When I got my BD bike in May of '09, I was pretty excited. I had started riding in March on a borrowed 54 cm '89 Trek 1200. The bike was light and fast, but it was pretty "bone jarring" ride on some of the rougher streets in town. Besides, it was a bit small, and it was not mine.
After much research and deliberation I ordered a BD Motobecane Immortal Pro, 56 cm. When it arrived I put it together, tuned it up, and took it out for a spin. We had some pretty good rain that AM, and the bike path along the canal was flooded in spots. Rather than turn around I just plowed through. I didn't realize it, but I paid the price for that decision for 2 years.
I've been very happy with the bike, and racked up about 13 k mi on it. It wasn't till I rode a friends bike that I realized "gee, his is smoother." For the longest time I just thought that it was his steel frame that made it smoother. That was until I FINALLY removed my bottom bracket. It seems that I have been "grinding coffee" since that first maiden ride. But it took 2 yrs for a squeak to develop. Meanwhile I have gone though 2 chains. New chains helped, but the crank was never "smooth."
I've put on several new cassettes, an 11-23 for flat So Fla, and an 11-28 for upstate FLA and NY. But despite a new chain and cassette, I started to have some shift problems up front, and I started to drop the chain off the front. One bike wrench told me I was "flexing" the frame too much, causing a chain mis alingment leading to the drops. I thought that was the problem and contemplated a new bike.
But then one day I was cleaning the bike. I cleaned and lubed the recently replaced chain as usual, and when I was spinning the chain to let the lub dry, I notice that the chain was "vibrating" on the top. I had just replaced the BB, and while it did make the ride a lot smoother, it was still not right. Standing and hard cranking was causing chain drop. After thinking about it for a while, I started to focus on the front ring. Close inspection revealed "Sharks teeth."
I could have spent $120 or so for new chain rings for the stock FSA compact crank. But I decided to spend a little more and get and new crank, which would require a new BB. I found a close out new Ultegra 6600 crank on line. Standard, not compact, but brand new. I jumped on it, and a new 6700 BB.
I installed it all when it arrived the next week. WOW! It is SO SMOOTH! And it shifts so nice and crisp! No more dropped chains, or hang ups on FD shifts.
I'm convinced that my old BB was rusted from the first ride. At first it was not too bad, but over time it got worse. Worn chains and chain rings complicated things, and made matters worse.
SO, the lessons learned are:
CLean and lube your bike regularly, esp after wet rides. Avoid puddles!
Check your chain for wear. I spent $9 for a park tool chain tester. A good investment which has already helped find others with worn chains. Replace immediately.
Replace your cassette every few chains. Check the front chain ring teeth for wear. There are a few (every 10 or so) that are Shark's teeth that help shifting. But most of the teeth should be flat on top with even slopes on both sides. When the start to wear due to chain stretch, they will "sharpen." It's a vicious circle where worn chains will ruin cassettes and chain rings, and wornd cassettes and/or chain rings will shorten chain life. And cause other problems.
Meanwhile, I'm really happy with my "NEW" bike!