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  • Writer's pictureAdele

What it takes to hear "My bike feels like new!!"

Updated: Oct 5, 2020

This is what we love to hear. This is what we hope all our customers say and this is what we try and achieve with the minimum fuss for every bike in Bike Barn.

But what does it take to achieve it? The Bike Barn team are hard at it in ways we never imagined. Getting a bike in for a quick service and getting it back out the door is a rare thing. As we get more established the range of problems we see are incredible and some of them take detective work to resolve.

Not only do we solve the problems with the bikes we also know what our customer needs and wants, what the limitations of the repairs are, what the stock availability is for parts, when the next 20 bikes are due in, when will the new tools arrive, and then we have our own cycling habits we need to squeeze in.

So what do we get up to all week? Well we would like to think of ourselves as bike

detectives. Over this past month. We have had chains too short, chains too long, stretched chains, bent chains and chains which were the wrong type for the rest of the drive chain.

We have had the dark art that is hydraulic brakes. People check the pads, the discs, maybe bleed the brakes and maybe even flush the fluid. This bike needed the lever refurbished as the seals had perished and was leaking oil. the problem had gone unnoticed and the customer had paid people before to not solve the problem.

We have been cracking up with some of our issues! Its amazing how much grief a very small crack can cause! Both of these cracks were found by us and this is why we maintain the high standards of inspections that we carry out on every bike.

If a bike comes into the Bike Barn for the most basic of repair we carry out an inspection to check for other issues. The photo on the left is a serious crack in the frame head tube that could have had serious consequences for the rider. The photo on the right shows a crack in a derailleur cage which was found after the shifting wasn't smooth on the bike.

Our detective skills have also been stretched to frame identification.

We have had an increase in old bikes coming through the barn doors and identifying the origins can be harder than you would imagine when they are 70 years old, have several coats of paint and all the original badges and stickers removed. The reasons for identifying the bikes can vary. If they are being restored we want to know what the period parts are, the original colour and most importantly what decals to put on it! If the bikes are being repaired it is easier to know the tube sizes, bearing types and part compatibility if we know the bike.

Vintage/Retro/Antique bikes are the flavour of the season. Due to the upsurge in cycling we have found people returning to their old bikes and looking for them to be put back on the road. They are no doubt the trickiest subjects in the Barn. Most old bikes have had a few changes made over the years and sourcing parts can be difficult but....... we love it. Spending hours researching old bike models and contacting obscure vintage suppliers is a breath of fresh air in how we normally operate. We bought our first "old" bike last week. It will have it's own blog soon!

Then we have the new. Oh no, we don't have tools for that!!!

We have been very flattered that customers have brought their new toys to us to look at. 12 speed Eagle XX1? Very nice!! Unfortunately this bring us to a big dilemma of a new business. Buying new tools that cost more than the repairs. In the last 2 weeks we have secured the services of an experienced wheel builder and bought necessary tools and parts to allow us to build wheels, replace spokes and true wheels going forward. We have every tool that we know exists (for now) that we need to repair your bike and look forward to the next purchase when we find the next best thing!! So our current tool kit ranges for everything from 1949 to 2020!

So that just leaves the personal side of things. Adele and me both cycle. Our partners cycle, and our children cycle. We love it. Adele and her family are committed to being out as much as possible and my kids just love the Bike Barn and being on their bikes. It is this love and passion that fuels us to make cycling accessible for everyone. I expect my bike to run perfectly and so do my kids, that sets the standard for what we do.

So it's another late night doing what I love. Writing? No. Writing about bikes?! Yes!! Hopefully our passion and commitment will be recognised and even if you are not a customer we will start producing content that you will want to follow. The blog, the facebook page, the Strava Club and everything we do in the background we will do for the love of cycling.

Keep Safe


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