Regular tune-ups are critically important to keep a bike in good condition. Not only do they allow you to keep your bike working optimally, but they also maximize its overall lifespan.
However, not all tune-ups are the same. Most bike shops offer different types of tune-up packages. Because there are a multitude of bicycle issues, this variety helps bikers meet any bike maintenance needs they might have.
If you’re wondering, what does a bike tune-up include, this article is for you. Here, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about this topic in detail.
What Is a Bike Tune-Up?
In simple words, a bike tune-up is a regular mechanical maintenance cycle and it’s meant to solve all the common problems that your bike may have.
It allows you to make sure that your bike continues to operate at peak performance to keep you safe on the road.
During a tune-up process, mechanics inspect your bike thoroughly to find and solve any issues it may have before they become irreparable. Tuning up your bike regularly is important to keep it in perfect shape.
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What Does a Bike Tune-Up Include?
As mentioned, bike tune-ups services can vary from shop to shop. However, most tune-ups include all the adjustments required to help you ride the bike safely and smoothly. Here’s what a bike tune includes.
Brakes are probably the most important part of a bike, in terms of safety. All bike tune-ups include brake adjustment services, where the mechanic inspects the alignment and quality of brake pads.
The mechanic will adjust the position of brake pads and cable tension to make the front brake softer and the rear brake stiffer. They’ll also inform you if your brake pads, cables, or even housing are worn out and need to be replaced.
The drivetrain is another important part of your bike that’s also inspected and adjusted during the bike tune-up session. Along with tightening the bike chain, the mechanic will also examine the quality of pedals, chainrings, derailleur, and rear-wheel cassettes.
They’ll also remove rust from the chain and apply lubricant to different parts of the drivetrain. It’s important to note that the drivetrain also needs to be replaced periodically and the mechanic will inform you if that’s needed.
Wheels and Tires
The wheel services include adjustments of the external tension on the bearings and alignment of rims with respect to the axle. The mechanic will also check and adjust the tire pressure and look for cracks, holes, and uneven wear. Again, the service provider will notify you if any component needs to be replaced.
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The mechanic will adjust the external tension on the bottom bracket and inside the headset on the bearings, which is between the fork and the handlebar.
Adjusting the tension and applying a lubricant maximizes the lifespan of these components. You might also need to go for a new sealed bearing system if required.
Not all tune ups services include cleaning because many people like to wash their bikes themselves. If you don’t have enough time, you should opt for a tune-up service that includes cleaning the bike deeply from top to bottom.
All the components, including rims, tires, brakes, derailleurs, freewheel, chainrings, and chain, are cleaned and degreased thoroughly. Most shops also apply a lubricant to all the parts where needed.
After performing the tune-ups service and ensuring that all the accessories are in place and fasteners are tightened, the mechanic will test ride the bike to examine its performance. Any problems found during the test ride will be corrected.
Many renowned bike shops offer a labor guarantee, ranging from 30 to 90 days, against their tune-up services. During this time, they make needed adjustments and corrections free of charge. It’s worth noting that not all shops include a guarantee in their tune-up packages.
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Different Types of Bike Tune-Ups?
Although different companies can have different types of bike tune-up packages, the following are the most common ones.
Basic Bike Tune Up
Basic bike tune-ups usually include check-up services, rather than a tune-up. It means this service doesn’t include anything technical. Usually, a basic bike tune-up service includes the following
- Inspection and adjustment of brakes
- Drivetrain adjustments
- Tightening of all the fasteners
- Inspection and adjustment of tire pressure
- Adjustment of bearings and gears
- Safety checks
It’s the bike tune-up service that most bikers use because it includes additional services for a more in-depth tune-up. The following are the services that most bike shops offer in their standard tune-up package.
- All the services of the basic package
- Cleaning and degreasing
- Drivetrain inspection, removal, degreasing, and installation
- Wheel alignment
- Test ride
It’s the top level of bike tune-ups packages and it includes everything that we have discussed so far. Most bike shops perform the overhaul tune-up by striping the entire bike and putting it back together. Here’s what you’ll get from an overhaul tune-up service.
- All services of basic and standard tune-up packages
- Deep cleaning of the entire bike and lubricant application
- Includes new cables and bearing if needed
- Labor guarantee against the tune-up (depends on the shop)
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Why Are Bike Tune-UPs Important?
Just like any other machinery or vehicle, your bike needs regular maintenance to continue to operate at its best performance. A tune-up catches all the problems that can affect the bike’s performance and the rider’s safety.
A bike has several mechanical components and metal moving parts. They need to be lubricated to work smoothly, which also increases their longevity. Additionally, these moving parts have a certain age and need to be replaced with new ones, as they deteriorate over time.
Most shops also offer cleaning services in their tune-up packages. It allows you to get rid of mud and dirt stuck to the bike, which can cause rusting.
Another important reason why a bike tune-up is important is that it helps you find minor problems early and solve them before they become worse and irreparable.
It saves you time, effort, and money in the long run.
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How Long Does a Bike Tune-Up Take Usually?
The duration of a bike tune-up depends on the package you have chosen and the condition of your bike. If you opt for the overhaul tune-up package and your bike is covered in mud, you’ll need to wait for a long time, about a couple of hours.
Whereas, if your bike isn’t too dirty and you’re opting for a basic or standard package, the tune-up will take about 30 to 60 minutes.
Ideally, you should block off about two hours if you’re planning to take your bike to a shop for a tune-up.
Taking your bike to a shop for regular tune-ups is essential to maintain its performance and maximize its lifespan. We hope this guide has helped you understand what a bike tune-up includes, along with the different tune-up types to choose from.
Ideally, you should take your bike to a shop and have it tuned up at least once every three months. Make sure that you go to a shop that offers expert and qualified mechanics and choose the tune-up package that suits your needs best.