Should I feel ripped off by this repair?



Edisonian

New Member
Aug 17, 2010
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Hey there -- First post to this board. Hope you guys can help with some advice.

Two weeks ago, I dropped off my bike at the LBS for a tune-up and a change to a bigger cassette in preparation for a hilly race I've entered in mid-September.

I got an estimate of $240, which seemed a little pricey, especially since my bike, a Trek 1200 2003, cost me $400 when I bought it used six years ago.

The $240 included a tune-up, new handlebar tape, a new cassette, a new chain because of the new cassette, and a new front brake. They would also install new pedals, which I had purchased.

I probably could have done it all for cheaper, but I bit the bullet because I wanted to be prepared for the race, and I was going to be out of town for two weeks, which would be a perfect time for my bike to be worked on.

When I returned on Monday, the bike hadn't been worked on, and the mechanic told me he thought I'd be back on Wednesday.

I really wanted to ride, and was a bit disappointed, but I said ok when he said he'd be done with it on Tuesday.

The mechanic called me later on Monday and said the work was done, but that he didn't have the cassette he based my estimate on, so he installed a more expensive one, bumping the total to $285. He just did it -- didn't ask.

I thought this was a greater offense, because the bike had been with them for two weeks, during which they could have ordered the part. I decided to stay positive -- maybe the work would be worth it.

I got the bike back today, and it's cleaned up quite a bit, but I'm not sure it's worth the $285 I paid.

The biggest thing for me is, the new cassette is the same 9-speed I had on my bike.

It's an Ultegra, whereas I had a Tiagra, but it seems like I paid an extra $100 for a new cassette and $50 for a new chain for no reason. He didn't even return the old cassette.

I was thinking about getting a new bike at the end of the season anyhow, so I really didn't want to spend this much to upgrade.

I'm reluctant to make a big stink because the mechanic has been personable so far, and this is the closest LBS to me, so I sometimes join their group rides. I've been getting better by riding with them, but I also get dropped at times, and there are only so many local routes, so I don't necessarily need to ride with them. There are other bike shops in the area, but they're farther away.

I went to them for my repair because I know the mechanic a little from the group rides, and the previous repair I had them do -- a simple rear brake change -- was reasonable. Maybe it was a little on the pricey side, but the LBS is in a pricey location.

It seems like the right thing to do is complain, but I want to make sure I'm not doing it out of ignorance. As a business person, I would like to know when one of my customers feels wronged. So that's why I'm writing here -- what do you think? Am I justified in my concern, and if so, what do you think I should do about it?
 

GT Fanatic

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Apr 15, 2010
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Edisonian said:
Hey there -- First post to this board. Hope you guys can help with some advice.

Two weeks ago, I dropped off my bike at the LBS for a tune-up and a change to a bigger cassette in preparation for a hilly race I've entered in mid-September.

I got an estimate of $240, which seemed a little pricey, especially since my bike, a Trek 1200 2003, cost me $400 when I bought it used six years ago.

The $240 included a tune-up, new handlebar tape, a new cassette, a new chain because of the new cassette, and a new front brake. They would also install new pedals, which I had purchased.

I probably could have done it all for cheaper, but I bit the bullet because I wanted to be prepared for the race, and I was going to be out of town for two weeks, which would be a perfect time for my bike to be worked on.

When I returned on Monday, the bike hadn't been worked on, and the mechanic told me he thought I'd be back on Wednesday.

I really wanted to ride, and was a bit disappointed, but I said ok when he said he'd be done with it on Tuesday.

The mechanic called me later on Monday and said the work was done, but that he didn't have the cassette he based my estimate on, so he installed a more expensive one, bumping the total to $285. He just did it -- didn't ask.

I thought this was a greater offense, because the bike had been with them for two weeks, during which they could have ordered the part. I decided to stay positive -- maybe the work would be worth it.

I got the bike back today, and it's cleaned up quite a bit, but I'm not sure it's worth the $285 I paid.

The biggest thing for me is, the new cassette is the same 9-speed I had on my bike.

It's an Ultegra, whereas I had a Tiagra, but it seems like I paid an extra $100 for a new cassette and $50 for a new chain for no reason. He didn't even return the old cassette.

