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Ive got a few questions on how often i should perform maintenance...
1. after approximatley how many miles should I bring my bike in for a tune-up?
2. After approx. how many miles should i replace the tires?
3. ' ' ' ' ' ' ' Replace the chain?
4. Lube the chain?
and anything else that i did not cover.

thanks!
 

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1) when the shifting isn't as crisp and precise.
2) when the rear tire "table tops", move the front tire to the rear and put a new tire on the front, OR when you have a sidewall puncture or a damaged cord.
3) 1/8" one-eights inch of slop
4) when the chain gets noisy, weekly, or after a ride in the rain
 

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... maintenance issues and schedules vary by users and ambient conditions so there's no hard fast rules...

Check out some of the info at http://www.parktool.com


Oh, and I believe that DD was describing the threads that make up a tire's inner casing... sometimes, the sidewall of a tire (or the tire bead... that part that hooks unto your rim) can be damaged and cut, exposing cords. If U can see 'em, then the tire is well past time for replacement!
 

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Buy a book on bike maintenance, such as 'Zinn And The Art Of Road Bike Maintenance'. Working on bikes comes from hands-on experience. It's not rocket science. Having the right tools is a good place to start. You can find lot's of places online about maintaining a bike. Just Google 'Bicycle Maintenance'.
 

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Where do most riders draw the line maintenace wise? Should I learn how to remove the cassette and chain for cleaning but leave the other stuff to LBS? Do people clean the chainrings on the bike with cleaner and rags, or remove them or what?
 

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bigmig19 said:
Where do most riders draw the line maintenace wise? Should I learn how to remove the cassette and chain for cleaning but leave the other stuff to LBS? Do people clean the chainrings on the bike with cleaner and rags, or remove them or what?
Too many factors go into this for anyone to formulate a rational answer. It depends on too many factors, such as: the tools you have; where you are on the spectrum of do-it-yourself vs pay-someone-else; how much time you have; whether you have another bike to ride while you are working on one; how much you ride; how much $$ you are willing to devote to maintenance; etc. You'll find everything from "I never let the LBS do any maintenance because they are a bunch of ham-fisted twerps" to "I don't even know how to fix a flat".

In addition, there are passionate advocates on every side of the chain cleaning debate: remove and clean vs clean on bike vs just add lube and wipe.

If you have the tools, removing the cassette and cleaning it is easy. If not, using a rag to wipe off the excess goop is OK. How obsessive you are will dictate how much time you use doing this.

I doubt there are many who remove chainrings to clean, as they are pretty easy to clean on the bike.
 

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Dude....the best advice I can give is learn to do your own work. Get a book or take a class or just monkey around with it. Whatever works for you. There are some good wrenches out there...and a lot of inept ones. When you do your own work, you own the situation.

Give the bike the close eyeball every couple of hundred miles. Keep the chain, cogs, and rings clean and lubed and your parts will last longer. Check for frayed cables unless you enjoy riding in a 100 inch gear.

Build yourself some good 32 spoke 3X everyday wheels, and keep the fancy low-spoke wheels for the weekend.

Always carry a couple of spare tubes, patch kit, and tire boot. And a decent pump.

And good luck.
 

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1 out of 4 ain't bad

DieselDan said:
1) when the shifting isn't as crisp and precise.
2) when the rear tire "table tops", move the front tire to the rear and put a new tire on the front, OR when you have a sidewall puncture or a damaged cord.
3) 1/8" one-eights inch of slop
4) when the chain gets noisy, weekly, or after a ride in the rain
1) This is one of the simplest tweaks you can do yourself. It's so easy to learn that no cyclist should be taking their bike to a shop to have it done.

2) A tire "squaring off" is just about as imprecise a measure as you can get. As an example, Continental has wear indicators on some of their tires that don't bottom out until well after the tire is squared off. Many people run their tire until casing threads just start to show through, THEN put the front tire on the back and a new tire on the front.

3) 1/8" elongation in 24 links (12" original length) is a very outdated criteria. Since the advent of 9 speed, or maybe even 8 speed, the number is 1/16".

4) Agree.
 

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Whats a good degreaser for the chain/chainrings/cassette. I do the maintenace on my 225HP yamaha outboard so Im not totally inept. Just new to do it yourself bike. I trust my LBS but I dont want to take it in just to clean something. Any tips on basic cleaning of chain/chainrings/casette would be a good start. Does the chain have to come off to do it right? If I leave the cassete on, do I just patiently squirt degreaser on it and wipe (or toothbrush or what) it off a little bit at a time?
 

