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Discussion Starter #1
So, I have a Merida Big 9 20D MTB and Giant Defy 2 road bike, both of which I bought new. Both have been nothing but problems when it comes to getting my gears tuned, and with both bikes I've had to go to multiple shops to get the gears tuned because they stuff it up almost every time.

The bikes will ride fine for the first few kilometers, until I get the whole "noisy, difficult to change gears" thing again. Every time I get the bike back from any shop, they manage to stuff something up. Like "forgetting" to screw the brakes in properly to the frame so I nearly lost front brakes. Or in certain gears the rear derailleur cable is so loose it can touch the rear tyre.

I then give up after going back the second or third time, and then have to go to another shop and pay more money just so they can fix the mistakes of the first shop, and then I'm stuck fixing the mistakes from the second shop and so on.

I was out in the forest on a trail ride today shortly after a gear tune, and the front derailleur was playing up again, being very difficult to shift. I got off the bike and kicked the front derailleur pretty hard a few times, so now I'm up for a new crank set at the very least as it's all bent (FC-M131 is the part). But when I get a new one, I don't trust anyone to install it and tune the gears...

Taking the bikes back to the shops they were bought from isn't an option as that would involve a long trip away.

I just wish there was someone I can trust to get gears tuned properly the first time around without screwing something else up in the process. A guy can dream, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
i mean, it's a crazy idea, but hear me out.

Learn to tune them yourself? You already seem to think it's easy.
I never claimed it's easy to tune gears. If it were that simple, I'd do it myself. There's a reason I don't go to a bike shop every time I need to check my tire pressures or clean the chain...

Having worked as a repair technician in an unrelated industry, I would happily tell a customer if something is above my skill level and that they need to seek someone more skilled. I wouldn't simply take on a job that I knew was above what I could accomplish.

I would assume that stock-standard modern mass produced Shimano drivetrains would not be such a drama to get running properly. Maybe that's a stupid assumption on my part.
 

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All the bike mechs I know have pretty nice bikes and have them tuned to perfection, so I suspect they're cable of doing the job properly. Something is getting lost in translation.
 

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Good bike mechanics can be hard to find because the pay is shi!, and you end up mostly working on shi! bikes that can be really hard to dial in. Ask me how I know? People tend be very picky expecting everything to be perfect. The facts are, even the most expensive drivetrain parts on the market can be finicky. Of course sales reps don't tell you this. There's a lot of slop in the bike industry. Tolerances are often off by just enough to still work well but cause creaks, or minor inconsistencies. While we pay premium prices, we don't always get premium parts. An example of this is how people think their boutique carbon frame that cost over 3k is the best money can buy, then they blame the creaking BB on the BB itself when it's really because their frame's BB tube is out of tolerance. I get it, when someone pays a bunch for a nice bike they expect everything to be dialed. That's just not realistic. Even a WC mechanic won't be able to dial in 100% of bikes that come through the door. You'll learn to have realistic expectations after you've been in the game long enough to see the bike industry for what it is.
 

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Cycologist
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You might as well give it a try if the shifting from the bike shops is that bad. Probably just needs some twisting of the barrel adjuster. Plenty of instructions on youtube and Park's website.

Or go singlespeed!
 

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Just looked up the specs of that Merida Big 9 20D.
That thing will never have perfectly slick shifting. Not sure I'd even work on it.
 

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Working on bikes really is incredibly easy. Its not really a talent, its just using very basic hand tools to make adjustments that are essentially making a fastener looser or tighter.

I really believe nearly anyone can quickly learn to do all their own bike repairs, short of wheelbuilding and suspension. That can get awkward. Parktools.com covers all the basic tuneup instructions in short videos (it doesnt take more than a short video).

Bikes that are in adjustment but go out again shortly after the adjustment need parts replaced. It can take experience and some skill to quickly narrow down exactly what part is worn, but if the shops are just turning the knobs and shipping the bike, they're not even bothering with that step anyway.
 

