Motorcycle Community London's Motorcycle Community
Est. 2004

General question on a service received

Hi all,

I’m a new motorcyclist so I don’t have such a good idea of prices on services. I had the front wheel bearings and the steering bearing replaced on my enduro motorcycle. I bought all parts myself. But, I was charged £360 for the job. Just labour. Is this realistic?
Also, can you suggest some affordable mechanics in London?

That seems pretty high. At £40 per hour that’s 9 hours. Even with some stuck bearings it shouldn’t take that long.

OK, that’s why I thought. I went to this motorcycle mechanic garage PMG Motorcycles in Sutton, London. I was shocked when he charged me for £360 considering that I provided all the parts.

Would be easier to see what the invoice revealed as a breakdown of £x/hr and what parts/consumables and then vat on top

So example £60 /hr
5hrs =£300
Vat £60

It does. He charges £50 per hour. The invoice does not show any VAT. It’s really a piece of paper handwritten which I find it weird anyway. By the way, I requested 4 things to be done on my bike:

  1. Front wheel bearing and head steering bearing (I provided all parts)
  2. Fix headlight (the mainbeam did not work)
  3. Replace the coolant reservoir (I provided the coolant reservoir)
  4. MOT

So, it was all labour. The invoice showed:
£360 - front wheel bearings and head steering bearings
£80 - 2) and 3) above.

I didn’t get my MOT. We agreed, but I did not get it. That’s another story.

It’s odd that he charges £50 an hour, then the costs are not multiples of 50, though I suppose he has a sundries cost in that (for rags, grease…)
That’s 7 hours for wheel bearings and headset bearings, which is more then I thought a shop would need, but not by that much.

I’m reading this as £440!

£360 (front wheel bearings and head steering bearings) + £80 (Fix headlight and Replace the coolant reservoir) = £440! Sounds to me as if the work was carried out as a result of a failed MOT, so why no MOT? Note here that most, but not all, MOT Test Centres offer a free re-test within 14 days of the issue of a fail certificate, and that applies whether or not they carry out the repairs.

You should have asked for a quotation before the worked commenced, a reputable workshop would have costed the labour charge before accepting the job and proceeding with the work if only to know how much workshop time to allocate to the job.

You make the invoice sound as if its handwritten on a blank piece of paper, isn’t the invoice on headed paper showing workshop address, contact details etc?

Looking at https://www.pmgmotorcycles.com/ and 4 seconds in on their main promo video and they’re looking dodgy as… with a motorcycle being worked on up on a table lift supported only by its side stand!!.

Lesson learned.

Isn’t that why workshop charges are what they are? In this case the £50 per hour should include having the correct bearing presses, pullers etc to hand so the work can be carried out and completed in a timely manner.

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Thanks. I wish it had been failing the MOT. Then, that may explain it. The MOT had nothing to do with all the other work. I just needed to do the MOT very soon so I added it to the list of things to do. He didn’t do the MOT even though we agreed that he would do it. But, after some talking, they were unwilling to accept this. So, I didn’t want to argue and thought … ok, it’s only £30.

But, now the story gets more interesting. I went back one week later for my MOT. In the meantime my headlight stopped working completely. It was supposed to be fixed the first time. So, on the second time, I asked for the headlight to be fixed, MOT and if he could adjust the idle form 1300 to 1650 RPM (it is basically one screw that you turn right or left according to whether you want to increase or decrease the idle).
When I went to pick up the bike, I had to pay another £95. So, total bill was £535. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. I’m an idiot. I must be. But, when you’re a newbie or a woman. Just listen to the stories that motorcyclist female tell you. Anyway, I learned the hard way.

Well, just asked Traxden Motorcycle for a quote on replacing front wheel bearing and steering bearing (I bring all the parts). They said 2 and half hours work. £50 + VAT = £150.

from your account of things, it sounds like you learnt an expensive lesson from a dodgy garage.

We’ve all had it at some point in our motorcycling life.

You can probably try and fight it, spend months shouting, writing angry letters and might end up with a very small partial refund.

My advice to these things is accept you got stung, and move on. It’s not worth the wasted energy…

At least now you found your way here, next time you need something doing, ask and peeps will have afvice from National Treasure’s guide to fixing anything with a multimeter, gaffa tape and wd40, to me_groovys tips and bodges and others mechanics’ reviews

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You’re absolutely right. We are likeminds. I’m not angry or upset. I will absolutely waste not one minute of my life on this. I made some serious mistakes. I could have never imagined something like this was even possible. I considered pay £50 or a bit more depending on which mechanic one goes. But, not something of this scale. Yes, I’m here because my friend who knows the story told me to join. Thanks

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There’s worse things than this going on… People not being able to get their bikes back after disputes etc etc…

Once you find a good mechanic, hold on to them

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2½ hours is a low estimate, I’d expect nearer 3 hours depending on fairings, cowls etc. Expect to pay £10 for sundries too, which covers the likes of packing the new bearings with grease and re-greasing the steering stem and wheel axel. When I worked in the trade we’d estimate labour charges on the side of caution and adjust the final bill down on completion. Repeat business for doing good work at less than the estimate gave us a loyal and ever expanding customer base on word of mouth alone.

Why did you have the work done?

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Thanks. Then, I have to consider myself lucky

They did tell me that it could be a bit more expensive. But, even if it were 3 hours +sundries. One would never get to £360. But, then there were also many other things that went funny. I have already spoken about all these things in this post. I do green laning and the wheel and steering bearing needed replacing. This I knew myself. It was so obvious when I rode the bike. Even my friends told me when they tried the motorcycle. It’s an enduro bike.

I hear what you’re saying, although in my experience its unlikely that the headstock bearings and wheel bearings would fail at the the same time. I’m not saying they hadn’t and that’s the last thing you want to hear here. I am saying these things cannot be properly diagnosed from riding alone, they should have been tested and proven to have failed before jumping in and having them replaced. For example, headstock bearings can be adjusted to eliminate play and similar poor handling symptoms can be experienced and caused by other failings such as the fork bushes etc.

It’s very true that green laning will cause more wear and tear to the likes of the headstock bearings, wheel bearings and the suspension than normal road use would and it’s wise to keep an eye on these things. However, for the future my advice would be to have more faith in the annual MOT inspection where all the things you mention and then some are rigorously tested and those tests are carried out with the construction and use of the motorcycle in mind. With the MOT being just around the corner it may have been a better idea to have just booked it in for an early MOT and acted on any failings and advisories accordingly. Did you know you can get a 13 month MOT by booking the test one month before it’s due?

Idling at 1,650 RPM is not goode and will cause premature wear to the clutch, brakes, piston rings, cylinder bores, valve gear, spark plugs etc. It can also be an accident waiting to happen if your hand slips off the clutch or your foot slips off the off the brake when opening or closing the throttle. Why would you want any of that?

Headlamp main beam failure - The most common causes are bulb filament failure, fuse failure, dirty or corroded connections, there’s little more to it than that. Repeat bulb filament failures are most likely caused by bulb vibrations due to a worn bulb holder clip or an incorrectly fitted bulb.

HTH and stop playing the girlie card when it comes to things of a mechanical nature.