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Wet Weather Maintenance Problems

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Wet Weather Maintenance Problems

Old 09-14-08, 07:01 AM
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SGRider
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Wet Weather Maintenance Problems

Hi there. Hoping some folks can help a newbie--I have been riding for about 6 months. I bought my first road bike since I was a teenager 30 years ago. I used to run a lot but too many miles and years led to too many leg injuries....thus something easier on the legs was required.

Have a Giant TCR C with DuraAce Rear, Ultegra front, 105 brakes, Cadence 39/53 raceface crankset and BB, unknown to me 12/25 casette, Ksyrium Equipe wheels with Michelin Pro 3 tires. I realize this is a nice bike for a newbie but don't flame me. I am a good negotiator and bought it and the kit for a song (for less than 40% of list price). I bought this from a LBS in California but brought it over to the tropics where I live most of the time. Here we get about 9 feet of rain a year and I do a lot of my rides in the rain. And when it is not raining the humidity is about 95%. The coldest it gets is 75 which is rare--the normal temperatures are in the 90s. I ride about 200 miles a week over 5-6 days. I ride 18MPH clock time on my pretty much daily 24-36 mile rides. Saturdays are 60 - 80 miles. Cruising speeds are 20-24MPH.

I seem to be having a lot of wet weather problems....not a surpise as I ride in the rain a lot. For example, Saturday's ride was 80 miles and half was in very heavy rain....what you would probably consider a downpour.

So, after a long intro, this is what I am wondering:

1. Are stainless steel or other rust resistant cables available? Or, is there a way of slowing down the rust process? I had to replace the rear 105 cable after only a month or so as it was rusted in its tube. I asked at the LBS here and they said no stainless but put a teflon treated cable in. Does this work? Any other suggestions or lubrication ideas?

2. I am having to clean the chain constantly--several times a week--as riding in the rain gets a lot of sand and grit in the chain. I usually use a degreaser when I do this and then relube the chain. But I don't know what to do on lubing the front and rear Derailleurs. Will this chain degreasing harm them? Are there lube points that I should lubricating? What kind of oil should be used? I tried to find this information on the Shimano website.

3. Any suggestions on chain lube that is longer lasting? A few hours of rain riding seems to eliminate all lubrication from my chain. I am using a wet weather lube I got from a LBS here. Even when I don't have to clean because of sand and grit, my chain seems to get dry quickly from the constant rain exposure. Any suggestions?

4. The bottom tubes on the rear triangle have an open end at the rear hub. They fill with water. Sometimes I forget to stand the bike on end and drain them. But, even when I do they are still wet inside. Any insight as to whether this will eventually harm the carbon?

5. I have shifting problems. Often the DurAce will stick. It will not do a shift on a single click and needs two. Then of course later under load the second shift will happen. I assume this is all lubrication related but have not been able to figure out how to fix. For some reason this seems more prevalent when I am on the lower sprocket.

6. Sometimes when on the lower sprocket the chain seems to be riding up on top of the teeth and just slidding.

7. The Race Face Cadence sprockets are horribly stained and nothing I do seems to clean them. Is this how they are?

8. Should I look at replacing the Michelin Pro 3 tires for something more suitable to rain? Any suggestions on what they would be. I do like these tires (not that I have much to compare them to though).

Other than this the bike rides like a dream.
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Old 09-14-08, 08:23 AM
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1) You can try filling the cable housings with a think lubricant (e.g. lithium grease), which would prevent rusting inside the housings and hopefully not get washed out too easily.
2) Derailers don't need lubing. Dirt can get in some places but just keep them moderately clean and you should be fine.
3) I doubt any lube would hold up in those circumstances. Carry a bottle of lube with you and lube the chain after every ride to keep it in the best working order.
4) As far as I know, a carbon frame does not react with water in any undesirable way.
5) Your derailers probably just need some adjusting. Unless they're caked with dirt, they should move relatively freely as they don't need lubrication. I have never seen a bike with perfectly adjusted derailers, though - there's always some combination where you'll get issues. With proper adjustment, you can make it so this range is on the extremes which you never use (low-low and high-high gear combinations).
6) An issue with derailer adjustment, again.
7) Unless you clean them every week, chainrings and cogs get dirt-stained in every climate. This has no bad effects, so take it as a fact of life. They should at least be an even dirt color
8) No. Tires are tires. The width is the only part that really matters. Rain makes no difference.
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Old 09-14-08, 08:36 AM
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Cables are available in stainless-steel - and I'd think that with such a nice bicycle, it would have those installed. But you never know what was laying about the shop that day. I always specify "round-wound multi-strand Teflon-coated" cables when I purchase from a store. Let's 'em know I want top-of-the-line. Buying off the internet, I read the descriptions and cross my fingers they ship the right thing. And greasing the cables and inside the housing, as best you can, is always good. I prefer a Teflon grease as it tends to be more resistant to washing away in water.

