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Thread: My visit to Conte's

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    Default My visit to Conte's

    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).
    Last edited by lordofthemark; 05-10-2017 at 12:03 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post

    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-r...ter-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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    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?).

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    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.../dp/B00DJ4U7YI
    - http://www.treefortbikes.com/product...-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.


    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    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.

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Harry Meatmotor; 05-10-2017 at 02:30 PM. Reason: spelling

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    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.

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