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. #1
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    Few maintenance questions

    Hello, I have read the sticky FAQs about maintenance. It lost me and I need a shorter beginners version.

    My bike is a 2013 Novara Ponderosa. 2x10 X7 components.
    I just took it out on a first ride and it's already pretty dirty. There was a slight rain and road was dusty (crushed limestone paths in some areas.)

    Chain is really dirty and I would like to clean it before I ride it again. I've read good things about ProGold ProLink and some only use this and no cleaner. I've read that the factory lubricant is the best and not to remove it, but what can I do when I got my chain dirty on the first ride? That's why I'm trying maybe not to do a full scrub down. Should I also get the Park Tool Chain Cleaning System? I'd rather not mess with removing the chain at this time.

    A side question for future. My chain is a KMC X10. Can that be removed more than once? Is that "missing link" reusable?" What are the recommended tools to remove and re-install?

    I gently wiped down the fork. Should I also lubricate it or is this a once in a while thing. When I lubricate it do I only lubricate around the seals or the entire thing. Do I let it sit overnight and wipe it dry then?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Your chain should work silently. You'll know it is dirty because it will be noisy, a noisy chain needs attention. All ever do is douse the chain with chain lube then dry it with a rag, this is done while moving the crank backwards. I keep chain lube and an old sock in my backpack at all times.

  3. #3
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    When you say dry it with a rag, how should the chain feel in the end? Dry to the touch? Right now, the chain has that sticky grease feel to it. Everything sticks to it and I have to wash my hands if I touch it. I was under the impression that its supposed to be dry. Same with the fork.

  4. #4
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    The master link can be removed and reused as often as you want. It will outlast your chain, and your new chain will come with a new quick link.

    There are as many opinions about chain care as there are mountain bikers. Yes, the factory grease is the best, IF you ride in clean conditions, which isn't going to happen with a mountain bike. They put the grease there to prevent rust while sitting in the warehouse as much as anything.

    Here is what is working for me. I have 1100 miles on my last chain with only .25% wear so far.

    In my opinion, cleanliness is more important than actual lubrication. Nothing is going to protect against sand particles. I use a dry lube. When I got my new chain, I soaked it in dry lube, then wiped the factory grease off as best as I could.

    For routine lubing, I apply dry lube liberally to wash the dirt off the chain, then wipe it totally dry, so as not to pick up dirt when I ride. Wait a half-hour between lubing and riding to give the carrier time to dry. (These are the instructions from the Rock N Roll bottle).

    I don't have one of those chain cleaning gizmos. I just squirt the lube on the chain while pedaling in both directions, after about 30 miles of riding or anytime after I ride in wet muddy conditions. Occasionally I will remove the chain and soak in a tin can with dry lube at the bottom to give it a really good cleaning, reinstall then lube again on the bike so as to wash away any sand particles that it may have picked up from my tin can bath.

    I used to use Rock N Roll Blue, but have switched to DuPont Teflon Chainsaver, available from the motorcycle shelf at Wal-Mart auto dept. It is probably just as good as the Rock N Roll, but is way cheaper. You don't want to skimp -- you want to use a lot of lube to wash the chain clean, and do it often!

    As for the forks, they are lubed internally by sponges located just below the seals that gets soaked in oil (invert your bike during storage or before riding to oil the sponges). The main thing is to just keep the stations clean. I dribble a little Finish Line DuPont Fluoro above the seals occasionally.

  5. #5
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    When i say dry with a rag I am just removing excess chain lube because otherwise it's gonna get slung all over the place if you don't. That and it will pick up dust faster.

  6. #6
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    Yar, to add to the good advice above, when you're done your chain should be just slightly oily if to the touch. Not greasy. If you rub your pants leg against it, it should not leave a mark.

    I would advise against the Park Tool chain cleaning system. It is going to make you a nice mess on your floor. What I do when I get a really dirty chain is wipe it down with a clean shop rag and some solvent. I take Simple Green cleaner and cut it 50% with water and put it in a spray bottle. A few squirts on the rag is enough solvent to get rid of the nasty gunk. Run the chain through the rag pedaling both ways until it doesn't leave black gunk on your rag, and you're ready to add fresh lube. If you keep a really clean drivetrain, that's something you would only do about once every ten lubes.

    Lubing the seals after a ride is not a necessity. The most useful thing you can do is use some lube to help clean the seals: apply a couple of drops to the seals and compress the fork a few times, leaving a ring of dirt on the stanchions. Wipe that off. Whatever lube you use, make sure it's really inert and doesn't leave a film - suspension oil or something teflon-based like Triflow.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dom. View Post
    A side question for future. My chain is a KMC X10. Can that be removed more than once? Is that "missing link" reusable?" What are the recommended tools to remove and re-install?
    Missing link can/should be removed with your fingers. Squeeze the plates together to unlock and slide the ends toward each other and it should just pop apart. the link is done when you notice the pins are no longer round (likely after a couple of chain replacements)

  8. #8
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    Like someone said above, 30 bikers are going to give you 30 different opinions. Mine is the park chain cleaning thing is nice, I use it after every dirty or muddy ride. A dirty chain coated with grit wears down your drivetrain faster, so bikes (and your wallet) will like a relatively clean chain. I take my bike outside, clamp the park thingy on the chain, fill to the line with some water and a drop or two of good ol' dish soap and backpedal 30 or 40 revs. Lightly spray off with the hose or pour a container of water, wipe excess water with a rag and let air dry for a little while. Later on apply your lube of choice, wait a little while, then backpedal and wipe off the chain until no greasy marks come off anymore. Done. The quick links can be reused many times and (sometimes they can be a little tricky) come off by hand, no tools.

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