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shop advice?(20 posts)

shop advice?distressed
Apr 2, 2001 12:43 PM
I took my bike to be tuned up at a small shop near Portland,Oregon,
and it was not done right. They charged me 50.--and could not
tell me what they did, nor did the stupid slip of paper they
handed me. All it said was 50.00 (the charge!)
can anyone recommend a reputable bike shop in or near portland?
I suppose I could recommend this shop for wiping my bike off, but
that is not why I brought it in!
Ouch!look271
Apr 2, 2001 1:15 PM
That's too bad. Can't recommend any shops as I live on the other side of the country, but 2 of the shops here do a great job. Went to my favorite for my mtb for a "tune up". It came back spotless; the chain was clean as it ever was, fork was lubed, cables adjusted, frame cleaned, and derailers adjusted to perfection Price? $32 (It just went up-last year it was $27.....)BTW-name of the shop is the Pedal Pusher.
why not ask themJiggy
Apr 2, 2001 2:40 PM
what they did- better yet, tell them to show you... if you know it was not done right then maybe you ought to be doing it yourself? if it truly wasn't done right, then take it back, tell them what is wrong, and tell them to get it right- they are obligated to do so and any good shop will (unless you rode it around and fell, or just tossed the bike in the trunk or back of truck to get it home). not everything is included in the price of a tune up, but they should at least tell you what they did. if you told them to do something specific (doesn't sound like it though) and they didn't, then that's another thing altogether
I took a MTB in for a tune-up, and forgot to read the finebill
Apr 2, 2001 3:07 PM
print. For $50 or $75 or whatever it was, they said that they tweaked this and that, but they didn't EVEN clean the chain or the cassette. Now, I realize that any self-respecting cyclist is going to clean the chain when needed himself, but I was in a different place then with respect to my bike and, you know, when you take it in for a cleaning and tune-up, you'd figure they might just maybe could wipe down the chain. When I said, you mean you guys didn't even wipe down the chain, they pointed me to the sign and, sure enough, nowhere among the services listed was chain cleaning.
it's funnyJiggy
Apr 2, 2001 4:10 PM
People always think the LBS dudes are supposed to clean their bikes... they don't and I wouldn't either! If you take your car in to be tuned, do you expect it to be washed too???
and commonfuzzybunnies
Apr 2, 2001 5:53 PM
A typical tune up usually includes
adjusting brakes, derailleurs, truing wheels, and giving the bike a wipe down. Lube is applied to the chain and to some of the moving parts. The biggest problem occures when people bring in thier bikes covered in dried on mud and wonder why it isn't cleaned, yes this is common. 50 seems like a lot to me, the shop I work at charges 40. what are some of the charges some of you have paid for a tune up? Just curious. TTFN
re: it's funnyGary
Apr 2, 2001 6:01 PM
You're right. It would be wrong for everyone to make the assumption that every LBS is going to clean your bike just because they made a repair. Although offhand, I would expect that service for a general tune-up.

But yes, the Mercedes dealership DOES clean the car, including vaccuming after a repair. And of course, you'll pay extra (hidden in the repair cost) as a result of that.

So bottom line is...I suppose if the LBS wanted to come off as a "Mercedes quality" shop, (and rightfully charge higher rates for repairs) then they should take care of the little details.

If they wanted to be just the Walmart version, then that's fine too. I have been known to be a deal hound.

