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The cost of keeping a bike on the road


FirstV8
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I learnt early on in my cycling journey that it makes way more sense to invest in the tools that allow me to do it myself rather than having to listen to a story as to why I still have the same sound on the bike after they "fixed" the problem

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Robert, you have hit the nail in the coffin on this one. So nice to service a bike yourself, getting to know how all the things work together and then there is the pride part, instead of using just enough grease, you use way to much and top of the line grease for those bearings. Tools are a heavy investment, but damm nothing like that feeling.

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Riding style also comes into play, I've seen even experienced riders who are incredibly hard on their bikes. With little to no finesse.
The most common observation is accelerated gear wear by riding cross geared, too hard a gear and/or not replacing the chain enough.
Braking hard
Not keeping the bike generally clean, in particular the drivetrain. On MTBs, not keeping pivots/suspension seals clean.

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Annual service, road bike.

 

Bike stripped cleaned and re-assembled.

New chain, tyres, brake pads, cables and bar tape.

 

Cassettes and chainrings last about 3-4 years. 

 

New wheels every 4-5 years. 

 

I just replaced my old Deda cockpit that lasted well over 10 years. 

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Like I tell so many of my mates who fork out big $ for someone else to turn a hex key (since most shops don't bother to use torque wrenches anyway...), it's a just bicycle!! Not exactly the most complex piece of mechanical equipment - you only need a really basic set of tools to fix almost anything on a bike (rear shock service and wheel building are the only things I don't do at home). Learn to fix it yourself (youtube has great instructional vids for this), take your time to do it properly, and it will pay dividends.

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Keeping a road /Mtb  roadworthy for everyday use . This question is for the non technical , non handyman or lazy  bike owner who has one bike or more that gets used daily or very often . The cost of using your LBS for servicing , fitting , fixing or even cleaning must be quite costly . It would be interesting to hear from cyclists as to what needs to be budgeted for . I know some months must be more costly if tyres , chains , cassettes , or even chain rings are replaced . .  

It does cost money to maintain your bike properly...what is expensive to one is not to another, so everyone to his / her own affordability... I do virtually all my riding in the Cradle on a road bike and I find my biggest expense is replacing tubeless tyres that get shredded by glass fragments from broken bottles in the yellow shoulder.  I loose at least a tyre in a month, sometimes more than one... the more your ride, the higher your chances that you'll ride through glass...  I have considered asking the coffee shops - Bidon etc.. - to start a campaign that we donate some change from the coffee we buy and hire / rent a street sweeper once or twice a month to wipe / sweep away the broken glass ... I tried to speak to someone at SAB to ask if they would not be prepared to increase the deposit on a glass bottle with the hope that those breaking them would rather consider returning them to the store for a refund...have not been able to get to the right person ... being shifted from pillar to post... not certain if they really care...? Maybe we should start a separate Topic on this and see if we can't muster enough support? 

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Posted (edited)

I reckon it's about R400 pm.

Drivetrains lasts at least two years, and then it's working class hero parts (Deore and Zee,) so essentially it's consumables. I do all the services bar dampers and wheel builds myself.

 

It helps that if it looks like rain or mud, I park my main squeeze and just ride the singlespeed. That bike only asks for oil, grease occasionally, brake pads and a fork service every year.

I'm as happy as a pig in mud on the SS when it gets wet.

Edited by PhilipV
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Posted (edited)

Just consumables for me....All tools have been bought over last 11 years. No more LBS BS.....(plus closet one is 30km odd away.....)
As with anything mechanical....Fix before something breaks and creates more damage and cost....
 

Edited by Mojoman
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From my not so perfect social circle... Seems that, if you stay on top of your maintenance items, and you have a lower mid to higher mid end bike, it seems that around 300-500 per month is a healthy budget. This assumes you've checked the chain regularly and avoided any corrective maintenence...

 

I think it goes way up with higher end bikes and groupsets...

Is that figure for a road bike? What the **** have I been doing wrong all these years, cause my road bikes cost a lot less than that a month.

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You guys are spending a fair bit monthly, or maybe I'm just not maintaining my bike like I should.

I also only do around 500km per month though.

 

Twice a month its a wash and lube and check chain wear. Tyres maybe every 18months. Sealent topup every 6 months.

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The kind of costs monthly quoted here would mean as a retired cyclist I'd have to give up the sport and take up Tiddlywinks!

Yeah, I'm struggling to figure out what these guys are doing monthly to their bikes to run up these costs.

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This must be a crazy expensive sport for those that dont do any servicing themselves .....

 

 

The last year has been "interesting" with my Giant.  As it is still new and under warranty I had to book it in for various services.

 

- They did at least three minor services free of charge (basically a wash and lube, certainly NO materials involved).  That said, the bike was booked in CLEAN, and the chain already lubed ... so at best they checked the gear indexing and re-washed it.

 

and then the costs started adding up ....

 

- After replacing the brake pads the bike had to be booked in for a brake bleed : R250 .... after 150km I had to take the bike back to have it re-bled ... made it clear I am not paying again, not after 150km

 

- I topped up the sealant myself..... wonder what four of these would have cost ?

 

- I booked in the bike THREE times for a "ticking sound" .... third time I got a call: "The chain is stretched beyond 0,75%, and the cassette is destroyed" .... took me by surprise, as I checked it the month before .... but okay, if that is the cause, then please go ahead ..... best part of R2k  (basic 11 speed components) 

 

Checked the old chain at home ... less than 0,25%, actually wondered if the ICETOOLS tool was accurate, bought a Parktool and checked again.  JIP, less than 0,25%.  Showed the cassette to Hubber over the weekend, jip, still in PERFECT condition ..... so R2k down the tube, and YES, the ticking sound was still there ..... turned out to be a totally unrelated item, which was repaired under warranty.

 

HOW MUCH do these people pay for parts being replaced that has lots of life left ???

(with 3 off 11-speed bikes at home I am sure to get use out of these spare parts)

 

 

- I then took the bike to an independant shop to look at the brakes, as the original issue was still lingering.  The rear wheel bearings were notchy, so I asked them to replace this.

 

 

- Replaced the rear tire, topped up the sealant front and rear (did this myself)

 

 

- at the end of the year I took the bike in for a "major service" (to a different shop!!)  This service included:

. Fork service

. checking the pivot bearings (NOT replaced)

. replace front wheel bearings

. check the rest ....

. given the stuff already done in the last three months their list was seriously reduced ....

This major service cost R 1 700.

 

 

So at a rough guess, these trips to the shops added to about R250 to R300 per month (thats ignoring the R2k for the chain and cassette, as I will still get full use out of it) - over and above regular wash and lube, topping up sealant, etc that I did myself.  Actually, had I not asked for my spare parts, the monthly fee would jump up "nicely" ...  :wacko:   :cursing:

 

 

 

Would be interesting, and scary, to see what it costs if the bike goes to the LBS for every wash and lube, as well as regular servicing .....  :eek:

 

The biggest rip off and most lucrative part of a LBS service - "Sir your chain is stretched and your cluster is worn"  because they know most cyclists don't have chain gauges and can't argue wear on a cassette  

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You guys are spending a fair bit monthly, or maybe I'm just not maintaining my bike like I should.

I also only do around 500km per month though.

 

Twice a month its a wash and lube and check chain wear. Tyres maybe every 18months. Sealent topup every 6 months.

I do around three times that a month, although it is spread across two road bikes (and sometimes tandem) and an indoor trainer. (it'll be spread even more now that I added the big 9 to the stable).

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