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lordofthemark
05-10-2017, 11:49 AM
I had noticed my rear brake seemed a bit weak. Would have taken the time to examine the pad myself, but then noticed a slow leak. When I still had my Dew I had a tune up from Bikenetic every year. I have not taken my Cannondale (Road Warrior) in for anything since it was gifted to me in December. I knew I had a dentist appt this AM, not compatible with my bike commuting, so I figured this was a good time to check out the new bike shop the area where I work, and I took it in yesterday for a free assessment.

They suggest a "level 2 tune up" which includes removing the drive train for cleaning in the parts washer, as well as various adjustments. They specifically said I need new brake pads (not surprised), new brake and rear cabling, and a new chain. Total for the tune up is $210 (including $25 contingency fee) plus $58 for the parts.

I have not heard of this parts washing thing and am skeptical of it. I know my bike looks dirty overall, as I have not cleaned it since the rainy day Purple Line ride. I am thinking I clean it myself, as best I can, and take it to Spokes for new chain (want to protect that cassette) and brake pads. I am kind of skeptical of the new cabling, though I suppose I can check the braking after it has new pads.

Oh, and they said nothing about the leak, and I forgot to ask. I suppose I can check that myself too. I want to get as much done as possible before bike to work week, so that basically means this weekend (and I understand Spokes may be super busy now).

huskerdont
05-10-2017, 12:28 PM
I had noticed my rear brake seemed a bit weak. Would have taken the time to examine the pad myself, but then noticed a slow leak. When I still had my Dew I had a tune up from Bikenetic every year. I have not taken my Cannondale (Road Warrior) in for anything since it was gifted to me in December. I knew I had a dentist appt this AM, not compatible with my bike commuting, so I figured this was a good time to check out the new bike shop the area where I work, and I took it in yesterday for a free assessment.

They suggest a "level 2 tune up" which includes removing the drive train for cleaning in the parts washer, as well as various adjustments. They specifically said I need new brake pads (not surprised), new brake and rear cabling, and a new chain. Total for the tune up is $210 (including $25 contingency fee) plus $58 for the parts.

I have not heard of this parts washing thing and am skeptical of it. I know my bike looks dirty overall, as I have not cleaned it since the rainy day Purple Line ride. I am thinking I clean it myself, as best I can, and take it to Spokes for new chain (want to protect that cassette) and brake pads. I am kind of skeptical of the new cabling, though I suppose I can check the braking after it has new pads.

Oh, and they said nothing about the leak, and I forgot to ask. I suppose I can check that myself too. I want to get as much done as possible before bike to work week, so that basically means this weekend (and I understand Spokes may be super busy now).

It'll be interesting to see what experienced mechanics and people who have worked in bike shops say about washers. All I'll say is that there are probably two types of cyclists in the world: those who would disassemble and put their drive train through a parts washer, and those who wouldn't bother. Most probably already know which group they're in.

Emm
05-10-2017, 12:34 PM
I have not heard of this parts washing thing and am skeptical of it. I know my bike looks dirty overall, as I have not cleaned it since the rainy day Purple Line ride. I am thinking I clean it myself, as best I can, and take it to Spokes for new chain (want to protect that cassette) and brake pads. I am kind of skeptical of the new cabling, though I suppose I can check the braking after it has new pads.
.

They offer this at most shops. Spokes does too (http://spokesetc.com/about/service-repair-center-pg1155.htm), as does Revolution/Trek. I'm sure most others do as well. I only get that level tune up when I also need a new chain/cassette since I dont need to pay extra labor for it when you pay for a tune up that involves taking the drive train apart anyways. But having a clean drive train really does help with things like shifting gears. I generally I think with a bucket of water and proper cleaning gear most people can get their bike pretty clean without needing the extra technology and paying the cost.

I recommend asking Spokes if they think you need all that work since you're stopping by anyways. Some shops quickly recommend new chains/cassettes, others recommend you wait. It's also a good idea to get the cables looked at again, since if they really are bad and about to snap, you want them fixed ASAP. But they very well may be ok. I think I've replaced mine once during the 4 years I've ridden my trek.

hozn
05-10-2017, 01:45 PM
They suggest a "level 2 tune up" which includes removing the drive train for cleaning in the parts washer, as well as various adjustments. They specifically said I need new brake pads (not surprised), new brake and rear cabling, and a new chain. Total for the tune up is $210 (including $25 contingency fee) plus $58 for the parts.

