When it comes to cycling, keeping on top of your bike maintenance is vital. It is not only important for safety, but it also makes the experience that much nicer when your gears are silky smooth. Every so often, it’s important to do a tune-up or a service.
I personally aim to tune up my bike once a year. I normally do it at the end of winter, ready for the summer ahead, so when I start doing the bigger rides, I don’t encounter any breakdowns or issues.
Here at Bike Test Reviews, we often get asked about tune-ups and their cost. With some bikes being very cheap to tune up and others costing a fortune, understanding what you need to spend can be challenging.
In this article, we will discuss:
- What Is A Bike Tune-Up?
- How Much Does A Bike Tune-Up Cost?
- How To Save Money On Bike Tune-Ups
What Is A Bike Tune-Up?
A bike tune-up is like a service, but it’s not just about replacing worn parts. It’s more about getting the bike working the best. It’s a great way to make your bike feel like it’s new again and stop possible problems you might encounter later by swapping out the parts earlier.
A tune-up can be different for everyone and depends on how confident you are in working on your bike. For some, it could be light adjustments.
For others, it’s replacing cables and various parts. When it comes to a tune-up, here’s what we recommend:
- Deep Cleaning
- Checking And Inspection
- Replacing Worn Parts
- New Cable Inners And Outers
- Tires And Tubes
- Contact Point Care
This is what I personally would recommend as an experienced cyclist of many years. It will be different for everyone depending on your bike and how much you ride it.
How Much Does A Bike Tune-Up Cost?
Now for the fun bit. Let’s break each part of the tune-up, explain what it is, and roughly how much it will cost you. We will split the cost for budget, mid-range, and high-end bikes.
Every bike tune-up should start with a solid deep clean. For this, you will need a bike wash, degreaser, brushes, and a sponge.
Although typically, most cyclists have this kit already for the perfect deep clean. It’s worth investing in. We would cost the same for each type of bike at $30 for all the parts.
Cost – $30
Checking And Inspection
Now you need to do the checking and inspection. This is free to do and vital as it’s going to tell you what you are going to need when it comes to replacing worn parts.
We recommend checking the following:
Bearings: Headset, bottom bracket, wheels, and jockey wheels.
Drivetrain: Chain, cassette, chainrings, and cables.
Function: Shifters and brakes
Damage: Frame, forks, and wheels.
Replacing Worn Parts
When it comes to replacing parts on a bike, the price will greatly differ depending on how much you need and the level of components you are using. On average, each year, I change the chain and the cassette, brake pads, and chainrings every couple of years.
Here’s what you can expect:
Budget Bike – $60
Mid-Range bike – $140
High end – $210
New Cable Inners And Outers
If you want the bike to feel brand new, changing your inner and outer cables over on your gears and brakes is good practice. This is a time-consuming job but cheap to do, and it makes your bike feel amazing when done properly.
We recommend using good cables from companies such as Shimano or SRAM, cheap cables feel horrible.
Cost – $40
Tires And Tubes
Having fresh tires and tubes is a vital part of a tune-up. The fresh tread will not only stop you from getting punctures, but it will give you better performance.
We recommend a new set of tires alongside new inner tubes or a refill of tubeless sealant.
Budget Bike – $30
Mid-Range bike – $80
High end – $130
Contact Point Care
Then we have contact point care. This is where we invest some money into ensuring your bike looks good and stays comfortable. We recommend a tune-up to replace your bar tape or grips and swap over your cleats for new ones.
Budget Bike – $20
Mid-Range bike – $40
High end – $60
Then we have adjustments. It’s good to adjust the brakes and gears every so often to account for any cable stretch or the replacement of any parts. Learning how to adjust brakes and gears is a valuable skill to learn for any cyclist.
Cost – $10
For a good tune-up, this is what we typically expect to pay for different levels of bikes. This is just a rough costing:
Budget Bike – $190
Mid-Range Bike – $340
High end – $480
It’s important not to forget about labor, either. If you are going to a bike shop, this would typically take around two hours which could add another $100 to the total.
If you work on your bike yourself, you can save a lot of money over your cycling career in the long run.
How To Save Money On Bike Tune-Ups
Bike tune-ups, as you can see, are expensive, especially if you ride a lot of miles in poor conditions. Although the amount above might sound like a lot, there are ways you can get the cost down.
Here’s what you need to know:
Regular Cleaning And Maintenance
The first thing you can do to save yourself cash is to stay on top of keeping your bike clean. Clean components wear down much slower than dirty components, and you can identify issues on the bike way before they are a problem.
Stay On Top Of Maintenance
It’s really important to stay on top of your bike maintenance. A great example of this is whenever your chain gets too worn, put a new one on instead of letting it stretch further because this leads to excessive cassette and chainring wear.
Learn How To Do Bike Maintenance
If you invest in some basic tools and learn how to work on your bike, you will save a lot of money in labor costs. Investing in yourself is the key to cycling, and YouTube has some amazing videos.
Take Advantage Of Offers
It’s a good idea when parts for your bike come up on amazing offers to take full advantage. I have often bought multiple chains when they are heavily discounted because I know I will end up using them.
A Final Note
When it comes to bike tune-ups, they are vital to getting the most out of the cycling experience. Keeping on top of your bike will not only help you perform better and stop you from getting mechanicals.
Investing in a basic tune-up can significantly improve the performance of your bike and minimize the need for costly bike repairs down the line. These tune-ups usually encompass a range of safety checks and minor adjustments, ensuring your ride is smooth and secure.
For more extensive servicing, a full tune-up includes detailed inspections, fine-tuning of components, and potentially some parts replacement.
Though the average cost of a bike tune-up can vary widely based on your location and the specific needs of your bike, regularly maintaining your ride is an investment in your safety, comfort, and the longevity of your bicycle.
Robbie Ferri has spent years working in a bike shop, has worked with industry leading brands on product creation, has been a semi pro athlete, and is a fully qualified strength and conditioning coach. He has broken World Records, bikepacked all over the World and raced ultra distance at a top-level.