed, so I'm guessing they took it out for a ride. All this tells me they actually did the work.

The only thing I noticed is that the front derailleur is a little off (it rubs the chain when it's on the small ring). So, I'm going to take it back in and ask for an adjustment on that.

But bottom line, seems like they did a fair job for a reasonably low price.

Thanks again for everyone's perspective on this.
Flat fix might not be included in the tune up, but whoever rolled the bike out to you should have investigated why it was flat and offered you an opportunity to give the shop more high-margin money by offering to fix it.

Brake pad bolt is certainly not trivial, but I can imagine scenarios where it might have been missed if the brake was centered, hitting the rim OK, operable from the lever, and in decent condition.

Seat height might have been changed simply to fit it into a stand clamp: + to the shop for clamping correctly; - to the shop for not marking it where it was and putting it back where it should be after work was done.

Bringing the bike back in for that small adjustment is a perfect opportunity to bring up the other issues you experienced. First thing not to say: "So I was talking to some people online about this situation..."
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Old 03-12-14, 09:11 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Dave is much more forgiving and tolerant of poor work than I am...........
I think your right. I think I've maybe been a little too tolerant of the local shop that has done some work for me as well. Maybe I should have switched shops because of the service [or lack of] I received. We have 4 LBS within maybe 7 miles from my home.

Instead... more and more... I do my own wrenching. I've taken to buying project bikes as a way to improve my experience and skills. And I really enjoy the wrenching itself.
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