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. #26
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    Most excellent!!!!

  2. #27
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    Great guide! Thanks. And...
    If you’re using it for this purpose, I’d suggest finding a nice, quiet corner; sitting yourself down; and having a word with yourself…
    Even though I knew I shouldn't be using this I need to have a word with myself. I'll goto the Bike shop and get a real lubricant. /l

  3. #28
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    Hey MTB'ers. I went to my LBS and picked up a bottle of Prolink lube and some simply green degreaser and a drive train cleaning brush. I didn't opt for the chain cleaning machine (powerlink) and decided to clean with the chain on. I just used 5 parts water/1 part degreaser as the bottle said and soaked a rag in the forumla and wiped my chain with it and then proceeded to hand clean it off with paper towels. When all was said and done it looked pretty clean and then I threw on the prolink and let it dry. Went for a spin around the neighborhood and it seemed nice a smooth. I'm just wondering how difficult it is to remove the chain and use a chain cleaning machine and how much better the results would be. I have a chain removal tool I found in my tool box but it's been a good 23 years or so since I changed my chain ( hey I used to be a BMX'er back in the day and knew how to do quite a bit of maintenance - including hubs and headsets).. Anyways, chime in if you can offer some advice.

    Edit after looking at my chain I think it would be much better to remove it. It looks like I've got Shimano HG 53 chain on both bikes. From what I've read I just need to remove the main linkage pin. Since I already have the tool I may as well invest in a chain cleaning device. I guess you just need to use a new pin when putting the chain back on. Any suggestions on chain cleaning devices?
    Last edited by Thrasher; 08-24-2006 at 03:05 PM.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowmaniac153
    thanks man---just wondering
    do any of you guy use Armorall on the sidewalls of your bike to keep sun damage off your tires???or even some on your seat?
    well, tires should be worn out before any type of "sun damage" gets to them. and armor all on your seat? er.. no.. methinks that would be a wee bit too slickery.

  5. #30
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    certainly some NUGGETS of cleaning truth here, THANKS

  6. #31
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    good stuff - now all I need is a cure for chronic lazyness - really good practical advice. In consequence of my energy levels I have used my compressor with diesel. However, if anyone does this or similar and I dont recomend it, remember diesel dissolves grease so not into BB, its not good on nitril seals, so watch the shocks etc, its will make a grindy paste if yu ride too soon, and in a spray form its CARCINOGENIC so dont breath it. Dam, almost talked myself out of doing this.

  7. #32
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    Very nice guide! Keep up the good work!
    D.Xenotime

  8. #33
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    steve

    just noticed that nifty plate that protects the bottom bracket and lower pivot, it's trick, like a skid plate

    looks like some thin, easily bendable aluminum, but i can't figure out how it is secured

    how does it stay on there, by the screw for the plastic front derailer cable guide?

    thanks
    "He can make even a global summit meeting seem like a kegger." M. Dowd, NY Times, 19 July 2006

  9. #34
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    Hey,

    The plates are plastic, I made them out of a DVD box after I got a stone lodged behind one of my main pivot bearings. First, I got the shapes I needed by cutting them out of card then used them as templates for cutting the DVD box. I bent the pieces by leaving them in boiling water for 5/10 mins before pressing them around the pivot and BB to get the shape. Attaching them is a little fiddly; two holes drilled in each then fastened to the seat stay with two cable ties. If you're riding an FSR, I guess the same design will work for you too.
    Peace,
    Steve

    edit: if you/anyone would like pictures of the pieces and how they fit together, just let me know...
    Last edited by SteveUK; 09-25-2006 at 11:10 AM.
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  10. #35
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    Heres a stupid one with half baked recovery. I clean my bike with diesel in a compressor. not good for number of reasons but ..(wear a mask). I cover the calliper and clean the disk with meths once finished. forgot didnt I so got diesel on pads. Most amazing squeal resulted. To clean I put the pads in the oven and cooked them to evaporate the diesel etc then light sand for resulting carbon layer. It works if you do get oils on the pads but best is not to do that in the first place.

  11. #36
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    Sorbut,

    Am I getting this right? Do you clean your bike with compressed diesel? That is, you spray diesel, the stuff that car/truck engines run on, all over your bike?

