My take on bike shop servicing

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Adam Harwood, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. Adam Harwood

    Adam Harwood New Member

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    Hi,
    I wondered what other people thought about the propensity of bike shops to give you a massive quote about all the new components you 'need' on your bike when you take it in for a simple servcice.

    I am very happy to pay to have the cables replaced along with new brake pads and I accept that some components do need replacing after a while, such as the chain, cassette, crankset etc, depending on what your mileage is. What I object to is the way bike shops make you think that these components are 'necessary' for your bike to work again. For my last 3 services (over about 2 and half years) i apparently have 'needed' a new chain, cassette, jockey wheel and crankset. After insisting that I cannot afford such replacements, I have been able to miraculously pedal my bike as before with minimal chain slippage. Yes, a slipping chain is frustrating, but one can easily adapt and it is hardly anything that would necessitate stopping riding the thing. The shifting I am sure isn't as smooth as it would be given new components, but they are fine for my commuting and semi-regular saturday and sunday rides.

    It would be nice to take my bike into a shop and not be told I need to spend £200 on replacement parts (I have even been told once that I need a new bike!) and then to not have an argument with the mechanic about why I am not going to spend that much money. It would be very nice if I could affort to have new cassettes and cranksets regularly - I am sure my bike would be much nicer to ride for it, but 'necessary'? I don't think so....

    What do others think?
     
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  2. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Chains need to be replaced when worn ( stretched ). If chains are not replaced they will lead to cassettes becoming prematurely worn.

    If you are bringing your bike in for regular service I would assume that you are not mechanically inclined enough to deal with a broken chain or other mechanical failure out on the road. I believe the LBS is making the same assumption and is recommending repairs to you that will prevent you from becoming stranded.

    As far as arguing with the shop mechanic I really don't see the need to from either side. You bring your bike in for service the tech notices your cables are becoming frayed and quotes 30.00 to replace. You cant afford it so you take it on advisement and thank him and leave with your bike. Case closed.
     
  3. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you OP, but it's not solely bike shops that are in the business to make money./img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif

    Bike shops, like any for-profit enterprise, have sales goals (for service and merchandise). Gotta understand this and anticipate it. As such, you'd do yourself a favor by pre-setting the mechanic's expectations by calling ahead of time and telling him/her that you just need this/that done now and will take care of any other issues at a later date. Kindly request the mechanic make a note of the issues found, and you'll get to them as time or funds allow...
     
  4. ProdigalCyclist

    ProdigalCyclist New Member

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    I gotta agree with you here.

    The OP has to understand that (most of the time) Bike Shops are simply giving advise to maintain the proper function of the bike. The OP needs to ask himself a question...

    What would happen IF...

    The Bike Shop in question had done repairs on said bike and not made recomendation of the repairs they suggested... he took his bike on a ride and 5 miles away from nowhere his chain failed? I'm pretty sure he'd be pissed... and I'm pretty sure he would go back to said Bike Shop to give them a piece of his mind.... Now.... what if his chain failed and he crashed? Some people (many people unfortunately) would think this is some sort of grounds for a suit.

    You take your bike to a shop to have it serviced... why would you be mad at them for making suggestions on what would make your bike more reliable (and safer)... but, if you think they are just trying to "bend you over" and the repairs they suggest are not legitimate... I suggest you find a more honest bike shop.
     
  5. Steve_A

    Steve_A Member

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    If they're selling him a new crankset at 2.5 years, give me a break. He's getting ripped off. Find a trustworthy shop.
     
  6. ProdigalCyclist

    ProdigalCyclist New Member

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    If they are trying to tell him to replace a 2.5 year old crankset then I would agree... but he never said how old his cranks are. He said that over the course of 2 years they have been telling him they need to be replaced... he never said how old they where (but I have to wonder about EVER really "needing" to replace a set of cranks for any sort of reliability) BUT... are they telling him his cranks need replacing or the chainrings? I can definately buy needing to replace chainrings... especially if the jockies chain and cassette are worn. And if the Jockies, chain and cassette are worn, we're not talking about a 2.5 year old bike.
     
  7. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    It's the LBS (for prophit enterprise) not the Public Library.

    The OP's bike has chain slippage he has admitted this in his post. Quote is put together to correct the problem. Evidently he has had the problem for quite some time and has not fixed it. This is the reason why everytime he goes into the shop they suggest he makes these repairs. He has decided that its not important to him to have these issues fixed so he doesnt.

    Leaves me to wonder why the heck is he wasting his time having a bike tuned up that he doent care to have operating properly in the first place./img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif
     
  8. tafi

    tafi Member

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    I would agree that there are some in the industry who do try to push sales onto customers (as there are in many industries). They are the kinds of business I avoid at any time. But, ultimately you, the customer, have the choice as to where to get your bike fixed. If you don't appreciate their "style", don't go back.
    However, I firmly believe that the number of unscrupulous businesses are on the decrease. It is a competetive market and the matter of choice dictates that these businesses should not survive without chainging their approach. If not, then the consumer must be a mug....

    That said, I take serious exception to your flawed mechanical logic.
    You talk about having "minimal chain slipage" and that being okay. If so then you would be in an extreme minority of customers. You might think it is something you can account for, but if it happens at an in-oportune moment and the rider is not expecting it (and I don't know too many riders who expect their chain to slip) it can cause crashes and serious injuries. A bike mechanic is duty bound to tell you when your bike is not safe to ride, and good bike mechanics will even tell you when the bike's performance is not optimal.

    No-one can "make" you buy anything you don't want and I would agree that it isn't the best practice to get into arguments with customers. But I can imagine, if I were that mechanic, being pretty frustrated with your obstinacy in denying anything is wrong with your bike. I'd also be offended if a customer with no obvious mechanical knowldge (which can easily be told from bike inspection), who is prepared to ride a bike fitted with sub-standard or worn parts would be prepared to doubt my credibility or honesty.
    The biggest irony of all this is that you could have saved yourself a lot more money by not getting the bike serviced in the first place. Why did you get it serviced if the before/after performance wasn't going to be any different?

    It is also worth remembering that you aren't the only customer who the mechanic has to deal with, and I can promise you that the vast majority of customers I have wrenched bikes for, appreciate being told when their components are worn. The majority would in fact be pretty pissed off if they got on their freshly serviced bike and found the chain slipping after the machanic had told them nothing (or that nothing was wrong).

    In short, if you have dropped your bike to me for a service I probably would have told you what is needed to make it perform correctly (as in your example). If it were really bad and you still refused to purchase the parts I would have politely told you that I cannot service your bike, since there would be very little I could do to improve its performance and it would mean me (and my workplace) essentially approving the use of unsafe equipment.
     
  9. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Thing is, what will you remember more? Getting hit by a stiffer bill, or getting a bike back that still isn't running 100%?

    Bike mechanics have to be FAST, and shops have to sell parts to get by. Between these two, and the wish not to have dissatisfied customers complaining about poor repair, there isn't much room to try partial fixes.

    Besides, it's hard enough to tell EXACTLY where "working good" is on the performance curve, but "unacceptably poor" is even harder to pin down.
    Sure, a rider can adapt, and nurse a failing bike along for mile after mile. But it's outright impossible to communicate your level of tolerance to someone else.

    If this bothers you, learn to do your own maintenance, and only source out specific, well-defined tasks.
    If you say "give my bike a tune-up", there's a lot of leeway in interpreting that, and the level of detail that goes into the job. But if you say "replace BB", or "replace headset" the task is much more well defined.
     
  10. Adam Harwood

    Adam Harwood New Member

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    Well said and great advice.... Thanks :eek:)
     
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