Maintenance for beginners



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J-P.S

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As a newbie to urc, and the new owner of my first bicycle to cost more than £80 (a Giant GSR
Trekking hybrid for just shy of £200), I thought I'd ask what people here consider to be the minimum
amount of DIY maintenance I could or should indulge in. Now I have a bike worth looking after, I
ought to start looking after it.

What can I do myself, and what should I (as a non-mechanic) leave to a six-monthly service at a
decent bike shop? As a guide to my `expertise,' I'm more or less at home with e.g. minor adjustments
to the wheels, and I've taken apart a back hub, but I don't know the individual bits of, say, the
newer brake or derailleur systems to be certain that I can poke about inside them without them dying
on me at an inopportune moment.

Also, I keep coming across broken links to a group FAQ or `proto-FAQ'. Is there one sitting
somewhere that I am just skirting around with Google?

Henry Braun told me not to mention helmets here, so I won't.

J-P
--
"People aren't very bright, you know. They say they want freedom, but when they get the chance, they
pass up Nietzsche and choose ******, because he would march into a room to speak and music and
lights would come on at strategic moments. It was rather like a rock'n'roll concert."
 
j-p.s <[email protected]> wrote:

[snip]
> Also, I keep coming across broken links to a group FAQ or `proto-FAQ'. Is there one sitting
> somewhere that I am just skirting around with Google?
Search engines like Google have made a great many FAQs obsolete, IMO - you just have to know how
to drive the search engine properly. I used to maintain the FAQ, but no longer have a copy - it'd
be way out of date now anyway.

Simon
--
Simon Ward, Accent Optical Technologies (UK) Ltd., York, YO31 8SD, UK "You'd never guess the things
that I do, I've had the Devil round for tea ..."
- "60 Miles an Hour", New Order
 
j-p.s <[email protected]> wrote:
>As a newbie to urc, and the new owner of my first bicycle to cost more than L80 (a Giant GSR
>Trekking hybrid for just shy of L200), I thought I'd ask what people here consider to be the
>minimum amount of DIY maintenance I could or should indulge in.

Mend your own punctures; check your own chain length; adjust and check your own brakes; lubricate
bits as need it; understand how to adjust indexed derailleur systems.

[I do rather more, but you did ask for a minimum.]

>Also, I keep coming across broken links to a group FAQ or `proto-FAQ'. Is there one sitting
>somewhere that I am just skirting around with Google?

Try <http://www.sheldonbrown.com/> and the r.b.t. FAQ at <http://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/>.
--
David Damerell <[email protected]> flcl?
 
"j-p.s" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> As a newbie to urc, and the new owner of my first bicycle to cost more than £80 (a Giant GSR
> Trekking hybrid for just shy of £200), I thought I'd ask what people here consider to be the
> minimum amount of DIY maintenance I could or should indulge in. Now I have a bike worth looking
> after, I ought to start looking after it.
>
> What can I do myself, and what should I (as a non-mechanic) leave to a six-monthly service at a
> decent bike shop? As a guide to my `expertise,' I'm more or less at home with e.g. minor
> adjustments to the wheels, and I've taken apart a back hub, but I don't know the individual bits
> of, say, the newer brake or derailleur systems to be certain that I can poke about inside them
> without them dying on me at an inopportune moment.
>
> Also, I keep coming across broken links to a group FAQ or `proto-FAQ'. Is there one sitting
> somewhere that I am just skirting around with Google?
>
> Henry Braun told me not to mention helmets here, so I won't.

The simple answer is as much or as little as you can or feel able to do. Nothing much on a
bike is "rocket science", pretty much everything can be done at home with simple tools and a
logical approach.

But not everyone wants to DIY all of the time.

As a minimum you need to know enough to get home. That could mean carrying the mobile and the number
of a couple of taxi firms with you but is more likely to include puncture repairs and not much else.

Probably the most important maintenance regime is to clean & lubricate the bike -- especially the
transmission -- regularly and to notice when things like brake blocks etc. need attention before
they let you down.

T
 
j-p.s wrote:
> As a newbie to urc, and the new owner of my first bicycle to cost more than £80 (a Giant GSR
> Trekking hybrid for just shy of £200), I thought I'd ask what people here consider to be the
> minimum amount of DIY maintenance I could or should indulge in. Now I have a bike worth looking
> after, I ought to start looking after it.
>
> What can I do myself, and what should I (as a non-mechanic) leave to a six-monthly service at a
> decent bike shop?