    Steve
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    What luck for rulers, that men do not think - Adolf Hitler

  12. #37
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    yep. put it in a cleaning pot on compressor and use it to clean the derailleurs, shifters, basically everything except (usually) the callipers. Kerosine is also OK but not sure on compressing that - might have other issues. I blow the diesel off with the compressor as well. Its a good cleaner and has no rust issues. Leaves no residue for dirt to stick to. Only issue is that atomised diesel is a tad carcinogenic, hence a respirator mask. Diesel does dissolve grease so I dont blow it too hard around hubs or BB.My derailleurs are ceramic and I use silicon lube. I ride in a lot of sand and am quite careful on lubes or I just end up with a grinding paste. I also strip stuff regularly and only use a marine non-water soluble grease with rust inhibitor. The diesel is great at cleaning it out of the BB bearings (yep I pick the seals off) and the hub bearings. Diesel is a lubricant as well as a fuel. I think it possibly goes without saying that petrol is a really bad idea. As to the all over part - well yes I do clean the bike frame with it too, tyres as well.
    Last edited by Sorbut; 09-25-2006 at 06:07 PM.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    Hey,

    The plates are plastic, I made them out of a DVD box after I got a stone lodged behind one of my main pivot bearings. First, I got the shapes I needed by cutting them out of card then used them as templates for cutting the DVD box. I bent the pieces by leaving them in boiling water for 5/10 mins before pressing them around the pivot and BB to get the shape. Attaching them is a little fiddly; two holes drilled in each then fastened to the seat stay with two cable ties. If you're riding an FSR, I guess the same design will work for you too.
    Peace,
    Steve

    edit: if you/anyone would like pictures of the pieces and how they fit together, just let me know...
    steve

    yeah, love to see those photos of putting on that skid plate...it really looks like metal in the pix above...thanks bro
    "He can make even a global summit meeting seem like a kegger." M. Dowd, NY Times, 19 July 2006

  14. #39
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    Main Pivot Guard Plate

    I’m hoping the pictures are pretty self explanatory. The only ‘must’ is that you make sure the top plate overlaps the bottom one, so water/mud can run off and away. The front of the top plate is actually cut out more than it appears. There’s a strip of electricians tape over a larger ‘cut away’ to take into account the movement of the rear suspension, whilst still protecting the pivot. You should be able to make it out on the bottom left picture in the block of four.

    GuardBlock.jpg

    GuardBlock2.jpg

    I’ve had that in place for over six months and only removed it today to take the pictures. Although the inside of the bottom plate was fairly dirty (run off from the down tube), the pivot and stay were both more or less clean. Job done.

    Peace,
    Steve

    (UK Design Rights 28/9/2006)
    Last edited by SteveUK; 09-27-2006 at 11:48 AM.
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  15. #40
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    wow man, nice...i'll give this a try..this could be a more general hop up for any frame
    "He can make even a global summit meeting seem like a kegger." M. Dowd, NY Times, 19 July 2006

  16. #41
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    Let me first say that I'm not trying to start a fight here. But I thought I should mention some of the risks associated with cleaning and maintaining your bike.
    If you are not as meticulous or mechanically skilled as SteveUK obviously is (just look at how perfect that plastic piece he made is), you may end up breaking stuff in and attempt to clean/maintain it. For example, removing the chain requires removing and replacing pins, which if done improperly can result in a greater likelihood of chain failure on the trail. Removing your rear derailleur to clean it could result in cross-threading the derailleur hanger when reinstalling if you are not careful and if your bike does not have a replaceable derailleur hanger (mine doesn't), you are in some real trouble. Anytime you take something apart you risk losing parts, breaking stuff, or incorrectly reassembling it.

    To use computer maintenance as an analogy, you can go on computer forums and find people complaining about repeated hard drive failures that say "I do full backups daily and defrag twice a week" in an effort to show how well they take care of their drives, but the stress from those frequent backups and defragging are probably what is causing their HDs to fail. Sometimes less is better.

    I think some of us are better off doing some simple cleaning and lubing of the components while they are still on the bike. It's not going to be as effective as the recommendations given by SteveUK, but it may be good enough for your needs and may keep your from messing up your bike. Plus, that looks like a hell of a lot of work.

  17. #42
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    "Removing your rear derailleur to clean it could result in cross-threading the derailleur hanger when reinstalling if you are not careful and if your bike does not have a replaceable derailleur hanger (mine doesn't), you are in some real trouble."

