Bike tune-ups will take care of minor problems and prevent major problems. It usually involves two major services. One service is safety inspection where the bike is checked for the following things: Gear, brakes, brake cables, tire wear, and wheel alignment. The second service is to adjust the bike’s gears, brakes, and cables as needed.
Be it your mountain bike, racing bike, or a regular bike each one of them needs a checkup or tuning to keep them working at full capacity. If you are a passionate cyclist then you must be well aware of the importance of bike tune-up.
Like all machinery, the bike parts also face wear and tear, and due to exposure to harsh weather conditions, these parts may stop working in less span if you don’t pay attention. From proper inflation in tires to the lubrication of the chain all parts need to be checked at regular intervals.
How Much Is a Bike Tune-Up?
A general bike tune-up may cost from 40 $ up to 250 $ if you go for a deep clean and detailed one. Depending on the interval between tune-up, bike condition, and fixing required the charges and time will vary.
We have listed down all the services that a general tune-up includes, what kind of tune-up will suit you and what are the charges.
Do You Need a Bike Tune-Up?
Before getting to the charges of a tune-up, you must be thinking do you need a tune-up? Perhaps you have thought that your bike is newly bought and you haven’t ridden it much, so why invest in the tune-up?
So clear your confusion and keep in mind that even the new bike or slightly used one needs a bit of tune-up to keep it in perfect condition, although the required services may vary. To figure out whether it is the due time for your bike for a tune-up or not have a look at the following factors:
The main factor in deciding whether you must go for a tune-up or not is your bike’s condition. If the bike is new and shows no such problems in running you can delay the tune-up for some weeks. While for a second-hand bike or an older one that shows jamming parts or a reduction in speed performance a tune-up is necessary.
Any Wear and Tear
If you see any wear and tear on the parts or chain or handlebar rusting then getting a tune-up is unavoidable before the bike stops working completely.
The functionality of bike brakes or the grip of tires is affected by continuous riding, or any spokes of the wheel broken, or in case you feel the handle is not stiff enough then the tune-up is necessary to ensure the proper functioning of parts.
Why Bike Tune-Up Is Important?
Like electronic instruments need tuning to deliver proper notes similarly the bike’s part needs tuning to function properly and deliver high performance. Due to the continuous friction in running parts, the machinery starts wearing and the parts may start cracking and breaking down. To ensure that the whole bike system runs as it does regular cleaning and tuning of parts is required.
For instance, if your tires are not inflated at the recommended psi then you won’t have a smooth and comfortable ride, similarly, the suspension of the bike must work properly and the handlebar aligned as any of these factors can affect your overall comfort during the ride.
Longer Life Span
Maintaining the machinery regularly can get them run for more time than a neglected one. As the saying goes “A stitch in time saves nine”, if you fix the smaller problems frequently then there won’t be any major breakdowns or problems in your bike. Also, it will last for years more than the company’s warranty.
Chain breaking or jamming or the wheels wiggling can be a cause of a big accident for you. Bike tune-up is also essential to ensure that the bike is in a safe condition to ride and that there are no safety hazards.
Breaking of spokes, tires blasting due to low pressure, or brakes failing all are major concerns that should be eliminated before you ride.
Regular cleaning and lubrication of mechanical parts make them function smoothly and there is no wear and tear due to friction. This helps you enjoy a swift and smooth ride without any part jamming or causing a knocking sound.
What Is Included In Bike Tune-Up?
Bike tune-up includes several services from just a brief cleanup to detailed alignment and adjustment of body parts. Depending on the frequency and the package you choose the services vary. Generally, some of the services that a bike tune-up includes are:
1. Brake Adjustments
Brake pads often get shifted from their place and may cause squeaking sounds or noise during application. Due to this the time and efficiency may vary. During a bike tune-up, the mechanic would check the brake pads and adjust them at the proper position, aligning them at equal distances from both sides of the rim.
Also, the mechanic would sand the brake pads to smooth them and in case the condition is not good they would replace the brake pads.
2. Wheel Truing
With time the wheels of the bike may start wobbling a bit or get untrue i.e. the alignment is disturbed. During a tune-up, the mechanic would put the bike on a truing stand and check the wheel for any misalignment or wobbling fix it to be rigid, and tighten the wheel spokes for a smooth and safe ride.
Grease and muck get stuck in the parts of the bike and can cause them to get jammed or wear off more quickly. It is necessary to clean this grease and muck frequently so that they don’t alter the functioning of the bike parts. During a tune-up, the mechanic would wash and detail clean all the bike parts from grease and sand or dust residues.
4. Greasing and Lubrication
For the smooth and frictionless operation of machinery, an adequate amount of lubing and greasing is required. So once the bike is cleaned completely the mechanical parts are lubricated by light grease or lube so that they function smoothly.
5. Drive Train Adjustment
The drive train of the bike wears off more quickly and needs to be replaced or fixed frequently.
If the drivetrain is not working properly it may cause the other parts to wear off too. In the drive train service, the mechanic will fix any damages in the chain and adjust the drive train or if it’s too damaged then replace it.
6. Tire Inflation
This one is a daily tune-up and you can get it checked at the bike shop or simply by yourself if you have a pressure gauge. Checking the tire inflation ensures that the tires are not punctured, has suggested air pressure and riding is comfortable, and runs at full speed without any sluggishness.
7. Gear Tuning
If changing gears on the bike is getting harder and you feel knocking or more strain while you do so then the gear needs truing. The mechanic will simply align the gears to the cable by adjusting and tightening the front and rear derailleurs and checking whether the gears are indexed properly or not.
