Sergio Ibanez is the mechanic at one of Auckland’s most-recognised bike shops, Bike Barn on the corner of Symonds Street and Khyber Pass Road. Originally from Madrid, Sergio knows bikes inside out – he’s competed on them, repaired them and has even managed a race team. Who better to answer three questions about feeding and watering one’s bicycle? Ross Inglis poses the questions:

Bike Barn's Sergio Ibanez: Love your bike? Service it every year.
Bike Barn’s Sergio Ibanez: Love your bike? Service it every year.

What’s the difference between a bike service and an overhaul, and how do I know which my bike needs?

A bike service can include adjusting brakes or gears if they are not working properly, replacing broken parts or greasing your wheel hubs. An overhaul is much more ambitious. It means undoing your whole bike part by part, cleaning and lubricating them, and then reassembling and adjusting them. Your bike needs a service when it is not working properly or when something is making strange noises. I recommend servicing a least once a year and replacing cables every year or 18 months. An overhaul is recommended if your bike has been in storage for a long time, or every three years if you use and service your bike regularly. With my own bike, for example, I do an overhaul every winter and a full service in summer.

I leave my bike on our balcony; my partner says it’s just going to rust away. It’s a cheap bike and I really don’t care what it looks like.  Does a bit of rust matter?

That depends on where the rust is. If your stem bolts or bottle cage bolts are rusty and you don’t need to adjust them anymore, it won´t be a big problem. But a rusty chain or cables are bad news: gears and brakes won´t work properly, rusty spokes will soon be broken spokes and rusty bearings in your bottom bracket, hubs or headset will prevent smooth pedalling and control. If you’re not sure, the best idea is to take your bike to the closest bike store so a professional mechanic can take a look at it.

Bike prices appear to be largely determined by the quality of the components. What’s the sweet spot for price and performance?

It very much depends on the rider. For a commuting rider, a Shimano Sora groupset should be enough. If you can afford it, Tiagra is better. If you’re a road cyclist and want better performance, start with Shimano 105. Also consider the rider’s age. Say you’re buying a bike for a 13-year-old who is starting in road races. Sora or Tiagra is going to be more than enough for them, especially because they will likely grow out of the bike in two years. For me, though, 105 offers a really good balance between performance and price.

Bike Barn Central
Corner of Symonds St and Khyber Pass Road
09 379 2524

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6 responses to “Three questions for your bike mechanic: Sergio Ibanez  

  1. I would add to the last answer – once you get to a certain point you’re often paying more for lighter weight rather than increased quality or performance. Some of the parts will even be lighter at the expense of durability (e.g. aluminium instead of steel sprockets) or they may require more maintenance.

    1. I cannot agree because under my experience most of the highest parts apart of being lighter they are also more durables. Of course that is not applicable to everything. But usually a Dura Ace not only is lighter than a 105, it works much better. But it is also much more expensive. and also all parts require maintenance in the same or similar way, and some times it doesn’t depends of the quality of the component it depends more in the design like wheel bearings in the traditional way or in sealed cartridge: you can find both in expensive wheels or in affordable wheels and all of them need the same adjusting or replacement.

      Just to put an example, I was using a Shimano RX100 (like Tiagra today) for 6 years and it was destroyed at the end. I’m using the Dura Ace 7800 for 10 years and it is still working perfectly. And I even bought some parts in second hand.

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