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Old 02-14-10, 06:55 PM   #1
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Tune ups

So I have been hearing some conflicting ideas about this and wanted to ask what you all think. How often should I take my bike to get tune ups. I ride between 6 and 10 miles four days a week and then 20-40 on the weekends. I've heard that I need to tune up the bike every month which seems excessive and every three months which sounded right and even once a year which sounds a bit neglectful.

I ride a road bike.

I know it would be helpful for me to learn to do the tune ups myself but I'm not mechanically inclined and don't really have any interest in doing my own maintenance beyond tires and such.

Please help and tell me what you think.

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Old 02-14-10, 07:05 PM   #2
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I doubt if your bike will need a tune up every month or even every three months. You should probably clean and lube your chain in that period of time. You should probably clean the rims in that period. Depending on how shifting and braking are doing, you might need to tweak the barrel adjusters or limit screws. But if it aint broke, don't fix it.
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Old 02-14-10, 09:37 PM   #3
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Lube the chain 2x/week, at least; check tire pressure regularly -- I do a 2x/day squeeze test, but I have a little OCD. Adjust shifting/brakes when there is a perceived performance loss. Plan on annual chain replacements, every 2 years AT THE MOST for gears and brake pads (if you have discs; annually for rim pads). I'm going into my 2nd year on cables, and have high hopes for another good year (XTR brake, Alligator Superfortress shift on my daily rider, Dakar XLT). Any loose-ball bearings you have will need at least an annual look.
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Old 02-14-10, 09:38 PM   #4
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The first few hundred miles on a new bike could "settle" things in where a tuneup might help, although most LBS's would do this for free.

After that, just clean and lube the chain regularly, wash it off when it gets dirty, keep the tires pumped up, and be aware of rattles, clicks, and loose stuff. If you ride 1000+ miles/year I think I'd get an annual tuneup - only if it included disassembly and lube of all bearings.

Being in dust/sand country, you might have different requirements. Check with a local club or group of riders.

Come to think of it, it's been a year and about 2800 miles for me, so I guess I'm due!
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Old 02-14-10, 10:29 PM   #5
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i intend to have a tune-up done sometime before july. a full tune-up. not sure when it had it's last one, though i know it hasn't had one since i've owned it. occasional chain lube; yea, tires checked; yep, more than that; not realy.

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Old 02-18-10, 03:58 PM   #6
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The best reckoner for when a bike needs a tuneup is you.

Before every ride you should Lube and put air in the tyres. But while on a ride- you will notice little things that are starting to go wrong. Gear changes not as smooth as usual- May be that the cables need oiling or that some adjustment is needed to the deraillers. Brakes may not be as effective as you want so check the pad alignment or contamination.

Then after the ride give it a check- even if you don't think anything is wrong. Give it a clean and find any loose bolts- wipe down the tyres with a damp cloth and get out any glass- thorns or grit before it pushed through the carcase and into the tube. Wipe down the chain to get excess dirt off it.

Basic maintenance is common sense and will save you a fortune. And you never know- You might learn to maintain the bike yourself and only have to use the shop for breakages.
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Old 02-18-10, 04:03 PM   #7
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once/year is enough. twice/year if you wanna be extra safe or your winters are bad.

What I do: ensure chain is (relatively) clean and lubed. I sometimes neglect it and let it get to a stage where t starts squeeking, but nothing some frequent lubing over few days cant fix.
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Old 02-18-10, 10:11 PM   #8
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I used to be a tune-by-the-clock guy, but I finally realized I was repacking bearings that were already running perfectly and lubing cables that still had fresh, clean lube on them (this was before cable housings came with liners that eliminate the need for that). Now, with a few exceptions, I fix things as they go wrong. You normally get plenty of warning when things like wheel bearings need attention, so there's no reason to tear them down every month or three months or whatever.
I weigh 240 and ride on rough pavement a lot, as well as some gravel roads. My headsets almost never need anything; they go 10,000 miles or more. Bottom brackets at least half that, hub bearings 5000 or so (though last time I tore them down, they didn't need it).
I lube the chain often, every couple of rides in winter and every 150 miles or so in summer (ProLink makes it easy and keeps the chain clean). Pivot points on the brakes and derailleurs get a drop (only) of lube when I think of it, which is probably more often than they really need it. Otherwise I just look the bike over every couple of weeks and fix anything that catches my attention. I haven't had a failure of anything, except for flat tires, in at least 30,000 miles.

Last edited by Velo Dog; 02-18-10 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 02-19-10, 01:12 PM   #9
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Why pay for excessive service if not needed. I just had my bike in at 2K miles for a tuneup. The chain, both brake pads ( rear set had become contaminated ), and the shift cables, were replaced. The bike rides better than new. Like others have said, keep the chain clean and lubed. Inflate the tires every time before you ride. Then ride the bike, until you notice bad sounds or shifting issues.
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