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.
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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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    ... and if we just ... General Maintenance/Cleaning for a new bike

    Thanks to all the advice I received, I just took my new Specialized Hardrock out for its inaugural run. The bike was great, and the ride reminded me of exactly how out of shape I really am!

    My question is, what type of cleaning/maintenance should be done after every ride? I'm assuming I should clean off the cassette/chain, but can that be done with water and a brush? Next, what type of lube should I use after it's clean? Lastly, how should I clean the fork? I know I should wipe of the dust/debris, but then should I apply any lubricant to it?

    I'm hoping to make this bike last a long time, so any advice is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    umm, im not too sure myself but i dont know if you have to clean your bike after every single ride. You could just clean it after every second or third ride if you wanted, but if you are really enthusiastic then it wont hurt will it I think water and a brush should work fine, then after that you need to apply grease, ive realized from experience that with a very dry chain, the gears go really bad, and then changing is nowhere near as smooth as a freshly cleaned bike As for the forks, i think just some type of oil, you would have to ask someone else for a specific type if there is one though. Hope this helps Keep on riding.

  3. #3
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    Thanks!

    Thanks for the help. Any additional advice is always welcome!

  4. #4
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    After each ride I wipe down the chain with a rag and reapply lube if needed. I wipe the shock and fork (piston/uppers) down with a clean rag.

    After messy rides or when needed I brush the cassette, jockey wheels and chain rings with a dry Park brush.

    Maybe once a month I will take a softer brush and knock all the dry mud off. On my painted frames I use auto detailer sprayed onto a clean rag to wipe the frame down. On my brushed alu frame I use Mother's metal polish.

    No garden hose, no buckets of soapy water, none of that.

  5. #5
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    jeep nut what do u think of rock n roll extreme lube??

  6. #6
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    I used to be a sucker for trying different lubes, for only a couple of bucks I can snag a little bottle of drivetrain magic in my everlong quest for the perfect lube. I have a pretty good stock of half used lubes in the basement from over the years. The past few years, unless it is a huge mud mess on the trail, I use Maxima dirtbike chain lube. It comes in a large spray can, a bit bigger than a rattle can of spray paint.

    I used to move around a lot (military) and quickly learned trails in location A require different lube thank location B. If you ask the locals on the trails or the folks in your LBS I am sure they will point you in the right direction (the same goes with tires). I now live in MD and have been using the same can of Maxima for about 3 or 4 years now.

    I haven't used Rock N Roll or know anyone that has. That being said, I am the only person I know of that uses Maxima. Rock N Roll might be the next great thing in lube, lube is cheap - so give it a try if you like.

    I use Prolink in 'other' locations on the bike that might need a little lube now and then, and I use Sram chains because they come off for easy cleaning/relubing.

  7. #7
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    First rule....a muddy bike is a happy bike

    There is no need to clean a bike after every ride in most conditions. If you happen to have a wet ride with a lot of fine sandy type of mud, then it's a good idea to clean the entire bike. These conditions are prime for getting grit in all the wrong places.

    In general, pressure washers are a no no. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to run to the carwash, you have to be very cautious of blasting the bike with high pressure. If you use a car wash, you should stand several feet away with the sprayer to get things good and wet and then use the soap brush to do the actually cleaning. Then rinse while again standing several feet away from the bike. Blasting hubs, cranks, and other areas with bushings or bearings can push grit into the bearings and then it's all down hill from there.

    Other than the occasional really wet ride on mountians that seem to have sandy mud, I only clean my bike when it's time to lube the chain or if I'm going to have to do parts repairs/replacement. A good, properly applied wet lube should typically last 2-4 rides. Wax based lubes such as White Lightening will probably last 1-3 dry rides or 1 wet ride. I know have a chain scrubbing machine so now I don't even clean the bike prior to lubing the chain.

    Now for proper chain lubrication with wet lubes:
    1. Clean chain as thoroughly as possible. If you've been riding in really sandy conditions, this will probably require some kind of degreaser (Orange clean works great for this) and either removing the chain and submerging and scrubbing or use of a chain machine. Follow the degrease with some like dish washing soap.
    2. Rinse and dry the chain completely. If degreaser was used, make sure it's all gone. By the way, WD-40 is not a chain lube however it is a very good degreaser. If you felt the need to use it, make sure it's all gone. Any degreaser left behind will just break down the lub you are going to apply.
    3. Mark a starting pin on the chain so you can tell where you started. If you have a master quick link, then you're already set.
    4. Apply a single drop of lube on each roller on the chain. The simplest way to do this is to apply lube to the section of chain between the lower derailleur pulley and the crank, spin crank backward a few times to advance to the next section of unlubed chain, and repeat until you get back to the pin you started on.
    5. Spin crank backward 20-30 times and if possible, go ahead and let it sit for several hours (or until your next ride)
    6. With a clean section of dry cloth (old t-shirts work well), hold the chain while spinning the crank backward. After a few cranks, find a new clean section of the t-shirt and do it again. Keep doing this until there is very little still coming off on the shirt.

    Following these chain lubing instructions, your drivetrain will stay much cleaner for longer and won't be such a pain when it's time to clean it again. Failing to remove the excess lube in step 6 will make the chain attract a lot more dirt. The lube doesn't do any good on the outside of the chain. It only serves a purpose inside the rollers.

    Many people do the old spin the chain backward while flooding the entire chain and rear cassette with lube. This just wastes lots of lube and puts it in all the wrong places. Should you be in a hurry and find it neccessary to lube this way, just be sure to remove all the excess lube using step 6.

    For wax based lubes, you don't really have to be quiet as dillegent with the process because wax lubes are more or less "self cleaning". The main thing is you have to apply and allow time to dry. If you apply wax lube at the trail head and then just take off..you are pretty much wasting your time. If the wax doesn't dry, then it won't lubricate as well and it won't be able to shed dirt as it was designed. Wax lubes should be reapplied after every wet ride. While wet lubes are a little simpler to properly apply since you can use the "flood everything with lube method", they do keep the drive train a little more dirty looking because there is always the wax residue. They also don't last as long, even in dry conditions.

    Hope this helps.

  8. #8
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    As always, thanks for the help. I am very new to the sport and have receieved nothing but great information from everyone on these boards. Thanks again!

  9. #9
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    Rock N' Roll is an excellent lube. Its fairly tenacious, runs clean and quiet.
    Haven't used in in a couple of years (I think) since the local shops don't carry it anymore and I don't order it online anymore. I've been sticking w/ basic pedro's synth. It works in the cold, hot, dry and wet. I'm all over cleaning the drivetrain so I don't mind wet lubes -even when dry ones would do the job.
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