Kool Stop salmon brake pads: $10
Jagwire stainless brake + shifter cables: $10
(OR) Jagwire complete brake & shift cables w/ housing: $30
Chain: $20 (probably less)

So I guess you can decide if it's worth $150-170 to have those parts installed and the drivetrain cleaned. You can certainly clean the drivetrain yourself. The noise of a dirty drivetrain drives me crazy. I just use Rock-n-Roll, though, on the chain, which is about as easy as it gets. Every few weeks I clean off RD pulleys with a toothbrush and front ring with a rag. And less frequently, the cassette cogs by running a rag between them.

I'd recommend installing your own brake pads. It doesn't require special tools and but it does require some attention and patience for adjustment -- but IMO it's a good idea to know how to adjust those. Brake cables are generally trivial to install. Shifter cables a little less so, as you then need to sort out the RD tension, etc. Not hard, but requires some patience. But if your shifting and braking are working fine, I wouldn't replace the cables (unless they're obviously rusty or something?).

huskerdont
05-10-2017, 01:52 PM
Also, assuming the pads aren't completely gone, you might adjust the brakes via the adjusting barrel to get them a little closer to the rim (if you haven't already). That should get the lever feel less soft, even if it's only a short-term fix.

lordofthemark
05-10-2017, 01:53 PM
Kool Stop salmon brake pads: $10
Jagwire stainless brake + shifter cables: $10
(OR) Jagwire complete brake & shift cables w/ housing: $30
Chain: $20 (probably less)

So I guess you can decide if it's worth $150-170 to have those parts installed and the drivetrain cleaned. You can certainly clean the drivetrain yourself. The noise of a dirty drivetrain drives me crazy. I just use Rock-n-Roll, though, on the chain, which is about as easy as it gets. Every few weeks I clean off RD pulleys with a toothbrush and front ring with a rag. And less frequently, the cassette cogs by running a rag between them.

I'd recommend installing your own brake pads. It doesn't require special tools and but it does require some attention and patience for adjustment -- but IMO it's a good idea to know how to adjust those. Brake cables are generally trivial to install. Shifter cables a little less so, as you then need to sort out the RD tension, etc. Not hard, but requires some patience. But if your shifting and braking are working fine, I wouldn't replace the cables (unless they're obviously rusty or something?).


Thanks, this is sort of in line with what I was thinking, that I need to do more myself, and can save $ doing so. Certainly to clean the bike and the drivetrain.

What do you think about doing the chain myself? Is that hard?

Note well if I am going to do anything myself I haven't done before, I probably want to not be in a rush. Which means if I don't get it done by Monday, I probably won't get it done during Bike to Work Week. The brakes aren't that bad, when the weather is dry. Just a tad soft. I don't want to put off the chain, as it could mean ruining the cassette, I guess.

hozn
05-10-2017, 02:00 PM
Thanks, this is sort of in line with what I was thinking, that I need to do more myself, and can save $ doing so. Certainly to clean the bike and the drivetrain.

What do you think about doing the chain myself? Is that hard?

Replacing the chain? No, but you need a chain tool and a maybe a chain quicklink tool:
- https://www.amazon.com/KMC-REV-Chain-Reversible-Tool/dp/B00DJ4U7YI
- http://www.treefortbikes.com/product/333222387180/282/Park-Tool-MLP-12-Chain.html

You just need to pop out the pin on the new chain so that it is the same length as the one you take off. Pretty straightforward. Sounds like the tools would pay for themselves pretty quickly.



I don't want to put off the chain, as it could mean ruining the cassette, I guess.

I guess. I'm in the don't-change-chains camp. It doesn't save me any measurable life of my cassette (I get 5k miles to a cassette whether I change or not) or shifting performance (shifting does degrade on old cassettes, but putting new chains on old cassettes doesn't make shifting work better). Not changing chains certainly saves me time and money, though. Do keep your chain clean and lubed, though.

KLizotte
05-10-2017, 02:26 PM
I highly recommend Spokes on Quaker Lane. Have been going there for years. They always seem to be honest about what needs to be replaced/repaired now versus later and I don't feel like they have ever oversold me on services. They have also found stuff that I completely overlooked.

I've never been to Contes so can't comment on their advice.

Harry Meatmotor
05-10-2017, 02:26 PM
Thanks, this is sort of in line with what I was thinking, that I need to do more myself, and can save $ doing so. Certainly to clean the bike and the drivetrain.

What do you think about doing the chain myself? Is that hard?

Note well if I am going to do anything myself I haven't done before, I probably want to not be in a rush. Which means if I don't get it done by Monday, I probably won't get it done during Bike to Work Week. The brakes aren't that bad, when the weather is dry. Just a tad soft. I don't want to put off the chain, as it could mean ruining the cassette, I guess.

