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Old 06-14-2008, 03:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Bike maintenance, how to do it myself to save some money

Ok, so I was noticing yesterday some things on my bike that I think might need worked on.

For one, the chain squeaks now out of no where. I tore apart the front cassette and took the cleaned the sprockets and chain and re-lubed everything using a dry lube like I had done in the past, so hopefully that will stop that problem.

The next thing I was wondering was about general maintenance. I have about 3000ish miles on this bike now and I know that bikes need periodic maintenance just like cars do and that there are certain millage points that these things usually need to be done.

First question, a new chain. I am pretty sure, judging by how the chain is hitting the rear gears and some of the wear points on the teeth, that I need a new chain. How do I do this and what tools will I need? I'm perfectly comfortable doing work myself, I just don't know how for this.

Next question is about tires. I rotated my rear tire to the front about an hour ago after recommendations from the mechanic at the bike shop when I told him the rear was getting very flat in the middle of the tread. But, at what point can you wear a bike tire down to until it's unsafe to ride?

Also, if anyone has any experience doing any other maintenance on bikes. Information would be greatly appreciated on tearing down any other part of the bike, say hubs and steering column to re-grease bearings and clean out dirt.

Thanks in advance for the info.

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Old 06-14-2008, 05:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Here's a sticky on the forum that will give you info on working on just about any part of the bike. Just look through the maintenance ones. I like Sheldon Brown(RIP) and Park Tools both very good.

As far as tires go for me when they start getting thin I start having punctures and then I replace them. I'm kind of a anti lube guy for chains because they pick up so much stuff. I wait until it sounds like you have a little bird following you around and and then light lube and wipe down ride until it happens again(couple months) and so on. If the lube did not quite it down it can be the rear derailer rollers that the chain threads through. I've had those get sloppy and start chirping when I'm shifting only.

The thing you want to watch for in the chain is stretch. One it stretches it will wear both the cassette and chain and you end up replacing both which is pretty pricey. On average I replace the chain 2 times a year (Nov and March for weather) and am very careful not to cross train, big ring in the front and back or small ring front and back, this will wear both chain and cassette quickly and start causing shifting problem.
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ok, I actually found that sticky right after I posted (shame on me for not looking first). I understand your concern about the lube thing, I hate when that happens. However, the thing that's nice about dry lube is that it doesn't collect as much junk as wet lube does. You just have to make sure you give it a good hour to dry thoroughly before you ride to make sure it's good and dry. I took it out for a spin after I made that post and the squeak thankfully seems to have gone away. I did a little quick tune up on the derailers to get the front ones shifting a little better and make less noise, and I think I've fixed the shifting problem for now.

As for the chain. I took a closer look at the rear cassette and I see that one side of the teeth for a few of the gears I use the most have begun to round off on one side. I'm assuming this is because the chain has stretched so I'm going to go, as soon as I get paid, and get a new chain and pop it on. Is there any differences in different types of chains or chain manufacturers that I should look for when getting a replacement?

Another thing that the mechanic talked to me about when I was in the shop was upgrading my wheels to hubs that used cartridge bearings instead of just straight ball bearings. Is there any real advantage to using them other then ease of maintenance? I know my hubs need a good overhaul, but I'm hesitant to tear these hubs apart to clean them because of a few things, the fact that you have to re-true the wheels afterwards being the main factor and the time factor being the other. It's $45 to have the mechanic at the shop do it and that's $45 I would rather use on something else if I could...do you recommend doing this yourself or is this something a professional would be better doing?
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Old 06-14-2008, 06:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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About the chain:
If you're seeing that the leading edges of your cassette are rounded off then you're chain has already stretched. Damage done.
You can try to put a new chain on and see what happens, but if the old chain's been there long enough a new chain will just skip under pressure. So be careful when coming out of the saddle for the first time with a new chain.

If the new chain skips, then it's time for a new cassette, your chainring you can probably just flip around (as long as it's not ramped/pinned for shifting)


On the Hubs:
You can (probably) just take the wheels off, remove the axles and fish all the little ball bearings out of there. Just make sure you don't lose any.
Clean them up with some WD-40 and inspect them for any pitting. Same goes for the bearing races inside the hub.

Once they're clean and passed inspection put them back in with a fresh helping of grease.

That should hold you over for another year.


If you use your bike every day (for commuting and such) then it's a good idea to repack your hubs and replace your chain about twice per year.

If you use the bike less, then once a year should do it.


Oh, and loose-bearing hubs are functionally the same as sealed-bearing hubs. They can get more dirt and junk in them, but they are easier to clean out and repack. With sealed bearing hubs you'll have to pull the entire bearing and replace it if it's bad.

