A £40 service for £40s worth of bicycle?

Is it really worth it you ask yourself?  In my case I’m certain the money is a wise

A few years ago I bought a £250 Claude Butler hybrid which served me well for 2 years/5000 miles until a rear derailleur replacement on top of a regular service cost me over £60 which I guessed was more than its second hand value and I vowed that one more major failure and I would get rid of her (back in those days I only had one bike).  She developed a dangerous tendency to let her crank slip around as I pushed off from lights so we parted company and I passed her to a friend who thought he could repair her and thus made space in my garage for a new bike.

My current Saracen commuting hack is a bike of similar design and vintage which I bought from a friend last year for the very reasonable sum of £40.  After my beloved Trek 7.3 hybrid was stolen last year I had used my Cannondale MTB for a while but the crud catcher mudguards didn’t keep me as clean as I was accustomed to and a puncture made me consider spending £45 on some tougher commuting tyres.  But then into my life came JP’s Saracen Venturer with her lovely Schwalbe Marathon tyres and long flowing mud guards.  I pimped her up to make her my own with a kickstand, honky horn and SPD pedals but at the time I refused to spend money on having her serviced as the cost was probably going to be the same as that she had cost me.

I changed the brake blocks, tightened cables and tinkered with the gears so that they were better aligned (but I still didn’t have the full range of 24) and I treated her to a chain cleaning kit which seemed to make a difference.  I could however feel clunking and grinding coming from the bottom bracket that I knew would need replacing a some point.

With autumn and winter approaching I thought it was time to have a proper service off a proper man so on Saturday I took her to my local bike shop, the Biking Factory Shop in Prestwich Village.  I picked her up later that day and the £25 service plus £12 for replacement bracket and a can of degreaser came to just under £40 after I had my GMCC membership discount applied.   Knowing how much the bike now means to me I felt like I was robbing them.

The Saracen commuting hack is my default bike; quicker and more street hardy than the MTB, more comfortable and practical than my road bike.  She’s old and scruffy enough not
to attract the local Magpies but with the SPDs engaged and my legs in gear she’s fast enough to provide me with the quickest means of commuting to the office.  I haven’t done any riding other than commuting recently as I’ve been focussing on my running but with the new bracket and a full range of gears available I’ll be seeing how quickly we can both get to Salford Quays and enjoy the cardo workout it provides.  With dry roads and quiet early morning roads (and favourable lights too) I think we might have a sub 20 minute commute in us, and a turbo commute should help sharpen up my heart and lungs for my 5k runs as well.


About holmesinho

Happily married father of 2 living in Prestwich 5 miles north of Manchester, England. I cycle most days though mostly commuting and also enjoy running and triathlon.
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3 Responses to A £40 service for £40s worth of bicycle?

  1. JP says:

    Ah, good to hear you are breathing new life into the old steed! hope she gives you many years of trouble free commuting (apart from the occasional scratch on the shin where the struts on the mudguard have lost the rubber protector!)

    • holmesinho says:

      I cropped those struts within a couple of days of ownership so no problems there. Still some noise coming from the lower bracket but it feels better. Will try to have a quicky with her this week when the wind dies down (unless it’s a tailwind).

  2. holmesinho says:

    Sub 20min commute despite headwind! Bad lights spoilt the elapsed time figure. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/114011046

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