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I bought a brand-new road bike from a website.

The bike was preassembled and delivered in a big box.

The only things I had do were: - remove the styrofoam wrappings - screw on the pedals - loosen/reposition/tighten the handle bar (when the bike was delivered, the handle-bar was rotated and hooked under the top-tube so it was more compact for shipping) - adjust the height of the saddle

I have ridden the bike. The tyres were already inflated. The gear shifting works fine. The brakes work. The wheels spin fine.

But I noticed a (very) slight rattling noise (as if from the chain).

I took my bike to a local bike shop. The man there told me the bike needs a service and it would cost £50. He claimed it would make the bike "safe" to ride, and if I had bought the bike from his shop (a physical shop instead of a website), it would be "put together properly".

The cost of £50 was a little more than what I expected. This is a brand-new bike, after all.

So my question is: should I get this brand-new bike serviced before I ride it?

Or are there some simple things I can do myself? I can of course tighten everything with an allen key. I can also lubricate the chain and sprockets (or do I need to that? I read somewhere that brand-new bikes all have been lubricated in the factory before they're sold.)

What else must I check (either myself or by a bike shop)?

Is it a not a good idea to start riding the bike without getting it serviced first?

Thank you for your input.

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    That price sounds like his standard price for doing a regular service tuneup, or new bike assembly charge. – BPugh Nov 13 '15 at 15:52
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    It is a brand new bike with a rattle. That is fair price for service. Don't expect sympathy from a LBS when you buy online. – paparazzo Nov 13 '15 at 16:28
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    Generally, when you buy a bike from a bike shop, part of the price you're paying is for the initial assembly and a tuneup after riding the bike for a while. If you don't know how to tuneup a bike (which it sounds like you don't) , you should bite the bullet and do it (less so for what is likely a bit of derailleur rubbing probably in the front, but moreso for checking the wheels are appropriately tensioned and what not). – Batman Nov 13 '15 at 17:08
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    The trouble is, you've come to a forum of bike enthusiasts, I reckon most of us look after our bikes, so many of us will see this as a loaded question. If you have a problem using an LBS for a service - and that will soon include adjusting cables as they bed in to your new bike - I'd suggest getting a book on bike maintenance, and doing it yourself. Bear in mind that if you go down that route, you'll have a relatively large initial outlay on appropriate tools. – PeteH Nov 13 '15 at 18:31
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    It's like the old joke: $5 for the adjustment, $45 for knowing what to adjust. If you do it yourself you'll spend 10 hours learning what to do and a few hours riding a bike that's not set up properly, plus 5 hours adjusting things wrong, on top of the 20-30 minutes to do the job properly. BUT if you want to learn, that's how you learn. Afterwards you're much better equipped to look after your own bike. – Móż Nov 13 '15 at 20:51
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I took the bike to another bike shop.

The man there adjusted my handle bar (apparently when I did it myself, it was not good enough, not straight or aligned).

Then he put the bike on a stand and checked gear shifting to all the gears. It all worked fine.

He also pointed out the slight rattling noise I heard is caused by the chain rubbing against the front derailleur. This is normal and can be corrected by "trimming". This YouTube video explains "trimming" the front derailleur.

The man said the bike is fine to ride. I asked him when I should get it serviced, he said: "in 3 to 6 months, depending on how much you ride."

He also said not to put any lubricant on the chain because the factory has already done that.

I was in the shop for 10 minutes and he didn't charge me anything, even though I was more than happy to pay him for his courteous and informative service.

Clearly this is the shop I'll take my bike to for the next service.

So to answer my own question, it's advisable to have a professional check out the bike before you ride it, unless you're experienced with bikes yourself. You don't need a "service" per se.

Like with all new products, one should study the owner's manual before thinking there's something wrong with the product. I should think the owner's manual discusses "trimming".

