Preventative maintenance... on brand new bikes.

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by GrahamG, 5 May 2010.

  1. GrahamG

    GrahamG Veteran

    This needs raising as I've just spent an entire day sorting out a colleagues bike bought on the cycle to work scheme just 18 months ago. He's done a good 4000 miles on it but there were some serious issues which, frustratingly, could have been prevented.

    Bike: Specialized Allez Comp (c.£700?), supplied by reputable LBS and with 9 speed Tiagra flat bar kit.

    1. Front hub cones knackered - it's obvious that the hub was too tight from the factory. Bike shop obviously didn't check so hub cones were shot (material ground away into the grease). Specialized no-name hubs so no spares available.

    2. Rear hub cone knackered on drive side - seal was so poor that the drive side cone was rusty. This one was just down to poor quality components or at least components that needed more regular attention (probably needs greasing every 6 months).

    3. Bottom Bracket very nearly stuck - took a major hammering to get it loose. Threads were bone dry, no assembly compound or grease of any sort had been installed. Another year or two and this might have been impossible to shift rendering the whole frame virtually junk.

    Fortunately I had a set of 105 hubs spare that were the same dimensions as the stock shells and could rebuild the wheels for him. To sort this lot out along with a full strip down and re-build would have cost him an absolute fortune at most bike shops so I was glad that I offered to help.

    In all likelihood, most people will have lower usage meaning that bikes get to 2, 3, or even 4 years before these problems actually come to a head, at which point they'll be told that there's a £200+ bill coming their way when half of it is for stuff that could have been prevented if the bike was set up properly in the first place (I bet that very few people do enough mileage for these to be warranty issues!).

    So, if you've just bought a new bike, get someone to check hubs are properly adjusted and well greased. Then borrow some tools or visit a local bike project/coop etc. to use their workshop and get someone to show you how to dismantle the bike - then reassemble it with copperslip grease on all threads, seatpost (unless carbon), etc. You may well be saving a future hit on your wallet.

    Finally, does anyone know of a shop that actually remedies these things on new bikes? I only know of one here in Bristol - they dismantle the whole thing and then reassemble to avoid having people coming back to complain, however it means everyone has to wait a week or so for their bike as they don't do it until a sale is agreed.
  2. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    I was going to suggest somewhere but I suspect its the same place:biggrin: - I had mine serviced there a week or two ago ... they only book one bike in a day for a service on the whole - so I had to wait about 3 weeks or more to get a date.
  3. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    South Manchester
    I assume he hadn't greased the hubs at all during 4000 miles - very important on cheap wheels.

    One point to make about 'factory' built bikes - very little if no grease is used in fitting components, so stuff like BB's can get stuck. Don't know many shops that will pull a bike to bits, re-grease and re-build - I do if I buy a new bike.

    My CTW bike was a custom bike shop build and came 'greased up' properly.
  4. Globalti

    Globalti Legendary Member

    The few new hubs I've encountered have all had over-tight, dry cones. It's as if the makers think they will wear in.

    Mind you, having once worked in a bike factory and seen the way the bikes were thrown together I'm not at all surprised.
  5. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    You cannot realistically expect a bike shop to strip down things like hubs and bottom brackets (and presumably headsets) as part of a pre-delivery inspection. Crap assembly at the factory maybe, but not the fault of the shop. Their remit is to make sure everything works as it should at the point of sale, if they have done that they have done their job.
  6. claud rider

    claud rider New Member

    Norwich, Norfolk
    Have to agree on the above.
    Purchased my bike a Claud Butler tourer and decided to have a fiddle about (as you do).
    Well the bike at this time had only covered around five hundred miles and i was very surprised to find hardly any grease in the hubs.
    I suppose its one way to cut costs....grease IS cheap but if you can save a small amount on each unit then the savings can add up.
  7. Captain

    Captain New Member

    GrahamG and Summerdays: Where is this shop and what is it called? I am slowly learning how to maintain my bike myself but to me it seems as though every bike is so different!
    The "doner" bike I have to practice on is rusted to dust so half the things I need to know for my new bike just don't apply to that old thing.
  8. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    Well assuming its the same one, its in Henleaze...Harvey's Cycle Exchange ... a funny old fashioned shop the size of a shoe box (I'm not kidding) and yes you can take your bike in with you and most people do.


    The width of the door is the width of the floor space that you can stand on in the shop:biggrin:
  9. OP

    GrahamG Veteran

    I get your point, I'd just like to see some assembly compound/grease used at the factory and for the shops to at least check the hubs are correctly adjusted - they probably already check headset and then get gears etc. set up, is it that hard to adjust the hubs at the same time?

    The annoyance here is that there's little chance of any comeback for the factory and therefore little impetus to improve standards. I don't see how hubs that destroy themselves within 18 months due to poor assembly/adjustment can be deemed 'fit for purpose'. This colleague of mine was not buying a cheap bike!
  10. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    Your comeback is with the shop. Even though they could not be blamed for shoddy assemble procedures that were not obvious, you bought the bike from them and it is up to them to rectify any faults and then claim their expenses back form the manufacturer.
  11. OP

    GrahamG Veteran

    I guess that's why you hear a few stories of a replacement set of wheels after 11 months etc. however most people who aren't mechanically savvy will just end up forking out huge amounts of cash later on down the line to get their bike sorted not realising that it's not 'normal' for wheels to be screwed after 18 months.
  12. xpc316e

    xpc316e Senior Member

    I have very rarely purchased new bikes in my life, but on those occasions when I have, the faults you mentioned have been all too apparent. I bought some good quality pedals a little while ago and the bearings were so tight; when I held the pedals and turned the axle with my fingers I discovered that it was barely possible. Had I just fitted them to the bike, my feet probably wouldn't have detected the roughness and the pedals would have been wrecked in next to no time. I also packed the bearings with grease in addition to adjusting the bearings - I expect them to be running well for years.
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