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I'm thinking about getting my bicycle serviced for the first time to make sure it's entirely roadworthy.

My question is what should I expect from a bike service from a professional?

i.e. what checks are carried out, what maintenance is done, to what price level will parts be replaced within the service price?

And finally what price should I be paying for a service? (London UK)

EDIT: I'll further add there might be a minor problem with my back dérailleur, no parts needed to fix, just the know how...

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First off, it should be noted that any good bike shop should give you a free "tune-up" in the 2-3 months following a new bike purchase from their shop. This is necessary as the cables can be expected to stretch and will need adjusting, even if the bike was perfect leaving the store. (Obviously, you can't expect this from a discount store, or mail-order.) –  Daniel R Hicks Mar 13 '13 at 20:15
    
They did offer me one, unfortunately I'm many many kilometres from said shop so it's out of the question. –  Ben Mar 13 '13 at 20:17
    
Last time I had my bike into the shop it cost somewhere around 300 USD. However, the bike had about 20K miles on it, needed two new rings, new brake pads, new cables, bearings repacked, and one or two other items. And when I got it back I didn't recognize it, it was so clean. –  Daniel R Hicks Mar 13 '13 at 20:20
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3 Answers 3

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These services vary wildly from shop to shop.

My local shop will look at any bike and tell the owner if it's safe to ride. And of course, they'll tell the owner how much it would cost to make it safe if it's not already. They're pretty honest about it, but of course I can't guarantee that other places are.

Most shops offer a free "tune-up" with the purchase of a new bike. This usually includes minor maintenance and inspections such as tightening bolts, airing up tires, adjusting brake and derailleur cable tightness, checking that the wheels are true, etc., but no parts replacement. If the bike was not purchased from the shop in question, they will usually offer the same tune-up service for a relatively low fee, $25 (~£16) US where I live.

Many shops offer additional service levels beyond this. They may include replacing cables and/or cable housing, bar tape, brake pads, actually truing the wheels (this can be a more time consuming job and may not be included in a basic tune-up), and perhaps even a bike wash. These tune-ups can get fairly expensive, $100-$150 (£67-£100) US.

Exactly how much you pay for any tune-up will depend on exactly what combination of services a shop offers and the amount of local competition, so you should really shop around.

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I know you said that you were in London but I couldn't figure out how to type the British pound symbol on an American Keyboard. If anyone knows, feel free to edit in the conversions. –  jimirings Mar 13 '13 at 19:26
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I've edited, awaiting approval, but for future use it's alt + 0163! –  Ben Mar 13 '13 at 20:09
    
@Ben You know, I looked it up and tried that but for some reason it wouldn't work for me. I'm at work and our computers are a little screwy sometimes so I'm going to blame it on that. Thanks for fixing it up. –  jimirings Mar 13 '13 at 22:31
    
Maybe the people who designed your computer/software are parochial types. :-) Failing the above, GBP is fairly well understood to mean Pounds Sterling. –  James Bradbury Mar 14 '13 at 12:36
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Personally, I wouldn't go for the tune-up service package unless I needed to have everything done that was in the package. For instance, at my LBS, they charge $50 for brake, gears, minor wheel true, light cleaning (no disassembly), lube, air in the tires, safety inspection, and minor parts/accessories installation. Which might be good if I just picked up a used bike and needed all those things, but at lot of it is stuff I could do on my own. For instance, they charge $25 for a wheel truing, so if the wheels are already true, most of the price of the service package is wasted. Even people without any mechanical aptitude can do things like oiling their chain, filling up the tires, and putting on a water bottle cage. I would pay for exactly what you need, which might just be a safety inspection to make sure it's all safe, and maybe some simple adjustments like brakes and gears.

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In London? Check out Evans Cycles, they have a gozillion shops and do Bronze, Silver and Gold services.

Their web site tells you what you get at each level, looks like their stores price separately but to give you and idea the pricing from one of their stores can be found here. Have generally found Evans a little more expensive than other shops for parts, but those numbers will put you in the ball park as regards what you can expect to pay in general.

Presumably once they've seen the bike they are able to advise what level of service you need, and for "bespoke" work like straightening your derailleur I guess they'll just charge by the hour.

Never used them myself tho' so not a personal recommendation.

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I've heard nothing but bad things about Evans Cycles, lack of attention and such, I've got a local independently owned branch I'll probably go with. I mean £5 to fix a puncture? Jeez. –  Ben Mar 14 '13 at 14:16
    
Yes but you asked how much you could expect to pay and what to expect. I wouldn't have thought they'd do things much differently in those respects to rival stores. Like I said, this info puts you in the ball park. –  PeteH Mar 14 '13 at 14:20
    
I appreciate that, thanks. –  Ben Mar 14 '13 at 14:23
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