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  1. #1
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    Idea! Cleaning and Maintenance Photo Guide

    "The Basic Cleaning and Maintenance Guide has been updated and can now be found in the MTBR Pro Review 'How To' section, just follow this link. Please note that comments have been disabled on the guide itself, but please feel free to post your comments and/or criticisms at the end of this thread."
    Last edited by EDDIE JONES; 02-28-2008 at 09:06 PM. Reason: request of SteveUK

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  2. #2
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    wow, very detailed to say the least. lol, thanks for the guide

  3. #3
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    Awesome work, this was well worth the wait. the only problem is I can't see the pictures, just the one attached picture at the end. Anyone else see them or is it just my computer? Thanks again for this great guide

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    OK, I thought I'd embedded the photos in the text, but it seems not. Hopefully they're now attached for all to see...

    What use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings? -
    Diogenes


  5. #5
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    Very impressive.

  6. #6
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    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?

  7. #7
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    Very nice, detailed, Thank you for the article. I think this should be sticked or something to keep it at the top.

  8. #8
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    simply amazing

    Yeah, this should definitely be stickied. I just got my first bike and this is going a long way to helping me understand what i need to do.
    THANKS!

  9. #9
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    Thank you, thank you, thank you

  10. #10
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    That is an awesome guide!! But it sounds like a alot of work... since i haven't cleaned my bike for a while.

  11. #11
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    This should be on the STICKY !!!!

  12. #12
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    Thanks very much for the positive responses to the guide, I'm very pleased that people are finding it helpful. I've taken note of the suggestions to make the thread 'sticky' and have put a request in to the people in administration. I haven't heard anything back yet, so, for the time being, if anyone thinks the guide should be kept sticky you can just post a reply, it doesn't even need to say anything.
    Thanks again for the feedback,
    Peace,
    Steve.

    What use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings? -
    Diogenes


  13. #13
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    Thanks Steve.

  14. #14
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    awsome guide
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you'll crash. ~Julie Furtado

  15. #15
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    Thanks

    Thanks Steve. Great job.
    "Don't Panic" - The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

  16. #16
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    thanks steve... really appreciate this...
    raphael

  17. #17
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    nice guide/intro to basic bike cleaning. awesome work and well worth a sticky.
    2007 Specialized Rockhopper Disc

  18. #18
    The Pirate
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    Very informative My LBS said that my forks didn't require much maintanance. They should have mentioned regular cleaning. The rear derraileur is still a bit of a mystery to me, but I think I just need to rip it off the bike a couple times and that should solve that problem Thanks for the guide

  19. #19
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    sure fire sticky.

    thanks for this, your effort is much appreciated.

  20. #20
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    Thanks, that is awesome.

  21. #21
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    Thanks

    As a newbie all I can say is awesome. Much needed and much appreciated !!!!

  22. #22
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    Much appreciated! thanks

  23. #23
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    very nice

  24. #24
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    Sterling work son.

  25. #25
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    good work, will give a proper read later as am off riding in abit yay

  26. #26
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    Most excellent!!!!

  27. #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

  28. #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.

  29. #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.

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

  31. #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.

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

  33. #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

  34. #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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  35. #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.

  36. #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

    What use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings? -
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  37. #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.

  38. #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

  39. #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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  40. #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

  41. #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.

  42. #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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  43. #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.

  44. #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.

  45. #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

  46. #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!

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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.

  48. #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.

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

  50. #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

  51. #51
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    Great guides!

    I'd be really interested in seeing the guide for DMR Revolver bearing and hub replacement, could you let me know how I might find it?

    With Kind Regards
    Paul

  52. #52
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    Hey P.Jay,

    The DMR isn't a hugely common hub for MTB application so I haven't yet compiled a full guide yet (like the maintenance guide), I didn't anticipate too much interest!! I'll pull the text and photos together and post the guide for you tomorrow evening.
    Peace,
    Steve

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    Thanks Steve, you're a star.

    I've just bought a pair of wheels based on the DMR Revolvers and have since heard that, although they're good hubs, the freehub body can be prone to quick wear so it'll be a useful skill to have!

    With Kind Regards
    Paul

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    Hey P.Jay,

    The Revolver guide is on the Everything Drivetrain forum. Here's the link...

    Steve

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    Many thanks, that's an excellent guide.

    I do appreciate it.

