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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    What does: Free Lifetime Adjustments, really mean.

    In making a decision between buying new vs used, I am intrigued by the potential cost savings offered by the LBS (Performance Bike in this case), free lifetime adjustment policy on bikes they sell. It sounds like good potential savings that may outweigh the higher purchase price.

    Is it a worthless offer or does it really make the higher initial purchase cost worthwhile?

  2. #2
    Huge Bike Guy Person Man
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    free lifetime adjustments should mean that they will turn the bolts for free, so long as they aren't replacing anything. as your brakes fade you might want the pull-length shortened back up, they should do that for free. if your shifters start to become uncalibrated, they should fix that for free. if your seat height isn't right, they should adjust that for you (but with qr being so common, i dont see why you couldnt.) anywho, adjustments should be free. this may or may not exclude stuff you do to the bike. i'd encourage asking a salesperson something like "let's say i unadjust something terrible in a crash, is that covered?" or ask them what their top 2 or 3 adjustment related (free fixes) are.

    anytime they add a part, i.e. changing brake pads, they will charge you.

  3. #3
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    I had some differing experiences. Keep in mind that "adjustments" typically do not include everything that would be in a "tune up." "Adjustments," from my experiences, will cover what was said, tighten brakes, adjust derailleurs, stuff like that. A "tune up," will include all adjustments, but also other labor like hub adjustments and headset adjustments. That is normally not included in the "lifetime adjustment" policy, but will normally be in "lifetime tune-up" policy. Of course, all these just include labor. Don't expect them to "adjust" a worn out chain or "adjust" a worn out cassette.

  4. #4
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    I would expect that free adjustments means they will adjust your brakes and derailleurs for you, but probably does not include routine maintenance. The value differs for different people.

    Some people just don't feel comfortable learning how to make minor adjustments, even with the wealth of information available here and on other sites, so it's valuable to them. It wouldn't have any value to someone who is comfortable making the adjustments themselves. There are some in this group that wouldn't trust anyone else to work on their bike.

    I enjoy working on my bike. After buying a Forge (a bike shipped in a box) I did the final assembly and learned how to adjust everything myself. It would be a nuisance for me to have to drive to a bike shop, leave the bike, then come back and pick it up. Plus, I have found that nothing really needs adjusting until I go over my handlebars while out on the trails.

  5. #5
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    I do all my own work on my bikes. But I have some friends who have bought from Performance. And based on their experiences I would say that lifetime adjustments mean that you can have some incompetent guy do a half-ass job of adjusting your bike for a lifetime. It seems like I always end up re-adjusting for my friends everything that Performance adjusted. But if you are all thumbs and really can't figure out how to work on your bike I guess it is worth something.
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  6. #6
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    I think the "Free Lifetime Adjustments" is kind of a way to get you back to the shop and give you friendly quick adjustments. But it puts up in contact with some great mechanics IMO for other questions you come up with. I ran into the same dilemma when I was buying my first real mountain bike. And looking back I'm glad I of my choice of the LBS.

    I'm more of a mail order guy in general on everything and very mechanically inclined and like to do everything on my bike myself. I was shopping around allot before buying what I have now and the "Free Adjustments" wasn't the selling point for me but fitting the bike to me was. I couldn't get that in the mail. And not knowing the correct starting point (where they set it up looked totally different than I would have tried) now that I have it I feel comfortable going into the shop for tech questions, talking to the techs and riding with the people in the shop. Not afraid to ask for different setup ideas or changes I made to my bike since I bought it. Even with EBay parts I put on the bike I went to them for advice to see if it would work for how I ride.

    But that's because I found a good LBS that I'm comfortable with and the people there seem to enjoy to ride and support the sport not just trying to make a sale every time I walk in. I went to about 5 other in the area I didn't feel as comfortable with (one was close).