8. Cable and Bracket Maintenance
The brakes and gears of the bike are controlled by a switch on the handle connected through the wire. With time this wire may get cracked or loosen up causing the problem with changing gears or brakes application. The mechanic will check the strength of the wire, straighten it, and fix any breaking for proper operation.
Also, the headset and the bottom bracket need to be maintained as if they are losing the chain can fall. The mechanic will check for any wear and tears in the bearing and fix or replace the bracket for the safety and smooth functioning of parts. Apart from these many other services are done in a bike tune-up and you can get them done by your mechanic or bike shop as per your bike’s condition.
How Much is a Bike Tune-up Cost?
Now coming to the main point, how much do these services cost?
That depends on the package or the bike’s condition. In general, there are three categories of bike tune-up, the basic one that costs around 60-100$, the standard one costing around 120-150$, and an overhaul or about 250$ or more. However, the daily or weekly tune-up for minor adjustments can cost less than 30 $ too.
Charges: 60-100 $
A basic tune-up is more of a cleaning and inspection session with lubrication and greasing of the parts and figuring out any major damages or fixes that would be required in near future. These need to be done bi-monthly or monthly for the proper functioning of the bike.
The Basic tune-up package would include:
- Tire inflation
- Cleaning and lubing
- Brake adjustment
- Wheel alignment
- Gear truing
- Safety check
The standard tune-up is a more detailed one with checking and fixing all parts deeply and fixing any minor issues or any replacement required.
It would include:
- The basic package services
- Drivetrain adjustment
- Cable and bracket alignment
- Polishing and greasing of all parts separately
- Professional testing to endure a safe and hassle-free ride
Overhaul tune-up is the best and most detailed package for bike tuning. In this package, the mechanic will completely disassemble the bike and inspect and fix each part of the bike, replacing the old wear-out ones.
Then after deep cleaning, lubrication put-backs the bike together with completely fixed and new mechanical parts. This one is a time-consuming and in-depth service.
Overhaul tune-up includes:
• Standard tune-up
• The new cable, brake pads, and brackets
• Deep cleaning and lubrication
• Tires or wheel replacement
Which Tune-up Should I Get?
Every bike needs a tune-up but the service required depends on the bike’s condition and the frequency of checking. To figure out which tune-up package would suit you have a look at the following points:
For the new bike, most of the parts are in good shape and don’t need any fixing so a basic tune-up monthly or at the 3-month interval to ensure that all parts are tightened and properly aligned is needed.
For regularly ridden bikes the parts may wear off and may need fixing after some months. For a bike used daily, a standard tune-up yearly or bi-annually is best suited. It is advisable to get the bike tuned up before the winter and summer so that there are no issues in the functioning and parts jamming.
For a second-hand bike or an old bike, you have taken out from the garage a complete overhaul is needed to fix and replace the broken parts and get the bike in a proper functioning state. After that, a basic regular tune-up would be fine to keep everything in order.
How Long Does a Tune-Up Take?
A basic tune-up takes around 30-60 minutes and a standard one may take 2-3 hours. But as the shops are busy and won’t entertain you immediately you must make an appointment beforehand for a tune-up or have to leave the bike for the day at the shop to get it done.
While for an overhaul tune-up, may take days and you must make mind to go without your bike for 2-3 days while it is at the bike shop.
Can I Do a Tune-up Myself?
Although bike tune-up is technical work and in trying to do so yourself you may get injured or damage the bike parts. However, there are some tasks that you can do yourself. Have a good guidebook or watch YouTube tutorials to learn how you can do a basic bike tune-up at home.
By learning to do so you can save 50-100 $ yearly and only have to go for major replacements or alignments in 12-24 months.
What Kind of Maintenance Can I Do Myself?
For DIY tune-up you can get a cleaning brush set a pressure gauge and bike lubricant. Deep clean your chainset and bike parts with the brush and check the inflation in tires by the gauge. Also after you have cleaned the parts and chain, apply the lubricant easily to get it moving smoothly. These are some basic tune-up services that are easy to do at home.
Also, you can check and fix the brake pads of the bike and fix them to apply noise-free and smoothly, straighten out the cable, or fix any breakage and tighten the nuts and bolts of the brackets.
How Often Do I Need a Bike Tune-Up?
According to your riding frequency and bike condition, you may need to decide the type of tune-up and how often you should get one. For example, if you ride regularly then a standard tune-up bi-annually is a must while a basic one needs to be done monthly. Here are services that must be needed according to the interval of tune-ups.
Before every ride, you must check these:
Tire air pressure
- Check wheel and tire for damage, tread tear, or puncture
- Proper brake application
- Chain lubrication
- Tightened clamps
- Seat stability
On a monthly tune-up schedule, the bike must be checked for the following:
- Cleaning and tightening of brackets
- Tightening of nuts and bolts
- Greasing of chainset and mechanical parts
- Fixing of wheel spokes
- Brake adjustments
- Cable and gear alignment and fixing
On 6 month or yearly basis, the bike must be serviced for:
- Drivetrain adjustment
- Brake pads replacement
- Tire or wheel replacement or fixing
- Waxing of frame
There is no hard and fast rule for the frequency and services included in the tune-up and that all depends on your bike’s condition and budget too. Whether be it by yourself or by the bike shop the bike must be checked for any issues to save yourself from any accidents and major expenditure on fixing altogether.
This will make your bike run longer and smoother and some of the basic tune-up services you can do yourself by investing in basic tune-up tools and saving the cost.