You could soon be doing virtually everything yourself. Modern bikes are getting easier and easier to
work on. A set of allen keys goes a long way! For the time being, just keeping it reasonably clean &
lubricated, and checking everything is functioning ok is all you'll probably need to do. If gears &
brakes aren't perfect, try twiddlinng the cable adjusters first.

Keep an eye on chain wear (see Sheldon's site) and replace when it gets too worn. You'll need a
chain tool for that if chain doesn't have a special link.

> As a guide to my `expertise,' I'm more or less at home with e.g. minor adjustments to the wheels,
> and I've taken apart a back hub,

Hubs: Cartridge bearing types are maintenance free. Normal bearing types will need the occasional
overhaul (how often depends on mileage and weather conditions). You could probably DIY.

> but I don't know the individual bits of, say, the newer brake or derailleur systems to be certain
> that I can poke about inside them without them dying on me at an inopportune moment.

You won't have to take them apart, or you'll soon get the hang of them if you ever do.

Sorry for not attempting to write a totally comprehensive answer. That would be a whole book!
Basically, don't worry about it in advance. Just enjoy bike, keep it in good nick and try and solve
any problems if/when they arrise. Don't try to learn it all now.

The following sites may be interesting though:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/

http://www.parktool.com/repair_help/FAQindex.shtml - This one does seem to be aimed at the pro
mechanic, but take from it what you need, read between the lines, and of course you don't have to
use Park brand tools (or even any /specialist/ tools for many jobs).

http://www.chainreaction.com/ - see the index at the bottom.

~PB
 
On Thu, 13 Feb 2003 16:55:07 -0000, Pete Biggs scrawled: ) For the time being, just keeping it
reasonably clean & lubricated, and ) checking everything is functioning ok is all you'll probably
need to do. ) If gears & brakes aren't perfect, try twiddlinng the cable adjusters ) first.

This is mostly what the bloke in the shop told me to do. If in doubt, bring it back within the first
year for free labour. And they offered to retune the whole thing in a month's time, to take up the
new-bike slack in the cables, spokes and drive train.

) Keep an eye on chain wear (see Sheldon's site) and replace when it gets ) too worn. You'll need a
chain tool for that if chain doesn't have a ) special link.

I finally tracked down that site again a few days ago, having spent a long time looking for someone
called Shelby. I will look more closely at the chain section, as I've had chains jump on me before.
1000km is a weird unit of "time between replacements." I think that translates to four months of
commuting from north Oxford into the centre and back twice a day, but I can't be sure.

Ta for the advice,

J-P
 
j-p.s <[email protected]> wrote:
>time looking for someone called Shelby. I will look more closely at the chain section, as I've had
>chains jump on me before. 1000km is a weird unit of "time between replacements."

The correct unit is 1/16 of an inch, though.
--
David Damerell <[email protected]> flcl?
 
On Thu, 13 Feb 2003 17:05:27 +0000 (UTC), "j-p.s" <[email protected]> wrote:

>1000km is a weird unit of "time between replacements.

Excellent value for your bike shop, less so for you. Offroad chains can be knackered in no time but
I count on 4,000 miles or more from mine.

Guy
===
** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
dynamic DNS permitting)
NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
work. Apologies.
 
"j-p.s" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...

> As a newbie to urc, and the new owner of my first bicycle to cost more than £80 (a Giant GSR
> Trekking hybrid for just shy of £200), I thought I'd ask what people here consider to be the
> minimum amount of DIY maintenance I could or should indulge in. Now I have a bike worth looking
> after, I ought to start looking after it.
>
> What can I do myself, and what should I (as a non-mechanic) leave to a six-monthly service at a
> decent bike shop?

DIY:

-keep tyres well inflated (get a track-pump, use weekly) -look after the chain (remove, clean, lube
monthly) [1] -ensure exposed inner cables are lightly greased (to avoid rust) -as brake blocks wear,
use the cable-adjusters to reduce the gap between them and the rims -wash rims and brake blocks when
muddy (to reduce rim wear)

[1] Get a chain tool, learn how to remove the chain. Clean in pot of paraffin, soak it in tin of
chainsaw oil (DIY stores), hang to drip dry, then refit. Do this regularly, and your chain and
gears will last for ages.

