There's nothing better than getting your bike back from the shop after it's been tightened up, but how much does a bike tune up cost? I've broken down everything you need to know below.
What Does A Bicycle Tune Up Consist Of?
Before we go into pricing, I wanted to discuss what a bicycle tune-up consists of, as this will affect the price.
How a tune-up is done will differ between shops, but a good one should include the following:
To be properly tune-up your bike it'll need a thorough clean. Clearing off all the muck and grease from the bike is important to see what needs to be done.
If there is a lot of muck in the components, they'll wear out much quicker, costing you more money in the long run.
Lubing and greasing an excellent way to keep things running smoothly. It should be placed primarily on the chain and any moving parts.
If any gets on the brakes, they'll need to be replaced or time will need to be spent getting the lubricant off of them.
Occasionally a bike wheel can become un-true. An un-true wheel can be fixed while the wheel is on the bike using the brake pads as a guide.
However, it's much easier and more accurate to have the wheel on a proper stand.
A spoke key or multitool is needed to adjust the spoke.
Drivetrain adjustment is critical to keep the gears running smoothly so that they don't skip or slip as you're cycling along.
Drivetrain adjustment is a little trickier than other aspects of a tune-up and can damage the bike if done incorrectly.
These will need to be adjusted to make sure that they're in line with each other and have equal spacing either side of the rim.
Generally, a 1.5mm gap between the top of the rim and brake pad is needed to stop the brake pad from going into the tire.
The bike needs to be inspected to see if any parts are worn and need replacing. Inspection is necessary because if used parts aren't replaced, they can cause damage to the bike in other areas.
Hub adjustment needs to be done if the axle doesn't turn smoothly, or if there's some play in the hub.
This can be checked by moving the wheel from side-to-side in the forks.
Bottom brackets can become worn out over time. To see if it's worn out the chain is can be dropped off of the smallest front ring and spun while holding the frame.
If there's any rumbling or grinding sensation from the frame, then it's likely that the bearing surfaces are worn out.
Headsets can take a lot of damage if the bike is ridden in any wet weather. The bearings sit in the direct line of any water that's being flicked up from the front wheel.
For this reason, they'll need to be looked after regularly to avoid them from becoming worn out.
How Much Does A Bike Tune Up Cost?
A tune-up should cost you anywhere between $30 - $80. This is a large range, but it depends on what the shop offers.
Not all of them will provide all of the services above, so it's important to ask them before you drop the bike off.
A quick adjustment and tighten up of your components will cost around $30 and it will go up from there.
The average is around $60 and normally consists of wheel truing, brake tightening, derailleur adjustments, lubrication, and tightening of nuts and bolts.
If you wanted to go all out and have a complete overhaul, you could have everything from the list above, as well as have all of the parts removed and given a thorough cleaning for around $200.
Some shops will offer you a deal if you buy the bike from them. For example, they may offer unlimited tune-ups for a discounted price.
Some shops will even offer free tune-ups for life if you buy the bike from them.
So it's worth shopping around if you're in the market for a new bike, as free unlimited tune-ups are great for peace of mind.
All of this pricing is without any new parts; this is where things can start to get expensive, so make sure that the shop informs you of any additional costs before they begin any work.
Good local bike shops are valuable. Not everyone has the resources, time or the confidence to do their own maintenance work.
However, you need to make sure you that you go to a respected bike shop. If you take it to a shop, they'll figure you can't do it yourself, and won't know if they've done a good job or not.
There's a great temptation to charge a customer for stripping a component down and cleaning it internally when it was just done externally.
Much like other services, it's about honesty, I suspect that this is still to be found in small towns, but might not be so easy to find in larger cities.
How Often Should You Tune Up?
If you want to do a tune-up yourself but are short on time watch the video below by the Global Cycling Network for a great DIY tutorial that takes one hr.
It's a good idea to do most of the small things regularly. If you've watched the video above you'll be able to see that most tasks can be completed yourself.
Things like minor tune ups, lubing the chain and checking tire pressure should be done every time you ride.
If you're not sure what you're doing with some of the bigger stuff you can screw up your bike.
(e.g., dodgy derailleur adjustment leading to a derailleur getting caught up in the wheel spokes).
This will cost more time and money than if you'd paid someone to do it properly in the first place.
As long as you're keeping an eye on the smaller things you could have a full-tune up at once a year to make sure that some of the bigger stuff if still running smoothly.
So there we have it. I hope I've answered the question "how much does a bike tune up cost" and things are now a little clearer.