Living in the tropics means it's gonna be damp. But a bicycle should fair well if you pay attention to keeping it properly oiled and lubricated - and it sounds like you will. Things might need replacement more often, but that's what you get as the price-tag of living there. I suppose you could move to a desert, but...nah! LOL.

Happy trails.
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Old 09-14-08, 07:31 PM
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I too live in the tropics and my experience is that it does take a bit of extra work to keep my bike running well. But biking is important to me so I put in the effort to not have it turn into a bucket of rust etc.

1. Are stainless steel or other rust resistant cables available? Or, is there a way of slowing down the rust process? I had to replace the rear 105 cable after only a month or so as it was rusted in its tube. I asked at the LBS here and they said no stainless but put a teflon treated cable in. Does this work? Any other suggestions or lubrication ideas?

I would definitely go with SS cables. They are much better. I look at mine which have remained bright and shiney then at other that look like rust held together by thin wires. In the absence of being able to get SS keep them lubricated to slow oxidation.

2. I am having to clean the chain constantly--several times a week--as riding in the rain gets a lot of sand and grit in the chain. I usually use a degreaser when I do this and then relube the chain. But I don't know what to do on lubing the front and rear Derailleurs. Will this chain degreasing harm them? Are there lube points that I should lubricating? What kind of oil should be used? I tried to find this information on the Shimano website.

Since the chain is so key to being able to pedal your bike it becomes the focus of my regular maintenance. I clean it regularly, dry it, and re-lube it ... maybe not after every ride but after most because I also ride in the rain and mud. I am a firm believer in the SRAM Powerlinks which make it easy to remove the chain for thorough soaking and sloshing in solvent to remove as much gunk as possible. Without the easy removal it was much harder for me to get motivated to do much more than wiping it off (thereby forcing the gunk further into the chains inner parts) and lubeing it. I wouldn't go so far to say that with the Powerlink it now a 'delight' to clean my chain, but it's not all that bad and it gets done much more thoroughly and regularly.

3. Any suggestions on chain lube that is longer lasting? A few hours of rain riding seems to eliminate all lubrication from my chain. I am using a wet weather lube I got from a LBS here. Even when I don't have to clean because of sand and grit, my chain seems to get dry quickly from the constant rain exposure. Any suggestions?

Both the wet and grit will limit the life of whatever lube you use on your chain but some are more long lasting than others. I have no specific recommendations in that regard. I'm sure others will chime in on that. I'll summarize my use of a regular 'shortlasting' chain lube and the philosophy behind it. I know the chain requires probably more maintenance than most parts of the bike because it is so exposed and vulnerable. Therefore a 'shortlasting' lube reminds me (by the squeeking noise) to DO SOMETHING (cuz I like a quiet bike) and I am therefore not lulled into thinking I can let it go a long time 'since I used some super-duper longlasting lube'. Maybe not the best philosophy but as a result I have paid a lot more attention to cleaning and lubing my chain. And I like it when a fellow rider says "Wow your chain shines". So really it's not about chain maintenance but vanity.

4. The bottom tubes on the rear triangle have an open end at the rear hub. They fill with water. Sometimes I forget to stand the bike on end and drain them. But, even when I do they are still wet inside. Any insight as to whether this will eventually harm the carbon?

I agree with SOS on water not bothering carbon. If it were a steel frame I'd be concerned. The chainstay works hard at keeping your rear wheel attached securely.

5. I have shifting problems. Often the DurAce will stick. It will not do a shift on a single click and needs two. Then of course later under load the second shift will happen. I assume this is all lubrication related but have not been able to figure out how to fix. For some reason this seems more prevalent when I am on the lower sprocket.