David Green cambridge
 
David Green wrote:

> -ensure exposed inner cables are lightly greased (to avoid rust)

A lot of cables are stainless steel now, so won't rust.

> soak [chain] in tin of chainsaw oil (DIY stores), hang to drip dry, then refit.

I might give that a go. I'm getting sick of wasting money on fancy lubes (and 3-in-One and light
oils are not good; spray grease is better but still not great).

Any other basic thick oil recommendations - pref. something which can be applied straight out of
a can or bottle? Not being a motorist or tree surgeon, I'm not exactly au fait with all the
various oils.

cheers ~PB
 
On Thu, 13 Feb 2003 21:32:09 +0000, Just zis Guy, you know? scrawled: ) >1000km is a weird ) >unit
of "time between replacements. ) ) Excellent value for your bike shop, less so for you.

It wasn't the bike shop that said that; I thought it was in the rec.bicycles FAQ but I can't find it
now. I think the principle was that you buy two chains and actually swap them every 1000km, rather
than getting a new one every 1000km.

J-P
--
It is tempting to write this way, as it is clever-seeming and would invite comparison to established
"wacky" writers like Joseph Heller, Douglas Adams, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
 
j-p.s wrote:
> On Thu, 13 Feb 2003 21:32:09 +0000, Just zis Guy, you know? scrawled: ) >1000km is a weird ) >unit
> of "time between replacements. ) ) Excellent value for your bike shop, less so for you.
>
> It wasn't the bike shop that said that; I thought it was in the rec.bicycles FAQ but I can't find
> it now. I think the principle was that you buy two chains and actually swap them every 1000km,
> rather than getting a new one every 1000km.

That's a bit more like it, but still not really necessary IMO. I know plenty of people do this, it's
maybe worth doing if you use oil-based lube, but since I started using wax lubes I've not needed to
clean the chains and they've not been wearing out any faster either.

--
Guy
===
I wonder if you wouldn't mind piecing out our imperfections with your thoughts; and while you're
about it perhaps you could think when we talk of bicycles, that you see them printing their proud
wheels i' the receiving earth; thanks awfully.

http://www.highwaycode.gov.uk/09.shtml#103 http://www.highwaycode.gov.uk/09.shtml#104
 
David Green wrote:
> DIY:
>
> -look after the chain (remove, clean, lube monthly) [1]
> [1] Get a chain tool, learn how to remove the chain. Clean in pot of paraffin, soak it in tin of
> chainsaw oil (DIY stores), hang to drip dry, then refit. Do this regularly, and your chain
> and gears will last for ages.

I've had good results the times I've taken my chain off and put it in melted paraffin wax, then put
it back on. Kept it shiny but still smooth running for a good month or so. I have to confess,
though, that I CBA doing that too often.

A
 
"Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...

> > soak [chain] in tin of chainsaw oil (DIY stores), hang to drip dry, then refit.
>
> I might give that a go. I'm getting sick of wasting money on fancy lubes (and 3-in-One and light
> oils are not good; spray grease is better but still not great).

Chainsaw oil is the ideal thing because it lubricates but resists 'flinging' off as the chain passes
through the rear mech. This means your rear wheel is not sprayed with oil. I believe that B&Q sell a
300ml bottle for a few quid.

Because I swear by the remove-chain-and-clean approach, rather than the in-situ lube approach, I
empty the chainsaw oil into a (large) used baked-beans tin into which I can submerge my cleaned
chain. The can also catches the drips after I fish the chain out again.

> Any other basic thick oil recommendations - pref. something which can be applied straight out of
> a can or bottle? Not being a motorist or tree surgeon, I'm not exactly au fait with all the
> various oils.

Standard motor oil 20W/50 from halfords works OK as a lube, is cheaper but tends to fling off.

The best and cheapest in-situ chain lube I have used is a motorcycle chain lube called LJ-1. It goes
on thin like water, then thickens after a few minutes. Because it's initially thin, it penetrates
inside the chain links really well. It also resists fling! Look in your local motorcycle dealers.

Avoid the expensive Finishline chain lube in the LBS: nearly £7 a can, full of Teflon, most of which
drips off onto the ground. It never stops dripping either...

David Green Cambridge.
 