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1. Whenever it doesn't start shifting right.
2. Rotate every 2,000, when the cords/ply are showing
3. After it breaks or elongates more than 1/8" in 1" of chain link
4. Every 300 miles or so and clean it also or clean it no more than 500 miles
 

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bigmig19 said:
Whats a good degreaser for the chain/chainrings/cassette. I do the maintenace on my 225HP yamaha outboard so Im not totally inept. Just new to do it yourself bike. I trust my LBS but I dont want to take it in just to clean something. Any tips on basic cleaning of chain/chainrings/casette would be a good start. Does the chain have to come off to do it right? If I leave the cassete on, do I just patiently squirt degreaser on it and wipe (or toothbrush or what) it off a little bit at a time?


Degreaser: I use the citrus degreaser you get at the auto parts store -- cost me like $2 for big spray bottle. Note: This stuff isn't as benign as it seems. Be careful around painted surfaces with it.

Intermediate chain cleaning: I take a paper shop towel (the blue kind that you get on roll like paper towels) and squirt some T9 (or whatever lubricant you use) on towel and run the chain across it. It picks up the big hunks of gunk on the chain and usually restores normal shifting until I can get to cleaning the chain properly.

Chain cleaning: I use the Park Tool chain cleaning tool. I fill it with the citrus degreaser, run the chain through it a bunch of times, then dump out the gunk, refill it with Simple Green and water, then run the chain through this bath a bunch of times. Then I take the hose out and rinse the whole drive train off good. The dry it with compressed air, and re-lube the chain.

Deep cleaning: I take the cassette off, take it apart, and take a stiff brush and get ALL the gunk of EVERYTHING The chain goes through the process mentioned above first. The I lay it all out to dry good. While it is drying out, I attack the grunge on the jockey wheels in the derailleur and the front chain rings and front derailleur. By this time you have the hard parts of your bike clean, so I just clean up the rest of the bike while I have the stuff out. Removing the cassette looks complicated - it's not. You just need the right tools (chain whip, special "socket" that fits the lock ring), and a good ooomph to get the lock ring loose. Putting it back on the bike is easy, but be careful that you don't cross thread the lock ring threads. Also, take the cassette apart cog by cog. The order of the gears is pretty obvious, and the spline on the rear wheel has a keyway so the cogs only go on one way. But, the spacers inbetween the gears should be assembled back in the same place (and some are plastic and some are metal). Once I get everything washed up, I usually take a log zip tie and put the cassette together on it to preserve the order of the parts to leave out in the sun to dry (or hit it with some compressed air).Be certain to also clean up the spline good too before you remount the cassette. You'll know if the lock ring isn't tight enough by the creaking noises you'll get from the cassette under load.

Also, if you do this, once you get the wheel back on, take a moment to re-adjust/recenter your brake calipers.

I have found that a lot of things on a bike look really daunting, probably because the fasteners look funny and require special tools. I never knew the lock ring on the cassette had threads like a "normal" screw until I saw it taken off. Then I did it once and it was easy. Mystery solved. The next black art places to learn about are the bottom bracket, derailleur adjustment, and the inner sanctum of wheel truing.

Once you get down to it, bicycles are fairly simple machines. But, they are very sensitive about having everything "just so" from an adjustment point to work well. Take your chain - who'd of thought that a small layer of gunk would make shifting your bike so nasty? I mean, wouldn't the sharp points and cone-like construction of the gear pierce through any crud that was on your chain line? Guess not!

Like someone has said on this web site before, "we have nothing to lube but our chains."

The maintenance skills I think every cyclist should master are:

1) Change a tire and know when to change it (i..e, worn out, not roadside flat, that's pretty obvious)
2) Change out brake pads and know when brakes need adjusting and pad replacement
3) Clean the braking surface of your rims (get all that black brake material gunk off so your brakes work well).
4) Know when your wheels are "shot" from a braking surface standpoint - there is a little hole in the side of the wheel braking surface on most wheels - when it is gone, it's time to replace your wheels because the braking has lathed down the metal too thin
4) Clean your bike
5) Clean your drive line - including the derailleurs, jockey wheels, chain, and cassette (and know how to remove/replace the cassette)
6) Wrap your handlebars with tape.

I know that "adjust derailleurs" should be on this list. But everytime I try to do it I end up with a mal-adjusted DR and a frustrating number of hours spent getting to that point. So for now, I'll leave that one to the pros at the LBS.
 

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Outstanding! Ill try all of the above. I never thought of busting out my air compressor, it just collects dust. I can pretty much do everything but the drive train stuff. It kind of intimidates me because I know things have to go on and off just so. I also dont think im touching the BB. I bought one of those "spin doctor"(I think thats the name) things that you fill with fluid and "clamp" it over the chain and turn the crank....but I was way underwhelmed by that POC. I literally think it did nothing.
 