    So in short if you find a LBS where you could talk and BS with That would be well worth it. But if you don't feel comfortable in or it's too far away just to stop in. I would do the mail order one because the service might be close to the same except a couple visits face to face. But I'm glad i spent the extra cash because I think i got into and enjoyed the sport more because of them verses if I bought it online or mail.

  7. #7
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    generally it means that for the life of the bike, if it's not shifting well you can bring it in and the shop will have some nose picker kid fail to fix it.

    generally the 'free adjustments' shops offer are things anyone with a working thumb and index finger and slight reading comprehension skills (for the parktool web site) could fix in a few seconds, yet the minimum wage HS dropouts that work at the shop cannot.

  8. #8
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    Just to add what I was saying my LBS is a LBS not a chain of stores. Looking at the Performance Bike web site It looks more like an online place with local shops. I never had been there though so I could be wrong.

    The type of place I'm going to, I met the owner, his three of four year old (I'm not good at guessing ages) at one of the rides they sponsored, one of the techs is a wheel builder for a well known professional frame builder and the other techs there seemed to be doing it for a long time. I think the experience of the techs is one of the points that sold me also. But going into a place that looks similar to Performance Bikes (REI) I didn't get that feeling and if that was my one of my only choices I probably would go for the cheapest price.

  9. #9
    jalopy jockey
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    What it means for me is if I don't feel like doing the work I can have it done my LBS is very close to work so I can drop it off at lunch and pick it up on the way home.

    Earlier this year I snaped a chain hammering up a hill and after I fixed the chain the shifting was a touch off. Just not perfect, no skipping, just not as snappy as it was. I was pretty much done riding so I just dealt with it. It was second break on the chain, so I needed a new chain cause it was really to short, so I took it to the LBS the next day instead of just buying a new chain for instalation later. I instaled the chain in the shop to save $8 and had them adjust the rear der so I could ride ASAP that night. I guess I could have done it myself in the shop, but I have lifetime adjustments on shifing and braking issues. why not use 'em

    well so I come back after work the bike is perfect, and with the bike I'm given my reciept, which had a buck or something for a new housing that was broken when teh chain snbapped, no labor. Before I left the owner threw it out after I saw it but by store policy I should have been charged a buck or something for the part. For John Q Public the buck would have probably stuck, if not being also being asked not to install a new chain in the shop. Quite literally I the shop, not the sales floor.

    Bottom line for me it means I can have someone do it for me when I don't want to. I can fix but their good wrenches are better tham I. Tey have some so so guys but, sense Irace for them only the top guys touch my bikes.

  10. #10
    Moooo!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by TooBadd
    I think the "Free Lifetime Adjustments" is kind of a way to get you back to the shop and give you friendly quick adjustments. But it puts up in contact with some great mechanics IMO for other questions you come up with. I ran into the same dilemma when I was buying my first real mountain bike. And looking back I'm glad I of my choice of the LBS.

    I'm more of a mail order guy in general on everything and very mechanically inclined and like to do everything on my bike myself. I was shopping around allot before buying what I have now and the "Free Adjustments" wasn't the selling point for me but fitting the bike to me was. I couldn't get that in the mail. And not knowing the correct starting point (where they set it up looked totally different than I would have tried) now that I have it I feel comfortable going into the shop for tech questions, talking to the techs and riding with the people in the shop. Not afraid to ask for different setup ideas or changes I made to my bike since I bought it. Even with EBay parts I put on the bike I went to them for advice to see if it would work for how I ride.

    But that's because I found a good LBS that I'm comfortable with and the people there seem to enjoy to ride and support the sport not just trying to make a sale every time I walk in. I went to about 5 other in the area I didn't feel as comfortable with (one was close).