I was thinking about getting a new bike at the end of the season anyhow, so I really didn't want to spend this much to upgrade.

I'm reluctant to make a big stink because the mechanic has been personable so far, and this is the closest LBS to me, so I sometimes join their group rides. I've been getting better by riding with them, but I also get dropped at times, and there are only so many local routes, so I don't necessarily need to ride with them. There are other bike shops in the area, but they're farther away.

I went to them for my repair because I know the mechanic a little from the group rides, and the previous repair I had them do -- a simple rear brake change -- was reasonable. Maybe it was a little on the pricey side, but the LBS is in a pricey location.

It seems like the right thing to do is complain, but I want to make sure I'm not doing it out of ignorance. As a business person, I would like to know when one of my customers feels wronged. So that's why I'm writing here -- what do you think? Am I justified in my concern, and if so, what do you think I should do about it?

A full tune-up usually runs $70-$100 in itself, depending on the LBS. If it's a full disassembly, it can run more.

Depending on the handlebar tape you got, some of it can be pricey. Also, depending on the cassette, that could have cost you a few dollars.

Now, ask yourself, "Was my bicycle fixed correctly? Am I happy with the work?" If you can answer "Yes" to both of those questions, than the price was justified.

In the future, I would suggest inquiring with a shop before just dropping off your bike and telling them to "tune it up" for you. Do some legwork and find out what services they are going to be doing, and find out what parts (if any) are going to be needed, and get a price on them.
 

Edisonian

New Member
Aug 17, 2010
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GT Fanatic said:
A full tune-up usually runs $70-$100 in itself, depending on the LBS. If it's a full disassembly, it can run more.

Depending on the handlebar tape you got, some of it can be pricey. Also, depending on the cassette, that could have cost you a few dollars.

Now, ask yourself, "Was my bicycle fixed correctly? Am I happy with the work?" If you can answer "Yes" to both of those questions, than the price was justified.

In the future, I would suggest inquiring with a shop before just dropping off your bike and telling them to "tune it up" for you. Do some legwork and find out what services they are going to be doing, and find out what parts (if any) are going to be needed, and get a price on them.

Thanks for your reply. Yeah, I'm generally ok with everything except for the whole cassette issue, so that's why it's not so clear that I should make an issue of it.

I'm not the most experienced cyclist, but I did have some discussion with the mechanic. I told him I wanted a new cassette to handle the hills in the race, and a tune-up to tighten the brake lines, and the front brake changed. We went through the prices, and all the estimates seemed above-board. In particular, he told me the cassette would be about $40, and that I'd need a new chain to go with the new cassette at $50. The total was $240.

My main pain point is that he switched in a new cassette that's not much use to me, without running it by me, and two weeks late. That raised the estimate from $240 to $285, which is nearly 20% more.
 

alienator

Well-Known Member
Jun 10, 2004
12,596
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Edisonian said:
Thanks for your reply. Yeah, I'm generally ok with everything except for the whole cassette issue, so that's why it's not so clear that I should make an issue of it.

I'm not the most experienced cyclist, but I did have some discussion with the mechanic. I told him I wanted a new cassette to handle the hills in the race, and a tune-up to tighten the brake lines, and the front brake changed. We went through the prices, and all the estimates seemed above-board. In particular, he told me the cassette would be about $40, and that I'd need a new chain to go with the new cassette at $50. The total was $240.

My main pain point is that he switched in a new cassette that's not much use to me, without running it by me, and two weeks late. That raised the estimate from $240 to $285, which is nearly 20% more.


Make them get the cassette they'd promised they'd get, i.e. the one you wanted. Don't pay for the cassette you didn't want.
 

swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
10,075
381
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So you got essentially and upgraded cassette but with the same ratios, not the bigger sprockets you wanted and paid a princely sum for it? I'd give them a call and get the cassette you wanted. At the very least the ratios you wanted.

Two things I'd recommend:

Leonard Zinn's bike book. It's a good read and has all the good stuff about bikes. Forget building wheels and cutting steerer tubes and old school stuff like facing bottom bracket shells with expensive tools - the rest of a bike is a pretty simple piece of kit.

