Everything You Need To Know About Bike Tune-Ups

Aug, 2020
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A bike tune-up is like tuning a musical instrument. To do this intricate job a qualified and skilled mechanic is required, who can listen carefully to the tweaks of the bike and examine it with judicious touch. Read this blog to know everything about Bike Tune-Ups before you take your bike for a tune-up service.

If your bike that has been lying in the garage for a quite some time and you want to start riding again you should definitely get a tune-up for your bike. So take your bike out, dust off the vehicle, bath it and schedule a good tune-up service before you head out for a fun-filled ride. Even if you aren’t a regular rider, ensure that your bike remains in the best form. Keep the integrity of your bike with regular adjustments or with at least once in a year complete tune-up service. This way, you’ll keep it in great shape and

A bike requires a basic tune-up and maintenance just like any other vehicle. To keep the biking experience smooth and safe it is necessary to know everything about basic tune-up and schedule your bike tune-up service. The duration of the tune-up service depends on how much do you ride your bike. Annual bike tune-up service is sufficient for an average bike rider but if you are a frequent rider then bike tune-up service will be needed more than once a year. 


What is “Bike Tune-up”?

Before diving into details to know everything about the bike tune-ups, lets learn about the term “bike tune-up”. This term is frequently used and heard everywhere in the country but it does not specify the services which might be needed for a bike to get in perfect functionalityThis means there are no standard operating procedures. A bike tune-up fundamentally means to get your bike into the perfect shape depending on the present condition of the bike. 

Since the level of tune can range from a basic tune to a complete overhaul, the service is decided after inspection of the condition of the bike. Therefore,  the tune-up protocol and service charges differ from bike-to-bike and from shop-to-shop as well. It’t is better to ask for the price and services included before the work starts.

We have listed some important questions you should be asking before to know everything about the tune-up and consider the offered tune-up service.

Know 5 Questions to Ask Before the Tune-Up:

What is included in the bike tune-up service?

As described earlier that there are no set standards for tune-ups and it varies from shop to shop. Therefore, “what service will be included in the tune-up” it is a mandatory question that one should ask before the tune up. Because one shop might charge you for “air and oil service” while others may give you “oil and air service” for free. So better be aware and opt for comparison-shopping.

Ask for a quote in advance:

It is important to ask for the cost beforehand to evaluate if it fits your budget or not. There is a possibility of scaling up and down if the quote does not match your expectations. The tune-up charges often include only the labor fee, however, if the bike needs parts replacement like incase of worn or damaged then it will add up to the labor fee.

Be aware that the bike parts can be as expensive as the service or even exceed the basic tune-up fee.

You can learn more about Foster’s Sports tune-up and bike repair services here.


What should I expect after the tune-up?

After deciding on the service according to your bike condition, you should expect it to work better or function as a brand new bike.  After a comprehensive tune-up as in the case of parts replacement, you should also expect some additional adjustments and a guaranteed period during which complimentary corrections can be done.

Ask for customized tune-up according to your needs:

A bike tune-up is an amazing opportunity to personalize the components of your bike. A little touch-up can enhance the functionality exponentially. The various components which can modify your comfort on the bike are saddles, handlebars, racks, fenders, cycle computers, etc.

Is the person tuning your bike is experienced enough?

It is easy for anyone to get the basics of bike repair but achieving the expertise and technical skills is another story. It comes with years of hands-on experience. A skilled professional listens to all the client’s concerns, suggests the best solutions depending on physical examination, and then repairs the bike with expertise while paying attention to detail.

10 Basic Bike Tune-Up Checkpoints

Below is everything you need to know everything about the bike tune-ups. It’s good to have the basic knowledge of the bike parts and their tunings, so that you can double check the work that’s been done. Read below about the basic checkpoints to have an insight of the tune-up procedure. 

1. Touchpoints:

The points where the body touches the bike are termed as “touchpoints”, such as handlebars, grips, pedals, and saddle. Improve the gripping capacity, adjust stem and handlebar height, and increase your comfort.

2. Cables:

The cables arising from brakes should be checked for corrosion and they should be replaced annually to ensure safety and enhance bike responsiveness. Look for any dirt, rust, and breakage in the plastic hosing of the cables and apply lubricant to protect the cable that is not covered with plastic hosing.