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bigmig19 said:
Outstanding! Ill try all of the above. I never thought of busting out my air compressor, it just collects dust. I can pretty much do everything but the drive train stuff. It kind of intimidates me because I know things have to go on and off just so. I also dont think im touching the BB. I bought one of those "spin doctor"(I think thats the name) things that you fill with fluid and "clamp" it over the chain and turn the crank....but I was way underwhelmed by that POC. I literally think it did nothing.
That "clamp" thing from Park Tool works great for me. The citrus degreaser makes the chain really shiny and cleans off all the gunk. The second "rinse" cycle helps to get all the remaining degreaser off (the citrus stuff is water soluble) and then a final rinse with the hose gets the rest off. OK, maybe not every last molecule, but enough so the lube doesn't get compromised when it gets put on after the cleaning.

If you are skittish about removing the cassette, go to your LBS and have them show you how to do it. It's actually pretty simple and something I think every cyclist should know how to do - in addition to a breaking and replacing the chain too! Kinda therapeutic for me. Being a "knowledge worker" I don't get a chance to do much mechanical type of stuff, and cleaning the cassette lets me complete something that has a tangible benefit (a nice shiny cassette!)

The other thing you can do to clean the cassette is to take a piece of the blue shop towel (the paper kind that comes on a roll, buy it at WalMart or auto parts store), and wrap a piece around a small putty knife (with a blade that is 4 to 6 inches long and about an inch or two wide). Spray the paper towel with some degreaser and put the long part in between the cogs, while spinning the pedals forward slowly. Kind of like floss. You may need to change the paper towel a couple of times as you are going down through the gears. Then rinse the whole thing off, dry it good, and re-lube the drive train (chain, cassette, etc.)

Nothing will get your cassette really clean unless you take it off and give it a bath. Also, (I think) nothing is more satisfying than jumping on your bike after cleaning all the road glop and gunk off the entire drive train. You'll be amazed at the smooth and precise shifting. You'll need your sunglasses too -- if you look at your clean cassette in the sunlight it might melt your eyeballs!

Be careful out there!

Keep pedaling!

ColoradVeloDude
 

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Velo dude - Very helpful, im gettin excited. One of the reasons I shyed away from DIY degreasing with the part still on the bike was I wondered if there was danger of said degreaser finding its way into something that should be greased, like say the BB. I like the citrus idea, pretty envirofriendly. Maybe ill try Park tools, that thing I bought (admittedly for 12 bucks) from Performance bites. If I can do a tune up on my outboard I should be able to figure this stuff out. Whats the favored lube for the drivetrain, my LBS has several brands? I have some Triflow from like 10 years ago.
 

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bigmig19 said:
Velo dude - Very helpful, im gettin excited. One of the reasons I shyed away from DIY degreasing with the part still on the bike was I wondered if there was danger of said degreaser finding its way into something that should be greased, like say the BB. I like the citrus idea, pretty envirofriendly. Maybe ill try Park tools, that thing I bought (admittedly for 12 bucks) from Performance bites. If I can do a tune up on my outboard I should be able to figure this stuff out. Whats the favored lube for the drivetrain, my LBS has several brands? I have some Triflow from like 10 years ago.

Calm down, this isn't THAT exciting! Well, then again, maybe it is! :)

I wouldn't worry about the degreaser getting into your BB, the degreaser doesn't build up on the chain enough to dribble. Plus you're gonna wash it all down with water, correct?

The subject of which chain lube to use can ignite religious wars. I use T9, I have heard that White Lightning and Pro-link are good ones too. I think Prolink is synthetic oil mixed with a little turpentine and supposed to be good. Heck, water makes a pretty good lubricant too under certain circumstances. You'll just have to go with the flow and find out what meets your mantra.

One thing to remember about using the Park Tool chain cleaner (you can pick one up at most LBSs or at REI), is to rinse the cleaner out once you are done. One of the parts is a foam wiper/sponge thing and that should be rinsed out thoroughly and every thing left to dry out good before you put it away.

I think you should dump the TRIFLOW that is 10 years old. Who knows what kind of breakdown in the special additives that are in that stuff has happened in the past 10 years. If you like TRIFLOW, go get some more fresh stuff. Or, talk with your LBS gear heads and ask them what they recommend. Also, take your rear wheel in to the LBS to get trued up and ask them to show you how to remove the cassette. Once you do it, it won't be scary anymore. There isn't really anything in there that you can damage if you treat it reasonably. Changing an alternator in a car is more complicated. Also, buy the special socket and chain whip from there too. I am certain the LBS guys will be happy to help you get the cassette off with your new tools. Probably even babysit you through it the first time.

Always remember that no matter how enviro-friendly the citrus degreaser is, it's not that benign. It is made to take the grease and gunk off metal parts. It won't do too big a number on your hands like some of the automotive solvents do, but it will prune up your hands pretty good if you spend a lot of time working with it -- I use latex gloves.

Keep pedaling!

ColoradoVeloDude
 
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