Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: My house, England
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Hmmm... Basically, as with anything mechanical, keep moving parts CLEAN and WELL LUBRICATED and you won't go too far wrong.
Get some dry oil ie Finishline dry or one of the new wax lubes. Apply one drip to all the pivot points you find on your mechs, brakelevers, changers and brakes to keep them well oiled but so they won't attract dirt.
Next, set your gears so that the mechs are on the biggest chainring and sprocket (do one at a time to avoid funny chain lines) and then release the changer so the gear cable goes slack as the mech gets stuck on the chain. You should now be able to release the black outer cables from their holders. By sliding them around, you should be able to get access to most of the 'inner' cables and lube them by putting a bit of oil between your thumb and forefinger and rubbing it along the wires. This will keep your shifting and braking working as well as it can do.
Last but not least, keep your chain clean and lubed. In good condition, a chain should measure exactly 12" every 12 links. If this measurement exceeds 12 1/16", chuck the chain and get a new one. A worn chain will prematurely wear your front rings and rear cassette out by only engaging a single tooth per revoltion.