1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Right time for a tune-up?

    I'm new, although I've been riding my new bike for about a month. My LBS offers free tune-ups for 1 year after the purchase of a new bike. I've probably put about 50 miles on my Pitch 650B Sport since I bought it in September. About half of this has been on the trail and half from commuting. Is it true that bikes have a "break-in" period, and if so, about how long/many miles is that? I'm just wondering if I'm due for service at this point. I'm started getting a little chain noise and an occasional very slight knock from my BB about a week ago. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Yep, sounds like it's time

  3. #3
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    The "right time" for your first tune is when you start to notice the shifting is not as precise as it was to start with. Any other noises/issues are a good indication, too.

    There's not really a hard x-miles number to go off of. Most shops will give a fairly general estimate of 30 to 90 days or something like that. If you do a 200 mile tour on a new bike over the first weekend you own it, it might be enough. But a bike just sitting and not being ridden will also go out of adjustment from housing compression. Sometimes, just sitting in a garage/basement and not being ridden is harder on a bike than being used, for a lot of reasons.

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys. I get what NateHawk is saying about housing compression. Guessing you are talking about expansion/contraction from temperature fluctuations? If so, ya, we've been seeing that a lot with the fall weather, and my bike is kept in the garage where its down to 45 at night, up around 70 during the days.
    As soon as I noticed some noises and reduced shifting efficiency I knew it was time, but I wanted to bounce it off some knowledgable people here. The bike hasn't been ridden hard IMO, but it's seen some trail time and couple minor wipe-outs. Thank you!

  5. #5
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    Not the temp fluctuations. What's really hard on bikes are frequent humidity fluctuations. It usually happens along with the temp fluctuations, but it's the condensation that kills bike parts, not expansion/contraction. Because that condensation happens INSIDE as well as outside on the frame. So inside the cable housings will get condensation.

    If you ride the bike and maintain it, then the movement alone will keep things working longer. But if you store the bike in a shed or a garage with no climate control or something during the winter months and don't pull it out until spring, then it will probably need some attention before you take it onto the trails next year. I keep my bikes in a mostly temperature-controlled basement (at least, much better than my garage) so I pretty much just have to inflate tires and lube the drivetrain if a particular bike has sat for awhile.

  6. #6
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    In principle, I would recommend picking up some chain lube and use it at least every 2-3 rides, depending on when/what/distance. Lots of types to choose from. I go with a dry type. Good for dirt trails. I used to store my bikes in a shed out back. The grease from the headset would actually melt and leak out the bottom cup. Moved them into the garage. Not as good as I'd like, but better than a metal shed.

    Not to say your LBS will do it, but one of the LBS's near me offers a "lifetime" tuneup, and every time you bring your bike in, they try to sell you stuff you don't need. new chain, cassette, brake pads, etc... You're bike shouldn't require anything replaced (unless it's actually broken), so if they try to sell you something, start asking questions.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Not the temp fluctuations. What's really hard on bikes are frequent humidity fluctuations. It usually happens along with the temp fluctuations, but it's the condensation that kills bike parts, not expansion/contraction. Because that condensation happens INSIDE as well as outside on the frame. So inside the cable housings will get condensation.

    If you ride the bike and maintain it, then the movement alone will keep things working longer. But if you store the bike in a shed or a garage with no climate control or something during the winter months and don't pull it out until spring, then it will probably need some attention before you take it onto the trails next year. I keep my bikes in a mostly temperature-controlled basement (at least, much better than my garage) so I pretty much just have to inflate tires and lube the drivetrain if a particular bike has sat for awhile.
    Yes, that makes sense. I am thinking of bringing the bikes inside this winter. In years past I have not, but I've only ever owned junkers. Then again my garage is heated, so I suppose its as good or better than the basement.
    Good point on the LBS's possible practice of selling me crap I don't need. Yes, I know there is nothing worn out or broken on my ride yet, but thanks for the heads up.

  8. #8
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    Housing compression...your shifting cables don't stretch but the housing cut ends go into a ferrule and this combo goes into a stop on the frame. 4 or 5 of these points make up the rear and front derailleur runs. These get crammed together repeatedly with the pressure of moving the shift lever again and again until everything gets set. This takes awhile and then you have basically a shorter housing. The cable length has to be shortened to match the new housing length. Sometimes the barrel adjuster at the shifter can act to add length to the housing. Most times for this first adjustment it can't add enough.

  9. #9
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    The quality of the build has a lot to do with it too. A lot of shops leave most of the breaking in to the customer but some shops pay more attention to details like pre-compressing the housing and thorough test rides with re-adjustments afterwards, which can drastically increase the amount of time needed to bring it in for the first tune up.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    The quality of the build has a lot to do with it too. A lot of shops leave most of the breaking in to the customer but some shops pay more attention to details like pre-compressing the housing and thorough test rides with re-adjustments afterwards, which can drastically increase the amount of time needed to bring it in for the first tune up.
    I have yet to find an LBS that pays so much attention to details like you explained. I wouldn't mind paying more for that amount of detail.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max24 View Post
    I have yet to find an LBS that pays so much attention to details like you explained. I wouldn't mind paying more for that amount of detail.
    Mine did. I didn't think of it as added expense or labor because it actually saved us time in the long run, plus the customer was happy because the bike always worked great on their first big ride, the way it should. Win-win!