    Here's what I've said in the guide;

    "To re-fit, hold the mech as per the photo to ensure that the body adjust screw has cleared the mech hanger stop. Take care when re-fitting the derailleur that you’re matching the threads with the mech hanger. If threading feels tight, back it off and try again; it should thread on easily until you torque it up at the end of the thread."

    If you've read the short note I added about buying and using tools, you'll have seen that I've mentioned the risks involved in doing your own wrenching. However, the more you do things the less likely it becomes that you'll mess something up. We all understand this, it's why so many people take their bikes to a shop to be maintained; a) the risk is with somebody else; and b) they've made their mistakes way back when and are less likely to muck up on your bike. I say 'make your own mistakes, just remember to learn from them'.
    Computers and bikes are very poor at supplying each other with analogies. If I only defragment my hard drive every ten years, then it's going to take me a relatively long time to do the defrag when I do do it, but it'll be done all the same. Maybe even some computer expert will come along and do it quicker, or offer a better alternative, but the end result will be the same physical component doing the job. If I don't clean and relube my chain it'll work for a few months and then it will fail. When I say 'fail', I mean that it will never work again, it will be 'worn out', it will cease to be effective. Nobody can fix it. In that same period of time, my rapidly wearing chain has been rapidly wearing my cassette, my jockey wheels and my chain set. Same as the chain, when these components have physically worn away, they have to be replaced with new ones. Have you ever priced out even a cheap complete drivetrain? Obviously, components have to be renewed periodically, but the reason for my guide is to assist people in getting not only more from their components, but also in getting more from their riding as a result of not having to stop every few miles to adjust cack-filled componets, or becoming frustrated that their shiny new chain is spinning like crazy over their worn out cassette whenever they try to climb a hill.
    I can't give people the confidence to start pulling their bike apart and putting it back together to keep it running sweet, they have to develop that for themselves. But they're never going to get that confidence, or the knowledge and experience, if they're just too darn afraid to try in the first place. What I can do is show them how I've done it, if for no other reason than to show them that it can be done by yourself, and relatively simply, too.
    The guide is there because enough people asked for it, so there are (thankfully) enough people who are at least willing to have a go at doing their own wrenching. It's true that some of them will thread stuff (or worse), and that some of those incidents will be more costly than others, but so what? I've bust stuff, (I've only been doing this for a couple of years, by the way), plenty of stuff, but I've never done the same component or bolt twice.

    My only advice to folk would be; do it carefully, but do it all the same. I think that that message is clear throughout my maintenance guide.
    As I've said before, I welcome any constructive criticism and I welcome any information that would add to the effectiveness of the guide. I don't think that suggesting people don't even try would fall into either of those catagories.
    Sincere regards,
    Steve

    PS I will make an addition to the guide which will cover the breaking/closing of a chain which doesn't use a Powerlink, thanks for pointing that out.
    Last edited by SteveUK; 10-06-2006 at 07:19 AM.
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  18. #43
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    I just want to make it clear that I am not criticizing you're methods. You are doing an outstanding job of maintaining your bike and your article is very useful (and I'm way impressed by what you did with that piece of plastic).

    But, since this is on the Beginners Forum, I wanted to note that there is some risk in taking things apart to clean them and that some of us get by fine without taking our bike apart for cleaning. I never said that they shouldn't clean their chain. I've been mountain biking since the early 90s and only had one chain failure, and that was due to an incorrectly adjusted rear derailleur (from the bike shop) that grabbed the spokes. So cleaning and lubing the chain (and other components) while still on the bike is working fine for me. It certainly doesn't get the chain as clean as if I took it off, but my chains last for years and my shifting is good so it's good enough for me. My main mountain bike is almost 10 years old now and still has a lot of its original components. I've replaced the rear derailleur and cassette once (just recently) and the chain and cables a couple of times. I don't even think I really needed to change the cassette, but I thought "10 years?". Now I should mention that I have another older mountain bike and a road bike that I also use, so my mileage is split between the 3 bikes, but still, 10 years and most of the original components must mean that my maintenance is not all that bad. My other two bikes are even older and still have most of their original components as well. I generally only clean them once every 3 or 4 weeks when I'm riding regularly and I stay off the trails when they're muddy.

