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Enduro MTB Maintenance ?

Hello there, I was wondering if you guys could answer some questions for me regarding your expert opinions on full suspension bikes, servicing them and maintenance. I’m in the market for a new full suspension Enduro mtb. I’ll be riding about 3-5 times a month at our local trail. I will not be riding this bike often through heavy mud or lots of water as I just don’t like to get muddy and don’t want to ruin my bike. So the bike won’t be getting heavy use, won’t be getting tons of water and mud on it, and will be cleaned most of the time after each ride.

But a friend of mine who has a 2019 Trek Fuel EX 8, has told me to stay away from any brand that doesn’t have a local shop. So basically he’s telling me to get a Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, etc. He said he would stay away from YT, Canyon, Kona, Yeti, Santa Cruz, etc, because they are mail order, don’t have local shops, and maintenance on a full suspension bike can occur at least once or twice a year and cost ~$200-250 a pop to have it all serviced and bearings/bushings replaced?

So my questions for you guys are:
- Is this correct or not entirely? What’s the full scoop on a new 2020 full suspension endure/trail mtb and the maintenance required to keep it up and running, and the cost?

- Can I service and/or replace the bearings/bushings myself at home with a small tool setup and proper lubes?

- Follow up, how much does it usually cost to replace all the bearings/bushings on a Canyon Strive, YT Capra Comp or similar bikes?

- Do I need any special expensive tools to do this?

- Is it better to just take it to a local shop and have them do it, or is it worth it to learn how to do it yourself? And how long does it take on avg to service the bearings and moving parts myself? And follow up, how long on avg would it take to replace all the bearings/bushings/etc myself?

- Does servicing my bike and keeping the joints clean and lubed help prevent the bearings/bushings/bolts from wearing out? If so, aprox how long do most of the brand new Enduro bikes (such as the Canyon Strive or YT Capra Comp 29) bearnings/bushings last based on what I have told you? Should I expect 2-3 years before having to service or replace them? Or for sure in 1 year or less?
I live in a medium environment. So it's not super rainy and wet often like the Pacific NW. It's also not super dry and hot like the SW. It's moderately wet in the spring/summer with medium to medium high temps. And the trail I will be riding usually only has a small to medium amount of mud when I'll be riding.

- Is this something I’m going to have to replace every single year for SURE? Or with less use of my bike like I mentioned above and making sure to clean it well after rides and checking the bearings often, would they maybe only need replacing once every 2-3 years?

- And if I buy a bike like a Canyon, will I be able to easily find and purchase the correct bearings/bushings/parts to service and replace those parts here in America? I don’t want to get a bike that has odd parts and are super hard to find that are expensive. So is it fairly easy to replace those parts on a Canyon or YT? And will local bike shops that don’t sell Canyon work on my bike? Replace all the bearings/bushings/etc when/if they all need replacing? I know the Trek or Specialized store won’t, but what about just regular old bike shops?

- And In your expert opinions, is it worth getting one of the best bikes on the market, even if it’s not from America (or doesn’t have a local shop like Trek/Specialized)? I’m really intrigued by the Canyon and YT bikes and they seem to be by far, the best bikes, with the best components/fork/shock/performance for the price. But… if it’s going to be a pain to service it and cost a fortune, then it’s not really going to be worth it. So I’m just looking for good advice.

Thank you

Posts

  • JBAJBA Posts: 2,657
    The short answer is learn to do as much maintenance as you can yourself and for anything else use your LBS. Just because you bought a bike mail order doesn't mean a shop will refuse to work on it.

    Mountain bikes are designed to be used and abused so don't worry about getting it wet or muddy. This forum is predominantly UK-based and the weather here ranges from not bad to abysmal. Rain, puddles and mud are par for the course and most bikes survive ok. A good cleaning and lubing regime obviously helps.

    Changing suspension bearings and bushes can be awkward but is usually easy enough to do with a bit of patience and the correct tools. Some people change them regularly but I wait until there are obvious signs they need changing and then do them. A decent shop should be able to do them in 2-3 hours so your major cost will be the labour if you don't fancy doing them yourself. Most bearings are standard sizes and readily available so don't worry about not being able to get them for a non-USA brand bike.
    I have a Giant Trance and bought the proper bearing tool set. I have changed the suspension bearings a couple of times and can now do it in about 2 hours.



    “Life has been unfaithful
    And it all promised so so much”

    Giant Trance 2 27.5 2016 ¦ Bird Zero Mk1 ¦ Giant Revolt Advanced 2 2019 ¦ Giant Anthem 3 2015 ¦ Specialized Myka Comp FSR 2009
  • thistle_(mbnw)thistle_(mbnw) Posts: 4,066
    Adding to the bearings thing - pretty much all pivot bearings are standard off the shelf items and not specific to the brand of bike so you don't need to order them through the bike shop.