So you're right...it is up to us consumers to start distinguishing the differences between the shops and supporting the ones that suit our tastes.
no, because dirt on a car doesn't affect function. Dirt onbill
Apr 3, 2001 8:19 AM
a chain and cassette does. While I wouldn't necessarily expect anyone to kick the mud off my downtube or clean the salt stain off of my saddle, a chain cleaning is such a basic, do at least every 100-200 miles maintenance (not aesthetic) item, yeah, I do think that if a shop is saying that they'll "tune-up" the bike, they should be wiping down the chain. When I get the 15,000 mile service on the car, I expect the oil to be changed. I'll worry about changing it in between, but I at least expect it to be changed when they're doing the other routine maintenance. Necessarily, without asking.
If you're going to offer this service, chances are you're offering it to people who don't have the inclination to do their own maintenance. Therefore, when you take money to perform maintenance, perform the d*mn maintenance.
re: shop advice?tr
Apr 2, 2001 3:11 PM
I hear River City is a good shop. I'm from Seattle.
re: shop advice?DERICK
Apr 2, 2001 10:29 PM
Why not just get a good bicycle repair book and learn to do it yourself? Most common adjustments are super easy and don't require any special tools.Truing wheels takes some practice, but brakes and deraileurs are easy. Why throw away $30-$50 on something you can do yourself.Besides,what happens if your bike somehow goes out of tune on a long ride or your child decides to play with the barrel adjuster on your rear deraileur before your weekly group ride on a sunday? The bottom line is, if you dont know how to tune your own bike then you are at their mercy.
oh, man -- i totally agreeHaiku d'état
Apr 3, 2001 5:25 AM
took the words right out of my keyboard.

I realized this last summer, and have been buying and begging tools ever since. i figured with around $75 of tools and literature, i can do most of the tune-up stuff myself. bought the tools gradually, got a workstand for my b-day and truing stand for x-mas, now i have a mini-shop in my garage and the ability to do minor repairs & maintenance. still, for those stumpers, or level 3 stuff (overhauling hubs, bearings, etc.), i'll still go to the shop, but i haven't yet been forced into it (knock formica).

local shops charge $30-$35 for tune-ups, which sometimes include a checklist and sometimes don't. last one i got before making the decision to do it myself didn't include wheel true, or brake/derailleur adjustment. the shop owner was happy to sell me a set of $14 break pads, front and rear, though...hmmm...it's surprising what you'll learn when you DIY.

with the stuff i learned since last summer, i've bought two garage sale bikes and fixed them up, then sold 'em on ebay and made enough scratch to buy more tools and invest in another (new) road bike. and to further agree with the above, you really need to know this stuff to make your group ride or the 20 miles back to the car if you have a minor mechanical. i was recently on my first group (road) ride with the local club, and this guy shows up on a mtb, rear wheel grating into the v-brakes, rusted and caked with mud, wheel all warped and out of true, complaining and demanding help from anyone who would listen. out of a good two dozen folks, nobody knew how or offered to help. learn the basics, then save yourself some $ in the long run and be more self-reliant (and helpful to your riding buddies) in the saddle.

good luck.
re: shop advice?TJeanloz
Apr 3, 2001 6:33 AM
Here's why not: Before I worked at a shop, I did all my own mechanical work; as a poor college student I couldn't spare $50 for a tune up. I was really satisfied with my work and thought my skills were pretty good. And then I started working with professional mechanics. I will go out on a limb and say that nobody can tune up a bike as well as a good bike shop mechanic (I'm not claiming that every bike shop employs a good mechanic), no matter how many "Zinn and the Art of" books they read.

The amazing thing is that before I had my bike professionally tuned, I thought it worked really, really well. And then I had it done by one of my co-workers, and it was night and day better.
i would have to disagreeHaiku d'état
Apr 3, 2001 6:46 AM
but, that might just go to show the level of ability or care of the bike mechanics i've had the displeasure to leave my bikes with. i've had the same or better results myslef with a book and a tubfull of park tools, and i'm NOT mechanically inclined.
Disparity among mechanicsBipedZed
Apr 3, 2001 7:26 AM
My first year as a bike shop mechanic (when I was 16) was a learning year. I made minimum wage, which at the time was $3.35/hr or something like that. I changed a lot of flats and watched other more advanced repairs. Most of my bike builds were lower range bikes. Towards the end of the first year I had built up my own bike and a few sets of wheels for myself.

I built on that experience and after 4 years of wrenching became part-time shop manager at my college bike shop making a whopping $6/hr.