A cassette only takes a chain whip and cassette removal tool to change - a 5 minute job.

Chains... Depends on what you get but worse case, something like a dura ace 7800 chain with the silly pins that need both a chain tool and a pair or pliers. Not rocket science but just read the instructions that come with the stuff - which incedenty, Shimano puts up on their website under Tech Docs.

Brake calipers - 10 minutes for a shop (allowing time for a coffee and a chat).

Bar tape - it takes a little time to do a really nice even job and to remove all the junk from the old tape. Half and hour tops. Again, nothing you need an engineering background for.

The best, and most expensive, tool you'll need is a torque wrench. A nice 3/8th drive wrench will set you back $50 to $80 plus a set of metric 3/8th drive Allen keys. Tighten those bolts right, first time every time.

Get some loctite blue for situations where you need a threadlocking compound, some grease which doesn't need to be fancy - a bike doesn't place a high load or has bits rotate at a high enough speed to really warrant $big money stuff.

Chain - park chain cleaning tool is ace. Repsol motorbike 'green' spray lube for the wet. Oil or the dry. You don't need much and the oil is basically there to stop water and dirt getting in. It's be shown that a bone dry chain is just as efficient as one with uber fancy lube. I work at a refinery that makes very specialized lubricants and the guys that work in the labs don't waste their money on fancy stuff for their bikes. Cars, yes - bikes, no.

A set of regular metric Allen wrenches and cone spanners in the size that fits your hubs (if needed) and you'll be all set.
 

GT Fanatic

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Apr 15, 2010
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I missed the part about the "surprise upgrade." If the shop didn't run it by you that you wanted this part, you should have either taken the bike home with you, or left it there until they got the correct part, but I'm sure you know that by now. :( Did they contact you and tell you they replaced the part with a more expensive one, or did you just show up to pay for the bike, and there it was?

You could try to return to the LBS and tell them you want the other cassette, but they will probably fight you on it since you already paid for it and took the bike. The three options you're probably left with are A) be happy you got an upgraded part, or B) just strike it up to a $45 lesson learned, and feel bad, or C) all of the above...
 

TKOS

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Oct 6, 2004
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Other than the wrong cassette and gear ratios, the price is about right.
 

Yojimbo_

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Apr 17, 2005
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If the LBS values your business they'll take back the cassette and give you the one you asked for. If they don't take it back tell them "Thanks you'll be finding a new store to deal with".
 

Edisonian

New Member
Aug 17, 2010
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Thanks very much for your replies.

I'll call the LBS later today and ask why they switched in a new cassette with the same gear ratio, when I didn't need it. It sounds like I'm justified in asking for this at least, since they didn't really give me a choice if I wanted the part -- they called and just said the old one we agreed on wasn't in stock, and they put on a new one.

Unfortunately, leaving the bike here didn't cross my mind. I'd been away from riding for two weeks, I'd already lost two days since my return, and I needed to get back into the saddle. Hopefully things will turn out alright.

Oh, and Swampy -- thanks for your extra bit of advice. It helps to know how much time and effort all this effort took.
 

cycleheimer

Member
Mar 10, 2010
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Edisonian said:
Thanks very much for your replies.

Unfortunately, leaving the bike here didn't cross my mind. I'd been away from riding for two weeks, I'd already lost two days since my return, and I needed to get back into the saddle. Hopefully things will turn out alright.

Oh, and Swampy -- thanks for your extra bit of advice. It helps to know how much time and effort all this effort took.

Being able to work on your own bike can save you time as well as money. It can also get you back in the saddle when shop repairs aren't readily available. Some repairs are very simple. You just need a few specialized tools, and you need to make sure you get the correct parts. Just match them up with/to what you currently have. Reputable discount online suppliers like Nashbar and Niagara Cycle Works can load you up with everything you need at steep discounts. You can also look online for "how-to" video clips and information that can help you to do most repairs. You also ride with a greater sense of self-reliance, which is part of the aura surrounding cycling in the first place. As far as the LBS...still probably the best place to buy a decent bike at the outset.
 

sprintgpsiphone

New Member
Apr 17, 2010
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Mmmm,

To change a cassette is a 15 min job with the correct tool, which you can get for a few quid, it's a good idea to get use to doing it, so you can better optimise your training, bike preferences.. The fact is, you got the same ratio's back, which, for a race, it's the ratio's matched to your same power output. A few milli seconds lost power on a up change / down change due to 105, versus ultegra, or dura ace is not going to matter. Or the weight difference, just don't eat a 80g's of anything the day before.

