The website bicycling.com came up with a pretty solid list of five essential annual bicycle tune ups. These tune ups will keep your bike running smoothly and minimize wear so you can get the most out of your ride. A skilled mechanic can do any of these tasks, but sometimes the time, money, and skill it takes to do this yourself isn't worth it.
1. Deep Drivetrain Clean/Tune
Est. Cost: $60 - $100
The mechanic will remove all the drivetrain parts (chain cassette, crankset, and derailleurs) clean them, reinstall them and tune the shifting.
Although you can clean and tune your bike yourself, nothing beats stripping it down and deep cleaning the drivetrain. It will keep your bike shifting smoothly and elongate the life of your drivetrain.
Some shops do a free tune up the first year, but it might be good to ask them to clean everything up as well.
2. Suspension Overhaul
Cost: $75 - $175 for fork or rear shock each (there is a wide range of price because it depends on level of rebuild and whether internals are included)
The mechanic will essentially disassemble the suspension fork and rear shock, clean the internals, put on new clean oil, and reinstall.
Suspension maintenance is tricky, detailed, messy, and requires special tools. However, good working suspension vital components. This isn't cheap, but it beats the prices of a new fork or rear shock.
3. Bottom Bracket Overhaul
Cost: $30 to $60
The mechanic will disassemble the bottom bracket, clean and re-grease (or replace if requested) the bearings, clean the shell and cups or press-fit insert, and reinstall the entire setup. The shop should also inspect for bearing wear and creaks while they are at it.
Most of the creaks, squeaks, and ticks you hear while riding are caused by the bottom bracket. Get it overhauled to keep your sanity and make sure your ride is silent (except for that glorious freehub sound).
4. Wheel Truing
Cost: $20 - $30 each
Your wheels will be checked that the spoke tension is tuned for true (side-to-side), round (oval wheel), and dish (alignment of rim to hub). Stressed spokes and spoke nipples will be replaced which costs extra.
Wheels can be complex and truing them can be a difficult task to do yourself. A wheel out of true is an unstable wheel; it will handle poorly and is prone to damage.
5. Bleed Disc Brakes
Cost: $20 - $40 each brake
The front and rear hydraulic brakes will be flushed with fresh brake fluid. The pistons will probably be cleaned and pads inspected for wear and replaced if necessary (which is extra!).
Sometimes impurities can get into your hydraulic system even if they are sealed. Air bubbles can get in and cause further performance issues. A brake bleed will ensure that your brakes are running well!
Last minute tips, don't be "that guy/girl":
- Don't haggle, service isn't a negotiation. You might get a discount on parts if you buy it at the same time however.
- Make an appointment, your service will usually be quicker from start to finish.
- Get an estimate and a service ticket. It will detail what exactly will be serviced and what you will probably end up paying.
- Bring your bike in clean. Your mechanic will have to clean your bike if it's filthy, and he won't appreciate you bringing it in dirty. Clean it up a bit, it doesn't have to be spotless but it will ensure the shop doesn't hate you!
- Say thanks. Possibly bring in a 6-pack if they drink, they will appreciate it and remember you. You might just get your next small repair free!