25 Aug, 2016

Work Shopping Bicycles

Harry makes sure everything is lined up correctly.

Johan van Rensburg got back from his ride and he wasn’t happy. His bike just didn’t feel “right”. This upset Johan hugely, because his beloved dual suspension mountain bike had only recently gone in for a service at the bike shop where he originally bought it.

“I paid a lot of money for the bike originally,” fumed Johan, “and I’ve just paid a hell of a lot of money for the service, but the bike feels terrible. It squeaks, there is an irritating ‘chaffing’ noise coming from the bottom bracket and the handlebars don’t turn the bike like they should.”

So after storming out of the bike shop where he heard the same “there is no way we can be responsible for all your bike’s problems” excuse, Johan needed an alternative. And fast, as he was due to ride the Nedbank Sani2C within a few weeks.

Fortunately a training partner of his gave him a solution. “Why don’t you try CycloWorx?” His training partner advised. “It is a small bicycle service centre and they always make sure my bike is working properly.” So Johan took his dual suspension “pride and joy” to CycloWorx and, as he pushed his bike through the door, he was enthusiastically greeted by a friendly face and three energy-filled Boston terriers.

“Hi,” said the friendly face, “pardon Jumping Jack Flash, Ruby Tuesday and Mick Jagger, they mean you no harm. I’m Harry and what can we do for you today?” Johan showed Harry his bike, pointing out the squeaky hubs, the chaffing bottom bracket and the troublesome headset and said, “I don’t know what to do.”

Harry explained the process.

“The process here is simple. We are committed to attention to detail and so we first clean and then do a complete diagnostic check on your bike. During that check, we find out what is wrong with your bike by using a checklist that covers every single component and part of your bike. We then email you with a quote on the work needed,” he explained.

As this approach is totally different to any other bike service process he has ever experienced, Johan looked confused. “So it’s not a major service?” he asked perplexed, “how much does a major service cost?”

Harry smiled.

“No,” he mused, “we don’t have major services. We first find out what needs attention with a thorough diagnostic check. It is a step-by-step process using every point on the back of the job card. And if you’ve got any specific requests, like your problems you pointed out earlier, we’ll add those specific instructions.”

Harry explained further that the clean would cost R120 the check cost R250, which he cautioned “could take a while”.

“Because a full check is so thorough, it can take up to two and a half hours. We check the bottom bracket, we check the wheel bearings, we check the spokes, we check everything,” he explained. “For example, to check the headset bearings you have to open the headset up. The wheels are also often a problem. Unlike many bike shop employees believe, you can’t just shake a wheel to check the sealant level. Sealant is ammonia-based which evaporates quickly and will leave water behind. So if you shake the wheel, you hear liquid inside and think it is sealant but it could just be water. So we have to take the wheel off, open it up and check it properly.”

Harry explained further that once this is done and he or CycloWorx’s other two mechanics Dylan or Bethel have gone through the checklist and identified the areas that need attention, Monique will send a quote via email, which she follows up with a telephone call.

“Johan, I promise you. Only when you send a reply email to Monique confirming the job, do we start work on your bike. You of course have the option to not continue with the work or even give us the go-ahead to proceed on some things but not others, and the bottom line of the quote will obviously change. So that is how we work. Do you want to book your bike in with us?” Harry enquired.

“Yes please Harry,” Johan says relieved, “it certainly sounds more thorough than what I’ve experienced at some of the bike shops I’ve been to.” Harry then filled in the job card, ensuring he had Johan’s full name, telephone and email details.

“Do you know your shock pressures and other details specific to your bike?” Harry asked Johan. “We actually build up a profile of you and all your bikes and we ensure that the proper shock and tyre pressures are applied before you pick up your bike.”

With these details included on the job card, Johan leaves CycloWorx. Two days later, Johan received an email from CycloWorx telling him that his bike needed work to the front wheel hub, the bottom bracket and the headset with a quote, which was much less than anticipated as none of the parts needed replacing. Delightedly, he replied to the email and three days later he went to pick up his bike. That weekend Johan took his beloved mountain bike to his favourite bike park and noticed a change immediately.

“My bike didn’t squeak. The strange chaffing noise is gone and the handlebars are now as responsive as ever. My bike is truly as good as new and I’ll definitely recommend CycloWorx to any other cyclist. Check them out at if you don’t believe me!” and off he went on another ride.