Seriously, I think you have been done, if you specified you wanted different ratios? Or did you specify I want it to work better, and your chain and cassette was worn?

Anyway, cycling is a lot fun, even if my ratios never seem to be as good as I want. He he

Graham
 

Edisonian

New Member
Aug 17, 2010
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I called the bike shop this morning -- I'm still a bit disappointed, but I think I'll let it go. I think it was due to sloppiness on both sides.

Basically, I went in and asked for a tune-up and cassette change to help me deal with hills. The mechanic said he would try. I remember he pointed out to me that I would need a new $50 chain with the $40 cassette, especially since the chain was worn.

I said ok, but grumbled a bit that it was only a $400 bike, and that I was planning to buy a new bike soon. But I wanted to be prepared for the upcoming race, so I'd go with it.

He replaced the cassette without looking at what the old one was, and just put in what he thought was most appropriate... which turns out to be what I had in there previously.

It seems to me his mind was on just the wear on the cassette and chain. The cassette is the original part, but the chain had been replaced since. The cassette probably could have warranted replacement, but since I planned to buy a new bike soon, it wouldn't be worth the expense for me.

My concern was balancing the expense of a new cassette with the bonus I'd get for the hilly race. I didn't specifically ask for a certain gear ratio, mainly because I didn't know what to ask for. Once I got that far, I figured I could practically do it myself. I should have asked for one specifically, it seems.

The mechanic offered to change my 12-27 out for a 11-28, but I don't think that'll make enough of a difference. He said once I go into the 30s, hybrid and mountain bike cassettes -- he rarely puts those in.

So, lesson learned. I don't think they ripped me off, but I know I should be more careful in the future, especially since they were late with the work, then swapped out the old cassette for a more expensive one without thinking or consulting me, when they had time to get the part we'd agreed on.

I know now to be more specific about my requests in the future. This seems like another good reason to learn how to do the repairs myself.
 

rparedes

New Member
Jul 21, 2007
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cycleheimer said:
Being able to work on your own bike can save you time as well as money. It can also get you back in the saddle when shop repairs aren't readily available. Some repairs are very simple. You just need a few specialized tools, and you need to make sure you get the correct parts. Just match them up with/to what you currently have. Reputable discount online suppliers like Nashbar and Niagara Cycle Works can load you up with everything you need at steep discounts. You can also look online for "how-to" video clips and information that can help you to do most repairs. You also ride with a greater sense of self-reliance, which is part of the aura surrounding cycling in the first place. As far as the LBS...still probably the best place to buy a decent bike at the outset.

Plus... working on your own bike is fun :D
 

sprintgpsiphone

New Member
Apr 17, 2010
5
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rparedes said:
Plus... working on your own bike is fun :D

Agreed, it also means you know it's not going to fall apart on the descent, just because someone took a tea brake before finishing tightening up a important nut.

Confidence is worth a lot at high speeds.

Graham
 

TKOS

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Oct 6, 2004
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You have a 12-27? A 11-28 is an okay change, but seriously I don't think it will make much difference. And yes, getting into larger cassettes probably means a change of dérailleur. A 12-27 is a great hill climb gear set, IMO. I thought maybe you had a 11-25 or 12-25.

I think that ultimately you will want to keep this bike if you have the room for it, even if you get a new bike. It is a great idea to have a "beater bike" for those rainy days, wintry days etc... when you don't want to take out your fancy new bike. The new chain and cassette will just make it last that much longer.
 

Edisonian

New Member
Aug 17, 2010
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Thanks for the feedback.

Graham writes, "confidence is worth a lot at high speeds" -- but I chuckle because I think I'd be more fearful if I did the work myself!

 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
6,723
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Edisonian said:
Hey there -- First post to this board. Hope you guys can help with some advice.

