Bicycle Mechanics - Standard Maintenance
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08-24-01, 03:05 PM
I am hoping that someone can fill me in on what the standard maintenance items are that I definately should take care of on my bike.
I have 'tuned' my bike meaning adjusted cables.
I clean my chain and re-grease.
I have had my bike for 2 years (Cannondale T900) and have ridden a thousand or so miles. The books say I should do total bottom bracket overhaul. Everything still seems to be working fine, no creaks or grinding noises. Is this necessary? What else should I do?
As a general rule you should do wheel bearings, headset and bottom bracket once a year.
that means, pull them out, and regrease them. If you have cartridge bearings, you don't need to do that. But keep spares, because those cartridge bearings go bad at the damnest times!
Re-greasing need depends on the amount of miles and the type of abuse you give your bike. Most people probably don't need to regrease every year.
More frequently than regreasing, though, is to check your brake shoes condition and check all your fasteners (nuts, bolts, screws mostly) to make sure that they are not getting loose.
Also, check your spokes occassionally to make sure you have not broken any and to make sure they are all properly tensioned.
Check your tires to see that they are not wearing out, getting bald spots, or suffering from damage.
08-25-01, 10:59 PM
Also, regularly look at the cables for signs of fraying. Replace them if they are frayed. I tend to accidentally knock off cinch caps when I am adjusting cables, so I also keep a bunch of spare caps on hand. Keeping caps in place help prevents having to replace cables prematurely.
In addition to checking the brake shoe condition, make sure that the brakes shoes are only contacting the rim and not the tire. Otherwise, the sidewall will wear out much faster than it should.
08-26-01, 06:36 PM
Get a book on bicycle repair and maintenance. I have several, but my favorite is the "Bicycling Magazine Complete Guide to Bicycle Maintenance and Repair". Good step by step instructions and photos. There is a guide on maintenance. Others have their own favorites.
08-27-01, 08:59 AM
Thanks for all the info. I am now working on getting a few of the most necessary tools to maintain my bike. I do have a book which is a bit confusing, and will probably end up buying another reference book that is a bit more clear.
Seems like there are a lot of web resources out there too, but nothing beats a book. I don't envision getting a an E-book on bicycle maintenance any time soon. What a hassle!
Check out your local library for books on bicycle maintanance. They should have a least a couple.
As for tools, you really shouldn't need so many. If you plan to stick with your present bike, buy tools that you need specifically for your bike.
Get a third hand tool for brake work. Get a spoke wrench. a pair of wheel hub bearing cone wrenches may be handy. You will want allen tools that fit your bike's bolts. The rest would be tools to access your bottom bracket, but that can get a little more pricey because the tools are specific and you need a couple of them.
$50.00 should get you enough tools to do all but the most elaborate maintance and repair. If you have to ask what kind of tools and books to get, then you probably want to stay away from those kind of repairs anyway.
08-27-01, 01:34 PM
One thing the books often don't warn you about is the problems that can be caused by your own repair efforts. Some mistakes you make are minor. For example, if put your derailleur cable on too lose, your deraillerur may not work right, but you can go back and fix it. On the other hand, these sort of mistakes can be costly:
1. Setting the rear derailleur so that it throws the chain into the rear wheel.
2. Installing the bottom bracket improperly.
3. Installing the headset improperly.
08-29-01, 06:01 AM
Noticed you were from portland. I lived up on Mt. Hood for 3 years around the Zig Zag area. *S*
I know I will get critized for this but leave the adjustments like berings etc to a good full time bike mech. I clean my bike lube my chain etc but leave the other stuff to the pros. I trade alot with my LBS and so am rarely charged for labor just parts. Too many people damage their bikes trying to save a couple of bucks.
Ride Safe.....Dudley *S*
If you use high-quality grease, you can probably go two years between BB overhauls, thereby reducing removal/replacement wear and tear on the cranks themselves. Better yet, convert to a modern sealed cartridge BB, which will probably pay for itself within a few years.
08-29-01, 10:03 AM
Thanks for the input Dudley.
Being a novice mechanic, I think that I can do the cleaning and derailleur adjustments. I have changed brake pads and that stuff too. As far as the wheel bearings and bottom bracket stuff, I am afraid I will open up parts on the bike and then have no clue about what to do next. I will be without wheels and then have to DRIVE to my LBS with my head hung in shame lugging my bike and its guts to their counter where they will look down their noses and guffaw at my inadequacies as a bike mechanic.
So, I might just stick to the professionals doing the work.
08-29-01, 10:09 AM
Dudley has a good point, to a point (sorry, couldn't resist). To elaborate on Dudley's message, improperly adjusted bearings can ruin expensive parts - hubs, headset even the frame in extreme cases. They are not to be taken lightly.
Don't jump into bearings unless you feel CERTAIN you understand what is involved both as to the specifics of the job at hand and appropriate use of wrenches. I read, re-read, and re-re-read at least 5 different descriptions of how to do hub bearings and felt like I had enough understanding of bearings in general, familiarity with using wrenches and the principles of lock nuts to give it a go. However, I did OJT fixing up a $15 Salvation Army Schwinn and felt certain I was doing it right before I tried it on a good bike. Pulling them apart, cleaning, regreasing, and reassembling are not that hard. The critical thing is proper adjustment - not too tight not too loose.
Only time will tell and luckily none of my bikes are expensive enough to present a major financial risk. On the other hand by doing it myself, I will do it more often.
I highly recommend a cheap old 10-speed for a learning laboratory.
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