Honest Bike Shop

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Our Assembly Process
Our assembly process is very thorough and I am very proud of this. The bike comes out of the box with the front wheel, seat, handlebars and pedals off the bike. One would think we only have to assemble and deliver it since it is brand new. Not so. We must adjust and tune every bike. Every component must be checked. Not all bike assemblers and bike mechanics are equal.


We take the front wheel and adjust the hub bearings using our axle vise and then pull the tire and tube and then true the wheel using our truing stand. A wheel must be true three different ways. It must be straight side to side. It must be round and the center of the rim must be over the center of the hub. The spokes must be the right tension and evenly tensioned to ensure longevity.


Honest Bike Shop pressWe help to ensure this by putting every wheel through our spoke twist relieving press. Our press has a cylinder that presses down on the axle with 500 lbs of force, therefore pushing the top spokes outward to relieve spoke twist and even out the tension. At the same time the spoke heads on the bottom are being seated better into the lower hub flange. We then flip the wheel over and do it again. This way both sides of the wheel have been "set" and relieved of spoke twist. Then we check and true the wheel again and press it one more time and then we can usually depend on it for good service. We are the only shop in the United States to have and use this machine. There are two vendors in the U.S. that build and sell a lot of wheels that have this. This is where our idea to build and have one came from. Ask for a demonstration if you like. We are very proud of our well equipped shop


Having done this, we drop the rear wheel out of the bike and do the same. Along the way, we check the alignment of the wheel dropouts and correct as necessary. This helps the hub bearings to wear longer, as improper alignment will increase rolling resistance and bearing wear. We also press in headset cups when we find them not pressed in properly in order that your headset doesn't come loose so easily. We do this on about two out of five bikes.


Then, everything is assembled, the cables are pre-stretched, gears and brakes are adjusted, and all nuts and bolts are tightened and torqued. The bike is then bench tested and road tested to ensure that you get what you pay for and what you expect — a bike that works properly for your hard earned money.


Speaking of brakes, we see a lot of bikes these days coming in with disc brakes. It is important that these are serviced properly when new. Most shops do not do this. Most shops just pull the brake cable tight and onto the sales floor it goes. One bike dealer that I know likes to brag about how quickly he assembles disc brake-equipped bikes. He pulls the cable tight, as mentioned earlier, and does not true the wheels since there is no brake pinching the rim. We at Honest Bike Shop give these bikes the same wheel service mentioned earlier in this article and we check and correct the brake shoe alignment, as well. Invariably, from the factory, the fixed brake shoe is not turned outward enough toward the brake rotor. The result is minimized braking performance and a spongy feel due to the flexing and bending of the brake rotor. The fixed brake shoe prematurely wears flush with the caliper and the brake rotor wears (metal to metal) against the caliper eventually destroying the rotor while failing to stop the bike. It takes an extra twenty minutes at point of assembly to pull the brake caliper apart and readjust it but at Honest Bike Shop we feel it is the responsible thing to do and the net result is a brake that stops like it is supposed to with a firm lever feel and wears well for a long time.


Textbook and bean-counting business procedures have it that only so many customers will recognize a problem timely and then only so many customers will then complain and then only so many of those will actually come back and demand service. By the numbers, this method may work, but ethically, I would rather see to it that our customers always get our best effort. You are paying for that and I really appreciate being able to make a living doing what I like.



At Honest Bike Shop we do a lot of repairs. We also try to give you our best service always, but you have to remember that we are people too and can only work so fast. Feel free to ask how long it will take, but be prepared to leave it for the estimated time of repair. If you need it done sooner than that, tell us. We will see what we can do. If we can't help you out we will call one of our competitors for you to see if they aren't so busy. It is your needs that are first with us. Of course tire repair, 30 day checks, and minor stuff we try to do the same day or by the next day. We ask you sincerely to remember this next winter for off season repair. You won't need the bicycle then and we sure would appreciate the business.


We do not take appointments. We tried this in the past. It has been our experience that people don't show up timely or don't show up at all for their bike repair appointment.


If your bike is your only means of transportation then maybe you should have a second bike. Bikes are inexpensive. You can buy new, good one, that fits, here for as little as $300 or you can find one at a garage sale for under $50 or you can go to Wal-mart and get a brand new Roadmaster for about $75 leaving you plenty of room for the $60 tune-up that it needs. For this matter don't expect us to admire or feel sorry for you because you ride a bike as your only transportation when the reason for such is because you're an alcoholic with 3 DWI's and have no drivers license or because you just got out of prison.


Another area of concern is what we actually do in the course of servicing or repairing your bicycle. We respect your right to be informed. We will assess what needs to be done when you bring it in and then estimate the cost of repair so that you know what is involved. Sometimes we find something wrong that didn't show up when the bicycle was brought in. If the bicycle absolutely needs the part or service and is cost effective and not too expensive we will probably go ahead with the repair without calling. We know that most people want their bicycle fixed right and that they want it as soon as possible. We always save old worn out parts in these cases. If, however, the need for extra parts or services is questionable or expensive we will call and ask first.


Finally, we would like you to know that we feel that your bicycle is not just a toy or some secondary plaything or hobby that is not that important. We will give you our best effort because we realize that some people depend on their bicycle for transportation needs and some people depend on their bicycle for fun or serious recreation and pleasure. We depend on you for a living! We also take kids seriously. We were all kids once and we know how important that bicycle is. It is bad news when it is sitting in the shop or isn't fixed right or running right.

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Tools for the do it yourselfer
A lot of people find working on bikes enjoyable. Others such as young parents find it a necessity. Many of these people ask us what tools and equipment to recommend. First and foremost, buy a repair stand. Consumer models range in price from about $75 to $200. Even a $75 repair stand can be wonderfully appreciated by the parent of young children who frequently need their bikes adjusted and flat tires fixed. A repair stand is great for cleaning your bike too. Next an axle vise and cone wrenches for adjusting hubs is a must as are tire irons and a chain tool. For the person who wants to try his or her hand at wheel truing then a truing stand, spoke wrenches and a dishing tool are also needed.


Remember there are special tools for everything concerning bicycles and you could ultimately spend thousands. However, some basic necessities like the aforementioned can be obtained for $200-$300 and will help most people accomplish most repairs and services. Are they worth it? How many homes have a hydraulic jack and battery charger for the car? And how many homes have a circular saw, jigsaw, drills, and other home tools as well as a sewing machine to mend clothes. Don't be afraid to ask for advice as to your needs and whether or not seldom needed special tools are worth buying. You are better off coming to us with repairs that require expensive equipment that is used seldom. For example, why buy a $300 tool that you may use once in your life when a repair shop will perform the necessary repair for $25.


Lubrication and Service
A lot of people ask how often they should lube their chain or service their bike. We often reply, "As required." We don't mean to sound smart-like. It is just that there is a lot of difference between a casual rider who rides only 2 or 3 times per week in nice weather only and the commuter who rides every day regardless of rain, snow, slush, road salt, etc., etc. The casual rider may need to lubricate the chain 2 or 3 times per season and require a tune-up once every 3 years. That commuter, on the other hand, may need to lubricate the chain once a week and a tune-up once every six months — as required.


All material presented here is Copyright 2006, 2013 Honest Bike Shop