    So in short if you find a LBS where you could talk and BS with That would be well worth it. But if you don't feel comfortable in or it's too far away just to stop in. I would do the mail order one because the service might be close to the same except a couple visits face to face. But I'm glad i spent the extra cash because I think i got into and enjoyed the sport more because of them verses if I bought it online or mail.
    I'd like to echo this post my LBS is great and I stop in every day to say hey and just shoot the brown stuff. The mechanics are great and everything they touch they show me how and why. It also doesn't help matters I ride by it every day to and from work. It's like a fat kid riding past the candy or doughnut shop on the way home. (I'm a hefty boy so no offense to anyone cause I'd be in trouble if I rode by those too :P)

  11. #11
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    my free adjustments include free hub and headset maintenance and free wheel truing, also, free tire changes, which is nice when they can switch tires in and out for me in less than 1/4 the time it would have taken me. I also ride the bike hard as hell and i have the "cooked-spaghetti" style "Alex rhd 29er rims" , which lose true after every ride. I visit the mechanics probably once or twice a week to just talk about bikes while they re true my wheels.

    all in all a great deal, and i dont feel bad about abusing the policy because they overcharge everyone else and charge a huge markup on their bikes too. i figure 5-10 minutes of their time weekly is worth such an enormous markup/ripoff on their bikes. (they charge $25 for a wheel true if you didnt buy one of their bikes, and they tried charging me $60 to put on a new rigid fork!)

  12. #12
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    Appreciate all the replies so far.

    I'm going to print these out. These are great in case the LBS tries to shortchange me. I'll have support to my argument. I'm not really expecting any problems, but as a newbie, I can be easily shortchanged. This is my first bike after 45+ years. My last bike was a Sears J.C. Higgins, in 1960. Enjoyed it though.

  13. #13
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    Performance is not an LBS in the usual sense. They are a large chain and mail order outfit that I would only buy stuff from (rarely, if I'm out of other options), but would never let them touch my bike. I've asked very simple questions at the Performance store in Redwood City (California) and have gotten some very strange answers. Lifetime adjustments I can do myself in less time than even having them write up a work order have no value.
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
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  14. #14
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    Interesting. Anyone else have comments on Performance Bike?

    I am new to biking. As I said, first bike in 45+ years. I know performance is a chain, but the employees seem like a pretty nice group. Probably because they like bikes.

    Anyone else feel that Performance Bike will not give me the same level of service and satisfaction as small bike shops? I know one thing. I spent another $ 150 on accessories there. Mostly sale items. I also buy a lot of items on Amazon.com. When I got home, I checked Amazon's prices on the same items. Performance prices were significantly less than Amazon. The only item priced less on Amazon was a bike repair book. Performance just has so many items on sale. The Giant bike store across the street, has nothing on sale, except for Croc shoes. we buy our Crocs there.

  15. #15
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    I wasn't saying don't get it because of it being a chain just the chain style shop around me I didn't feel as comfortable but the LBS around me I feel good just stooping in just to ask questions and not buying every time (though its been hard because I always want everything)

    So if you feel comfortable there I would say buy there in my opinion. Just having someone to ask opinions in person that you could talk to and especially if you know they ride the type of riding that you do (will do) makes the differences. And if you feel the trust in them not just trying to sell something to you to make a sale instead just to share there enjoyment of biking like you said
    but the employees seem like a pretty nice group. Probably because they like bikes.
    I'd say trust your instinct and get it from them. thats just me though

  16. #16
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    If your going to ride in the woods at some point you are going to want to know how to service your bike.

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  17. #17
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    Free Lifetime Ajustments = good business and good marketing.
    Basically they want to keep you as a loyal customer and to keep you from visiting other LBS.
    Because from time to time, when you're in for an "adjustment", they will find something wrong with your bike....and since it's in there shop you will probably let them repair it.
    And who knows, while you're waiting you might find something else you need?

  18. #18
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    As a bike mechanic for Performance Bike, I can tell you first hand what "Free Lifetime Adjustments" are.

    Any thing that needs adjustment. Headset, handlebars, seat post, brakes, derailleurs and most wheel truing. If you ding a wheel out of true pretty bad, there probably will be a $15-25 charge if no parts are needed.

