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Change of components: what's the étiquette?(19 posts)

Change of components: what's the étiquette?Marc in Montréal
Aug 1, 2001 7:08 AM
Hello all! When I bought a new bike 3 months ago I did not receive any booklet, written or oral information about maintenance of the bike. Seems to me the LBS could have made an effort to provide such important information (change of chain, cassette etc...) since I spent nearly 8K can$ on that bike! Anyway... a friend told me yesterday that after almost 2300 km it's time to change the chain in order not to damage the cassette & freewheels. It would be a lot cheaper for me to buy a Dura-Ace chain at Performancebike (about 36 can$) then to have the LBS do it (about 57 can$). Would it be considered terribly "faux pas" to bring my own replacement components to the LBH? Could I buy my own chains, replacement break pads, cassettes etc... and go to a local bike shop (not the place I bought the bike from)to have them installed? One more question: I need to know the differences between cassette sizes: e.g. 12-21, 12-23, 12-25 and so on... I do not want to buy a book so I am wondering if that Sheldon Brown guy's site could provide this information? Many thanks! Marc in Montréal
Not faux pas, but watch for labor $$...Cima Coppi
Aug 1, 2001 7:19 AM

Its not faux pas for you to bring small components such as a chain or brake pads to your LBS for installation. Just make sure they don't screw you on labor charges since you did not buy the parts from them. You may also want to consider doing these small repairs yourself. It's very easy to change your chain and brake pads, and the tools to do so are not very expensive. You could get the tools from the mail order house when you buy the components. Then you could check out Park Tools website for installation information.

Second, what differences are you seeking in the cassette sizes? The tooth count on each cog or the gear inch differences? You can find out the range of teeth on Branford Bikes website, and the I believe there is a website to calculate gear inches.

Good luck

re: Change of components: what's the étiquette?Jack S
Aug 1, 2001 7:21 AM
Most people that spend $8000 on a new bike can (or should) be able to do simple maintenance. Oh wait that was $CDN, so that's what, only $800 USD? Take it to a shop and let then do it all, or buy the parts and do it yourself. Don't be a chump and bring parts from Performance to a shop and have them installed. At 2300km you should not need to replace anything yet, and the shop you bought the bike from should be doing a routine tune-up for free. BTW, you need to find another friend... someone that knows something about bike maintenance. You could learn from that person.
no owners manual?ak
Aug 1, 2001 7:26 AM
Every bike comes with an owners manual, The bike shop has the responsibility to give it to you if you ask for it. (most just give it to you anyway, but some don't like keeping all those booklets around so they just keep a few for the people who ask for them) It has a bunch of information in there and it's pretty easy to read & understand. Go back to the Store where you bought it and ask for the owners manual, if they won't give you one then ask for the company's phone number so you can have it sent to you (it's free). If they don't give you the # then come back here and let us know, one of us can probably get the phone number for you. good luck
Replacement chainsDCP
Aug 1, 2001 7:28 AM
Consider buying a SRAM chain with the link that you can fit and remove by hand. Although you need a chain tool to remove the existing chain and to remove any excess links on the new chain, its so easy even I couldn't screw it up. As a bonus, you have a chain you can remove anytime you might want to.
Do it yourselfmr_spin
Aug 1, 2001 7:49 AM
Changing a chain is one of the simplest maintenance tasks there is. If you have a good chain tool (not a cheapie or multi-tool), a child could do it. I don't mean this to be insulting, just that it is simple.

