When it comes down to the cost of repairing your bike, it really depends on what you´re trying to replace. It could be something as simple as patching up a tire, which you can do yourself for a minimal cost of around $5. Conversely, it could be a part that needs to be replaced and installed. In which case you´d need to take the bike to a bike shop, which is significantly pricier.
Unfortunately, bike repairs are a part of bike life. When I was starting out with bikes, I would always end up with a part that needed fixing. To avoid sending my bike to the local bike shop on a weekly basis, I had to learn how to give some regular maintenance to my bike. I learned to give it a basic tune up, change the brake pads and make sure the bike frame was in tip-top shape so I could safely continue riding it.
You can do this too. However, despite these previously mentioned efforts, sending your bike to the bike repair shop is inevitable every once in a while. It´s just important to know when to do it. To make sure you are as prepared as possible, we´ve compiled this article to guide you through the cost part of the repairs and what you could do to take better care of your bike.
A bicycle may look simple from the outside. However, in reality it consists of a semi-complex mechanism and many parts.
Here´s a list of the basic parts you should know about:
The bike frame is the most essential part of the bike you should know about. The body determines many crucial aspects when riding, such as wind resistance, balance and stability. So, if your bike has a faulty frame, you should send it directly to the bike shop.
Bike frames are made of many different materials. The price for fixing these different bike frames will depend on how serious the damage is and the materials.
Most high-performance bikes made in this day and age are Carbon Fiber. Carbon fiber is a unique material; it is durable, yet these frames can also be susceptible to damage. These bikes have a light weight and are very aerodynamic.
Carbon fiber bikes are very expensive due to their effectiveness, weight and speed capability. Nevertheless, they are unfortunately very susceptible to damage. As a result, fixing these frames could prove to be very expensive.
Average price of a Carbon bike: $2500
Repairs could go up to $500+ for the frame
Titanium bikes are known for their luxury and comfort. Bikes made with this material are much lighter than steel, while having the same resistance and durability. The ride quality in these bikes is well-known.
Titanium bikes are very expensive, largely due to the fact that working with titanium is much more difficult than with steel. And although the probability of damage to the frame is low, it could prove very expensive to repair.
Average price of a titanium bike: $3500-4000
Titanium is a hard material to work with, and due to the work necessary to fix it, repairs to this frame could go into $700+.
Aluminum alloy is a mixture of aluminum and other metals such as copper or steel. Although it can vary from bike to bike, they are generally known for being lightweight, stiff and have big bodies. They are normally used for mid to low-range priced bikes. The most popular alloys is simply known as a "6000" body. This material is most commonly found in mountain bikes.
Average price for a bike: $1500
Normally, to repair this type of frame it would have to be re-welded, re-tempered and polished. Something like this could cost up to $300, depending on the bike shop and your bike model, it could be much cheaper.
Steel is the oldest and most traditional material used to build bikes. A normal bike built with this material will be heavy, resistant and comfortable to ride. There are two styles of steel bike frames, the ones with lugs and the ones without.
These bikes are more expensive than aluminum, but on average cheaper than titanium bikes. Due to it´s incredible strength and durability, these bicycles are so strong that they don´t generally get damaged and if they do, they are easily repaired, making frame repairs cost efficient.
Average price for a bike: $2300
The price for repairs should be the cheapest from all bikes due to the material´s resistance. At most, a repair should also cost around $250.
The bike post and saddle are important parts for the average cyclist. Since the state of these parts is essential for comfort, balance and good posture, having the seat in good conditions is of the utmost importance.
Regardless of the material or the quality of these pieces, they can be replaced for under $100, fixing it will be cheaper. In addition, installing the bike post and saddle is something you can do for yourself. You´ll only need a couple of tools for the task.
The fork is an essential part of any bicycle. It has the purpose of holding the front wheel in place. They usually form a massive "U" shaped object, which consist of two blades connected to a crown, which is at the same time connected to the maneuvering system.
Forks can also be manufactured from: steel, aluminum alloy, carbon fiber and titanium, sharing many of the same characteristics as the bike frame. Regardless of the material, you can find this piece for under $70 on the market. The fork is a harder part to install than the seat, therefore visiting a specialist is recommended.
Consisting of cups, races and bearings, the headset is tasked with joining the fork and the bike body. The integrity of this piece is essential for your safety and for extra efficiency when cycling.
The average headset price is at around $35. Nevertheless, due to the number of pieces there are, you´ll probably need to visit a bike expert to fit them correctly, making it slightly more expensive.
The stem and handlebar are absolutely essential to directing any bike, mainly because without them you won´t be able to steer. The stem is a tiny part that provides some distance between the handlebar and the bike´s body. Whereas, the handlebar is where you´ll place your hands while cycling.
These parts are most commonly made out of aluminum alloy, carbon fiber and titanium, resulting in a small price variation. You´ll be able to find a quality stem anywhere between $20-$40. As for handlebars, they cost about $40 on average to replace.
The brakes are one of the most complex and important mechanisms in the bike. Without them, you could cycle, but you won´t be able to slow down. In extreme situations, having a sharp set brake pads could be life-saving.
