Full Rebuild vs Service


I've had my Giant Defy for two years now and have done about 4000 miles on it. I keep it clean and generally only ride in dry or damp conditions (never pouring rain).

Apart from a potentially stretched shifter cable (won't go in highest gear despite adjusting barrel adjuster and limit screws) the bike rides fine. I keep on top of basic maintenance, cleaning, checking for chain wear etc... and I have a pair of DT Swiss P1600 which spin fine and haven't noticed any truing issues or rough sounding bearings.

My dilemma is:

Is it worth getting a full rebuild at 4000 miles or should I just replace the cables?

Also, how many miles do people recommend before replacing cassettes, shifter cables or for getting a full rebuild?




  • drhaggis
    drhaggis Posts: 1,150
    I'm far from the most knowledgeable member around here, but I'd say that a full rebuild after 4k miles is excessive. Especially if you don't ride on terrible weather. A service, and perhaps replacing some cables, should be enough.

    A cassette should be replaced if a new chain skips. If you keep on top of chain wear, a cassette should easily last three chains. I'm unsure about cables.
  • No need for a rebuild at this point. Replace the cable and if you are confident enough, could be worthwhile regreasing any bearings (or asking your local bike shop to give it a basic service).

    Chains/cassette replacement is a personal thing. Some replace when they have squeezed every last bit of wear, others stick to set mileage. Basic rule of thumb, as long as everything shifts correctly and there is no obvious damage to links/teeth etc. then keep going.

    I swap chains roughly every 4000km and cassettes every six months (that's about 10000km for me).
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 25,705
    There is no definitive answer. I have two road bikes. One gets a complete strip down and inspection every winter, the other is in constant use. They both work fine.
    Notes:- The one that is stripped down is like getting a new bike every spring, the other occasionally goes wrong and needs a repair. The strip down is more faff, but done at convenient times. Beware of long standing components seizing over time.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • these big full services are a bit of a waste of time, to be honest. Different parts need attention at different rates, so the all at once approach is not the best. Maintentance is a constant stream of little jobs, rather than a once a year thing. I wipe my chain and oil it weekly at least. I service the rear hub at least every 3 or 4 months. The bottom bearing in a headset might need to be cleaned regularly, the top one might never need any attention… but if you only use the bike on a turbo, it might be the other way round. Brake pads need regular cleaning and replacing and so do rims if you brake on them. Tyres need to be checked for embedded flint and sidewall damage, as well as wear. A chain might need replacing after 3-4 k miles and cables need replacing when they are grubby and draggy, which can be after 4k miles or 40k miles, depending where and when you use the bike.
    So, there isn’t a single answer to your question and certainly the complete strip off approach is not the best one, especially if you have to pay for it.
    left the forum March 2023
  • I would suggest what I call a Bronze service ,everything gets checked over and gears indexed .
    If anything is picked up on tge audit you would be made aware of wether its an essential repair or advised it should be done in the future .
  • webboo
    webboo Posts: 6,087
    I don’t think ever done a complete strip down of any of my bikes in 40 years of cycling. The only time I’ve done it, is if I was replacing all the parts.
  • monkimark
    monkimark Posts: 1,500
    Likewise, the only bike I have ever fully stripped is my first 'proper' mountain bike, which I stripped to respray and still haven't put back together 2 years later...

    My commuter bike was 10 years old and doing probably 4000 miles a year in all weathers for a few years and I only ever replaced anything when it was worn.
  • hpaul
    hpaul Posts: 111
    I've a propel from 2018, a good few chains, good few bottom brackets and new bar tape twice. Replaced to a ninja token bb a few weeks ago actually. Press fit language is for another thread. All the rest is original on the bike. I've yet to get into changing cables. All works as it should, I'm sure 8k miles if not more on it.

    Currently waiting on brakes coming from China, as those TRP are rubbish.

    I think a rebuild at 4k is mental. I used to ride in stupid weather conditions. Not as much now as I've kickr core, the propel is on the turbo over winter to. Hence the bar tape changes. Also I'm OCD about noises coming from my bike, drives me nuts. All works as should