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Just looked up the specs of that Merida Big 9 20D.
That thing will never have perfectly slick shifting. Not sure I'd even work on it.
I second this. You have a budget bike that will be marginal on its best day. I think your expectations on performance are too high.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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All the bike mechs I know have pretty nice bikes and have them tuned to perfection, so I suspect they're cable of doing the job properly. Something is getting lost in translation.
Well that sure as hell wasn't me, after working all day at the bike shop tuning bikes, the last thing I wanted to do was touch my own.

It's a good suggestion to learn how to work on your own bike.

There are reason sometimes things don't work perfectly. Front derailleurs are notoriously crappy and they really never worked right with index shifting. SRAM micro-adjust or old friction adjust was the best for them, there were plenty throughout my working as a mechanic and personally that could only be gotten "good enough", but definitely not perfect/no rubbing. Also, frame flex can play a big part, a bike should be test-ridden, but they can only do so much at a shop, it's unlikely they are going to ride it like you do and weight distribution and how you pedal can induce flex that throws things off, this can usually be adjusted by a few clicks of a barrel adjuster, but perfect on the repair stand doesn't always equate to perfect out on the trail, some parts settle in and a bit of slack develops. If required, these are usually minor tweaks, but it can get out of hand pretty fast if you don't know your way around the bike/adjustments.
 

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Working in a shop I see department store bikes all the way up to $$$ carbon masterpieces. 9 out of ten 10 times it isn't the quality of the bike as much as it is that of the customer. You can have a $100 bike and a $5000 bike shift lousy but bottom line it can be fixed if you have the time & money to do so. I will admit a lot of customers w/ entry level bikes have a shocked look when a drivetrain replacement estimate could cost over 1/2 what they paid for their entire bike. Personally, we make sure to get as much info. on shifting complaints. I won't tune a drivetrain if a component is worn enough to hinder proper operation. Before the customer leaves his bike he is made well aware there really is no such thing as a simple tune up. Not sure why anyone would have to go to multiple bike shops and get the same results unless the bike isn't the only issue.
 

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I recently learnt to tune my RD following a youtube video and a bit of trial and error. It took me about an hour and a half to get it right.

I was scared to try after a disastrous attempt a few years ago.

However this time, I feel it was a good investment which I will benefit from in future.

You may want to check your hangers as they get bent and cause issues which seem like bad tuning.
 

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If you are wedded to the idea of getting someone else to do the work, I suggest looking up roving bike mechanics. i.e. people who will come to you or your workplace rather than you taking it to a shop
 

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easy as pie to do it yourself, but not OP, I dont see patients there. but i disagree that it does not take talent. the difference between anyone and the best is the talent. As a highly qualified mechanic, the tools made it easy to do every step in bike mechanics and its not just the tools that will get a bike running right////

problem is the whole shop thing, being able to spend time on a bike is required, and shops dont really give the mechanics time to really dial one in perfectly, unless you get a good mechanic
 

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BOOM goes the dynamite!
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I think all shops everywhere are totally incapable and only the OP can fix his bike, so that's what he should do.
 

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EAT MORE GRIME
(ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻
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first the Merida is not a bike, it is a BSO...unfixable

the Giant Defy should be solid build

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OP sez this:
I got off the bike and kicked the front derailleur pretty hard a few times,

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why even try to reply to someone like this ? the bike is not the only thing with loose screws imho
 
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Single Track Mind
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first the Merida is not a bike, it is a BSO...unfixable

the Giant Defy should be solid build

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OP sez this:
I got off the bike and kicked the front derailleur pretty hard a few times,

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why even try to reply to someone like this ? the bike is not the only thing with loose screws imho
^^ this That must have been some tantrum!
 

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You should spend $200 on tools. Then do it yourself. After a $500 bill for a bike build and several $100+ full tune ups, that's what I did.

I was pretty terrible at it. I'm still pretty terrible...but I'm MUCH faster at being terrible. But I occasionally get it right...and it feels great. Plus the extra cash is nice too.
 
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