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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 06-25-10, 10:32 PM   #1
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new bike - regular maintenance tips appreciated


i just bought a new scattante road/fitness bike from performance and am interested in tips/advice
on how to keep it running well. if i ride in the rain, i'll wipe the bike down afterwards, i keep the
tires inflated well and check the brakes etc...

anything else i should be doing? any basic bike maintenance books to recommend?

i bought some pedro's wax for the chain, but i am very interested to know what kind of lubes,
cleaners etc you guys use and how often.

each week i try to ride about 50-100 miles.

thanks from the newbie,
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Old 06-25-10, 11:01 PM   #2
Jeff Wills
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Read stickeys at the top of the forum first.
Then commit the entirety of Sheldon Brown's website to memory:
Then study everything in the Park Tools site:
Then come back with any questions.
Jeff Wills

Comcast nuked my web page. It will return soon..
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Old 06-26-10, 03:56 AM   #3
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Hey there. Jeff has listed the best sites for online reference and instruction for sure. I've spent hours reading those to learn how to work on specific things.

I was just going to add to keep old t-shirts in the garage for chain rags . For chain lube everyone has a different preference out there. I use either Tri-Flo or a home do-it-yourself mixture of 30:70 chainsaw bar oilaint thinner (mineral spirits).

To maintain your brakes, basically just make sure they retract from the rim about equal distance -- if not, I like to just grab the entire brake and twist it until it is roughly centered. The above sites can tell you how to adjust brake position too.

Let's see.....learn to fix a flat (easy). When you remove and reinstall wheels, sometimes you'll fit it in there crooked so it'll look like your brakes are not centered, but it's actually because the wheel isn't in there right. Careful of that.

If you're inclined, learn to replace cables and housing for your shifters and brakes -- you'll save a lot of $ by not having to have the shop do it, and it's not too difficult once you learn.

Welcome to the forum! BTW - there are great people on here and also real idiots. When you run into those just use the ignore function. It comes with the territory of a forum this large.

Last edited by TurbineBlade; 06-26-10 at 04:00 AM.
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Old 06-26-10, 04:08 AM   #4
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Keep it clean. Store it indoors. Lube before you leave.

I wash my road bike down with a little car shampoo and water. Then I clean the frame with spray 'wax' furniture polish - that Mr Sheen stuff, then put the bike away. Before I go out the next time I lube it, outside. Your choice of 1000 chain lubes.

Or, none of course. If it's a new road bike, you may not need to lube the chain for the first 100 miles or so. The stuff the chain people put on is pretty good.

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Old 06-26-10, 04:11 AM   #5
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For grease, I use Lubrimatic Marine Wheel Bearing grease. I buy the large 14 oz. canister for an automotive grease gun ($2.50 at Lowes), and pack it into this little handheld dispenser from Harbor Freight ($5). Very economical. Good corrosion resistance. May be thicker and tackier than the synthetic SuperLube the tutorial guy uses. But, I couldn't find SuperLube anywhere locally. A 16 oz can from Amazon was about $20.
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Old 06-26-10, 05:27 AM   #6
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The new cchain lube is good for about 1000 miles. After that remove the chain, clean it, put it back on, and lube it. I use a mix of 4 parts unscented mineral spirits to 1 part chain saw bar oil.
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Old 06-26-10, 08:10 PM   #7
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Keeping tires properly inflated on a regular basis will do tons for you. If you're riding in wet/rainy areas a lot, might want to consider getting an oil-based lube; wax lube is great for dry and dusty environments. Don't over-lube your chain. The various articles mentioned by others will give you an understanding of what to do, but basically, lube the chain enough so it doesn't wear too quickly, but not so much it attracts too much dirt and road grit.

Keep track of your miles in general and be aware of when it's time to replace bearings. You can learn to do it yourself, or have it done at an LBS, but just keep it in your mind that you should be doing that when necessary. (Part of this is actually learning where all the bearings are on your bike. Here's the list, in order of quickest to wear out--the hub of each wheel; the bottom bracket; the headset and fork crown; pedals.)

As far as brakes and wheels go, I'll only add to the above post that you should keep the rims of your wheels clean. If you get gunk or pad buildup on them, clean them with rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits.

Washing the bike at least once per season really helps, too. Wax it with car wax afterwards.

As someone else mentioned, store it indoors whenever possible.

Finally, if you hit any major potholes or bumps when riding, make sure to check if your wheels have been damaged or knocked out of true. Keeping your tires pumped will minimize this possibility, but if it happens, it's important to get the damage assessed sooner rather than later.

Remember that the parts of the bicycle are all working together, and if one part gets jolted, damaged or compromised, it could affect other parts. This is why, even if your bike rides fine after a crash or a bump, you should check it all over for any unnoticed problems.

As with all things in life, frequent assiduous but minor maintenance will save you time, money and headaches that inevitably result from basic neglect.
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Old 06-27-10, 04:31 AM   #8
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- Inflate your tires before EVERY ride.
- Lube your chain every 100-200 miles. Wipe it down with a rag after applying the lube. If it starts to squeak, you waited way too long.
- Don't use WD-40 as a lubricant, though it does work great as a solvent to clean your chainrings and cassette. (I use De-Solv-It citrus cleaner for this)
- When your bike gets dirty, wipe it down or wash it. I use either 409 (wipe down) or Dawn dish detergent (wash) on the frame and wheels.
- Don't use Simple Green - it can damage many of the parts on your bike if you don't wash it off completely.
- Learn how to adjust your shift and brake cables. If you have a bike rack for your car, you can use that to hold your bike while you run it through the gears (in lieu of a repair stand).
- Get a multitool for adjusting cables and derailleurs -- one with just allen wrenches and a screwdriver is sufficient.
- Learn how to fix a flat(!) and carry a spare tube, tire levers, and a pump and/or CO2 inflator with you when you ride.
- Ride lots!
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