Two weeks ago, I dropped off my bike at the LBS for a tune-up and a change to a bigger cassette in preparation for a hilly race I've entered in mid-September.

I got an estimate of $240, which seemed a little pricey, especially since my bike, a Trek 1200 2003, cost me $400 when I bought it used six years ago.

The $240 included a tune-up, new handlebar tape, a new cassette, a new chain because of the new cassette, and a new front brake. They would also install new pedals, which I had purchased.

I probably could have done it all for cheaper, but I bit the bullet because I wanted to be prepared for the race, and I was going to be out of town for two weeks, which would be a perfect time for my bike to be worked on.

When I returned on Monday, the bike hadn't been worked on, and the mechanic told me he thought I'd be back on Wednesday.

I really wanted to ride, and was a bit disappointed, but I said ok when he said he'd be done with it on Tuesday.

The mechanic called me later on Monday and said the work was done, but that he didn't have the cassette he based my estimate on, so he installed a more expensive one, bumping the total to $285. He just did it -- didn't ask.

I thought this was a greater offense, because the bike had been with them for two weeks, during which they could have ordered the part. I decided to stay positive -- maybe the work would be worth it.

I got the bike back today, and it's cleaned up quite a bit, but I'm not sure it's worth the $285 I paid.

The biggest thing for me is, the new cassette is the same 9-speed I had on my bike.

It's an Ultegra, whereas I had a Tiagra, but it seems like I paid an extra $100 for a new cassette and $50 for a new chain for no reason. He didn't even return the old cassette.

I was thinking about getting a new bike at the end of the season anyhow, so I really didn't want to spend this much to upgrade.

I'm reluctant to make a big stink because the mechanic has been personable so far, and this is the closest LBS to me, so I sometimes join their group rides. I've been getting better by riding with them, but I also get dropped at times, and there are only so many local routes, so I don't necessarily need to ride with them. There are other bike shops in the area, but they're farther away.

I went to them for my repair because I know the mechanic a little from the group rides, and the previous repair I had them do -- a simple rear brake change -- was reasonable. Maybe it was a little on the pricey side, but the LBS is in a pricey location.

It seems like the right thing to do is complain, but I want to make sure I'm not doing it out of ignorance. As a business person, I would like to know when one of my customers feels wronged. So that's why I'm writing here -- what do you think? Am I justified in my concern, and if so, what do you think I should do about it?
First, you shouldn't gauge the cost of maintenance on what you paid for the bike ...

BUT, if you paid only (!?!) $100 + $50 + $20 for the cassette, chain, and handlebar tape ... and new brake (pads?) ...
$50 for the chain?!? Did a Rabbi come to the shop & make it a Kosher chain?
Plus about $15 for sales tax ...

Then that means you were charged about $100 for the labor (presuming the $285 included the tax) -- about one hour's worth of labor.
Where do you live & where is this high-rent bike shop located?

If you're keen to pay that much, again, then you can sign me up to work on your bike the next time you need some work done on it!
Regardless, you should have them exchange that Ultegra cassette for an 11-30 or 11-32/(LX) cassette + refund the difference in the cost between the two cassettes ... there's no point in having (or, paying for) an Ultegra cassette on your bike.
HOW IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE for the shop's mechanic to think that the 12-27 cassette which he installed on your bike was "bigger" than the same-size cassette he was removing from your bike?!?
BTW. YOU/(i.e., anyone) can use a Shimano Road derailleur with a 32t cog if you replace the 11t upper pulley wheel with a 10t (9-speed) pulley wheel. I've been making that swap for the past 10 years ever since I figured out what the design problem was which caused the maximum cog size limitation on Shimano's 9-speed Road rear derailleurs.

This can be a DIY project ...

The attachments show two bikes whose 11t upper pulley wheel was replaced with a 10t pulley wheel ...

The bike in the first pic has an 11-32 cassette [the short derailleur hanger precludes using a larger cog with a Shimano Road rear derailleur] & the second bike currently has a 12-34 cassette ...

