Sunday, September 20, 2009

Routine Maintenance

Do you ever have one of those visits to the bike shop? I know I should do move of my own maintenance, but right now I just don't have the time (or a decent bike stand), plus I'm a rider. Like a Formula One racer, he pulls into the pits and a team takes care of him and sends him back on the track. That's how I look at my two favorite bike shops in town. I bring it in and they send me back out. So this visit started with some play in the upper shock linkage. I was pretty sure the bearings were done, but I couldn't find the right allen wrench (I had all but the one I needed), so I took it by Jon at Peak Sports. I like Jon, he used to own his own shop and he also maintains on his own, one of my favorite rides (The Ritz). A good bike shop experience requires the right mechanic, and there are some I like better than others.

Turns out I was only finger tight, so the play improved when tightened, but the bearings did need to be replaced, as he inspected it, so did the rear shift cable, chain, sprocket, chain rings, and break pads! Unlike a "shady car mechanic", he pointed out each concern and let me get an "up close and personal" look. So the loose screw turned into about $200.

Now, I might save $50 in labor if I did it myself, but it would take me longer, and take up time that I don't have, so I'm glad the shop will do it. Plus, I like supporting my local economy and bike shops. My real point though is that you have to maintain your bike. If you ride hard and year round like the "Old Men" do, you need to take care of your bike so you'll have confidence in it, and so it will keep you safe.

I've been very surprised to hear comments from my riding partners like "I haven't replaced my chain in two or more years" or "I haven't changed my break pads in a year," or "I've never had my shock serviced." I figure if you are going to spend $4,000 (msrp) then you know you are going to spend $200 to $300 a year on parts and maintenance. It is a finely engineered piece of equipment, not a K-Mart look a like. So you need to take care of it, that way you'll know it will be there and ready to ride. That confidence will allow you be able to push your riding limits as a result.

Now go ride!

1 comment:

  1. Good point. I find that the maintenance, if done regularly, really makes riding more enjoyable... everything works!

    Usually, this is pads and chain once a year, with additional shock and pivot stuff every 2-3 years.