The Premium Service – Worth it?
There are customers who pop in to workshop and ask me if my Premium Service is “worth it?”
My reply is always, “of course.” The question is so open that there really is no other way to respond, I wouldn't offer it if I didn't think it was "worth it". What I should say, but I don’t, is – “what do you want out of a service?”
The fact is, in value for money, the Premium Service is good, you do get an awful lot, and it is very time consuming. However, if you keep your bike fastidiously clean, are on top of your general maintenance then maybe one of the lower tier services is what you need.
But, if you bought your bike to ride it and not fiddle about with it after every ride, then the premium service every thousand or so miles is a very good thing, and a bad. Why is it bad? Usually, and this comes from experience, after so many miles, there is generally something which needs replacing. This is far more prevalent in full suspension bikes as I often find, when stripping them down, pivot bearings which are on their last legs – another reason though, that a premium service is "worth it".
The fact is, just riding along can cause a lot of unnoticed wear to your bike. For example, I have just completed a Premium Service on an endurance road bike where I found corroded handlebars, pitted inner bearing races on both wheels, the rear wheel totally out of dish, the chain stretched to the extreme and brake cables gunked up to the point where the calliper arm didn’t return to its resting position. The full service would have picked upon some of these, but not all. For this bike it was definitely "worth it". Of course, the customer has to pay for new parts, or supply them, but they are fitted at no extra cost thereby, saving a wedge in labour time.
The bike before that, a boutique full suspension, had seized pivot bearings on the chainstays, precisely where the suspension didn’t need to rotate as much and, as such, this wasn’t picked up by the owner. In this case, while the bearings themselves had to be paid for, the service to fit them didn’t – it would have been on any other service.
Then there are the seasons. As we come into winter your bike needs the best protection it can get and now, with every premium service, I offer the harsh weather protection of Muc off’s superb HCB1, a super-protective barrier for frames and most especially the drivetrain. The beauty of HCB1 is that, unlike the hot wax melt method, it can also be applied to chain rings and the sprockets on the cassette providing the ultimate protection. This protection is beneficial for both road and off-road bikes and makes keeping the bike clean even easier.
I am also offering the HCB service, at no extra cost, on the Ultimate Drivetrain Clean but that comes without the added frame protection.
Ultimately, if you’re going to ride your bike through our nine-month winter period, the Premium Service will get your bike fully prepared with a treated drivetrain and a wax or HCB coated frame and fork. The full sussers will get re-greased pivot bearings and any other moving parts cleaned and, where needed, lubed. Is that "worth it"? Add in to that, any hardtail or full-susser gets a lower leg and shock strip, clean and relube, and, dropper seatposts are stripped and regreased - need I ask the question?
What about the drivetrain? I mean apart from the HCB/wax lube etc, what about the cables? Cables are a thing that we, as riders, don’t really worry about. However, with most of us changing gears uncountable times over each ride, that’s movement of the derailleurs and rubbing of inner against outer cables. With the Premium Service the inner cables are changed as part of the service but, for the most part, I leave the outers alone unless they are particularly rough, or the customer requests new outers. If I do have to replace outer cables then, as per the inners, they are replaced free of charge. As I am replacing the cables anyway, and, as your derailleur is removed, stripped and relubed, the indexing and b-tension gap is sorted as a matter of course. It is here however, that if I have picked up on chain stretch, that we find out whether everything meshes. Due to stretch and wear, I often find, at this point, that shifts are slow or new chains slip on old cassettes, then comes the painful phonecall/message at which point I have to inform the customer that they need to replace the cassette and/or chainrings. All new chains though, are thoroughly degreased to get rid of the horrendously sticky factory oil/grease, ultrasonically cleaned, and dried with compressed air before being re-lubed or waxed.
As I said in the beginning, the Premium Service is time consuming, it is also tedious and requires an anal amount of attention to detail. I can complete five, six or even more General services in the time it takes to do a single Premium Service and I don’t have to spend ages with a toothbrush, pipe-cleaners and scalpel blades, stripping bearings and re-greasing. I know of only one other business locally which offers this level of in-depth service, and they are far more expensive.
The Premium Services then, are they worth it? Of course! I will still maintain though that, I am biased but, if you need to get your bike winterised, ready for a race, or even ready for that far, far away, and very short, summer, there are few better ways than having your bike stripped to it’s bare bones, each separate component cleaned and relubed and finally having the bike treated or polished against the weather, before being reassembled and set up to work properly.
If you’d like to discuss a Premium Service feel free to contact me or check out my poor effort at a website at www.midtechcycles.co.uk.