Taking in a set of bars or a derailleur to your LBS is fine, but learn how to do the basic stuff like changing chains or brake pads (especially the slide-in kind). You only need a few basic tools, and it will save you a lot of money over time. I know you said you don't want to buy a book, but drop $20 on one of the Zinn books--it will be worth it.
re: Change of components: what's the étiquette?tkohn
Aug 1, 2001 7:55 AM
I work in a LBS and here is what I would do if I was in your shoes. First buy yourself a chain wear guage. If you can't get one mail order have your LBS get you one. The Park CC-2 is easy to use and don't pay more than $27 for it. Now all you have to do is check the chain once in a while and the tool will tell you when it starts to stretch. When the chain becomes marginal I would start to think about changing it. Buy your self the right chain tool (the Campy if you have 10 speed or the Park TL7248 for pretty much anything else) buy a couple of chains mail order and change them yourself. You can probably get a maintnence book that explains the process.
Don't bring in a mail order chain for the LBS to put on, that never goes over to well with the shop guys.
This is what I would do to keep all parties happy...
don't need chain toolD'Ohhh!!!
Aug 1, 2001 8:00 AM
an accurate ruler works fine, line up pins at 0 and 12"... BTW, chains WEAR, not stretch, but the end result is still elongation.
don't need chain tooltkohn
Aug 1, 2001 8:14 AM
Considering the original poster doesn't know how to remove a chain I thought that I would keep things as simple as possible for him. I use the term "stretch" because it gives the average Joe a basic concept that his/her chain is longer than before without going into details of how and why.
re: Change of components: what's the étiquette?dug
Aug 1, 2001 7:58 AM
you will be shocked what a 6 or 12 pack of beer will do for the attitude of LBS mechanics when asked to install parts bought elsewhere...
re: Change of components: what's the étiquette?tkohn
Aug 1, 2001 8:17 AM
This is also a good rule of thumb. Things get done alarming quick when a 6 or 12 pack shows up, as long as it's not crap beer!
beer for labor?ak
Aug 1, 2001 9:42 AM
There are some shops out there that are owned &/or managed by people who are part of the straight-edge movement. Want to see how fast you can get thrown out of a shop like this? Offer beer instead of cash. Do you really want the guy fixing your pimped-out ride to be half-drunk while he's doing it?
beer for labor?dug
Aug 1, 2001 9:55 AM
...and there and are shops out there that are owned and operated by people who enjoy an ice cold beer. Do you want to see what kind of service you get from them? I would be delighted to be offered a beer (to enjoy after hours) instead of cash to do a repair. This is a bicycle not the space shuttle. Jeez lighten up.
he thinks they get paid alot.nm
Aug 1, 2001 10:01 AM
8000 Canadian Dollars!! That's over 5000 US dollars!Jim Burton
Aug 1, 2001 8:22 AM
What kind of bike is it???
8000 Canadian Dollars!! That's over 5000 US dollars!Marc in Montréal
Aug 1, 2001 8:58 AM
Hi Jim! Difficult to believe, huh? Forecasting the same reaction from my parents and from not bicyclist friends I took this simple decision: lying about the cost! Look for my baby in the photo gallery section, page 3 I believe the shoot is entitled: 2001 Trek 5900. Here are the details just for you Jim... primary cost: 6000$ + a paint job from the Evil empire itself (TREK): 300$ (they lost the serial number of the bike... what a bunch of loosers!) + Speedplay X1:357$ + cordless Shimano Flight Deck:199$ Specialized saddle: 89$ First TOTAL:6945$ Federal tax(7%): 486.15$ + provincial tax(7.5%):557.33$ for a grand total of: 7988.48 can$ P.S. Is there anything else you would like to know Jim? I do not shave my legs, I wear Primal wear jersey only, I owe 5 pairs of Pearl Izumi Microsensor shorts and a pair of Sidi Energy 2001 model black/black that you can not find in North America ;0)
8000 Canadian Dollars!! That's over 5000 US dollars!Woof the dog
Aug 1, 2001 9:46 AM
To original poster: I realize that you haven't had much experience with doing all these maintanance things, but you gotta learn how to do them. First of all, maintanance depends on how clean you keep your bike, specifically: how clean is your chain. For instance, I take really good care of my never looks dirty, always well lubed with Prolink. Before almost every ride I go over it with a dry rag and wipe the hell out of it. Then I lube it and wipe the excess. You'd be surprised how well this works. After 2000 miles there is absolutely no stretch to the chain. You can read up on chain stretch on Sheldon If you bought such an expensive bike, you must be able to do all the maintanance for a couple of reasons: components, including the chain, are strong but also light and therefore can eventually break if you neglect to take care of them. Plus, you shouldn't trust mechanics with things like that, I saw them working on people's bikes and unless they are old and experienced, they would always jam the chain, drop the bike on the floor, put a dent into it, etc. etc. etc. Oh yeah, my dad's old bike had an old really heavy type of chain (described at Sheldon brown) that would be impossible to break due to wear or stress...he has ridden it for 9 years with barely lubing...the chain's still alive and well. Modern chains, on the other hand, are only 300 grams and when you crosschain them (big cog big chainring combo) they snap on you eventually. Similar things are with other light things: wheels go out of true because they are built with minimal nubmer of spokes, cables stretch, brake levers losen up (ultegra STI comes to mind), and if you don't keep an eye out for all these freak things, your bike will turn into nothingness. Get the point? You can't go to the bikeshop to get the chain lubed or breaks adjusted....its a heresy. Get Zinn's Road bike maintanance, read it and you will know what to do. If you were willing to spend big money on that bike, you should be willing to buy some tools for it. The book discusses all the things you need, but I probably get by with 20 percent of those. You will see what I mean when you get the book. The point is: you need basic tools that you can't do without: like chain tool, cassette tool + chain whip, allen wrenches, regular screwdrivers, cone wrenches, pliers (sp?), rags, chain lube, pedal lube (dry), degreaser, bearing grease and thats about it for starters. Don't be rediculous and go out and buy the stupid tool to measure chain stretch that would cost you a lot of money (plus shipping). You can use regular ruler to do the job. And yes, I think you should buy a Dura-Ace chain (visit for best price) off the web, 'cause the shop you bought the bike in already ows you big time for giving them business. Stick around while they change the chain to check up on them...they will be more careful under your watchful eye. Do this yourself from then on. Email me if you have any questions.
Woof the dog.
Don't get me wrong...Jim Burton
Aug 1, 2001 9:47 AM
I don't think that it is too much to spend on a bike you love. And I understand the reaction from the non-cyclist friend/family. I deal with the same attitudes whenever I purchase a new bike, which isn't very often! It just seemed strange, like some of the other posts have said, that you spent this much money on a bike that you don't know much about fixing. That is definately a good bike and I'm sure worth every penny. But, since you spent that much on it, go spent $20 more (US) and get a copy of "Zinn (not Zen) and the Art of Road Bike Maintenence". Something like a new chain is VERY easy to fix. In fact, there isn't much on a bike that you won't be able to fix.

Good luck with your riding and with the dealings with the LBS.
Don't get me wrong...Marc in Montréal
Aug 1, 2001 10:13 AM
Hello again Jim! I did not take you wrong in the first place, really! I am sure that you have heard of people spending 40.000$ on a BMW or any other fancy and expensive car without being able to make a simple oil change of changing a wiper on that particular car... I know my father is that kind of man and you know something? I am indeed my father's son! HA HA! HA! Sans rancune aucune! Marc