    Paul

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    Thanks a lot Steve! Now I can sit this evening and take my bike apart and clean it... and forget about my circuit analysis exam tomorrow!

    A very well written guide! I have a quick question- The alcohol to use to clean the rotors- can I just use my bare hands to apply them? Or should I use a cloth/glove? I was told that it may cause rash or irritation on some people if touched directly.

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    Hey anirban,

    Isopopyl Alcohol is not an irritant as such (like DOT fluid is), but it is great at removing any grease/oils, so it's going to dry your skin, too. I've always worked with my hands so the skin is pretty tough and, although it does visibly dry after it has been in contact with the alcohol, it's fine after a good rinse with moisturising soap and water. I guess the sensible thing to do is to wear latex gloves when working with any maintenance chemicals, or even with the greases/oils/waxes used to lube stuff up. However, if you try using them when you're rubbing a rotor down they'll probably get shredded pretty quickly. If you're concerned about irritation, or know that you have particularly sensitive skin, just use a heavy cloth to apply the alcohol.
    I'm no dermatologist so, beyond what I've said here, I'm not really qualified to advise you directly on this, I'm sure you'll understand.
    Peace,
    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    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.
    If the bolt hole is not open on the back, then smear the grease on the threads, a glob of grease on the end could build hydraulic pressure as the bolt is tightened and split the part with the hole. I am not trying to pick, just adding to a great post
    " No! try not, Do or do not. There is no try. "

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    Cheers for that, atvsmurf; it's a good point, although remember that bike parts are almost all bolted at a relatively low torque.
    Have you actually experienced this? Even working on motor vehicles for several years, it's not something I've ever seen.

    Remember that you're only greasing threads to act as a protective layer against corrosion and to aid the removal of bolts at a later date; so just smear on a small dab.
    Peace,
    Steve

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrasher
    ... I didn't opt for the chain cleaning machine (powerlink) and decided to clean with the chain on. ... I have a chain removal tool I found in my tool box but it's been a good 23 years or so ...

    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?
    While a really dirty chain can affect shifting, the primary purpose in cleaning a chain is to reduce wear. A woren chain becomes longer, which in turn wears out cassettes & chainrings much more quickly. Chain wear occurs on the 'inside' of a chain between the surface areas of the 'pin' and 'roller' that goes around the pin (two pin/roller combinations per link). Wiping down a chain does not help clean the inside of the chain. To clean the chain, it needs to be emersed in a de-greaser to removed the dirt & muck from the inside surfaces.

    Most articles I read suggest that removing the chaining and cleaning it as suggested above (i.e., shake in mineral spirits, simply green, orange based degreaser, etc., rinse & shake again) cleans the chain best. The next best is using a chain cleaning tool. Once you let the chain dry, then you apply lubricant & give it time to get get inside the chain. Then you wipe it down, removing as much extra lubricant as you can -- the more lubricant you leave on, the more dirt that till be attracked.

    As far as removing a chain by pulling the pin & reinserting it, doing this will weaken your chain some, although YMMV. If you do this, I would recommend practicing it on an old chain -- if you do not have one, ask a LBS for some extra links for practice. There's nothing like attempting to put a popped chain back together while sitting on the site of trail--practicing ahead of time helps ;-)

    Many chain vendors now sell some version of a SRAM's quick link (or is it power link?), which is a link that is designed to come apart more easily. The SRAM version does not require tools if you know the secret handshake ;-) Not all 9-speed chains have the exact same width--SRAM chains are slightly wider than the Shimano chains. KMC chains are the same width as Shimano chains, so if you got one of the KMC quick links (I forget the exact name), you should be able to use it on a Shimano chain (SRAM quick links may work with Shimano chains but I have never tried it).
    Last edited by journey; 10-23-2006 at 02:43 PM.

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    The KMC 'Missing Link' is not like the SRAM Powerlink. It works in the same way to connect a chain when it is first put on a bike, but does not come apart again without popping the pin. I alternate between two chains; a Shimano XTR/Dura-Ace and a KMC X9 and use a SRAM 9spd Powerlink with both of them. For what it's worth, I highly recommend the KMC X9; it out-performs the XTR noticably. Time will tell if it is as durable.

