1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #326
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    Good info, but most of us are not going to do this each time back from the trails. So what does everyone do in the interim? Is a spray down with a hose appropriate to get the mud off?

  2. #327
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    Great post! This is an awesome how to guide for a new rider like myself!

  3. #328
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    Really good guide. I only became more careful with what cleaning agents I use, after getting some more refined experience washing my car and recalling some aircraft cleaning experience.

    There are some motorcycle wash solutions that don't harm waxes, clear coats, greases, lubes, and don't harden/embrittle surfaces like some other cleaning solutions, but they're a bit expensive. Just straight up water and some good brushes and some elbow grease for spot cleaning is the simplest route and is just as effective.

    Stuff I used in the past which I've ceased using:
    Dish soap = unfriendly degreasing action (also strips off protective coatings as well)
    Simple green = unfriendly to materials, hardening/embrittling them; also unfriendly degreasing action
    Other degreasers = used properly, such as for small parts cleaning, it's fine, but it's simply too expensive and requires too much prep and careful handling to use effectively

    I'm using WD-40 for spot cleaning sticky greasy stuff, mainly my drivetrain. It also helps shine up polished metal really well, particularly titanium. I'm using Pledge furniture spray to keep the dust off clear coated surfaces, spraying it onto a cloth and applying it. I bought a bunch of cheap microfiber towels from Meritline that I use to finish the bike and do the real detailed cleaning.

    Takes about 10-20 minutes from a light hose down to really clean the bike. I pull my stand out to the drive way, put the bike in it, and take off the wheels to start. I grab my 20 gal bucket (under $5 from any hardware store) with all my brushes and towels in it and set it near the bike. I use a garden hose with a pistol-grip head to make a wide spray from a good distance, mainly just to get everything wet (wider and lighter than a shower). I hit the dirty spots with a brush to loosen the dirt and work the water through the caked on crud. I then lightly shower it again with the hose to rinse and use 3 or 4 of the microfiber towels to dry it and to wipe all the crud off that the rinse missed; this drying step is the most time consuming, but it ensures everything is clean and also acts as a visual inspection of the bike for cracks and such. I then hit the wheels, using the same process. I then hit the drive train with a smaller drivetrain-specfic brush and a little WD40 to loosen the greasy crud, and a paper towel to wipe it up. I finish by taking a clean cloth or paper towel and buffing the bare/anodized metal surfaces with WD-40 and another cloth for buffing the powder or clear coated surfaces with pledge furniture spray, to help protect it. Seems to work as well as silicone spray/polish, for far cheaper, and much easier/safer to apply (bad news if you spray silicone stuff on something like braking tracks and pads).

    Doing it this way, I know my lubricants are still intact, I'm not harming anything on my bike, and basically everything lasts longer while looking better. Nothing really beats elbow grease when caring for your bike. Solutions that you apply to a towel or brush head first and then are applied to your bike parts are the best way to clean without unintentionally harming other bike parts. I tend to time my bike washes to coincide with whenever I need to lube my chain, though not every time I lube my chain. I can go months between cleanings, depending on the weather and whether I do some water crossings or ride through damp areas.

    Doing it the lazy way for quick 5-10 minute washes, with focused or high pressure water spray, a soapy/cleaner/degreaser solution, and no significant time spent on drying (ex. bouncing your bike or sprinting on the road in front of your home) can leave your bike in a state worse off than if you didn't wash it at all. Your bike parts won't last as long and will show signs of needing to be relubed/overhauled much sooner. You might see a few pro bikes getting washed this way, but also watch if those same bikes suffer from mechanical faults.
    Last edited by Varaxis; 04-26-2012 at 12:27 PM.

  4. #329
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    great tips!

  5. #330
    Perfectionist with ADHD!
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    Great Tips

    These are great tips for those who have purchased decent bike recently and want to know the best way to clean them!

  6. #331
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    Hey guys, i'm new to mountain biking and i just want to ask, can my Crank: Shimano Octalink alloy(44x32x22T), BB: Shimano BB ; be converted into a single speed crank? Thnx

  7. #332
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    Great information thanks!

  8. #333
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    Great post!! Thanks for the info.

  9. #334
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    Good info thanks

  10. #335
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    Great guide, this will help me out a lot thanks.

  11. #336
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    LBS Rules

    Just bought a couple of used bikes---LBS has been awsome taking care of me even tho i did not buy there. Big UPS!!!!

  12. #337
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    thanks for the info

  13. #338
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    Thanks for this nice shares.

  14. #339
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    thanks for the share

  15. #340
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    awesome info thanks

  16. #341
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    I was looking for a guide in cleaning thanks

  17. #342
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    nice post

  18. #343
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    Good info, thanks!

  19. #344
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    Nice post

  20. #345
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    Nice guide Steve, thanks for posting this up. Newly back into biking and need to learn to do my own maintenance as I live too far from any LBS. This will help alot

  21. #346
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    Great info!

  22. #347
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    Roger that. All of that.

  23. #348
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    Liked the wd40 information

  24. #349
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    Wow thank you for the list!!

  25. #350
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    Nice detailed guides, thanks

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