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  1. #1
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    Question Chase & Face Bottom Bracket Cost?

    I received my new Bianchi frame this afternoon, and I decided that before I build, I want the frame prepped. I called the LBS that does a fair amount of road bike traffic to get a price for a chase and face on the bottom bracket, and I was quoted $70.

    Does that sound ridiculously high for 15 minutes of labor? What does a face & chase usually cost?
    Passione Celeste.

  2. #2
    Shirtcocker
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    Quote Originally Posted by apexspeed
    I received my new Bianchi frame this afternoon, and I decided that before I build, I want the frame prepped. I called the LBS that does a fair amount of road bike traffic to get a price for a chase and face on the bottom bracket, and I was quoted $70.

    Does that sound ridiculously high for 15 minutes of labor? What does a face & chase usually cost?
    Sounds high to me, but if you don't like it fid another LBS to do it cheaper or buy the tools and do it yourself.
    "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." -S. Hawking

  3. #3
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    Sounds like a rational, logical conclusion to me, but I'd rather not spend $300+ on a tool I will use once. I was only asking what the going rate was for a fairly simple bike shop service...
    Passione Celeste.

  4. #4
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    never have...

    I've built up a least a dozen frames and never had one faced or chased. Most high-end frames today don't need it. If the BB doesn't screw in smoothly I might consider it. It's really pretty simple to see if the face of the BB is square to the threads. Thread in the BB cup until it contacts a .010 inch feeler gage. Then go around the diameter, checking for tight or loose spots with a .008 and a .012. If you don't find more than about a .002 inch deviation, then facing is a waste of money. Don't assume that this is such a simple job that any idiot can do it. You could get the frame faced and have no better alignment than when you started.

    Edit: I always remove any paint from the face of the BB shell, but that's a simple job that does not require expensive tools. I've got a large sharpening stone that I use to gently massage the face of the BB shell to check for flatness.
    Last edited by C-40; 09-12-2006 at 06:37 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by C-40
    I've built up a least a dozen frames and never had one faced or chased. Most high-end frames today don't need it.
    ...but some do. If there is a lot of paint on the B/B shell, or in the threads, I would face and chase it. Also, as C-40 mentioned, if the cups do not thread in smoothly I would chase it.

    Not directed at apexspeed directly, but I always find it funny when someone gives the old, "$XX.XX!?! But it will only take you 15 minutes!!!"

    Um, yeah, and it would probably take you an hour and a half before you realize: a) you just messed your frame up, or b) you don't actually know what you're doing, don't have the right tools to do it, and have to take it to the shop to fix anyway.

    That being said, $70 does sound kinda high and I would suggest calling a couple more shops for estimates.

  6. #6
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    I had it done on a frame recently because there was some paint on the BB shell and I was charged $6. That does seem quite low to me but even if I'd been charged double it'd be plenty less than what you've been quoted.

    FWIW the BB did screw in much more smoothly after the threads were chased and I just like the peace of mind that comes with knowing my BB cups are parallel on an external bearing setup.

  7. #7
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    Thumbs up

    I know what shop labor is worth, and I know what goes into a bike build. I thought a $70 fee for running a tap through two threaded holes, then hand end-milling some paint off of the exterior of the BB would not have been such a pricey task. In this area, lots of stuff is marked up and overpriced because the people that live around here don't blink at over paying for things, and bike shops like every other boutique shop around here, seem to enjoy gouging. A price check in isle 5 was needed.

    I guess they need to pay for their fancy Park Tools somehow, though. ;) I'm going to do a little more research tomorrow, with some calling around. The opinion is generally about 5 to 1 in favor of facing a BB before a high end build. I still believe it's worth looking into more...


    Thanks for the feedback, guys. So somewhere between $6 and $70 is about right.
    Passione Celeste.

  8. #8
    Chili hed & old bike fixr
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    Talking Hah

    Quote Originally Posted by apexspeed
    Sounds like a rational, logical conclusion to me, but I'd rather not spend $300+ on a tool I will use once. I was only asking what the going rate was for a fairly simple bike shop service...
    If you think that you can get a set of taps and the BB facing tool for $300, you are fooling yourself. The best tools are made by Campy and do the best job of keeping the taps in line with each other, a critical thing and keeping the faces perpendicular to the tapped hole. The 2 tools if added together are well over $1000. The cutting parts of these tools require periodic sharpening. This is done by one or two places in the US and it is not cheap. The shop has to pay the initial cost of the tool and also the sharpening costs, therefore you and the rest of the customers have to cover that as well as the actual labor. They will also probably prepare the headtube at the same time as part of that price. Actually You are getting a great deal and are lucky to have a shop with the tools. @0 years ago the Campy set was in excess of $2300. They are no longer in production. Glad that I have mine.

