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Robert Hamlin Bicycles is not open. I am available for repairs. Just call to set up a time.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

There Is No Such Thing As A Tune Up

I worked for 13 hours straight today at Fe700c Bicycles. I should be brushing my teeth, but I'm too wired to sleep. Perhaps I'll go back to the shop after I get a bite to eat and work until breakfast. There's only 9 more repairs and 2 builds to do. All 9 repairs came in today and 2 bikes were sold today. Yes, that's how I do it. I usually sell them before I assemble them. Weird ain't it? That's why adjustments are free for as long as you own your bike (not just 30 days). I build it, you ride it, if something is loose, I adjust it for free. If it don't shift, bring it back.

Speaking of bicycle repairs, at least several times each day, I get asked if I do "tune-ups." Well folks, there is no such thing as a tune up. Back in 1972, my father taught me to do a tune up on our Chevy Vega. It had points, condenser, and a carburetor. Today's fuel injected, computerized cars don't, and they do not get tune ups. At Fe700c Bicycles, neither do bikes. All the other shops in town (and in all the other towns and big cities) do "tune ups;" they check you bike over and do certain adjustments/repairs for a fixed price. This is the biggest rip off in the entire world. If someone tells you it's $69.99 to fix your bike, and they have never even #%!$ing looked at your bike, they are ripping you off. If you pay for a bicycle "tune up" you are a fool. "Oh, but our basic tune up includes adjusting both hubs, both brakes, both derailleurs, headset, bottom bracket, and cleaning and lubing your chain." Well, they are pulling your chain. What if your rear hub, bottom bracket, headset, and front derailleur are just fine. Does it cost only $49.99. No, it's still $69.99.

At my shop, I only repair things that are not working properly on your bike. Everything I do is itemized on the back of your ticket. These repairs do not have a fixed price. Let's take your front brake for example. It just may need some cable pulled and the pads centered. That's about $6. However, your front brake may need new pads, new cable, housing, and elbow, the brake arms pulled 0ff to clean and lube the posts, and one of the posts re-aligned (bent back in place). That's about $45. See, no one really knows what is wrong with your front brake until they put your bike on the repair stand and take an honest look at it.

Let's take your sad excuse for a rear derailleur, for example. It may just need a turn of the adjusting barrel. That's free. Really, that's free. Or, your rear derailleur may need the hanger aligned, new cable and housing, the H, L, and B sets adjusted (because the 18 year old "bicycle mechanic" who assembled your $1200 bicycle for $5 at the shop where you bought it had absolutely no clue, never touched the H, L, and B sets, and never even took off the rear wheel during the assembly, which is why your rear hub is so loose), and your jockey wheel and guide pulleys removed and lubricated. That costs about $40. Really, $40. Again, I repeat, no one really knows what is wrong with your rear derailleur until they put your bike in the stand and take an honest look at it.

My bottom line is this: I will put your bike in the stand and give honest free estimates for repairs. It usually costs less than the estimate, and usually less that $69.99. If you want to put a limit on how much you want to spend on your bicycle, I will write it on the ticket and not exceed that limit. Again, I do not do "tune ups" and I don't know what is wrong with your bicycle and how much it will cost to fix it until I take a good look at it.

Rant over. Goodnight.

P.S. Please read the above rant as humor. I know you may have to look for it, but it's supposed to have a humorous tone.

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