Both cassettes are 9-speed Shimano cassettes.
If I was using 10-speed cassettes, then I would buy cannibalize a 9-speed LX cassette for the 32t cog which I would then restack onto the bulk of the 10-speed cassette (minus one of the intermediate cogs).
I treat the largest cog as a bail-out cog, so the 28t is theoretically the largest active cog on the 11-32 cassette and the 30t is theoretically the largest active cog on the 12-34 cassette ... the cranksets have 53/39 chainrings on both bikes.

BTW. Shimano rear derailleurs (at least, the ones which I have) can easily handle an 8t difference between cogs when using CAMPAGNOLO shifters ... so, if you wanted, you could probably/possibly start with a 12-25 and then stack a 32t cog onto it.
 

Edisonian

New Member
Aug 17, 2010
10
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alfeng said:
First, you shouldn't gauge the cost of maintenance on what you paid for the bike ...

BUT, if you paid only (!?!) $100 + $50 + $20 for the cassette, chain, and handlebar tape ... and new brake (pads?) ...
$50 for the chain?!? Did a Rabbi come to the shop & make it a Kosher chain?
Plus about $15 for sales tax ...

Then that means you were charged about $100 for the labor (presuming the $285 included the tax) -- about one hour's worth of labor.
Where do you live & where is this high-rent bike shop located?

If you're keen to pay that much, again, then you can sign me up to work on your bike the next time you need some work done on it!
Regardless, you should have them exchange that Ultegra cassette for an 11-30 or 11-32/(LX) cassette + refund the difference in the cost between the two cassettes ... there's no point in having (or, paying for) an Ultegra cassette on your bike.
HOW IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE for the shop's mechanic to think that the 12-27 cassette which he installed on your bike was "bigger" than the same-size cassette he was removing from your bike?!?
BTW. YOU/(i.e., anyone) can use a Shimano Road derailleur with a 32t cog if you replace the 11t upper pulley wheel with a 10t (9-speed) pulley wheel. I've been making that swap for the past 10 years ever since I figured out what the design problem was which caused the maximum cog size limitation on Shimano's 9-speed Road rear derailleurs.

This can be a DIY project ...

The attachments show two bikes whose 11t upper pulley wheel was replaced with a 10t pulley wheel ...

The bike in the first pic has an 11-32 cassette [the short derailleur hanger precludes using a larger cog with a Shimano Road rear derailleur] & the second bike currently has a 12-34 cassette ...

Both cassettes are 9-speed Shimano cassettes.
If I was using 10-speed cassettes, then I would buy cannibalize a 9-speed LX cassette for the 32t cog which I would then restack onto the bulk of the 10-speed cassette (minus one of the intermediate cogs).
I treat the largest cog as a bail-out cog, so the 28t is theoretically the largest active cog on the 11-32 cassette and the 30t is theoretically the largest active cog on the 12-34 cassette ... the cranksets have 53/39 chainrings on both bikes.

BTW. Shimano rear derailleurs (at least, the ones which I have) can easily handle an 8t difference between cogs when using CAMPAGNOLO shifters ... so, if you wanted, you could probably/possibly start with a 12-25 and then stack a 32t cog onto it.

Thanks for the input. A little pricey, I know. The $100 for labor seems about right -- they quoted me $75 for a tune-up, which is the going price around here.

I think I'm going to let this issue drop now. I appreciate all the feedback, and it helped me a lot.

I knew they were on the pricey side, so I'm cutting them some slack -- even though that doesn't forgive the lateness or repair-without-checking-in. I'm still debating whether I should identify them or not ... it didn't seem completely malicious, and I'd still like the option of riding with them if possible.
 

CalicoCat

Member
Jan 10, 2010
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FWIW, I don't think you paid too much, and you probably got what you ultimately needed. Unfortunately, cycling is an expensive sport, and the longer you stick with it, the more you will come to accept this fact (not necessarily a good thing for your wallet, I know).

When I started reading this thread, I too was thinking that you were originally running an 11-25, or smaller, cassette and agree with the person above who said that a 12-27 is a really good climbing cassette. However, if the hills that you are facing are crazy steep, you might want a compact crank. . .

Your mechanic should have discussed your options with you, and if you don't understand something, you should definitely not be afraid to ask him.
 

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