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  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    The KMC 'Missing Link' is not like the SRAM Powerlink. It works in the same way to connect a chain when it is first put on a bike, but does not come apart again without popping the pin. I alternate between two chains; a Shimano XTR/Dura-Ace and a KMC X9 and use a SRAM 9spd Powerlink with both of them. For what it's worth, I highly recommend the KMC X9; it out-performs the XTR noticably. Time will tell if it is as durable.
    Regarding the KMC missing link, did you read somewhere that it is only intended to be put together only once? It does go together differently than most other quick links such as SRAM's or Connex's in that in order to get it to 'set', you have to apply tension on the chain whereas, most of the others just slide together.

    Anyway, the KMC missing link will come apart using a pair needle nose plyers -- I have done it several times now. Its not as easy to pull apart as the Connex or SRAM but it works and should be more reliable than pulling & replacing a pin back into an Shimano / KMC chain.

    Also, are you using an X9 (has 'silver' coating only on the outer plates) or an X9.99 chain (has 'silver' coating on inner & outer plates)? When I purchased my KMC, my LBS only had the X9.99 in stock (more $$ of course).

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    I read on the instruction leaflet supplied with my X9 that the Missing Link is intended to make initially fitting the chain easier, ie. no tools, but that to split the chain in future one must use a normal chain-pin removal tool. I turned the spare links and the Missing Link into a rather nice key-ring....

    DSCN0340.JPG

    I use the X9.92 with the black inner plates. They're usually the same price as the XTR.
    Peace,
    Steve
    Last edited by SteveUK; 11-05-2006 at 07:50 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    Have you actually experienced this? Even working on motor vehicles for several years, it's not something I've ever seen.

    Remember that you're only greasing threads to act as a protective layer against corrosion and to aid the removal of bolts at a later date; so just smear on a small dab.
    Peace,
    Steve
    Once, well actually twice...back in the eighties, on an old work truck. I was changing a flat tire and put a large dab of grease in the lug nuts (closed ended) and torqued the first one and it popped, well I never thought of the grease doing that so I tightened another and it popped. So I figured out what was happening. The strange thing is that it didn't take much torque at all. I figure aluminum would be even easier to split.
    " No! try not, Do or do not. There is no try. "

  65. #65
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    As a newbie that is trying to pick up the skills for maintenance/repair as the need arises, I'd like to tell my fellow newbies to fear not. You definitely want to work within your current skill range. If it looks like too big a task to tackle, you may want to contact your LBS. Better yet, find one that might let you sit in on what they're doing. If you have a local bike group, bike coalition, etc., that you're familiar with, you may be able to find someone in that organization that would be willing to walk you through what you need in exchange for a fee, meal, case of beer, whatever.

    But as far as routine cleaning and troubleshooting small problems, don't fear the challenge. Personally, I'm finding cleaning my bike to be pleasant. After I ride a trail, I set it up at home and give it a good wipe-down at the very least. I also check for stress and such. I also run through the gears and all just to see if anything sounds funny.

    As you get a feel for routine and basic maintenance, you might start tackling some smaller problems as they come up. Tonight I noticed my chain was catching in 7th gear in the rear. When I got back, I set it up and just kind of ran it through a few revolutions. It turned out one of the cogs on the 6th gear was catching the chain and tugging on it as it hit that point in the revolution. I first thought it might be bent, but I couldn't see any evidence that it was. So, the first thing I did was give the chain and cassette a good cleaning, but that didn't quite alleviate the problem. I put a little lube on the chain and that helped some, but it was still catching. So, I figured I'd be a little ballsy and rotate the tension knob on the derailleur. I guess it had gotten a little off and was pushing the chain against the 6th gear wheel when in 7th gear. I finished up, took it down the street, and everything seemed kosher.

    The feeling was very satisfying, and just the chance to kind of chill out in the garage with the rain, a CD of classical music, and my bike was very relaxing. Of course, if it had turned out to be something over my head, I would have referred it to my LBS. No point in learning the hard.. and expensive way by having to haul your bike in after you mangled it in your efforts. Start small and easy and the skills will come in time. But, sometimes it pays to go out on a limb and say, "Let's see if I can fix the problem if I do.... THIS..."

    Maintenance and repairs can seem intimidating at first, but start small and learn from those more skilled when you can.. and someday you'll be the ones writing these articles instead of reading them. It might seem like a chore, but you really can turn it into something enjoyable.. almost meditative.

