Bought Used Bike….get a tune up at the LBS or try to do it myself??

Singletracks Mountain Bike News, Reviews, MTB Trails and Community Protected: Forums Mountain Bike Forum Bought Used Bike….get a tune up at the LBS or try to do it myself??

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    • #303917

      So…I just got my first mountain bike ever.   It’s a 2012 Specialized Hard Rock 29″ with Disc Brakes and I got it for 125 dollars off a guy on Craigslist.  Besides what I’ve read about Mountain Bikes I’m a complete newbie, but I think it was a good buy.  Kept on reading from people to not buy a bike from a store like Walmart or Target……and if you can grab a bike from one of the big bike companies like Trek, Giant, Specialized, Trek, etc, etc then you at least should have something that was built well enough to take some pounding without the bike falling apart on you.   Well…..that’s my summary of what I understood at least.   So….like i said……..I just got a Specaialied Hard Rock off of Craigslist and I was wondering what everyone would suggest that someone with my knowledge(pretty much nothing hands on….but i have watch some Youtube vids on maintenance, I’ve read a decent amt and I got the book Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance from the library)do at this point??   Do i get the bike a tune up??  If so should I take it to the local bike shop or should I try to do it myself??  I don’t have too much money and I would really like to learn how to take care of the bike myself and if i take it to the local bike shop doesn’t that kinda get me started on the path to not working on the bike myself and just automatically taking it to a shop to get everything done??  Is there a checklist of things to do right off the bat with a used bike you just bought??  I’ve ridden the bike around where i live just on the roads and really like it……first mountain bike and first 29 inch tires and I just want to take care of what I need to so i can enjoy it as much as I can for as long as I can.   Oh… definetely wasn’t necessary for me to get a pretty decent mountain bike like i think I’ve got here because I live in St. Pete, Florida, but I wanted the option to ride on any terrain and the thought of hitting a trail on a mountain bike has been something this my 47 year old brain has thought about for a while.  We do have some beginner trails within 40 minutes or so and I know that the Alafia River State Park which is probably around an hour away is supposed to have some pretty legit trails that i can work my way up to.  I’m pretty excited and hopefully you guys and girls #1…..think I made the right choice getting the bike it did(too late now if you think I didn’t) and #2…..can advise me on what to do to the bike before i take it out on a trail…..tuneup??   by LBS??   do it myself??   Thanks in advance for your replies.


    • #303927

      Hi Keith,

      For your initial tune up I would definitely take it to a good LBS. This will give you the chance to build rapport and talk to them about what regular maintenance you should be doing. From there, you can start tackling regular maintenance and repairs on you own, one by one, and slowly learn how to do it all yourself. Trying to do everything yourself from the get go can be overwhelming and could potentially cost you more in the long run.

    • #303938

      For your situation, I’d recommend a visit to your LBS to make sure you get started safely and to give you a benchmark of what properly adjusted brakes and shifting feel like. From there I’d recommend slowly accumulating the necessary tools and know-how to start doing your own maintenance. Typically the tools to do most work cost about the same as the labor you’d pay to to have the work done, if not less. Since you mentioned YouTube, Park Tools has a great channel with videos on how to do just about any maintenance on any bike (with the exception of internal suspension stuff, but there are other sources for that).


    • #303939

      I would recommend a LBS. They will look over everything be able to tell you if something major is wrong with the bike. They might catch a crack or a part the is failing that you might not know about. They will also be able to determine is things like the chain, cables, housing and even brake pads are still in good shape/not worn. It is always a good idea to have a shop do a safety check on any used bike or after a crash.

    • #303940

      Yeah, bring it into you local bike shop.

    • #303944

      Since you don’t have the experience working on bikes take it to your LBS for an initial tune-up and full inspection.  This way you’ll know that the bike is functioning properly and safe to ride.  You’ll also find out what components are worn and/or need to be replaced.  After that, you should definitely perform the ongoing maintenance yourself and potentially future repairs assuming you have the tools, knowledge and skills.

    • #303953

      Welcome to the mountain bike world. I don’t think it will be long before you are hooked and wanting to ride more and start figuring out how to save for another bike.

      #1 For now you made a good purchase. The bike you bought is an entry level bike but made by a quality company and you are an entry level rider. Smart to listen to those who warned you about big box stores.