  9. #9
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    You have my sympathy, but shop around. I too live in an area where all the better shops are used to dealing with a well-heeled clientele, so the shops are mostly overpriced. A new frame I recently built up had some paint in the threads, so I wanted to get someone to clean it up a bit.

    Since I do most of my own work, I don't have a regular relationship with any particular place. A place I trust highly wanted $55 and "leave it today and you can pick it up next week", so I said no thanks. After calling around I found a good shop that only wanted $20 and would do it while I wait (Bianchi dealer, BTW). We wound up having a nice chat about different frames, etc. So it pays to look, even in a pricey area.

  10. #10
    Spicy Dumpling
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    I had a headsets swapped in two frams (two headset installations) bb faced on my wife's new frame a couple of weeks ago. 50 bucks for the lot. 70.00 sounds pretty high to me.
    If I were to beat you senseless with a tire iron, what color would you bleed?..The Missus

  11. #11
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    Thanks guys, I appreciate the input.
    Passione Celeste.

  12. #12
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    I think that the frame building should be left to the framebuilders. I consider facing the BB (or alignment, or reaming a head tube....etc.) to be something that should be done by the builder. If it's not done by the builder then I'd consider the frame to not be "done" and you might consider a different frame.

    For many years lots of Italian bikes came to your LBS un-machined and the shop was left to do it. This lead to lots of issues with part time shop guys pulling out the tools and finishing the framebuilders job. Luckily those days are for the most part long gone.

    If your BB screws into the frame as it is then I'd leave it alone and assume that it was done properly. If it's not I might not buy that brand again.

    Have you tried to insert the BB?

    Dave

  13. #13
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    I've only checked one place around here, which generally has a good reputation, and they charge $80 for the service. Actually they break it down into $50 for the facing and $30 for the chasing, though I'm not sure how you can properly face the BB without chasing the threads first (since you have to thread the tool in anyway)

  14. #14
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    If the frame needs it, it should have been done by the shop that sold you the frame--for free. I got the shop that sold me my Surly to do it before I took delivery. The higher end American frames I've purchased over the years never needed it--they were ready to go out of the box. The Euro frames needed it (but this was in the 80s).

    From Surly's web site:

    SURLY FRAMES IN GENERAL:
    There are some things all Surlys should have done before building one up. It is important to face the head tube before installing the headset. The paint on the HT needs to be removed in order for your headset to properly align and adjust. Also, the bottom bracket shell needs to have the threads chased. Again, removing the leftover paint is necessary to ensure proper installation. Finally, if your Surly has a derailleur hanger, it is wise to chase the threads of the derailleur hanger as well.

    http://www.surlybikes.com/karatemonkey.html

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by apexspeed
    I received my new Bianchi frame this afternoon, and I decided that before I build, I want the frame prepped. I called the LBS that does a fair amount of road bike traffic to get a price for a chase and face on the bottom bracket, and I was quoted $70.

    Does that sound ridiculously high for 15 minutes of labor? What does a face & chase usually cost?

    Ask what the shop bills for an hourly rate. My hourly rate is 50.00US

    Figure out the actual time it takes to do the job the correct way. 15 minutes for a chase/face job isn't quite accurate.

    Use that time and insert it into a hourly work schedule/labor breakdown and I'd be willing to bet that it works out to what the shop bills as an hourly rate.

    What do I know?

    I just wrench for a living....

  16. #16
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    Forgive me, I will try to be more accurate with my off-the-cuff exaggerations next time.


    As it turns out, because so many others had said that the price was probably not in line, I did some calling around to a few other out-of-the-way shops. ALL of them were between $25 and $35 to have the same work done. I appreciate the input from everyone. Because of the searching around for other labor prices, I found a shop in the area that I didn't even know existed.

    Thanks.
    Passione Celeste.

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