    I'm not sure how it works in the USA, but here in the UK a local bike shop will usually stock a couple of brands of bike and will be able to order you any part you need for that bike. My local bike shop do Cannondale and Giant (plus a few others), the bike shop at the trail centre do Santa Cruz, Yeti and Nukeproof (plus a few others).
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 8,356
    To give you an idea of what to expect, this is what I've done to my Giant Anthem from new over nearly 5yrs.
    Replaced chain every yr. Lubed chain every wet ride.
    Replaced outer chainring after 4yrs and thousands of off-road miles.
    1 rear mech cable, still working when removed just a tad fraid.
    Several tyres as to be expected
    Bottom bracket bearings.
    Replaced suspension bearings after 4 1/2yrs abuse. Replaced complete set, only really 3 bearings stiff and needed replacement.
    Replaced 3 rear cassettes, 2 as badly worn and last one as an upgrade. Both front and rear shocks have had a basic strip down and reassemble over Xmas. This bike has done most UK trail centres, boggiest areas of the peak district, beginner XC racing and Ard Moors enduro. Wet or muddy weather has never stopped me riding it. Most of the skills used to do the bike are self taught or learnt from YouTube or asking mates. Never used a main dealer for a service for any of my bikes.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,025
    If you are prepared to wipe the chain and lube it after every ride and cycle the chain through the gears. Also wipe all the stanchions (fork, shock, dropper) and lube them too (wet lube only) and generally keep an eye on the bikes moving parts, you will be fine!
    Either buy a chain checker or remove the chain every 3-4 months and check the length of it.

    I live in the UK and ride all year round, mostly on sandy soil which is very abrasive. I was having to change the cassette at the same time as the third chain. If you are on a 1x, then change the front ring at the same time as the cassette. Worn teeth and chains spread wear like mechanical AIDS. On chains 9-10 speed I used to get about 650 miles. But on 11-12 speed I'm doing much, much better. They really do last me longer (4-6x)!

    Don't lube the pivots, it just attracts muck. Keep your eye on them and you should feel when they need replacing. The bearings are standard. Some bikes, like the Whyte range are designed for the British weather and the pivot bearings seem to last for ever. I had a Whyte T130 for three years and had no probs with the bearings. Other brands don't do quite so well. I had a Norco Sight that needed a complete set of pivot bearings every 8 months! It didn't matter what bearings I fitted, 8 months is what I got, sometimes less!

    Check the brakes, the headset, bottom bracket, and pivots. Google how to do it and how often.

    As for the suspension. I've had one or more full suss bikes for about 11 years now and apart from wiping the stanchions before every ride and wiping with a wet lube, cycling the suspension and then wiping dry, I have done zero maintenance myself. Many riders do lower leg services on forks themselves and also a similar service to the shock. These are simple to do I'm told but I have never bothered. Instead whenever the suspension gets to 12 months old or has done about 1200 miles, whichever comes LAST, I send them for a proper full service. This can cost about £100 per item, inc postage. You can easily remove the items yourself and send them off or you can take the bike to your LBS and they will do it for you, in which case expect to pay another £20 labour. But then again an acquaintance of mine never bothered with his Fox fork or shock. I don't know what sort of mileages he was doing or in what conditions. But he said that he kept his bike clean. When I was chatting to him, his bike was over seven years old and the suspension was still working! How well it was working I have no idea, but the coating on the stanchions had worn off on the outer sides! When he decided to sell the bike he got almost zero for it because the suspension looked shagged.

    I have never sat down and worked out how much I spend on bikes, servicing, spares, upgrades and so forth. I might frighten myself!

    PS: when you spend any money on servicing the bike, keep the receipt and file it. When you come to sell the bike, you will be able to prove that you had the suspension serviced and that the drive train was replaced on such and such a date. I doubt that you get much (if any) more money for the bike, but you will sell it more quickly.

    PPS: Don't worry! The vast majority of bikes these days are absolutely great. With your intended use, I doubt that you will have any problems.
  • WOW! Thank you so much, all of you! This is SUCH helpful information and I can't thank you guys enough. I'm glad my friend brought this info up for me to think about as I had not thought about it. But after reading some good articles and seeing all of your replies, it seems like my idea of buying a Canyon or any other good mail order or bike that my LBS doesn't have will be just fine. I think it comes down to my buddy is a worrier. He worries about anything and is very conservative. He means well and is a great guy. So I appreciated him letting me know about these things, but I think I'm going to just get what I want, and not get forced into paying more for a Trek or Specialized just because they have a store 5 mins from me.

    I'm also convinced now (I was already leaning towards yes) that I CAN do most of these preventative maintenance measures myself, and do most minor/moderate repairs as well. I think the only thing I might need to take it to a shop for is major fork, rear suspension, shock, or bearing work/replacement. So that will be fun as well. To learn how to do all this stuff myself, know my bike really well, and feel a sense of pride in doing this stuff myself instead of being gouged by a Trek or Specialized store.