Without disclosing too much, I'd say any good shop should work with the customer to suggest service commensurate with the quality of the bike, budget, and quality/scope of repairs.

It's kinda bad practice to suggest $350 of service on a $450 (new) bike. It's also bad practice to oversell service on a bike that will never, ever shift like an $8k Dura Ace bike.

On the flip side, customers often bring their bike into the shop after a long winter hibernation, and immediately ask for a complete mechanical overhaul @ $275 plus parts. A little air in the tires, 5 minutes of fiddling with barrel adjusters, and a quick wipedown almost always gets them back on a fully functional, ready to ride bike.

Good service is making the customer happy and confident, and making sure that their dollars go as far as possible in maintaining a bike that won't leave them stranded on the trail. When I was a service manager, one of my little rules was, "Make friends first, customers second" (and I've heard similar concepts in other shops: "They're not customers until you've taken their money - Until then, they're your riding buddies"). Service folk face a generally non-technical/mechanically inclined clientele that are often used to feeling ripped off whenever they take their car in for service. In their minds, a bike shop is no different. I firmly believe bike shops shouldn't make them feel that way (because bikes are usually way cooler than cars, and a lot more fun!).

However, without actually seeing the bike in question in the stand, it's kind of hard to know whether or not it needs new cables. On the other hand, I generally recommend replacing (at least) the inner cables if you're going to be putting the drivetrain through the parts washer. If the bike has 9 or 10 speed Tiagra/Sora/105/Ultegra/Dura Ace STI shifters with external SIS cables, I always recommend replacing the cables once a year, period. If there's visible rust near the ends of the cable housing (after pulling off the ferrules), there's a pretty good chance there's more rust/gunk inside the cable housing, and it should be replaced.

As far as chains: it's absolutely imperative to measure the chain to determine whether it needs to be replaced. I'm partial to Rohloff chain checkers. Obviously, if the chain is rusty and there are frozen links, it'll need to be replaced regardless of how it measures on a chain checker.

A general rule of thumb: 2 chains per cassette, 2 cassettes per set of chainrings. But there really are a lot of variables that need to be considered before one just starts throwing parts at a drivetrain. I've had customers get 10k+ miles out of a chain, others get 1,500 miles.

lordofthemark
05-10-2017, 02:35 PM
Note, he definitely said the chain was stretched. That is one thing I think I know how to check - I have a chain checking tool in my building bike room, and the looked fine (assuming I checked it right, I used a youtube video as a guide) but I guess that was a few months ago. I can easily do that again.

I imagine among the many tools are chain tools.

I guess I can check the cables for rust, but they don't seem to be giving me problems. That I notice.

Subby
05-10-2017, 02:40 PM
Which Conte's?

lordofthemark
05-10-2017, 02:44 PM
Which Conte's?

This one, in Navy Yard

http://contebikes.com/about/washington-dc-pg242.htm

Subby
05-10-2017, 02:48 PM
This one, in Navy Yard

http://contebikes.com/about/washington-dc-pg242.htm
Ahh okay. I can vouch for the one in Falls Church but haven't been to that one.

Judd
05-10-2017, 02:51 PM
I guess. I'm in the don't-change-chains camp. It doesn't save me any measurable life of my cassette (I get 5k miles to a cassette whether I change or not) or shifting performance (shifting does degrade on old cassettes, but putting new chains on old cassettes doesn't make shifting work better). Not changing chains certainly saves me time and money, though. Do keep your chain clean and lubed, though.

I'm in this camp too. I got 6k out of the last chain/cassette before it developed a skip. Just a quick google of the Road Warrior seems to indicate that it has Tiagra level components, so it looks like a cassette will set you back $25 and a chain is about $20. From a money perspective it seems a wash to me, but you spend less time going to the bike shop.

Of course there's outliers like Komorebi who I believe has like 13-14k on her current cassette, because she has some kind of wizard bike.

Harry Meatmotor
05-10-2017, 02:57 PM
Note, he definitely said the chain was stretched. That is one thing I think I know how to check - I have a chain checking tool in my building bike room, and the looked fine (assuming I checked it right, I used a youtube video as a guide) but I guess that was a few months ago. I can easily do that again.

I imagine among the many tools are chain tools.

I guess I can check the cables for rust, but they don't seem to be giving me problems. That I notice.

