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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 04-13-12, 07:11 AM   #1
mrfizzed
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Maintenance questions

Hey folks...I ma hoping you can help me out with some general maintenance questions. I am new to road cycling and have been doing it for about two years, increasing my miles on a yearly basis. That being said, I do not know much about maintenance and am hoping you guys can help me out with some timetables. I regularly clean my bike myself and clean and lube my chain properly with a chain cleaner and was lube etc. My questions are things like, well for example, how often (mileage i guess) should I be doing other maintenance? Does my bb need anything done to it? Do I need to have my bike rebuilt every so often (taken apart and re lubed etc)? How often? I am sure there are variables such as geography (location of rides, weather conditions etc) but I would like to general input. Any suggestions or things you can help me with?
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Old 04-13-12, 08:03 AM   #2
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In my book, there's two maintenance intervals, as needed and annual.

As needed:
chain - when it's spraying oil, wipe it off, when it squeaks measure it (12 links over 12 1/16"? replace) and relube
brakes - when pads get worn too much, replace
tires - when you can see through the tread, replace (road bike and tire), or fix when they flat
Brooks saddle - Proofide when needed, tension when required
Whole bike: wash when it gets so filthy I can't stand it anymore

Annual: everything else
Cables and housings - replace annually or every two years, depending on mileage
Seatpost - move it so it doesn't freeze up (electrical tape marks position)
Stem (threaded) - same as seatpost
Hubs - repack bearings

Since I run cheap bottom brackets, no real maintenance is possible; replace when they're shot.
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Old 04-13-12, 08:11 AM   #3
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I recommend you get a couple of bike maintenance books: "Bicycling Magazine's Complete Guide To Bicycle Maintenance and Repair" and Lennard Zinn's "Zinn and The Art of Road (or MTB) Bike Maintenance". Either or both of these will show you the proper way to maintain and/or repair your bike. One or both may be available at you local library too.

Park Tool's Web site has a ton of tutorials on various aspects of componernte repair, installation and maintenance and is free.

These sources should answer your questions and many you haven't even thought to ask.
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Old 04-13-12, 10:01 AM   #4
mrfizzed
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thanks guys...my local bike shop has some packages such as (let me know if they make sense and how often they should be done please)

Safety Tune: $55

Adjust front & rear brake
Adjust front & rear derailleur
Inspect & adjust headset, bottom bracket, and hubs
Inspect and lubricate the chain
Inspect and inflate tires to recommended pressure
Comprehensive Tune-up : $75

Adjust front & rear brake
Adjust front & rear derailleur
Inspect & adjust the headset, bottom bracket, and hubs
Inspect and lubricate the chain
Inspect and inflate tires to recommended pressure
Tension spoke and true wheels
Clean and polish the entire bike
Tune Up Plus: $125

Comprehensive Tune up
Remove, parts bath soak, scrub, and lubricate entire drive train (chain, chain rings, cassette, derailleurs)
Tension spokes and true wheels
Clean and DETAIL frame
PRO Tune: $250

Our most thorough service package. We will completely strip your bike down to the frame, polish and lubricate every part, and reassemble it into pristine condition.

Detailf frame and all components
Remove, re-install, and lubricate headset and bottom bracket
Replace and install new brake and derailleur cables
Bleed hydraulic brake lines on mountain bikes
New handlebar tape or grips included
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Old 04-13-12, 10:07 AM   #5
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Those prices seem fair if you completely distrust your machanical ability but for much less than that you can learn to do the basics, acquire the basic tools and be your own mechanic for all but the most involved jobs. If nothing else that knowledge will let you fix problems on the road when you can't get to a shop.
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Old 04-13-12, 12:16 PM   #6
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Even at $125 the bearings are still not getting lubed, which does need to be done periodically (I do it once a year.) But if you have cartridge bearings there is no maintenance on those. They just get replaced when they're worn out.

