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. #76
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    Good morning, my good cycling fellas!
    Steve, what a great thread! It went directly to my bookmark so I can - hopefully - maintain my bike instead of paying for it..
    Now regarding maintaining itself, how often should I do it? every time I finish riding my bike? every week? every month?

    Thanks again!

  2. #77
    ...idios...
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    "Now regarding maintaining itself, how often should I do it?"

    Thanks for your comments, seis66. Check out the second paragraph! That covers the 'how often' question.
    .
    .


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

  3. #78
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    Idea! Oh please... Not too much...

    Quote Originally Posted by seis66
    Good morning, my good cycling fellas!
    Steve, what a great thread! It went directly to my bookmark so I can - hopefully - maintain my bike instead of paying for it..
    Now regarding maintaining itself, how often should I do it? every time I finish riding my bike? every week? every month?

    Thanks again!
    It depends what kind of maintainance and where you rode...

    For me, it depends how much I love my bike. I maintain it every week. But don't clean it every ride (unless it is a really tough trail) , it is ridiculous and total waste of time.

    And no, I'm not been sarcastic. I would clean my bike when ever I felt like it.
    D.Xenotime

  4. #79
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    Just a wonderful step by step guide to maintainance. Thank you for these great tips, I foolishly used WD40 as a degreaser in the past, now after reading your fine points, I know better.

    Congrats on a fantastic presentation!!!!!!

  5. #80
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    I am brand new. I copied this to a word doc to print out and take home. It was 10 full pages! WOW great work. Thanks for the REAL WORLD help.

  6. #81
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    Today i finished the first part of my bike maintenance.
    Nice going!

  7. #82
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    THIS IS SOOOO GOOOOOD!

    THanks,

  8. #83
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    Thanks for the guide, it's been very useful

    When cleaning the chain you suggested using mineral spirits in a jar. Would it be okay to use laquer thinner. It's basically the same thing, except it is much strong. We have a large amount of laquer thinner at work

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMoreau
    Thanks for the guide, it's been very useful

    When cleaning the chain you suggested using mineral spirits in a jar. Would it be okay to use laquer thinner. It's basically the same thing, except it is much strong. We have a large amount of laquer thinner at work
    All that type of chemical will work, mineral spirits, thinners, acetone, or get it really really clean and use MEK, or worse. problem is they will take ALL lubricant out, promote rust, and can be really toxic. This last is the worst IMO. Things like this take all the oil out of your skin as well allowing them easy access to the blood stream etc, not to mention what the fumes do. Gloves arent practical for most bike work and have limited value. Dont use that sort of thing, the long term issues well exceed the value of a chain. Mineral spirits is as much as you want to use.

  10. #85
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    Nice one steve, i just bought my first proper bike about 4 months ago, a trek 6000, and this is really helping me keep it in top condition.

  11. #86
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    Head Set

    Can anyone tell me how tight I should tighten my head set, and what are the problems I can have if I over tighten it?

    Cheers,
    Dave.

  12. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by ir12daveor
    Can anyone tell me how tight I should tighten my head set, and what are the problems I can have if I over tighten it?
    Here's a comprehensive guide from Park Tool.

    The thing to understand is that the headset bolt itself only preloads the headset bearings - there's no need to really wrench that thing down (in fact, don't do that!). Many folks are under the impression that that bolt is what holds the fork "on". Not true. That's why, when you tighten up the stem/headset, you tighten (not crank) that bolt down first, and then you tighten up your stem's steerer tube bolts down to specified torque. Your stem is then what holds the fork on (or in, whatever).

    If you over tighten that bolt, you risk mushing down on the bearings, and your heaset will feel too "tight".

    Now that I read it, the Park Tool instructions aren't terribly complete. They say to "snug" the stem bolts - that's just to prevent the stem from freely swinging around as you tighten the headset top cap bolt. After you tighten the headset top cap bolt down, then go back and torque down the stem bolts.

    Cheers, Chris
    [SIZE=2]Now is the time on Sprockets when we hammer.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=1]'05 Blur Classic (1x9) || '06 SIR9 (SS) || '06 Brompton P6L[/SIZE]

  13. #88
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    just ran across this thread. seeing as how i just got my bike on monday (already rode it a couple of times ) im prob. gonna print out your guide so i can keep it handy. great thread.