Ambrose Nankivell wrote:
> David Green wrote:

>> -look after the chain (remove, clean, lube monthly) [1]
>> [1] Get a chain tool, learn how to remove the chain. Clean in pot of paraffin, soak it in tin of
>> chainsaw oil (DIY stores), hang to drip dry, then refit. Do this regularly, and your chain
>> and gears will last for ages.
>
> I've had good results the times I've taken my chain off and put it in melted paraffin wax, then
> put it back on. Kept it shiny but still smooth running for a good month or so. I have to confess,
> though, that I CBA doing that too often.

So top up with White Lightning Raceday and no need to remove the chain :)

--
Guy
===
I wonder if you wouldn't mind piecing out our imperfections with your thoughts; and while you're
about it perhaps you could think when we talk of bicycles, that you see them printing their proud
wheels i' the receiving earth; thanks awfully.

http://www.highwaycode.gov.uk/09.shtml#103 http://www.highwaycode.gov.uk/09.shtml#104
 
"David Green" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> "Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...
>
> > > soak [chain] in tin of chainsaw oil (DIY stores), hang to drip dry, then refit.
> >
<snip>

> Avoid the expensive Finishline chain lube in the LBS: nearly £7 a can, full of Teflon, most of
> which drips off onto the ground. It never stops dripping either...
>
> David Green Cambridge.

..hhhmmm... Teflon, non-stick lube.....interesting concept, bit like the universal solvent..what the
hell do you keep it in ??? ;-) Dave.
 
On 14 Feb 2003 02:50:18 -0800, David Green scrawled: ) [1] Get a chain tool, learn how to remove the
chain. Clean in pot of ) paraffin, soak it in tin of chainsaw oil (DIY stores), hang to drip ) dry,
then refit. Do this regularly, and your chain and gears will last ) for ages.

Is such a deep clean wise? I thought you wouldn't want to get rid of all the oil because you'll
never get it back into the very middle of the joints.

J-P
--
If balance of movement collapsed A big earthquake happens on a face. Please pay attention.
 
j-p.s wrote:
> On 14 Feb 2003 02:50:18 -0800, David Green scrawled: ) [1] Get a chain tool, learn how to remove
> the chain. Clean in pot of ) paraffin, soak it in tin of chainsaw oil (DIY stores), hang to drip )
> dry, then refit. Do this regularly, and your chain and gears will last ) for ages.
>
> Is such a deep clean wise? I thought you wouldn't want to get rid of all the oil because you'll
> never get it back into the very middle of the joints.

Normal bicycle chain parts aren't sealed. Why wouldn't the oil get into the very middle of the
joints? Is it really too thick? Anyway, lubes that contain lots of solvent should be good at getting
to the innards (thin on application, then solvent evapourates, leaving just the actual lube).

The only related issue I know of is that the new lube won't be as good as the original thick stuff
that chain was supplied with, so it won't last as long, making chain soon/eventually squeak.

On balance, I think it's better to give the chain a deep clean to get rid of the grit in the works,
than to keep on lubricating a dirty one.

~PB
 
On Sat, 15 Feb 2003 20:02:22 -0000, Pete Biggs scrawled: ) Normal bicycle chain parts aren't sealed.
Why wouldn't the oil get into ) the very middle of the joints? Is it really too thick?

SB seems to think so: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/chains.html . Although that /does/ apply to the
older chain construction.

) Anyway, lubes that ) contain lots of solvent should be good at getting to the innards (thin on )
application, then solvent evapourates, leaving just the actual lube).

WD40? I use it a lot, but I've read differing opinions about it. Would it mix well with a wax lube?

J-P
--
"Can I borrow some Vaseline?" "Why, are you planning some hot snogging action?" "No, but apart from
that being inevitable, my nips really hurt. Oh, dear, I said 'nips'. No, my nips are fine, but my
lips really hurt."
 
On Sun, 16 Feb 2003 13:38:54 +0000 (UTC), "j-p.s" <[email protected]> wrote:

>WD40? I use it a lot, but I've read differing opinions about it. Would it mix well with a wax lube?

NO! NO! Never let WD-40 near your bike!

The problem with WD-40 is it has loads of solvent in it - if you spray it round your bike it can get
in the bearings, where it washes the grease out a treat and leaves you with grease-free bearings.
Nice and clean, granted, but they rapidly become functionally sub-optimal.

A rag with a squirt of WD-40 on it is not bad for getting crud off the frame, though.

Guy
===
** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
dynamic DNS permitting)
NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
work. Apologies.
 
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