    Again, there is no way that I am trying to say that what I'm doing for maintenance compares to what you are doing, only that there are other alternatives. Certainly, your bike(s) are better maintained than mine, but what I'm doing is working fine for me and I'm not running the risk of breaking stuff when I take it apart, and this information may be useful to beginners.

  19. #44
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    Trailville,

    Please go back and read the guide, then read my reply to your original post.
    The guide is not there for people who don't want to maintain their bike, it's there for the people who do, and I figure that if something is worth doing, it's worth doing it well.

    It appears obvious that if you weren't so terrified of breaking something (way, way harder than you'd believe) then you would maybe attempt procedures like removing a rear derailleur. Then again, maybe you wouldn't. Perhaps we should also suggest that folk don't ride their bikes, either, in case they break something, or hurt themselves.

    The guide shows people how they could do something; a set of relatively simple tasks, and there are risks involved in some of those tasks. But, if they pay attention to what they're doing, and take it easy until their confidence/experience grows, then there's no reason why they shouldn't be able to whip their chain and/or mech off for cleaning. It's actually easier, more simple and quicker to remove these components for maintenance than it is to leave them on the bike. Most importantly, though, it is more effective.

    I'm really feeling like I'm repeating myself now, so please, go back and read the guide. The coverage of the risks involved is relative to the probability of actually breaking something, and I've already made a point of mentioning which procedures people may get caught out on. I have confidence in my descriptions of these tasks and their associated risks, and I have confidence in people to be able to follow them, should they choose to do so.

    You are telling people that they don't need to go to the extent that the guide suggests, and I agree that there are degrees by which things can be done, but I wholeheartedly disagree that people should refrain from doing any of these procedures, in the way that I suggest or otherwise, on the grounds that they are too risky. This is quite simply not the case.
    Peace,
    Steve
    Last edited by SteveUK; 10-06-2006 at 10:48 AM.

  20. #45
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    SteveUK, nice work......

    RE: chain lube, I used to use warm parafin (wax) and mineral spirit formula on my roadie. It lasts a loooong time, does not attract dirt, and lubes quite well.

    Problem is I forgot how to do it

    If anyone knows that procedure, this would be a good place to insert it!

    SM

  21. #46
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    Awesome job Steve. Its a great guide and when I have to clean my bike I will definatly refer to it again. Its not drastically different from road bike mantience (which I am used to) but then again, every bit helps.

    In regards to what trailville said about breaking something when stripping it down. I haven't done any intensive work on a mountian bike, but I have on road and BMX bikes. If you just pay careful attention to how everything it put together, it all works out. If you are forgetful (like me) break out a note pad, and a pencil. Make a diagram of where the components go so that when it comes time to put them back together you know where everything goes and theres no guessing.

    Thanks again Steve for this great guide. This forum is full of great info thanks to people like you!

  22. #47
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    Very helpfull, there is a trick that I would like to add. Any time that a part is taken off, and then replaced, if it is threaded a LBS will put a dob of grease on the threads. Some times softer aluminum parts can seize up and become difficult to get off. So a dob of axle or bearing grease will always do the trick.

  23. #48
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    "Any time that a part is taken off, and then replaced, if it is threaded a LBS will put a dob of grease on the threads. Some times softer aluminum parts can seize up and become difficult to get off. So a dob of axle or bearing grease will always do the trick".

    Here's what I wrote...

    "Before you refit any bolts or threaded components, wipe down the threads as best you can; both male and female threads. Apply either a small amount of grease or a thread lock adhesive, depending on the part, before refitting. I only use thread lock (Loctite 243) on my stem clamp bolts, caliper bolts and rotor bolts."

    ...I just didn't say why. It's a good point though, although the steel bolts may sieze in aluminium parts because of corrosion/oxidation, rather than just because the aluminium is 'soft'.
    To add to the recommendation; put the grease on the end of the bolt you're threading in and it will be evenly spread by the action of threading the bolt in.
    Last edited by SteveUK; 10-11-2006 at 11:16 AM.

  24. #49
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    sorry Steve I was just skimming through and missed that, and ill say it again, very helpful guide

  25. #50
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    No problem, man.You reminded me that I should sometimes explain why I do stuff. It's easy to forget when I do stuff like it's second nature, and saying why you do something can be as important as how, so cheers.
    Peace,
    Steve

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