I agree with part of what SOS said on the shifting issue. Likely need adjusting and do keep them clean. However I differ on the lubrication part. I believe any part that moves, screws, rusts, etc needs some lube. I squirt and blow out any and all gunk buildup in the dreailer mechanism and put a small drop only on each pivot hinge point in the derailer. If it has to move, it will move easier if lubricated and will rust less! And sure lubrication does attract dust and grime so the cleaning/lubricating process is just that - an ongoing process. Anyone who thinks you can do it only is just working up an excuse to buy that newer better bike. I've decided to keep mine going by keeping it clean and lubricated.

6. Sometimes when on the lower sprocket the chain seems to be riding up on top of the teeth and just slidding.

Try minor tweeks to the derailer cable tension adjustment. But smooth operation depends on shifter operation, low friction in the cables and derailer pivots as well as proper tension.

7. The Race Face Cadence sprockets are horribly stained and nothing I do seems to clean them. Is this how they are?

Mine shine. Of course they were new a year ago. But I also regularly clean them. I use liquid dish soap, warm water, a long stiff bristled brush and the edge of a rag see-sawed between each sproket. I'd probably tolerate some discoloration but not gunk buildup.

8. Should I look at replacing the Michelin Pro 3 tires for something more suitable to rain? Any suggestions on what they would be. I do like these tires (not that I have much to compare them to though).

My tire needs are different than yours so no advise here. If they don't go flat or have threads hanging out keep using them until you need to change or just decide to for some other reason.

Other than this the bike rides like a dream.

You don't really have to do much to keep it running that way but you do have to do some regular, basic care especially in the tropics.
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Old 09-14-08, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by SOS View Post
1) You can try filling the cable housings with a think lubricant (e.g. lithium grease), which would prevent rusting inside the housings and hopefully not get washed out too easily.
2) Derailers don't need lubing. Dirt can get in some places but just keep them moderately clean and you should be fine.
5) Your derailers probably just need some adjusting. Unless they're caked with dirt, they should move relatively freely as they don't need lubrication. I have never seen a bike with perfectly adjusted derailers, though - there's always some combination where you'll get issues. With proper adjustment, you can make it so this range is on the extremes which you never use (low-low and high-high gear combinations).
1. Bad idea
2. 100% wrong. Every single pivot point needs to be lubricated.
5. Let's just disregard the whole housing/cable contamination issue that is so relevant to modern indexed shifting and blame it solely on an adjustment issue. The whole reason you don't lube modern shift cable/housing is that it CAUSES it to stick.

If you ride your bike through a lot of crappy weather, it's going to need much more maintenance. There's no way around it. 4 posts of craptacular advice go bikeforums.

Last edited by operator; 09-14-08 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 09-15-08, 12:31 AM
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Operator, your negativity never ceases to amaze me....

But I have to agree with you on your response to a couple of the suggestions and the need to oil any pivot points such as found on any derrailleur.

SGRider, If you're in a tropical area with lots of rain and especially if it's within wind distance of an ocean then corrosion will be a major issue. The chain will be one of the more seriously hit items and if it's as wet as you describe two cleanings a week is not unreasonable during the really heavy rain seasons. Twice a week to every 5 days is about right for me in the worst of our winter rains or the chain starts to sound like a cement mixer.....

I agree with aftermarket stainless cables. Now this does not mean that the cables won't rust at all since even stainless CAN rust but generally the stronger steels are less rust resistant while those with other alloy makeups are more rust resistant. Unfortunetly the less rust resistant are often the stronger while the less rust resistant are usually the stronger.

Also try motorcycle chain lube on the chain. The more greasy aspect of most motorcycle chain lubes may well be more long lasting. But as with the oils used up to know I suggest you whie off all you can after a generous application. In this case be sure to wipe off any excess before it sets to the stiffer consistency. You only need enough on the surface to avoid rusting.
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Old 09-23-08, 06:05 PM
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Thanks all for your help. Was invaluable. And Panthers007, I hate to tell you this but my home in the US is in Las Vegas so I know abour riding in the dessert (hot and cold) as well as the tropics....I will take the tropics anytime.

