Monday, September 22, 2008

LBS Blues

Took the tandem into the shop (50 miles from our house) for a tuneup on Friday. I do most work myself, but I had a few issues I could not fix--at least not without buying some expensive tools.

1) Cassette: 3 cogs are worn enough to make the chain skip. I had already bought a replacement (ebay "bargain"). I have a chain whip and a cassette remover, but the biggest wrench I own is an 8" Crescent. I could not get the thing to budge. I would have gone out to buy a long 1" wrench, but since the bike also needed #2 and #3 below...

2) Headset: Steering has been indexy for over a year. I took the headset apart a few months ago and re-greased everything...I saw no evidence of pitting. Things seemed better for a while, but that may have been because I had not tightened it enough. I replaced the bearings/retainers last week, at which point I noticed that the fork crown race had some pits; not having either a fork crown race remover or a replacement fork crown race made this seem like a good job for the shop.

3) Rear wheel: The spokes on one side of the wheel sound a little looser than the other. Both wheels appear to be true at this point. I do have a wheel truing stand, but I need to get some practice on cheaper wheels first. Also: I do not have a tension meter, and I have been asked more than once if I'm tone deaf. This also seemed like a good job for the bike shop.

Estimate on Friday for the tuneup (which included fixing all 3 problems above): $120
Estimated date of completion: Saturday (when I inquired via email); Tuesday (when we actually brought the bike to the store).

Call #1 came on Saturday: "Stoker's bottom bracket needs replacing"...I had forgotten about this; it felt very jerky with the cranks off, but with them on (without the chain), it was not noticeable. "The front is better, but could use replacement, as well". Estimate: $50 each (for Shimano 105). I am almost certain it's going to turn into $80 each.

I'm still waiting for call #2: "You need a new headset". I'm debating between going with another Tange ($40) or upgrading to a Chris King ($120).

So far, I'm up to $220 (which will really be $280 unless they give me a rocking good deal on the bottom brackets). Once again, I am reminded that this is not a sport for the light of wallet.


Michael Lasko said...

Call #2 came on Tuesday:

Wrench: When do you want to pick up your tandem?

Me: How about today?

Wrench: We need to replace the headset...and I'm going to Interbike tomorrow and Thursday.

Me: How about Sunday?

[I was afraid to ask for the new total.]

Unknown said...

By comparison... as hobbies go, children are about 20 times more expensive...

Michael Lasko said...


Children are a cost savings...they prevent you from taking expensive vacations.