  66. #66
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    An amazingly comprehensive guide Steve. I only wish I could be arsed to do half of the things that you correctly recomend. You are hard core. Also, don't be so sensitive if someone has not read the (very long) document and tries to suggest amendments. Since the majority of this thread consists of people saying how faultless it is, relax and be happy with a job unbelievably well done. How do you find time to read the thread any way, or go riding for that matter? I have this vision of your bike coming home from the lbs and being immedeatley disassembled and remaining on a tarp on the garage floor ever since. I'm sure this is not the case. Well done.

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    An amazingly comprehensive guide Steve. I only wish I could be arsed to do half of the things that you correctly recomend. You are hard core. Also, don't be so sensitive if someone has not read the (very long) document and tries to suggest amendments. Since the majority of this thread consists of people saying how faultless it is, relax and be happy with a job unbelievably well done. How do you find time to read the thread any way, or go riding for that matter? I have this vision of your bike coming home from the lbs and being immedeatley disassembled and remaining on a tarp on the garage floor ever since. I'm sure this is not the case. Well done.

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    Hey Jim, cheers for that. There are certainly times when I can't be arsed, but my bike is my only transport, so, if for no other reason than that, it's important that it's running sweet every day. Saying that, it's my nature to look after things, and it's in my nature to be irritated by creaks/squeeks/clicks etc.,so luckily the former tends to cover me for the latter!
    Ha, yeah, I guess I could give the impression that my bike is permanently in bits in the workshop, but you're right, it's not the case. I work fast. I'll do everything in the guide in an hour or so if I just get stuck in (some Miles Davis helps!) although obviously that wasn't always the case. All tasks get quicker and easier the more one does them.
    I sometimes waver on my 'no smileys' rule, but I just can't do it!! I honestly don't mind when people offer amendments that I've already covered. However, I'm going to point it out if I have already covered something, so at least maybe people will read the whole guide (it's not that long!) before adding their 2cents. As much as I'm pleased for the guide to develop over time, as it has, I'd prefer not to have a stream of repeated info for people to wade through. I also tend to not beat around the bush, so sometimes my being direct can be mistaken for being annoyed/irritated. It's really not so; I'm a cheery kind of guy, truely!
    I enjoy working on my bike and I also like to share what I've learned. This guide came about because there were so many people asking about getting started with maintenance and their concerns about keeping stuff cleaned and well lubed. I like the fact that so may people want to look after their own bike rather than wheel it to the shop every time something needs doing, and it only takes a small amount of knowledge and confidence to de-mystify things like rear derailleur and kick-start one's inner-wrench, so I'll admit to getting slightly frustrated when posts appear telling people to avoid doing things themselves and I'll offer no apologies for that.
    Again, cheers for your comments and welcome to MTBR forums,
    Peace,
    Steve

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    I can attest to the "inner wrench" thing. As I try my hand at new things, such as degreasing and lubing, partially disassembling the rear derailleur (just taking the pannel off to get the sprockets free to clean), adjusting disc brakes (which I think my LBS misaligned) and swapping out stems, I start to find it more and more pittiable that there isn't something I can spend about an hour doing each evening. It's very pleasant to be out in the garage, a CD of classical music on, listening to the wind or rain while tinkering with my bike.

    Another benefit of learning how to maintain your bike is learning how to fix something that your shop may have messed up. Newbies like myself probably tend to consider the folks at an LBS infallable, but they're only human.. and sometimes things get overlooked during a time when lots of orders are coming in, or the person putting your bike together may have a different preference for something and put it back on differently than you would. In my case, I noticed my disc brakes were rubbing a bit too much. When I took a look at them, I noticed that my LBS had put them on with the rotor rubbing against the mobile pad.... which meant that it bent the rotor toward the immobile pad whenever I applied my brakes. I figured this was probably not a good thing, even though it makes it easier to adjust the amount of rub with a simple turn of the inner pad's screw. So, I downloaded the instructions for my Tektro brakes and made sure of where the mounting screws were before I messed with anything. It turns out it was an easy fix.

    I don't know about most bike shops, but the couple of times I've taken mine back to the shop where I bought it, anything that had to be taken off gets reattached based on the mechanic's personal preferences. For example, my brake and gear levers always come back angled about 80 degrees down.... basically pointing down at the ground. So, knowing how to tweak your bike back the way you want it when you get it back from the shop for more serious work helps you keep the bike configured and operating to your personal preferences.