  12. #12
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    Basically, instead of a lot that's one.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Basically, instead of a lot that's one.
    lol...true, but mine may make 2...pre-compressing the housings sounds familiar now that I hear of the practice...kinda seems like I heard the sales girl mention that. I could be wrong though. At any rate, I'm pretty sure the rig is ready for some TLC. I checked my computer tonight and it's showing almost 67 miles, and I know I put at least 10-15 on it before I bought and installed the computer, so assuming it's calibrated correctly then the bike has a lot more miles on it than I thought it did, probably safely 75. I'm gonna call the LBS tomorrow and try to get something scheduled. Thanks for the input here guys.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Mine did. I didn't think of it as added expense or labor because it actually saved us time in the long run, plus the customer was happy because the bike always worked great on their first big ride, the way it should. Win-win!
    At the shop where I work, we do the same. We intentionally cross-chain them (big-big) to put more tension on the cables to compress the housings when we build them. And then prior to every test ride, they get a quick adjustment. And then they get a final check/mini tune before they go out the door. Most bikes get several adjustments before they are actually sold.

  15. #15
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    I think my Pitch only got an initial adjustment during assembly, and then after my test ride when I decided to buy it they took it back for final inspection and adjustment before I took it home. I don't think my bike had any test rides, except perhaps by the shop staff after assembly.

  16. #16
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    Don't think about it too much, is free, have it checked out and tuned.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiRt DeViL View Post
    Don't think about it too much, is free, have it checked out and tuned.
    When you put it that way, it seems simple. However, I like to ponder my options for days on end until I can't sleep at night and need to drink myself into a stupor. Oh wait, that's Tuesday. Never mind. Just another Tuesday.

  18. #18
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    1 year!? When I got my AM steed, the LBS said I had to bring it in within 3-4 months for the free tune up ^^ trouble is, bike sat in my garage for 5 weeks waiting for its dropper post to arrive (apparently it didn't work properly when it came to them)... only rode it a handful of times before I had to use the free service. I'd ride that puppy as much as I could before getting it serviced. Or, like others have said - until something don't feel right...
    to err is human... to face plant is frickin hilarious!!

  19. #19
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    This would be an excellent point in time to learn how to do the basics yourself. Buy some shop rags and some bike-specific lube. Peruse mtbr faqs on how to clean your drivetrain and watch some videos on how to adjust your derailleurs. If you are careful you can do all this in less than 30 minutes which ends up saving time and money. If you screw up an adjustment and can't get it back in tune then you can always take the bike into the store and get it re-tuned (assuming you didn't break something).

    Not everyone has to become a hobby bike mechanic but being able to do the basic stuff yourself really is pretty essential if you end up riding a lot.

    I have bought a fair number of bikes and built my most recent one. None of them needed a tune up after 50 miles. All needed some degree of drivetrain cleaning and lubing.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by borabora View Post
    This would be an excellent point in time to learn how to do the basics yourself. Buy some shop rags and some bike-specific lube. Peruse mtbr faqs on how to clean your drivetrain and watch some videos on how to adjust your derailleurs. If you are careful you can do all this in less than 30 minutes which ends up saving time and money. If you screw up an adjustment and can't get it back in tune then you can always take the bike into the store and get it re-tuned (assuming you didn't break something).

    Not everyone has to become a hobby bike mechanic but being able to do the basic stuff yourself really is pretty essential if you end up riding a lot.

    I have bought a fair number of bikes and built my most recent one. None of them needed a tune up after 50 miles. All needed some degree of drivetrain cleaning and lubing.
    I don't know, this one feels like it needs a little TLC. Its creeping up around 80 miles now. I have a couple books and have done much of the maintainence myself on previous bikes, but I'm kinda looking at it like warranty-covered items on a new car: if its free and unlimited, then I'm going to take advantage of that service.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montanadan View Post
    I don't know, this one feels like it needs a little TLC. Its creeping up around 80 miles now. I have a couple books and have done much of the maintainence myself on previous bikes, but I'm kinda looking at it like warranty-covered items on a new car: if its free and unlimited, then I'm going to take advantage of that service.
    If you think you need it then by all means go and have the lbs check out the bike. My point wasn't that you should avoid the store just that if you get in the habit of doing most of the routine stuff yourself then you'll save yourself time and money in the future. It's not like they'll send you away and tell you to come back in another 100 miles. If there's an issue they'll look at it and fix it.

  22. #22
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    My lbs swapped out stuff with me on mine and put it back in the box...and out the door. I did the assembly, tunes and adjustments. It comes pretty much together.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by borabora View Post
    If you think you need it then by all means go and have the lbs check out the bike. My point wasn't that you should avoid the store just that if you get in the habit of doing most of the routine stuff yourself then you'll save yourself time and money in the future. It's not like they'll send you away and tell you to come back in another 100 miles. If there's an issue they'll look at it and fix it.
    Oh no, and I totally agree...I want to do my own service on my bike down the road. But at least until the year is up I'm gonna take advantage of the shop's offer. I'm all-in with your idea of doing my own tinkering and if I get something too far out of whack, they can tune it back in for me for free....makes this year period well-worth it in terms of learning to work on my own stuff.

  24. #24
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    Tune up = time not out on the trails ^^

    LBS that sold me bike, wanted 5 working days (not including Sat & Sun) to do a basic service!?

    Instead I took it to my wife's uncle who owns a bike store (out of town) and he fixed me up for $20!! Woot!!
    to err is human... to face plant is frickin hilarious!!

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