    If anything needs replaced, then of course there will be a charge for parts and sometimes labor.

    At our store, we have swapped on new wheels, tires, tubes for no labor charge also. All depends on the situation. More often if the bike was purchased at the store.

  19. #19
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    To: frdfandc. Thanks Performance Bike Mechanic. As a newbie, I was tempted by low prices on some Craigslist bikes. When I considered the true cost - meaning adjustments over the years - I made the decision to buy my bike from Performance Bikes. Three miles from my house. I may buy a second bike from Performance. My Schwinn Sid is great on the bikepaths, but tough on hills. Need a multispeed fotr those. Could I ask you a favor. Please see my thread, "Schwinn Sid, Quality issues." I'd appreciate your input. Thanks for answering.

  20. #20
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    having my bike down for a week while a bike shop does a 5 minute adjustment on it isnt worth anything to me. its not even worth having done for free. thats time out of my week, no riding, to have my knobs twisted by a shop real quick.

    bike repair is easy, and priceless. i make enough money to have everything done at a LBS, but it makes more sense to spend 5 minutes doing it myself than a week and two trips to the store having them do it, even for free.

    BUT! when things break, its amazingly more convenient to take it back to the shop to have them warranty it than having to ship it back to some internet company. stuff happens, sometimes bike parts just straight up break right out of the box. its nice to have local support for that.. but ill install it and tune it myself. buying local is worth the support, not the service.

  21. #21
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    Those are my thoughts.

    As a newbie bike rider, and retiree, I've quickly come to the realization that if I plan on riding 8 months a year (live in Ohio), I need to own 2 bikes. Though I've purchased a bike repair book, I'm don't have good mechanical aptitude. I'm probably better off buying both my bikes from my LBS, especially since Performance Bike is just a few miles from my house. Craigslist is tempting for that second bike, I'm just afraid of being eaten up alive by repair/adjustment cost.

    Thanks for your input.

  22. #22
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    Maybe you could get a mountain bike with the second purchase and hit some trails to make the riding a bit more interesting...

    As to getting sucked in to putting more and more money into cycling, if you get the bug, that's par for the course. It pays off, though, in many ways. The mechanical skills needed for maintaining a bike aren't that difficult if you approach it calmly and logically and with the right instructions and tools. It's easier than you think and will help you out when you need it the most (i.e. when it's not convenient to visit a shop).

    I'd suggest that you look into parktool.com for good explanations of how things are done and what tools are needed (or just extensive reading on this site). An alternative would be to buy Lennard Zinn's book, Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance (or Road Bike Maintenance, depending which way you go, your Sid isn't reallly either type of bike).

    Good luck in any case and keep riding!
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
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  23. #23
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    I just bought some new pedals...how much am I gonna get jacked to throw em on? Would it be cheaper to buy my own pedal wrench? Or can I just get by with a pipe wrench and some thread-lock?

  24. #24
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    The operative definition of work qualifying under "free lifetime adjustments" at the Performance near me is "anything that can be done in 15 minutes or less."

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardRockCop
    I just bought some new pedals...how much am I gonna get jacked to throw em on? Would it be cheaper to buy my own pedal wrench? Or can I just get by with a pipe wrench and some thread-lock?
    Replacing pedals is one of the easiest work you can perform on a bike, assuming the old ones aren't seized.

    The only tool you need is a pedal wrench - or for some higher-end pedals, the right sized hex wrench. You'll get better leverage with a standard (non-hex) wrench, which is especially needed in loosening the existing pedals for removal.

    Remember that:

    1. Right and Left pedals are different - make sure you are putting the right pedal on the right crankarm, and left pedal on the left crankarm;

    2. Loosening and tightening are in reverse of the standard "Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey" convention - that is, to tighten, you need turn the wrench to the left, and to loosen, you need to turn the wrench to the right.

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