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odearja
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am going to start off by saying that I am posting this in the beginners section because for one, I am a beginner, and two, I am sure this is covered somewhere but my searches haven't pulled up the info I need yet.

This saturday is going to be the first good day of the year to go riding and I am going to take advantage of it. The odds of me getting caught in the rain are rather high. I just got my brake cable replaced because it was rusted and I want to know how to take care of my bike with it being wet and not giving it a chance to rust again. Any tips?
 

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Most brake cables sold in shops are stainless steel. Sometimes OEM brake cables are galvanized, or just plain steel. But I bet you don't run into this particular problem again.

In general, bikes don't rust unless they're also dirty or they're exposed to salt or some other catalyst, or maybe if they're not allowed to dry. I keep my bikes on a rack by my front door, in the living room, or in my basement, which is partially finished. In other words, they get the same climate control I do. So when I come in from a wet ride, the bike dries out relatively quickly and rust is a non-issue. I do sometimes notice surface rust on my mountain bike if I'm bad about wiping the chain and relubricating after a muddy ride; I think that part of that is that the mud holds moisture longer than the bare metal, so there's more time for the metal to oxidize. It's actually not that big a deal, although I feel bad about letting it happen when I do. :p

The other thing that protects the bike from rust, particularly the chain, is that it's lubricated, and enough water will eventually flush that out. So if you hear your chain squeaking, relube it when you get home.

I could have sworn I remembered a good article, but I can't find it now.

When I get home from a ride, I wipe the gunk off my chain with a dry rag. I usually hold the rag around the chain and back-pedal through a full rotation of the chain. This is likely to be around three rotations of the crank, although I also often do it by watching a power link. Some people like to use a solvent in the rag. That's fine too, just account for a little faster loss of lubrication and allow some times for it to evaporate if you're also going to relubricate. I'm happier not to use solvents in the house.

If my chain was making noise during the ride, I relubricate it.

That's it.

Now and then, I do some more extensive maintenance. I sometimes wipe down my derailleurs, chain rings, the cassette if I'm changing the chain, the guide under the bottom bracket where the cables pass. I don't typically lubricate any of these parts. They usually have bushings that don't really need it, and adding more sticky lubricant from the outside tends to increase the gunkiness - I find it counter productive.

Some people like to take their chains off the bike for various cleanings involving soaking in degreaser. I've done that in the past. I find it to be a lot of trouble and not particularly useful to me. It's a $20 part. Since it's an annoying task, it also dsincentivized taking care of my bike, which is counter productive. Wiping the chain with a dry rag is easy, so I'm a lot better about actually doing it.

I also keep a steel tape measure on my rack near the door so I can measure my chains for "stretch." They don't really stretch, but they appear to as they wear. This article talks about that.
Chain Maintenance

As long as you're keeping your chain and drivetrain relatively clean and keeping the chain lubricated, there's not a lot of day-to-day stuff that can get expensively bad on the bike. It takes me years to wear out a chainring, and about three or four chains' lives to wear out a cassette. So that's typically also multiple years, just not as many as for the ring. Kinda depends how much a person rides, though, and abusive treatment of the drivetrain is an "all bets are off" situation.

Derailleur indexing sometimes gets inaccurate. I think every cyclist should know how to take care of this aspect of the drivetrain.
Park Tool Co. » ParkTool Blog » Front Derailleur Adjustments
Park Tool Co. » ParkTool Blog » Rear Derailler Adjustments (derailleur)

Eventually, bearings wear. If you don't want to rebuild your bearings at home, I won't judge. ;) But you should be able to recognize the need. When you're doing a larger maintenance anyway, like replacing your chain, check on your bearings. Take your wheels out of the frame and turn the axles with your finger tips. Feel smooth? Good, forget about it for another year. Feel rough? Now's the time to rebuild them. Procedures vary.

Before you ride, squeeze your front brake lever and try to rock the bike front and back. Most bikes will have some movement from fork and wheel flex. That's okay. If you feel play and run into a stop, that's not so good - something's loose. Likely headset. It needs to be adjusted.

Bottom brackets wear out too and can be checked in a similar way to hubs. There are a ton of different bottom bracket standards lately, but all are maintainable in one way or another. Cross that bridge when you come to it. Can be anywhere from under a year for some particularly crappy ones to around fifteen for a well-made example of the older design.

Sorry if that's a bit of an information dump. If you do nothing else, keep your chain clean and lubed and don't let it stretch.
 

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odearja
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow, that is way more than I asked for, but I read that word for word. That is some great info and many thanks for taking the time to type all of that out!. That is also some of the easiest to follow maintenence I have found to date.

Like you, I keep my bike in a partially finished basement. I wouldn't call it climate controlled per se, at least not yet, but with my rudementry means, I manage to keep it comfortable down there at about 65-70 degrees and 40% humidity. Moisture is not an issue. I can see the mud and salt thing being an issue with holding the moisture on the unit, but I am glad to say I haven't had issues with that. When I manage to build up more of my inclement weather riding clothing, that is something I will have to keep a closer eye on.

Thanks!!!
 

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I'd say 65-70 degrees and 40% humidity is controlled enough. When people have problems with storage, it's stuff like wild swings in temperature, and the accompanying wild swings in humidity. If a bike is kept in an outdoor shed that drops 20 degrees at night, the interior of the shed might hit the dewpoint. The bike ends up being wet all night, every night, and if it got wet during the day, it may never really be dry. That would be bad. :)
 

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odearja
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think everyone that visits this forums take their riding seriously and I think we all agree that our bikes were a substantial investment. Anything and everything we can do to take care of them is worth it!
 

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Well I feel better now - I thought I wasn't doing enough after talking with other riders - they break it down 2-3 year, chain solvent cleaned, rebuild hubs/BB. I have been just wiping the chain after rides and using dupont chain saver-same as my motorcycle. wipe it down from dusty rides and WD40 the exposed cables.
 

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I was not sure if I could add anything to the great post by Andrew but after three hours of reading it over and over and analyzing everything :thumbsup:I believe he did not cover rims and brake pads. Riding in the rain kicks up all kinds of grime which seems to embed itself in brake pads and on rims. I try to clean these off as soon as i get done as it is much easier than letting it dry especially the rims. Take the wheels off and look for debris in the pads and use a pick or some pointed tool to pull it out. Sometimes a light sanding will be required if they are glazed. This will improve your breaking in the dry weather and reduce wear on your rims from having grit act like sand paper to your rims when you brake. Please disregard if you have disc brakes!
 

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I also like to pull my seatpost out once a year and clean it off, reapply some carbon friction paste, and reseat it. I've seen a couple carbon seatposts fused into the carbon frame after not moving them for 2-3 years.

I also squirt some lubricant into the shifter housings and redo my tape after a sweaty summer. I snapped off the drops on a handlebar once after the shifter clamp corroded through the aluminum bar.
 

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I just swapped brake pads on my bike. It kept making this horrible sound-took the pads off, washed them/scotch pad etc...put em back on and still grinding. As I was feeling the pad, I swear i felt a piece of metal in the pad, picked at it with my fingernail and it don't come out - so I replaced them. noise is gone and braking is much better.
 

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For what it's worth I took a maintenance class through my bike shop that I thought was very helpful in general.

If I get caught in the rain I just try to dry everything down with a towel before I put the bike away. I've never had anything on my bike rust so far.
 

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odearja
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I see that everyone has a slightly different twist on how they take care of things. But they all seem well thought out. Unfortunately I had a funeral rear it's ugly head so I didn't get out there, but with spring coming up in central Il, I'll have plenty of opportunities to get wet.
 
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