Saturday, September 06, 2014

A classic case of a well tuned bike

A customer brought in a pair of Trek 930 mountain bikes from 1993 or 1994. He said they had been in storage for a long time, so he wanted them looked over and tuned up.

The bikes have been ridden, but not a lot. All parts are original. So I'm guessing that they reflect how well they were assembled, since they probably did not see enough use to have gotten a comprehensive tune up before they went into storage.

They were assembled really well.

1993-94 was the height of the mountain bike boom. That height lasted until about the turn of the century, but by 1993 it was full on. Old shops battled hard for market share. New shops sprang up. Sports shops diversified into biking even if they had little or no prior experience. Work quality ranged from superb to disgusting.

Whoever worked on these bikes knew how to do it. The hubs are not only smooth, the lock nuts and cones are firmly secured. The threaded headset is adjusted and properly locked. The derailleurs are adjusted and the cables snugged at the anchor bolts, not just tuned by running out the barrel adjusters.

Twenty years later, my job turns out to be easy. I have to check all the adjustments, but only to confirm that they are tight and right. Twenty years, people. This is why I have such a seething contempt for half-assed mechanical work. Do your procedures and things will run smoothly for a long time.

"The bikes were stored," you might object. True, but that means I'm probably getting an accurate archeological picture of the quality of the original assembly. Observing well assembled and well tuned bikes over the long term I can confirm that they stand up to regular use better than something slapped together.  Remember: if anything is correctly done straight from the factory, it was an accident.

I appreciate good work. It takes no longer and is no harder than crappy work, and it makes my job easier. It makes everything better at no extra cost. Then we can all concentrate on having fun.

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