Yeah - so the quality of the chain checker is a big deal. When folks ask me why I prefer the relatively expensive Rohloff to a cheap one, I'll take a Rohloff and a cheap tool, and measure a brand new bike's chain down on the sales floor. The cheap tools usually indicate at least 25% wear on a brand new chain. Rohloff will always show 0-10%.

rcannon100
05-10-2017, 03:33 PM
I do a lot of my own repairs. But its never as good as a skilled mechanic. So my old commuter gets a lot of my attention - my Kona Jake CX, when it gets to the bigger stuff, I like to take to Bikenetic because the wrenches just do a better job than I do. And having bought the bike from Bikenetic, I am convinced they are losing money on every one of my repairs.

I agree with Hans et al. Sounds like much stuff you can do your self. Certainly chain cleaning. You want to be in the habit of doing that anyway. When I had brake pads, particularly during bad winters, the sand and salt on the road would just dissolve them. Another good thing to know how to swap yourself. Swapping a chain is easy. Just remember to count the links on the old chain and cut the new chain with a chain breaker to the same length. Learn how to swap a chain - and next time someone's chain fouls on the trail you should be able easily help them - including using a master link.

Everything you can learn how to do from youtube videos (a good start is GCN videos)

I also have to admit I just enjoy working on my bike. I like knowing how it works - and I like knowing that I can tweak it on the trail if I have to.

anomad
05-10-2017, 03:34 PM
I'm in this camp too. I got 6k out of the last chain/cassette before it developed a skip. Just a quick google of the Road Warrior seems to indicate that it has Tiagra level components, so it looks like a cassette will set you back $25 and a chain is about $20. From a money perspective it seems a wash to me, but you spend less time going to the bike shop.

Of course there's outliers like Komorebi who I believe has like 13-14k on her current cassette, because she has some kind of wizard bike.

+1

I should invent a motorcycle style chain oiler for my regular commuter.

Vicegrip
05-10-2017, 05:13 PM
Just think of what people would say if a car dealer asked for 3/4 the list price of a car for an oil change and 10,000 mile service.

huskerdont
05-10-2017, 05:16 PM
Hey, I'll change the air in your tires for only $150.

Harry Meatmotor
05-10-2017, 06:08 PM
In my personal experience, when folks are itching to ride on a beautiful weekend day in the springtime and they bring a bike into the shop, they're usually met with a smile and a smaller-than-originally-thought tab (if any at all). Service at 3/4 the price of MSRP to service a bike (and a week-plus sitting in the labor board) that's just been sitting in a garage over the winter is disgusting. Obviously, there are some service managers and shop owners that would disagree with me.

lordofthemark
05-10-2017, 06:26 PM
Okay I think the brake pads are okay for now, playing with them a bit. 14741

hozn
05-10-2017, 06:51 PM
+1

I should invent a motorcycle style chain oiler for my regular commuter.
http://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/product-news/could-this-automatic-chain-lube-dispenser-make-your-bike-faster-188314

anomad
05-10-2017, 06:55 PM
Plenty of life left in those pads.

Park Tool has a whole playlist about chains on FaceTube. Literally everything you need to know, just have to practice.

https://youtu.be/vSLnA14hKkI?list=PLGCTGpvdT04RFvpef1qIJSQygRL8sv0e h

anomad
05-10-2017, 07:11 PM
http://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/product-news/could-this-automatic-chain-lube-dispenser-make-your-bike-faster-188314

The older I get the more I am sure I have never had a single original thought...

Anyhoo, I once saw a video about a winning trials bike set up, which are pretty serious little machines and obviously very concerned about light weight. They ran standard chain without o-rings for moar power and a nifty little "homemade" chain oiler tucked up by the rear shock. A bit of tubing and a 15ml bottle should lube a bicycle chain for many miles. Just need a flow control so it doesn't drip on the floor.

lordofthemark
05-10-2017, 07:32 PM
Okay, brakes checked, tube patched, bike partially cleaned. That's enough maintenance for now. More cleaning, lubing the chain, checking the chain length, and maybe checking the cables, for a later day (this weekend?)

(I am pretty sure the last time I patched a tube it was schrader instead of a presta, and front wheel instead of rear, both of which made things easier) (Also I seem to have lost the little nut that the presta has - do I need that? I left the schrader adapter on)

trailrunner
05-10-2017, 07:48 PM
There's plenty of life left in those brake pads. The bike I'm riding to work tomorrow morning has far less material.

