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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Currently I ride a 2001 Trek 2300 Ultegra with Vector Pros and a few carbon candy upgrades. I have done basic stuff like cleaning and lubing the drivetrain, and replaced the chain a couple thousand miles ago, and the bike now has 6500 miles on it. I have almost always ridden in dry conditions (rain only once). I have a nagging feeling that the bike needs some kind of routine overhaul (I have had no problems shifting, etc). What kind of maintenance do you do routinely even if there are no problems with the bike and how often? How do you know when to change cogs and chainrings? Also, if an overhaul, etc are needed, who is the most reliable in Tucson?
 

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generally the once-a-year tear down/build up is adequate for me (little riding in winter...) Err on the side of caution with a quick stop at your LBS if you have a "gut feeling" A good shop won't charge you to just look at the bike. I have to agree with wooglin, it's fun to get to tknow the workings of your bike-you'll then be able to feel when something ain't quite right. Check out http://www.parktool.com or http://www.sheldonbrown.com good advice there...
 

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What I SHOULD do vs. what I DO...

I spread my riding over several bikes, about half mountain and half road, so nothing but the Atlantis gets more than about 1000 miles a year. On that schedule, I lube the chain regularly (every 200 miles or so), but pretty much everything else gets done when it starts to cause trouble. My singlespeed (a Trek touring bike I converted) hasn't had anything but chain lube for at least 2000 miles/4 years, and it still feels fine, but there's not much to go wrong. While I agree about the need for normal maintenance, and about it being fun and satisfying to know how to work on your bike, I haven't had any bad results from stretching things out a little. My backup mountain bike is 10 years old, ridden hard and regularly for five of those, and I've never opened the BB, hubs or headset, and lubed the cables only when the brakes or shifter started to feel notchy.
 

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Once a year....

I do most of the simple maintenance stuff to my bike, same as you. I wipe my bike's (all two of them) down after each ride with Simple Green, including the tires and check them for cuts and nicks. Chain life can fluctuate depending on the brand of chain. I received 5K out of a Wipperman stainless steel and around 3-4K for other steel chains. Cassettes are replaced as needed, usually when they start shifting funny. If you install a new cassette you should swap out the chain also, as chains and cassettes wear together. You should buy a good bike maintenance book, I use Zinn And The Art Of Bike Maintenance, it covers all the basic stuff plus some. I haul my bike down to my LBS once a year and have them go over it and do what is needed. But I have faith in my LBS and they only do "what is needed". A tune-up runs about $60-$75 a complete overhaul about $150
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One of these days I'm going to invest in a good work stand and learn how to do all this stuff by myself. Bicycle mechanics is not a rocket science. Preventive maintenance is the cure, keep your bike nice and clean and you will notice things that need to be done.

But don't be afriad to get your hands dirty, I've been in my garage for hours, my hands covered with grease trying to do something a good bike wrench could do in a couple of minutes.

One reason I want to learn how to maintain my bike is once and awhile I will get my bike back from the shop and something will not be tight. I think they get distracted by the telephone or customers. I've found loose headsets, seat binder bolts, brake cables not cut and so on. I always go over my bike every now and then and make sure everything is tight. And I never had a bike back where they check the tire pressure.
 

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Maintenance is not by calendar or mileage alone

Aside from the factors you point out (rain rides) you can't go by either mileage or time. Some things are time - greasing the seat post, stem, bars, saddle rails. Some things are mileage - chain lube, bearing cleaning and lube, tires. Things that can dry out or corrode should be looked at regularly, while things that wear out are mileage dependent. IME, if you're doing over 3-5K miles per year, then the total annual overhaul is appropriate. Less mileage points toward the "grease all contact surfaces" on an annual basis with things that wear out maybe every other year. You also have to keep an eye on entropy - even a specialist time trial bike that only gets ridden 300 miles per year should get regular inspection as a minimum. With 6500 miles on your bike, the total tear down is certainly appropriate. You can't afford to pay a bike shop to do this, and learning to do it yourself makes you a complete cyclist. It's what the off-season is for!
 

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With new sealed bbs and headsets they have now the idea of a "total overhaul" is kind of outdated. Do your hubs when they need to be done. Keep your drivetrain clean. Replace stuff when it wears out (tires, chains, c-rings, cassettes, cables and housing). Inspect your bike frequently and make sure everything is tight. If you have a steel frame treat it with Boeshield or Framesave from time to time. If you have stupid light bars or stems or forks be especially vigilant with the inspections/replacements.
 

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Kerry Irons said:
You can't afford to pay a bike shop to do this, and learning to do it yourself makes you a complete cyclist. It's what the off-season is for!
Wise words from Kerry, as always. I would add one minor alternative.

For those of us who try to ride through the off-season, doing the work yourself is what multi-bike owership is for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks

Thanks for the replies. In Tucson there is no off season, and for now anyway a second ride is not in the pocketbook. I've always been afraid to take the bike apart for fear of not being able to get it back together - or worse, breaking something expensive. Maybe I'll have to spend some time with Zinn.
 

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Maintenance is fun

I'm in a no off season zone too :) As several other posters have already pointed out doing your own maintenance is pretty rewarding, and as one pointed out; with newer sealed bearing units there really isn't a whole lot you need to do beyond what you're already doing. Keep your chain, cogs and cranks as clean as you can. Keep your headset properly tensioned. Every now and again check your wheel hubs for lateral play and your spokes for even tension. When you lube your chain, put a drop on the pivot points of your derailleurs, and the axels of the rear der pulleys. Eventually you're going to want to either replace your shift and brake cables, or take them off, clean them and then relube them.

If you go the route of Zinn, or Park Tools dot com keep in mind that you may end up buy a specialty tool now and then. Only you can determine which tools you're going to need in the long run.

Thorn Bait said:
Thanks for the replies. In Tucson there is no off season, and for now anyway a second ride is not in the pocketbook. I've always been afraid to take the bike apart for fear of not being able to get it back together - or worse, breaking something expensive. Maybe I'll have to spend some time with Zinn.
 

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Not really true

Given the number of posts on this board about frozen seat posts, frozen stems, frozen BBs, clicking parts, etc. there clearly is a need for maintenance with today's "maintenance free" bike parts. Even if it is only to clean and lube threads and contact surfaces. Sealed bearing systems do not obviate the need for this process. In 40 years of riding, I've NEVER had anything seize, and it's because I learned early on the value of regular maintenance. Don't kid yourself into believing that you can just let things go and replace or repair when there's a problem. I know a guy who never changed the oil in his car because "oil doesn't wear out." New crank shaft in a Toyota Camry. Low maintenance for a while, then VERY high maintenance.
 
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