    Thanks again so much for all the help, and I'm sure I'll be chatting with you guys in the future here once I get my bike! Best
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,025

    ............. So that will be fun as well. To learn how to do all this stuff myself, know my bike really well, and feel a sense of pride in doing this stuff myself instead of being gouged by a Trek or Specialized store.

    .........

    It is good to be able to do it yourself.
    By the way, I doubt that any Trek or Specialized store will "gouge" you! They will cost more than you can do it yourself of course because they have to charge for labour. The parts will all be genuine, but you will probably be able to get them slightly cheaper by shopping around. The labour will be higher than minimum wage because the technicians are trained. Then of course the shop has to charge for their overheads like premises rent and the cost of all the expensive tools they use and so forth. And they need to make a profit, or they won't be there when you need them next! :)
  • ............. So that will be fun as well. To learn how to do all this stuff myself, know my bike really well, and feel a sense of pride in doing this stuff myself instead of being gouged by a Trek or Specialized store.

    .........

    It is good to be able to do it yourself.
    By the way, I doubt that any Trek or Specialized store will "gouge" you! They will cost more than you can do it yourself of course because they have to charge for labour. The parts will all be genuine, but you will probably be able to get them slightly cheaper by shopping around. The labour will be higher than minimum wage because the technicians are trained. Then of course the shop has to charge for their overheads like premises rent and the cost of all the expensive tools they use and so forth. And they need to make a profit, or they won't be there when you need them next! :)

    Oh sorry, I wasn't saying they are going to gouge me on repairs or service. I totally understand they have to make a living. I was just saying, that these big box stores from a few of the top brands (Trek, Specialized, Giant) have bikes that cost more money for less bike. And I understand that, and why they do that. I just don't like it. And it's my option as a consumer to buy from whomever I like and feel comfortable with. And if I can do the service and most repairs myself, then there's no need to pay more money for less bike.

    Buying from Trek, Specialized or Giant stores is for people that can't or don't want to do any repairs or maintenance themselves, or want some sort of perceived assurance that if anything goes wrong, they'll be taken care of. And sometimes that is the case, but I've read some HORROR stories from people that DID buy from a Trek or Specialized store/dealer. So it's just a perception. It's not a reality. And if I can do most of the repairs and service myself, then all I need to know is which brands make the most durable bikes.

    I know quite a bit about bikes (I'm FAR from a beginner, having ridden all sorts of bikes my entire life. From BMX as a youngster, to front suspension XC mtb's as a teenager, to road bikes the last 5 years). But I am a newbie to full suspension bikes. So I'm not looking to spend more money for some sort of perceived convenience that I don't need. I know what I want, and just needed to do some research on the topic and get some helpful info from others to steer me in the right direction :smiley: So thank you for that! You guys were very helpful!

    I don't think Trek or Specialized bike stores gouge people for services. They just charge way more for their bikes, because they have all these brick and mortar stores, employees, and service guys. So the leadership is not going to pay for that out of their profits. They're going to pass that cost on to the consumer, and I'm not going to do that. After doing lots of research, I've found pretty much exactly what I'm looking for and from some very reputable companies.

    Thanks for all the help everyone, and looking forward to getting into this amazing sport!
    Best
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 8,356
    Sorry JG I have to disagree with you on some points, specialized and trek to some extent you pay for the name however the bikes are decent bikes as well. Giant doesn't charge as much IMHO for a very good bike Anthem and Trance are amongst the best XC and trail ful sus bikes going. As I'd already mentioned I don't go back to Main dealers for servicing I do my own or if lack of time I have a LBS or a mobile guy who can sort it out. Calibre Bossnut one of the best low cost ful sus bikes going, just don't expect it to be as light or refined as trek, giant, specialized etc.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,025
    And don't forget that warranty claims are a lot quicker and easier to deal with when you can just take the bike to the LBS. Alternatively, you might suddenly find that the company you bought the bike from don't speak good English, you have to pack up the bike and ship it back at your risk and cost. Even if the company you are dealing with is golden, you will still be without the bike for longer.

    Despite all the companies now selling fantastic bikes on the internet for great prices, the main dealers based in the UK are still in business. There are good reasons for that.

    I have bought three FS bikes via the internet, two had a dealer network in the UK. The third was a German import with zero UK backup. The delivery was late and I could never find anyone in their offices that would tell me when it would arrive, no emails, messages or calls, NOTHING! I even got a mate who spoke fluent business German to ring them and she got nowhere. One day it just arrived.
    I had zero problems with any of the bikes. I had a problem with the Reverb dropper on the German import, but I dealt with that by going straight back to Rockshox who dealt with it. I had no desire to even try to contact the German supplier. Thank heavens that I did not have a serious warranty claim.

    The other 4 bikes (1xHT + 3xFS) were all bought from a local dealer. Of those, only one bike had a few problems and both were dealt with very quickly indeed by the local dealer. I did buy an e13 wheelset (German) off the internet. It had a five-year warranty, but I had nothing but problems with the rear hub. They replaced the hub, seals and bearings three times (!) without any argument but I was without the bike for two weeks each time.
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