Since you asked about a parts washer - I have an ultrasonic cleaner and clean some of my parts in it, some of the time. Before I got my ultrasonic cleaner, I made a poor man's sonic cleaner by placing my parts in an old powdered gatorade tub, filling it with cleaner or solvent, and put it on the washing machine during a wash cycle. Anyway, I use the parts washer when I'm doing a complete overhaul of something like a hub or rear DR. The chain on my commuter bike used to get filthy because my old commuting route seemed to have a lot of sand, so every now and then I'd run it through the cleaner. The ultrasonic cleaner does do a good job of getting it real clean. I might've put a cassette in the washer a couple of times, but a cassette is probably easier to clean while on the wheel by flossing it with an old rag.

anomad
05-10-2017, 08:00 PM
Okay, brakes checked, tube patched, bike partially cleaned. That's enough maintenance for now. More cleaning, lubing the chain, checking the chain length, and maybe checking the cables, for a later day (this weekend?)

(I am pretty sure the last time I patched a tube it was schroder instead of a presta, and front wheel instead of rear, both of which made things easier) (Also I seem to have lost the little nut that the presta has - do I need that? I left the schroder adapter on)

You don't need the presta nut.

komorebi
05-10-2017, 09:05 PM
Of course there's outliers like Komorebi who I believe has like 13-14k on her current cassette, because she has some kind of wizard bike.

I don't know about the wizard bike, but the 13-14k part is true. I'm on my fourth or fifth chain, but still using the original cassette and chainrings. A couple of contributing factors:

-- At least half of that distance is my commute, which is so flat that I usually don't bother to shift gears.
-- I'm a teensy-weensy bit compulsive about cleaning my chain. The chain generally gets cleaned and relubed after 200 miles or every rainy ride, whichever comes first.

Birru
05-10-2017, 09:30 PM
I don't know about the wizard bike, but the 13-14k part is true. I'm on my fourth or fifth chain, but still using the original cassette and chainrings. A couple of contributing factors:

-- At least half of that distance is my commute, which is so flat that I usually don't bother to shift gears.
-- I'm a teensy-weensy bit compulsive about cleaning my chain. The chain generally gets cleaned and relubed after 200 miles or every rainy ride, whichever comes first.

I used to use a chain cleaner every couple hundred miles or so, but eased up on that compulsion and save it for when I can still "hear" my dirty chain after a more pedestrian cleaning. Now my cleaning routine is to check my chain, cassette and jockey wheel for obvious crud and give those a good brush and wipe. I picked up a pack of gear floss and it's great for getting caked-on grime off of a cassette (https://smile.amazon.com/Finish-Line-Microfiber-Cleaning-microfiber/dp/B004JKK75A).

I agree about wiping the chain down and relubing after a wet day. It's amazing how quickly surface rust can form on a chain that's been through a day of rain.

Judd
05-10-2017, 09:39 PM
-- At least half of that distance is my commute, which is so flat that I usually don't bother to shift gears.


Sounds like you're ready for a fixie.

Judd
05-10-2017, 09:41 PM
The real way to maintain a drivetrain is to give it a little bit of lube when it starts squeaking loud enough that other people start complaining about it.

Birru
05-13-2017, 10:29 AM
You don't need the presta nut.

Nope, you can remove the nuts and save a couple of grams for a much faster commute! Unless you're running tubeless, then definitely don't remove them.

I don't bin my presta nuts though. They can be useful to temporarily keep everything aligned and secure when installing a replacement inner tube in the field. They also make nice bottle cage spacers if your cage can't install flush against the frame.

lordofthemark
05-20-2017, 09:05 AM
So it turns out that you CAN get a lot of crud off the gears with just an old tooth brush and a paper towel.

peterw_diy
05-20-2017, 09:55 AM
So it turns out that you CAN get a lot of crud off the gears with just an old tooth brush and a paper towel.
That sounds fancy! I clean my derailleur pulleys with twigs.

dbb
05-20-2017, 01:40 PM
That sounds fancy! I clean my derailleur pulleys with twigs.

Which LBS do you get the twigs from?

Harry Meatmotor
05-20-2017, 01:44 PM
Which LBS do you get the twigs from?

I usually go for NOS off of eBay. There's a couple guys on there selling drillium Italian twigs with added lightness.

CaseyKane50
05-20-2017, 02:14 PM
So it turns out that you CAN get a lot of crud off the gears with just an old tooth brush and a paper towel.

I have found the Finish Line Grunge Brush (https://www.rei.com/product/697481/finish-line-grunge-brush) to be a nice upgrade from the toothbrush. You can get at REI for $13.


https://youtu.be/75xzHjHrqow.

lordofthemark
05-20-2017, 09:09 PM
That sounds fancy! I clean my derailleur pulleys with twigs.

Then you can use the twigs to make a fire, to render the fat from the animal you have hunted, to make your own lube for the chain. #neolithiccycling