      #2 Go to the LBS. Two great points already made. One you get a good starting point for how the bike should feel and operate because a certified mechanic is checking. It lets you know you what your goal is when you start trying to do the work yourself. Second for safety’s sake. Mountain biking is attractive for multiple reasons and it being dangerous is part of it. There is no reason to add extra danger riding a bike that is not up to par.

      Keep with the YouTube stuff especially Park Tool. GMBN tech is another YouTube channel with good info. Getting to know the techs at your LBS is a good way to learn. Many shops also have free maintenance classes on the weekend. Ask about classes and maybe you can even work on your own bike while learning from an expert.

      Glad you are here.

    • #303983

      You have a good bike to start with but…

      In my opinion, it depends on your mechanical aptitude. You can find out how to do most upgrades and repairs on YouTube but, you will need the right tools, ability and passion to do it right.

      It is always good to connect with your LBS. If you truly get into mountain biking, you are going to need a relationship with them. Frame condition, wheel/tire, brakes and suspension condition are the most complex to comprehend and extremely important for your safety. Since you are a newbie, the LBS is your best and safest option. However, you do need to learn about bike care and maintenance because, there will come a day when you are out on the trails and a failure will occur. The more you know about repairs and functionality, the better off you will be.

      FYI, I have been an MTB rider for over 25 years, have a degree in mechanical engineering and still visit my LBS a few time a year for parts, new bike model test drives/purchases and advice.  Just make sure your LBS has a good history with mountain bikes!

      PS, your LBS typically has a very good network for used bikes too, when you are ready for an upgrade.

      Cheers for you and welcome to the trails!

    • #303987

      Thanks to everyone that has responded so far……I do appreciate it.   I am looking into finding a LBS that is well thought of locally and also doesn’t cost too much.  Not sure it those two go hand in hand ever, but I did email one earlier and I’m waiting on a response.  They have good reviews from people who’ve been there before, but i need to double check that he has experience working on mountain bikes.   Hopefully they do…..I believe it’s a small place so i’m not sure.  I am very new to this like i said….heck……I didn’t even know how to shift properly!!!  I think it has Shram shifters and I didn’t realize that there was one button to push in to shift up and another button kinda hidden in back of it that you need to press to shift down.   I kept on pushing that front one and thinking that maybe the shifting was jacked up a bit.  A search for Sram shifter on youtube enlightened me.   I still need to learn how to use the forks…….adjusting them, but that appears to be just turning the little wheel thing on top of them so a little searching for more info on that and I should be fine.  I haven’t really looked it over really really good, but just from riding I know that something is wrong with the back disc brake….it kinda makes a scraping sound.   Haven’t looked into it but I’m guessing just like a car that if you wear the pad down then it’s just metal against metal.   I might take a look at that myself………and i might try to give it a good wash.   I will definetely take everyones advice and go the LBS but i would like to look it over and compare what I find to what they come up with.   I’m also considering joining the local mountain bike club…….i’m usually not a big group activity guy…i’m usually more of a solo kinda guy so I’m not sure that I will take advantage of their group rides(looks like they have alot), but it might be good for networking and they would have probably more knowledge of the local trails than anyone since they maintain the trails.  I think it would be kinda cool to volunteer to help with the trail maintenance too…..I could help out the local mountain biking community and also get to talk to some people who I am sure will be more experienced than me.   I’m really excited about getting out there………i’m sure i’ll be nervous just on a beginner trail, but everyone was a beginner at some point and you gotta start somewhere!!!!   Thanks again for all the replies and I look forward to reading more if they come.



    • #303988

      For sure recommend a bike shop tune and they can give you somepointers on routine maintenance things you can assess and treat to put the knowledge to work. That being said if its done by an lbs it will be all the easier to keep your bike in tip top shape than it will for you to rejuvenate it yourself. And if you end up liking the people there they’ll probably be happy to help you as you and your bike cover more miles and directions of your riding grow and evolve.

    • #602722

      There is the safety aspect, and for this reason I would agree with most others that the bike should be looked over by your LBS. Once you know the bike is in good working order, you will have plenty of time in the near future to learn how to maintain and work on the bike.

    • #603617

      I just started MTB, and have already bought books and special stuff for maintenance of my bikes, also a bike stand.

      This is to save some money, and to know my ride is good to go.

      My disclaimer: I am an industrial mechanic and electrician, with a large inventory of tools at home, and been doing this to earn a living for over 28 years, so I do know what I’m doing, for the most part.

      If you are not experienced, have a pro do it.  If you do it wrong, bad things will happen.

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