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  • 4
    Good to hear that you're sorted. That mechanic has done himself a favour because when you are ready for a service, you'll choose him as a no-brainer....all for 10 minutes effort today. Remember that keeping your chain lubricated and your tyres pumped up are not one-off things, they're something you need to check every couple of weeks or so. So be prepared for some minor maintenance before you take it back to the mechanic – PeteH Nov 13 '15 at 19:02
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    You found a good shop, and one that gave you good advice (in addition to the good service). You should take the bike in (to this shop) for a "tune up" after a few months of riding, as several different adjustments need to "break in" and be redone after a few hundred miles of riding. And he is correct about the chain -- it comes from the factory with a coating of wax, and until that has worn off/washed away you don't need anything else. With the £50 you saved buy yourself a good floor pump, if you don't already have one. – Daniel R Hicks Nov 13 '15 at 21:22
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    This reiterates my comment other comment on the OP, namely that it is still in the shop's best interest provide a good experience so that you will return to them next time you need something. This also demonstrates the type of added value a local retailer can provide over online retail experience. The more you ride, the more this becomes of value. – Rider_X Nov 13 '15 at 21:56
  • One note to what the mechanic told you: there is, as he said, a factory lubricant on your chain, and there is no need to reapply lube before that wears off. However, it will likely wear off well before the service period he recommended. – zenbike Nov 22 '15 at 14:19
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In general, it is a good idea to bring a bike bought online to a shop for a once-over check.

What your local bike shop said is exactly what many other shops will/would say. Not that the bike wasn't put together properly, but it should probably be double checked to make that it assembled correctly AND that nothing wiggled loose during shipping. It's a small price for the comfort of know that you won't hurt yourself or damage your new bike while out riding.

Also, local shops tend to charge more for servicing bikes bought online. It comes across as them getting back at your for not buying with them, but I always think it's based in the truth - when you buy a bike at a local shop you're probably getting a bit extra from them in the form of service, tune-ups, etc.

Bottom line: bite the bullet and get it checked before you ride.

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  • 2
    Its seems pretty standard now for shops to include a year of free maintenance for a new purchase. – Rider_X Nov 13 '15 at 17:25
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Wow

This question has provoked some impassioned debate, all in the time it took for my morning ride.

Take a step back for a moment. Let's say that you get what you pay for. While not always true, let's go with that for a moment.

The guy charging 50 quid is saying a bike service from me is worth 50 quid. Is a bike service worth 50 quid to you? Apparently not (nor to me). But maybe it's his standard charge for the bikes he sells, or he is swamped with work, or just made a bad call. There can be valid reasons.

But what have you got from the guy who did the work for free? Was he thorough? Will he fix something if he messed it up? Maybe he does good work and has just won a loyal customer. Or maybe not. At this point we don't know. But we do know that because you haven't paid for anything, your consumer rights will be difficult or impossible to enforce.

We like things for free. But I would prefer to pay a fair price and get the job done properly, with some assurance that my consumer rights were covered. That way the situation is clear, and I like that. In such a situation, my customer loyalty is also clear.

And just to address the question - yes, any new bike needs adjusting / service.

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  • Hah! The mystery down voter strikes again! – andy256 Nov 14 '15 at 3:20
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    What makes you think that the guy who wanted 50 quid would have done a better job? The guy who did the service for free likely did so because he loves cycling. That's the guy you want to have working on your bike. – Daniel R Hicks Nov 14 '15 at 9:49
  • @Daniel I don't think that. I'm saying that he values his work at that. He may also be making a judgement about the quality of the OPs bike (which I have no idea about) and the likelihood that it will need further work. Or he may just be saying I don't want / need to work on this bike. My point is that we don't know his side of the story. – andy256 Nov 14 '15 at 10:19
  • Just as an aside @andy256, the Defy is a decent early-season bike which won one of the Spring Classics (was it Paris-Roubaix?) not so long ago. Obviously I don't know what group the Op has chosen, but potentially he has a top notch ride there. – PeteH Nov 14 '15 at 11:21
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    @BlueCompute No, I don't think the free service is devalued by the likely absence of consumer protections. But the guy charging £50 has to factor that in. As I said in the answer, I like the situation to be clear. On the information we have, it is not clear. Perhaps the OP will post again saying Wow, what a great job that guy did! Or maybe Oh dear, my bike is all messed up. I certainly hope for the former, but worry about the latter. – andy256 Nov 18 '15 at 11:07

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