Most mechanics you encounter at bike shops are learning on your bike. Most likely they will be little better than a motivated home mechanic with a manual - the difference being they will have the right tools. If you have VERY high end stuff, or seem to know what you are talking about, you'll probably get their best mechanic. The best mechanics have the experience to make a good bike work flawlessly. If you don't have the skills yourself, it's worth your while to build a relationship with a bike shop to ensure your repairs are done by their best mechanics.
Disparity among mechanicsTJeanloz
Apr 3, 2001 9:36 AM
You're right in that every bike is a learning experience- even for the best mechanic. I only know one mechanic brash enough to claim that he's seen it all. At our shop, mechanics start by building bikes- first single speed kids bikes, then single speeds with brakes, on up. After a year or so, they're capable of building almost every bike that we stock. At that point, they get to start doing supervised tune-ups; mostly on the mid level stuff that isn't a complete disaster (wal-mart bikes are saved for only the more experienced mechanics). Most mechanics won't touch a Dura-Ace or Record part until their fourth or fifth year.

But I think the real key is that every bike that goes through the repair area, whether it's for a flat tire or complete overhaul, gets a complete mechanical checkover from the owner or head mechanic (including a test ride) and a cosmetic checkover by me (because I'm hopelessly anal.)

I think Doug's point is sort of right, when I did my own mechanics, I knew my bike really well and had all kinds of mental notes. I knew which gear it didn't shift well into and sort of avoided it, not realizing that a qualified adjuster could make it shift better.
Disparity among mechanicsErik W
Apr 3, 2001 3:46 PM
If I remember correctly you stated you also lived in Boulder. Just out of curiosity which shop are you refering to?
living with the bikeDog
Apr 3, 2001 7:34 AM
Ted, I think you are basically right, but there is something to be said for "living with the bike," getting to know what it does miles into a ride, and tweaking little by little to get it perfect. It seems that quite often what works on the stand changes out on the road. But, that said, experience is the key. I might have a whole lot of experience with my bike, and could maintain it as well as any mechanic, but that doesn't mean I could do a decent job on an unfamiliar bike.

Also, when I had my bikes "tuned up" by mechanics years ago, often I'd have to undo the misadjustments they had made to get it right again. What bugs me the most, however, is when they change my basic setup, thinking their way is better, and I have to put it back the way it was as soon as I get it home. That's largely why I do everything myself, now. Oh, and one time my bike came back with steel bolts replacing some of my expensive SRP Ti bolts -- I was not happy.

Doug
what annoys meannoyed
Apr 3, 2001 8:18 AM
is when those zit-face punk half-ass mechanics mark the seatpost (getting ready to put it in a stand, after raising the seat) with a screwdriver!
re: shop advice?bikngplnr
Apr 3, 2001 11:14 AM
I actually live in Salem but I used to live in Sandy and Gresham. I've had good luck with Gateway Bicycles (www.gatewaybicycles.com) in
Portland. They're off Halsey or Glisan - I can't remember which. I
bought a bike there and the free tune-up was pretty good. My sister
bought her bike from River City Bicycles (www.rivercitybicycles.com) in Portland (on MLK I think). I had my MTB tuned up at River City and they did a good job. I've bought parts at one of the Bike Gallery locations (Gresham) and they seemed like a good shop. If you're anywhere close to Salem you can't go wrong with Scott's Cycle or the Bike Peddler. Good luck and let me know if there's anything else I can do!

Brian Kennedy
Salem, OR
re: shop advice?ourframes
Apr 9, 2001 11:25 AM
I hooked up with some of the Portland Wheelmen Touring Club last weekend, and I gave them the responses. I figure, anyone who rides
every single day rain or shine, must by now know a decent mechanic.
Of the responses (bike gallery, river city and gateway), they shooed
me in the direction of two little known shops who only do tune ups,
and have built their reputation on their low prices and profound knowledge of the bicycle. NorthWest Bicycles topped the list, and
coventry cycle works was a close second. They also mentioned some
mechanics that work outside of the shops, but I opted to stay with
a fixed shop and above the boards. I just dont have time to learn
to tune my bike, though they did teach me a few handy tricks for on
the road. The rest I am going to pick up from riding with the PWTC
on the weekends.