  14. #89
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    Cliff's Notes: Drivetrain cleaning quick version?

    Great, extremely thorough guide Steve. Will definitely refer back to it.

    I have a question about the lower level of drivetrain cleaning I am more accustomed to doing (I've relied on the LBS for the Steve-level cleanings). I don't usually remove the chain, but I use a chain-cleaning tool (the kind that is basically a box with various rotating brushes inside - you fit the whole box over the chain, put in some degreaser, and run the chain through a few crank spins). I usually just put on degreaser all over the drivetrain, brush all gunk off either with a brush or the chain tool (for gunk on the chain), wipe it all down, and re-lube immediately with Tri-flow spray-lube whether or not it's totally dry. My question is: for this type of drivetrain cleaning, how does the re-lubing part work? Should I cloth-dry the drivetrain and immediately re-lube? Let the whole thing air dry and then re-lube? Or...?

    Second question: should I be using water in addition to the degreaser, to do the cleaning? I had always avoided water entirely for fear of rust. But I'm not so sure anymore.

    Also, comments on the effectiveness (or lack) of my version of "fast-lane" cleaning welcome.

    Thanks,
    GC

  15. #90
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    I used to think those chain-cleaning dealios were quite the sweet deal, but now I know better! The main problem with them is that they get degreaser everywhere - it can leak into the BB, the derailleur, etc, etc - places you don't want it to go. Granted, it's not a lot, but it does add up. And once that degreaser's been "applied" all over your drivetrain by one of those things, it's just "there" - it doesn't ever get cleaned out or wiped off adequately.

    My rule with degreaser is that it doesn't ever touch my bike as a whole - only specific parts that have been removed (or VERY carefully isolated in rare cases) from the bike proper for cleaning.

    The cleaning you can do by removing the chain for cleaning and then brushing/wiping down (no degreaser!) the chainrings and cassette is MUCH better than any job that device can ever do. And, with a PowerLink in the chain, is actually easier and faster for the quality of work done.

    Anyhoo, once the chain is "clean", let it dry out, reattach it, and then apply whatever lube you like - follow the directions on the lube! How they are applied can vary depending on what you use.

    Truth be told, you don't have to degrease or otherwise aggressively clean your chain very often (conditions permitting, of course) if you keep it regularly & properly lubed, and wipe it down after each ride. Use one of those terrycloth shop towels to wipe it down - they do a great job of removing gunk. I use the same rag to "floss" my cassette when it gets gunky - works llike a champ.

    Cheers, Chris
    [SIZE=2]Now is the time on Sprockets when we hammer.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=1]'05 Blur Classic (1x9) || '06 SIR9 (SS) || '06 Brompton P6L[/SIZE]

  16. #91
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    Wow thanks for that info, that's going to come in useful when I clean my woodstock 707

  17. #92
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    Steve,

    Greetings from Los Angeles! Thanks a lot for the wonderful guide.

  18. #93
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    thanks, now I feel more confident on getting my hand dirty ...thanks

  19. #94
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    Blimey! A complete eye-opener! I have been a bad lady, cleaning my chain with WD40. No more!

    As a total newbie to owning a "proper" bike I know I need to take it take it to bits and clean it properly on a regular basis but I haven't because I was so intimidated by the amount of open-heart bicycle surgery by kack-handed little ol' me which appeared to be involved.

    Not any more! Thanks to this excellent post. What with your original and the handy feedback from everyone else I am a lot more reassured not only about what I should do! Even better when I attempt it (soon) I will have all the right tools to hand before I start...

    Many thanks.

    Cheers

    Sweary

  20. #95
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    Very detailed post!

    Thanks a ton, I learned a lot.

  21. #96
    rivergod
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    Excellent guide, thanks very much.

  22. #97
    IRON HORSE WARRIOR
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    very nice write up...thanks

  23. #98
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    That was an amazing read!!! Thank you for your time and detail SteveUK.

  24. #99
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    I would also like to point out (since I didn't see it though that doesn't mean I didn't miss it) that when removing parts from your bike, especially the crank area and brake discs and what have you, you should use a torque wrench to reinstall the component to the torque specs of the part. Some people may think they can gauge it, but a 20.00 torque wrench will ensure your parts are fitted properly and give them proper life.

  25. #100
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    Awesome, thanks Steve!!

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