So you have a choice, either pay the shop prices or do the work yourself. Personally I could not stomach $250 for something I can now do for a few dollars in grease and chemicals (although there is a lot of labor involved, and the initial cost of tools) but likewise I don't have the tools or space to do major repairs to my car, so I take it to a shop for that.
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Old 04-13-12, 12:46 PM   #7
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I've never understood paying a bike mechanic at the LBS full retail to wash your bike. Would you pay an auto mechanic at the car dealership to wash your car? Bike shops around here legitimately charge about $65 an hour for their mechanics. They have overhead, taxes, need to make a profit, etc. I guess if you are making jumbo bucks, then paying a mechanic $65 an hour to clean your bike could make sense.
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Old 04-13-12, 02:08 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
I've never understood paying a bike mechanic at the LBS full retail to wash your bike. Would you pay an auto mechanic at the car dealership to wash your car? Bike shops around here legitimately charge about $65 an hour for their mechanics. They have overhead, taxes, need to make a profit, etc. I guess if you are making jumbo bucks, then paying a mechanic $65 an hour to clean your bike could make sense.
Some folks would just rather pay for the convenience of having someone else do it. And some folks (apartment dwellers, etc) may not have easily-available facilities for many maintenance tasks, including washing.

Just like some homeowners do their own gardening, and some hire it out.

And as Clint Eastwood would say, "a good <person> has to know their limitations"...
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Old 04-13-12, 09:25 PM   #9
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Good idea to do a quick inspection of bike every time you ride it. Check air pressure. Make sure brakes work right. If dirty clean frame. Check chain if dirty clean and re oil. Simple things keep the bike going for a long time. Regrease wheel bearings and bottom bracket yearly. Put oil down the cable housings yearly. Adjust derailers as needed. Check condition of tire and replace as neccesary. Most is common sense.
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Old 04-13-12, 10:23 PM   #10
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Most is common sense.
You would think so, but 99% of used bikes I buy need a complete overhaul (new cables and all the bearings re-greased at minimum.)
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Old 04-14-12, 07:28 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by mrfizzed View Post
Hey folks...I ma hoping you can help me out with some general maintenance questions. I am new to road cycling and have been doing it for about two years, increasing my miles on a yearly basis. That being said, I do not know much about maintenance and am hoping you guys can help me out with some timetables. I regularly clean my bike myself and clean and lube my chain properly with a chain cleaner and was lube etc.

My questions are things like, well for example, how often (mileage i guess) should I be doing other maintenance?
As needed apart from

- periodically measuring the chain for wear with a ruler so you discover wear when it's an inexpensive chain replacement instead of chain + cogs + rings.
- moving and greasing quill stems + seat posts every few years so they don't freeeze
- replacing brake cables. It'd probably be bad if they broke. I replace right shift cables when they break a strand which shows up as slower shifts to smaller cogs and brake cables + left shift cables every few times. Housings last a _long_ time.

Things need lubrication and adjustment or replacement a lot more often someplace wet like Seattle, WA (wet road grit eats break pads and wears away brake surfaces) than in an alpine dessert like Boulder, CO.

Quote:
Do I need to have my bike rebuilt every so often (taken apart and re lubed etc)?
No.

Some of the vendors have service intervals specified (IIRC late model Campagnolo Record hubs are supposed to be greased and adjusted every 3000-6000 miles and taken apart for cleaning every 6000-12000) but that sort of thing isn't out of line with the time it takes for cup and cone bearings to develop noticeable play from their last adjustment.
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Old 04-14-12, 07:36 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by mrfizzed View Post
thanks guys...my local bike shop has some packages such as (let me know if they make sense and how often they should be done please)

Safety Tune: $55

Adjust front & rear brake
They rarely need it (every few years) in dry weather. When the lever gets noticeably closer to the handlebar adjust them. When the pads have worn to the limit mark replace them.

Quote:
Adjust front & rear derailleur
They don't go out of adjustment unless you bend them or undo the cable clamp bolt to replace it.

Quote:
Inspect & adjust headset, bottom bracket, and hubs
I don't have any slop in the headset installed 16 years ago. Bottom brackets these days are sealed units you don't adjust or lubricate. Cup and cone hubs go out of adjustment and need lubrication - I'd guess I deal with my rear in less than 3000 miles and front every other time.

Quote:
Inspect and lubricate the chain
In wet weather you might get a week or two before it's not silent and needs attention. Otherwise you might get a few months. Measure it whel you lubricate.

Quote:
Inspect and inflate tires to recommended pressure
One week with normal thickness tubes. Less with latex tubes. Not worth $55 x 52 weeks a year which is over $2500.


Quote:
Tension spoke and true wheels
Properly built wheels don't need any attention until you bend the rim on an obstacle or wear out the brake track. I got 12-13 years out of my previous front wheel build.
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