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The Importance of A Bike Tune-Up

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A bike tune-up is a vital part of a smooth ride and bike longevity. If you don’t maintain your bike, you’ll end up spending way more on a new bike and you’ll have a less enjoyable riding experience. If you don’t know what a bike tune-up is, I covered the basics of a bike tune-up in one of my previous articles.

chain adjustment on road bike

My First Road Bike

When I got my first road bike, it was a hand-me-down from my dad. He had this bike for many years and hadn’t properly maintained it as he is getting older and doesn’t ride much anymore. Since it was my first road bike, when I road it, it felt fine, it was an adjustment but I didn’t have any real complaints because I had nothing to compare it to.

The things that irritated me on the bike, I thought were normal on an entry-level or mid-tier bike. My dad didn’t spend a ton of money on the bike. It is a decent bike but doesn’t have top-of-the-line Shimano Components, a carbon fiber frame, or the most aerodynamic wheels but it’s a good road bike.

After a little while of riding with friends and riding their bikes and other bikes, I realized that the clunky shifting wasn’t normal, the brakes weren’t right, something on the handlebars just didn’t feel right.

Tune-Up At My Local Bike Shop

vintage bike shop

So, I took the bike to my local bike shop for a tune-up, and as expected they listed off a few things that they felt were going out and needed replacing.

While it was definitely possible they were just saying stuff that needed replacing similar to when you go to an oil change place and they tell you how everything on your car is broken. Since I felt there were things wrong with the bike, I decided to trust them and let them replace anything they felt was bad or going out.

Low and behold, when I got my bike back, it felt like a completely different bike. The gears shifted smoothly, my brakes were more responsive, the uncomfortable tension from riding my bike went away. The only thing that persisted was that my lower back would get stiff on long rides, but that was most likely just due to needing a proper bike fitting.

The Cost Related To My Bike Tune-Up

The cost of my tune-up was pretty high, a few hundred dollars, but that’s because they ended up replacing a bunch of parts that hadn’t been properly maintained. The bike tune-up itself was around $60 but you have to pay for the parts if anything needs to be replaced.

I ended up paying a few hundred dollars for the whole job due to the fact they needed to replace my brakes, my derailleurs, my cables, my handlebars, new chain and bar tape, and a couple more things. Many of these things could have been avoided if the bike had previously been properly maintained.

The handlebars were my request, they said nothing was wrong with them but they felt bent and uncomfortable to me, so I had them replaced. However, overall the bike tune-up made my bike a lot more comfortable and more enjoyable to ride.

Cost Savings Of Regular Bike Maintenance and Tune-Ups

bike tune ups save money

The $60ish it’ll cost you to do a regular bike tune-up can make your ride way more comfortable and enjoyable. It can also save you money in the long run, especially if you learn how to tune up and maintain your bike yourself. You may have to spend a bit on chain lube, grease, tools, etc. for your first tune-up, but after that, you can tune up your bike multiple times at no additional charge unless something needs to be replaced.

Having a local shop do a tune-up on your bike regularly can add up and defeat the cost savings of just replacing the parts when they break, but as parts start going out, your bike will be less enjoyable to ride. If you’re looking for the most cost-effective way to maintain your bike, hop on Youtube and learn how to do a tune-up yourself. This will save you money and teach you more about your bike.

When you’re first learning how to maintain your bike it’s a great idea to have a bike shop checkout your bike after you’re done so that they can make sure all components were properly installed and your bike is safe to ride. An improper installation of a bike part can be very dangerous on a bike. So, it’s better safe than sorry when learning how to work on and maintain your bike.

Conclusion

Bike tune-ups will save you money over time and make your ride way more enjoyable. Improper or deferred bike maintenance causes bike components to wear out faster. If you want your bike to last longer then you need to perform regular maintenance every few thousand miles you put on the bike, just like with a car. You can’t drive a car 20-30,000 miles without changing the oil, rotating the tires, etc. So, why would you do that to your bike?

Performing bike tune-ups yourself is the best way to save money by regular bike maintenance, but if you don’t have the necessary time to learn or skills to maintain your bike, your local bike shop will do a bike tune-up at a reasonable price + the price of any broken components. If you perform the maintenance yourself, make sure you know what you’re doing and/or have a local bike shop double-check your work so that you don’t end up in a dangerous situation on your next ride.

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