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the Cost of Bicycle Repair

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$ 80
Aug 2006
Tucson, AZ
high-end steel racing bike
New rear tire, trued wheel and frame adjustment  more... close row

Description of service

The bike shop replaced the rear tire, trued the rear wheel. and checked the frame for straightness, tweaking the rear triangle a bit. $45 was for the replacement tire, $5 to true the rear wheel, and $30 to fix the alignment issues.

Review of Service

I was hit by a car that was making a turn across traffic. Traffic being me. I braked hard and wore my rear tire down to the casing. The driver had slowed to about 5 miles an hour when we made contact, but I ate pavement and my bike got beat up some. Aside from some scrapes and a sprained ankle, I was fine. The guy who hit me took me to the hospital for ankle x-rays, and, after, me and my bike to the bike shop for fixing. Paid for it too without complaint, which was honest of him.

At the shop, they didn't have the exact model of tire that had been ruined on my bike, but had an equivalent one from another manufacturer, that went on after the wheel was trued, which took all of five minutes for a fairly serious-looking wobble. The frame was noticeably bent so that went on a 3" thick steel table adorned with solid looking mounts, screw-wheels to make adjustments, and dials down to micrometers to read the changes. They said it'd been calibrated just last week. It came out riding truer than before I'd been hit.


Every place that sells bikes also sells tires. Even department stores. But fancier racing bike tires that roll better and resist puncture better are only really available at a specialty bike shop. Any decent bike shop should be able to true a wheel -- heck, you can do it yourself without taking the wheel out of the frame -- but fixing a bent frame is trickier.

A frame should be straight to within a millimeter from head tube to dropouts, but the system a bike shop uses isn't always precise enough to bend a bike that straight. And even if it is, it might not have been calibrated recently. Before the pimply faced youth takes a lever long enough for Archimedes to move the world to your hand-made, multi-thousand-dollar gem, ask about how they're going to make the manipulations and how they can guarantee they'll be accurate.

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