    As you progress from newbie to a more proficient rider, you'll also probably find yourself wanting to swap out pedals, tires, saddles and other parts. Sometimes this will be because the factory-issue parts don't meet your needs. Other times this will be because the factory-issue parts don't hold up all that well. Really, if you do the math on the cost of a bike that comes from the dealer to the LBS and then to you, it doesn't always add up. When you look at the cost of quality parts, you start to wonder how they can sell you that Raleigh or Trek or whatever for $500 when it seems like the parts all together would be $700-$800. So, knowing how to maintain your bike, check for wear, and replace with parts you need or want helps you keep your bike going and lets you improve the quality of your parts and ride as your skill develops.

    Personally, I have come to see good maintenance as part of the total package of.... I guess you could say the "riding lifestyle." You don't just ride your bike, you train your body to ride well, and maintain/outfit your bike to ride well as.. er.. well.

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    We the people ...

    For all people who has trouble with disk brakes... Mechanicals/Hydraulics... This is a mad link to check out!

    The last part is pretty sick! Potentially helpful... Geez, I was struggling like an idiot figuring how to centering my pads...
    D.Xenotime

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    Thanks for the link. Adjusting disc brakes can seem intimidating once you start thinking about it, but if you do some looking online you can usually find good guides. Most of the bike maintenance books I've looked at seem to gloss over disc brakes. If all else fails, find out what brakes you have and download the instructions. The instructions for my Tektro IOs had a centering guide.

    I really like the idea of slipping business cards between the pads and the rotors to make sure you leave a little space.

  72. #72
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    "Most of the bike maintenance books I've looked at seem to gloss over disc brakes"

    The trouble with covering disc brakes in any kind of guide is the relatively large number of set-up differences between the manufacturers systems. I bought my Hope's used and the first thing I did was to download the service instructions direct from Hope, after all, they do know best. The internet can be a good source for 'tricks', but the horses mouth, as they say, is always the best place to start.
    Peace,
    Steve

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  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    "Most of the bike maintenance books I've looked at seem to gloss over disc brakes"

    The trouble with covering disc brakes in any kind of guide is the relatively large number of set-up differences between the manufacturers systems. I bought my Hope's used and the first thing I did was to download the service instructions direct from Hope, after all, they do know best. The internet can be a good source for 'tricks', but the horses mouth, as they say, is always the best place to start.
    Peace,
    Steve
    Why not add it to your post SteveUK? About the business card thingi...

    PS: All bikers that has disks brakes (any),keep 2 business cards in your repair box as a tip. LoL
    D.Xenotime

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZenZhu
    Thanks for the link. Adjusting disc brakes can seem intimidating once you start thinking about it, but if you do some looking online you can usually find good guides. Most of the bike maintenance books I've looked at seem to gloss over disc brakes. If all else fails, find out what brakes you have and download the instructions. The instructions for my Tektro IOs had a centering guide.

    I really like the idea of slipping business cards between the pads and the rotors to make sure you leave a little space.
    That is why I posted it up... I like business cards now!!! Very useful!

    PS: All bikers that has disks brakes (any),keep 2 business cards in your repair box as a tip. LoL
    D.Xenotime

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    I was adjusting my front brake this evening since it had been a little "grabby." I tried the trick with the business cards, but that left a bit too much space for my tastes. The braking was way too "squishy" after that. So, I just used a piece of paper between the rotor and the pads and that got things where I wanted them. Due to the weather, I wasn't able to see how the braking after that fared, but I suspect if they're still a little grabby at the rotor, but a little squishy and the handle, the trick will be to increase the spacing between the pads and tighten up the tension on the adjustor knob that's actually on the brake housing. It seems to me the tension knob on the lever doesn't really do much except for tweaking your braking once you have the spacing on the pads and the tension on the lower knob set about right.

  76. #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!

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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 use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings? -
    Diogenes


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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

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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!!!!!!

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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.

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

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    THIS IS SOOOO GOOOOOD!

    THanks,

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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

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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.

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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.

  86. #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.

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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
    Now is the time on Sprockets when we hammer.
    '05 Blur Classic (1x9) || '06 SIR9 (SS) || '06 Brompton P6L

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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.

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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

  90. #90
    neutiquam erro
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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
    Now is the time on Sprockets when we hammer.
    '05 Blur Classic (1x9) || '06 SIR9 (SS) || '06 Brompton P6L

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

  92. #92
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    Steve,

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

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

  94. #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

  95. #95
    New Jersey
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    Very detailed post!

    Thanks a ton, I learned a lot.

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

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

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

  99. #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.

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    Awesome, thanks Steve!!

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