In today´s markets there are three different sets of brakes:
All of these sets of brakes consist of the following:
These are responsible for exerting contact on they tire to slow it down. Since they come in direct contact with the tires, they may easily wear out. You can always replace them with new brake pads to keep the mechanism working as it should.
Average cost: $8
Located on the handle, brake levers are used to activate the breaks, via wire or hydraulics. Having good brake levers is crucial to the efficiency of the brake system.
Average Cost: $10
The arms have the task of holding the brake pads on both sides of the bike.
Average cost: $4
The brake cables are used to transmit a signal from the levers to the brake arms and eventually the brake pads to slow down. They work by either pulling it directly or through a hydraulic system.
Average cost: $5
They are normally used on V-brakes to better protect and direct the cables.
Average cost: $2.50
Tires and wheels are important for the mobility of the bike. Without quality wheels and tires, there is no stability and no balance.
What we call bicycle wheels is the metal structure that is connected to either the fork or the rear part of the bike´s body. They are normally made out of carbon, steel, aluminum alloy or titanium. They aren´t easily damaged and could be repaired via welding. Like most of these parts, they are slightly different when it comes to value. Despite this, the average wheel price is around $130.
The tires are black pockets that are placed around the wheel and filled with air. This way, they can easily roll without damaging the bike´s integrity. Brand new tires can cost up to $50. A flat tire is about the most common thing you see in the bike world. Patching them is much cheaper and you can do it yourself.
The bottom bracket is charged with connecting the bike´s body with the chain. The bottom bracket has a tiny spindle where the crankset is attached with the ability to rotate around it´s axis. In simple terms, the crankset is what helps you pedal.
When damaged these parts will generally need replacing. A bottom bracket with a crankset will usually cost around $50.
In case you ride a bike with multiple speeds, the rear derailleur is something you should know about. The rear derailleur is responsible to help you move the bike chain to a higher or lower gear. When changing gears there´s an exact moment where you should ideally switch. If you don´t, the rear derailleur could get damaged.
Replacing rear derailleurs should cost around $20.
The bike chain is designed to move along with the pedals and is an essential component in the movement of the bike.
The bike chain consists of many links joined together. Nevertheless, after many miles of use, the chain is also vulnerable to damage. In this case, the best solution is to acquire a new chain, which should cost around $10.
While in the previous section we reviewed the price of getting new parts. It could also be that damage to the current part you own isn´t that bad. In which case, it is recommended that you simply fix it.
Choosing this alternative should always be cheaper than having to replace it with a new one. Repairing parts should always cost around 1/3 of the cost of a new part.
When it comes to the cost of repairing your bike, the type and the quality of the parts will be a huge determining factor.
Here are the main bike types and some information about them:
A mountain bike is meant for rougher ecosystems, so they are made to last and withstand damage. They are generally made out of aluminum alloy, making a vast majority of these bicycles cheap to acquire and maintain.
Average bike price: $1500
General repairs for this type of bike are accessible and shouldn´t be that expensive. The bicycle is made to last.
Road bikes are normally made to go as fast as possible. They are still resistant but are significantly more fragile than a mountain bike.
Average Bike price: $2000
General repairs for this type of bicycle are more expensive and the bicycles themselves can prove to be fragile.
Hybrid bicycles are generally made to go faster, relying on both electric and manual systems to move. Given the nature of the bike, it is more fragile than others of it´s kind. Damaging the electric system could result particularly problematic.
Average Bike price: $2500
General repairs can be accessible, however repairs to the electric system could be quite expensive.
A bike tune-up is essential to keep your bike in the best possible shape. You should do a basic tune up on your bike regularly and every once in a while, a major tune up. This is because every time you go out for a ride, the parts start to wear out.
The average weekend rider should give their bike maintenance every month or two. Regular maintenance will keep the integrity of the parts in great shape, so you won´t have to replace them or worry about them breaking.
There are many benefits that come with bike maintenance and regular tune ups. Not only for the bike, but for you as a rider. Tuning up your bicycle will help you with saving money in the long run. Additionally, you riding will be smoother and more pleasant in a well-maintained bicycle.
In addition to the pure cost of the parts. If you need to go to a bike shop, you should always take installation costs and hard work into account. It should bump up the total cost of the repairs. So an extra budget is recommended.
If you want to improve your riding experience, you could also consider replacing the broken part with a higher quality part. It could of course be a bit more expensive. But if you´re interested, it could be well-worth it.
Here are some tips for your next bike repair:
Let´s do a quick recap. Remember that routine maintenance is essential. As parts wear out, it could potentially become more dangerous, resulting in field or road accidents.
Bicycle maintenance is also a great way to avoid spending too much on avoidable bicycle repairs.
The material you choose for your bike could also end up having a great impact on your pockets. When buying a new bike, take a few minutes to reflect on it, as this could have a potential economic ripple effect.
We hope you now know more about the anatomy of a bicycle, its parts and how it generally works. If you´re interested, you can always look for a youtube tutorial that could teach you how to replace the part yourself.
This way, you could save a considerable amount of money and learn something cool in the process. There are, of course, things that are best left for more professional hands. Start with the simple stuff, and from there, you may just discover a new hobby that is economically friendly.