From The Repair Bench: How Much is a Tune-Up?
May 2005

This time of year, we hear that question several times a day. Shopping 'tune-ups' on the phone is common practice in the bike industry. A question arises though, when one shop has a 'tune-up' for $50 and another shop has a 'tune-up' for $200, yet another shop has a 'tune-up' for $100. Are these 'tune-ups' the same service at the different shops? Absolutely not.

You see, 'tune-up' is a very nonspecific term. The prices vary so much because the shops' version of a 'tune-up' varies. Professional bike shops calculate their rates on a 'tune-up' by determining how much time they will spend working on your bicycle. Shops in our area bill out labor at $70-$80 per hour. So, a $50 'tune-up' will include a professional mechanic working on your bike for about 45 minutes. That's about enough time to tighten the cables, wave a rag over the bike, perform a basic check of the bearing adjustments and fill out the paperwork. If your bike needs more work than that, it will cost more than $50. A more expensive 'tune-up' will be more thorough, and less rushed. This is truly an area of our industry where you 'get what you pay for'.

I think the better question is: "How much of a tune-up does my bike need?" The answer to this question is very difficult to determine without seeing the bike. (If you know of a person who can accurately determine the answer to this question over the phone, I would love to hire them). My recommendation is to take your bike to a shop that you trust, and have them look it over.

In our shop, we will look over your bike, and give you a free estimate of the cost before we perform any work. If your bike needs one of our complete service packages, that's what we'll do. Otherwise, we can recommend the work that your bike needs and that's what we'll do and charge you for.

See you on the road!