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I have been riding less than 6 months, mainly commuting to and from work. I got a Specialized Crosstrail Sport 2017.

Now, when I bought the bike, they suggested I bring it in every 3 months for servicing. This includes general maintenance and cleaning, and an extra charge for maintenance of the "Specialized Fitness Brain" suspension. I get the feeling every three months is a bit too often to get in-shop servicing done. I only ride 200 km a week and, although the weather isn’t always the best, I would say it only rains 25% of the time.

I have been learning basic maintenance tips from from video tutorials and this website but my main concern, from what the shop said, is the suspension and hydraulic brake system. I most definitely don’t have the skill or knowledge to maintain those.

All together – should I take my bike back to the shop for servicing every 3 months?

  • Sorry for the confusion, i understand it is a very important and specialised maintenance and i am keen to pay what is worth. My doubt is if it really needs a three month maintenance or is the shop pushing a short maintenance rate to get some extra bucks in. How can I tell when the brain suspension really needs maintenance? If I push a six month maintenance rate do I risk on damaging the suspension? – Juan Salazar Jan 25 '18 at 17:44
  • No worries.... i know they dont have brains hahaha . In this particular case Specialized specifies this particular supenssion as: "SR Suntour NEX w/ Specialized Fitness Brain technology, 55mm of travel, 1-1/8"" steerer, QR, fender mounts". hence my Brain suspension reference... you can find the full bike specs in the link i posted.thanks for your help :) – Juan Salazar Jan 25 '18 at 17:50
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    Ohhhhhh, I see. I thought maybe they wanted to charge you for brain surgery. :-D I edited a bit to hopefully make it less confusing. – David Richerby Jan 25 '18 at 18:02
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    Just about any bike should be serviced after several weeks of riding -- after a "break-in" period -- as the cables will stretch, brakes will "seat", and other things will move about as they do on new bikes. (A decent bike shop should offer this first service for free.) After that, a bike in average use need be serviced no more often than once a year, presuming you keep the tires pumped up and are alert for anything amiss. – Daniel R Hicks Jan 25 '18 at 20:50
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Probably not, given that amount of riding.

From a shop perspective, giving a recommend maintenance interval is trickier than it may seem, because you want to account for the rider who's riding a lot but doing absolutely no maintenance or adjustments beyond air and chain lube, and probably not even doing that consistently or well. To keep that person, and shops deal with a lot of them, on a reliable bike, 3 months is a pretty reasonable number. It's conservative but I don't see it as gouging.

What I tell people first when asked about how often to bring it in is that a little bit of maintenance on your part goes a long way to increasing the interval. This mostly includes learning how to use your barrel adjusters, lube your chain, and occasionally torque the key items. Do that and the 3 months will become 6, 9, 12 etc depending on how much you ride and conditions.

Getting your brakes bled once a year is a commonly cited timeframe, but in reality most people are better off doing it as needed. Doing it preventatively doesn't buy you much if there are no issues. Unlike bearing system overhauls, there aren't really outcomes with hydros that leave us saying, "If you had brought it in sooner it would have been fine, but now it's trashed."

That fork, unless I'm really missing something, is a basic grease-lubricated coil or elastomer fork that's intended to never be serviced. You might specifically ask the shop what they would actually do to it in a tune up. I'm guessing the basic response is check that it still works on the test ride and replace it completely if it doesn't. If there's an external adjustment specific to the Brain then it's probably something you can do yourself.

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