I guess what it all boils down to is that sealed bearing hubs are a little more $$ and a little less maintenance. Loose-bearing hubs are the other way around. Take yer pick.
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Old 06-14-2008, 06:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCO2 View Post
As for the chain. I took a closer look at the rear cassette and I see that one side of the teeth for a few of the gears I use the most have begun to round off on one side. I'm assuming this is because the chain has stretched so I'm going to go, as soon as I get paid, and get a new chain and pop it on. Is there any differences in different types of chains or chain manufacturers that I should look for when getting a replacement?

Another thing that the mechanic talked to me about when I was in the shop was upgrading my wheels to hubs that used cartridge bearings instead of just straight ball bearings. Is there any real advantage to using them other then ease of maintenance? I know my hubs need a good overhaul, but I'm hesitant to tear these hubs apart to clean them because of a few things, the fact that you have to re-true the wheels afterwards being the main factor and the time factor being the other. It's $45 to have the mechanic at the shop do it and that's $45 I would rather use on something else if I could...do you recommend doing this yourself or is this something a professional would be better doing?

Hopefully the cassette is not toast. There are several different manufactures for chains. I've only used shamino and SRAM. Probably start a big debate but I've broken 2 shamino chains and won't use them anymore. I've never had a problem with SRAM. They have the quick link disconnect and you could probably get one under 25 bucks maybe a lot less depending what works for your bike.

I would not worry about the hubs. Just keep what you got those have been around for a long time and will keep you going I've got some cup and cone that probably have 80k on them and are still going. Just grease them up after and before the rainy season. You should not have to re-true the wheels to work on the hubs if you were going to replace the hubs yes but to overhaul them no. Here's a link to overhauling them it not that tough although you would need to buy some tools but it so nice to be able to have a problem and work on it the same day and not have to wait for the shop to get to it.
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the extra info yet again.

I'll look into the chain thing. But, AndrewJ the rounding isn't too severe thankfully so hopefully the new chain won't mind a little bit of wear when I swap it out.
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Old 06-15-2008, 07:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I ride a bike trail that is pea gravel and sand. It makes for a bit of dust. I have learned through thousands of miles to replace my chain every 900 miles. At this mileage it has about 1/16 inch stretch per foot which I have learned is the maximum you want to go to avoid unnecessary wear on the sprockets. I have also learned that for my situation too frequent lubing of the chain is detrimental as well as too infrequent. Once every 200 to 300 miles is best for me.

As for the cassette sprockets, on some types you can take the sprockets off and flip them around if they are excessively worn and they are good as new again. I do this as well as dress the teeth with a chainsaw file to get another go round from them.
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Well, today was the first ride since doing some service on the sprockets and derailers and I still have some derailer work to do. It shifts and rides flawlessly unless I'm trying to shift into the largest front gear and I'm not pedaling fast enough, so that needs to be pushing a little harder and I also noticed that when I'm in the second gear in front and in one of the lower gears in the rear I'm getting slippage which I'm going to assume is the chain after the servicing so I'm going to spring for a new chain this upcoming weekend and get that going. Still crossing my fingers that the cassette in the rear isn't too damaged to accept a new chain.

Thanks for the info about flipping the sprockets Gregte. I'll have to look to see how, if possible, to do this on mine.
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You might want to watching out for cross chaining in general.

Also, your issue on the FD might be that the bounds of motion need to be adjusted. There are two little screws on the RD that do this and one on the front.
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Old 06-16-2008, 12:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hey NoCO2,

I saw that you had roughly 3k miles on this bike, but didn't see if it was purchased new by you, or if you got it used. I am amazed that the cassette is showing wear after that low mileage, as I have ridden 3x - 4x that many and my cassette is still not worn out. It is a bit scratched form shifting, but could last another 10k with no problems. Take a look at the gear teeth on the gears you use less, and compare them to the ones you use more. I think you'll find the wear patterns are quite similar (meaning it's not as worn as they seem). As for the skipping issue, be very careful about 'cross-chaining', and that will make a new chain skip even on a new drivetrain, so again, your parts may not be as worn as they seem. Much like Lazarus, I only lubed my chain when I could hear it 'singing' as I rode, and I expect that is what you are experiencing. I'm even so low tech that I squirted it with WD-40, wiped it off with a rag, and rode quietly for another 2-3 months. There are a number of tools you can use to check for chain wear, and I highly recommend you getting one if you're concerned about this.

I would also recommend that you find a new bike shop, as I think you're getting some HORRIBLE advice from that mechanic. As for resources, you got a link to Sheldon Brown's(RIP) site, and that is an incredible resource (it's where I learned to build wheels), and the Park Tools site, but I would also advise you to get a copy of one of these two books...

http://www.zinncycles.com/books.aspx?book=roadbike
http://www.zinncycles.com/books.aspx?book=mountainbike

Amazon has them for $17 each, which is a great price for either.

Anyway, good luck with your bike, and I do hope you get everything working perfectly again.

Vol

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