I have resolved to just clean and lube the chain twice a week.....and after a very wet ride. Using some wet weather lube that seems to work well but riding a couple of hours in the rain does wash it out. Once I got the hang of it is not a big deal. Only takes minutes to clean the chain, put a drop on every link, and wipe off. I don't understand why folks spray the chain when it is so easy to put a drop on each link.

Also, the shifting problems all seem to be sticky cables. Went through and really lubed everything--including oil on the plastic cable guide on the BB. That is what seemed to really cure the rear shifting.

Cables do seem problematic. I was wrong and the current cables are SS....there is just too much humidity for them. The new teflon coated rear brake cable is already starting to stick again. I may just need to be replacing cables often. Am also just riding with the rear brakes open and then the sticky cable does not matter as much (in the closed position the brakes may not fully release after use and rub the rim). Not as good braking as there is a long pull but it is the fronts that are real important. I really just use the rear brakes to help in the rain.

Also learned in really taking the bike apart. It was a TCR-C that the LBS in California had built up and then sold to me quite cheap. Seems I have pretty much the full Shimano range--105 brakes, Ultregra brifters, Ultegra front, DA rear, Ultegra pedals, Ultegra Cassette, and Ultegra chain.

I have also had to ride through water that completly submerges the BB. Any thought as to if this will cause problems or should I take apart and clean?

Finally, noticed that the LBS mounted the cable guide to the bottom of the BB with a mild steel screw. Needless to say it is now horribly rusted. That one screw seems to be the only such non-rust resistant screw on the bike. Will have to see if I can get a SS screw to replace it.
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Old 09-23-08, 06:29 PM
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Try contacting jagwire about your special conditions http://www.jagwireusa.com/index.php/contactus They have a two year warranty on their products.
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Old 09-23-08, 07:54 PM
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You've got a lot more patience than I do if you're putting a drop on each link....

For myself I use a mixture of mineral spirits and a rather thick heavy grade of chainsaw bar oil for my chain lube. The mineral spirits drys away after a day or so but the MS helps carry the thicker oil deep into the chain quicker than it would do on its own. But I still do this with a small squirt bottle that sends out a single stream as I wind the chain quickly backwards past the nozzle. About three turns on each side ensures a good amoutn on the chain and then I wipe the excess off with a paper towel. Folding it as it collects a lot of oil to blot away most of it and leave the outside with only a light film.

Good thing you got a plastic frame. I'm not sure that even aluminium could tolerate what you're treating that po' bike to. You say it rusts anything non stainless, and even real stainless but it just takes longer. THAT IS HARSH! Sounds like a lot of the sea salt from the local ocean is around in the rain as well perhaps. If the water is partially salty from airborne mists or it is on the roads and gets kicked up then even aluminium would corrode quickly.

By the way, if your seat post is metal get a good film of grease on it pronto. Same with the steer tube all over it if it is metal as well.

And overall just resign yourself to replacing parts on a more frequent basis due to your conditions.
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Old 09-23-08, 08:44 PM
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Thanks again for the suggestions. I will have to try the jagwire....it looks interesting. My seat post is carbon in carbon so that is fine. My steering head post is aluminum in carbon though. But it uses blocks to adjust the bar height. I think I am ok there.....am I wrong?

And yes, there is a lot of salt in the air. I usually ride 30 - 40 miles a day during the week and 60-80 on saturdays. Half to 2/3rds of these rides are from within 5 -100 yards of the ocean. And of course, there is usually a breeze (or stiff wind even) coming off the ocean.
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Old 09-23-08, 09:09 PM
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try non-steel cables

http://www.powercordz.com/Products/

I have no experiencew with these, but they're made out of synthetic fibers, not steel, so NO RUST. Thes may hodl you over until electronic shifting becomes an option.
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Old 09-24-08, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by vredstein View Post
http://www.powercordz.com/Products/

I have no experiencew with these, but they're made out of synthetic fibers, not steel, so NO RUST. Thes may hodl you over until electronic shifting becomes an option.
Those look good. Any info on their abrasion resistance?
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Old 09-24-08, 10:11 AM
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I get in a vicious cycle, so to speak, through the rainy season, the more I lube, the grittier it gets, but I need to keep lubing. I guess I really need to optimize my post-lube wiping/cleaning.
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