3. Breaks:

Brake pads should be replaced once a year as the worn disk brake pads and rims make it harder to stop the bike. This might cause a serious safety issue, especially in wet weather. The rim brake usually has the most obvious indicator of wear, so if the wear limit has reached then replace all the brake pads immediately.

Make sure that the brake pads are aligned, if not then they will not stay in the proper place with the rims. This is the “touchy-feely” part of the service and it will take a considerable amount of time for perfect adjustment of the cable tension and the position of the brake arms. This requires professional experience to properly do this as the end goal will result in making the rear brake stiffer and front brake softer.

4. Drivetrain:

The drivetrain is the “heart” of the bike, and includes the parts running the chain. The chain is subjected to wear and tear due to force exertion during riding. The drivetrain needs to be replaced from time to time if the bike has been used a lot. If the chain is worn then it can not be restored to its basic functionality by lubrication.

Other than the chain the drivetrain consists of a rear-wheel cassette, the derailleur, the chainrings, and the pedals. Hire an expert for the tune-up as the derailleur is a complex and fragile part. You should regularly lubricate the moving parts to ensure they are in proper working order. 

5. Cleaning & Degreasing:

Cleaning the bike from top to bottom is an essential step in bike tune-up. The chain, chainrings, freewheel, derailleurs, brakes, and rims should be thoroughly degreased and dried with a soft rag or a small fine brush to avoid rusting.

After cleaning a high-quality lubricant will be used to lubricate the key parts of the drivetrain. Wipe the chain to degrease before re-lubricating, it as it is more prone to getting dirty. To lubricate the chain, rotate the pedals in clockwise and apply a small amount of lubricant.

To prevent rust and wear, you can lubricate you bike. But not too much! Too much lubrication is actually worse because extra lube on the outside of the chain attracts dirt and grime!

6. Wheels:

Adjust the bearings of both the wheels after the bike has been cleaned. Check the wheel by propping up and giving a full spin to ensure that the rotation is smooth. Lastly, confirm the wheels alignment is straight. The metal wheels are also called rims, inspect for any damage and replace them if necessary.

7. Tires:

A regular tire pressure check should be carried out using a tire gauge. Along with this always check the sidewalls of the tire and inspect for any slits, cracks, and any uneven wear. To avoid tire blow out during the ride, change the tire immediately if any of the above problems are discovered.

8. Headset:

Adjust the external tension on the bearings and the bottom bracket. To reach the maximum life span of the parts, adjusting the tension plays a crucial part.

9. Shifting:

Run through the gears to ensure that they are shifting easily and smoothly. Incase the gears are slipping, adjust the derailleur or replace the chain. To ensure that the chain does not skip off the cogs, set the limit screws on the derailleurs.

10. Cleaning the Chain:

Lube the chain to ensure the smooth and quiet ride as well as protecting it from rust. Before applying lubricant give the chain a good cleaning. Thoroughly clean the cassette and chainrings as well.



Safety Test-Ride:

To make sure that nothing is loose, or can contribute to an accident or fall, the mechanic will carefully check the essential parts and accessories of the bike. After all the checks there comes the test rides to double-check the tune-up. Make sure if all the hard work paid off. In case of any minor problems, the bike will go through another check. Finally, it will be sent to another technician for re-checking and test riding.


Now when you know everything about the basic bike tune-ups, select an expert mechanic for carrying out such an important job. Foster’s Sport Centre is proud to offer the best bike tune-ups in Ottawa. 

We’re happy to offer the best bike repairs in Ottawa. Our bicycle service department and mechanics are passionate and knowledgeable. With their years of experience, they are happy to troubleshoot any problem big or small. Have a look at our Tune-Up packages.

bike tune-up charges

 If you need a bike or looking for a bike tune-up service, have a look at local stores to get an idea of the bike options like Foster’s Sports Centre where you can walk in on any day, check out some bikes, and walk out with a new bike.

We have been serving the local bicycle community for over 50 years and have had the pleasure of outfitting entire families with bicycles and sporting equipment.