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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    How often are you supposed to give your bike a full cleaning?

    I know it depends on how much you ride and where you ride, so I guess the question is how do you tell when your bike needs a full inspection and cleaning?

  2. #2
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    Before and after every ride.

  3. #3
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    Are you saying to unassemble relube and reassemble before and after every ride?

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    J/K, the drivetrain should be clean before every ride. Full bike clean once every month or 2 would be good.

  5. #5
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    I'd say it depends on how you define "full cleaning." If that's a strip to bare frame complete overhaul, you'll spend all your time wrenching and no time riding if you do it once a month. Total overkill IMO unless you're spending 5 hours every day on the bike. mimi, I'm not implying that you were recommending this, just want to clarify.

    If it's a pull the cassette, chain, crank, and wheels, clean it all well, and put it back with fresh lube, that's reasonable to do a few times per season. Wipe down between deep cleans and keep the chain lubed properly, and you should be good to go. That first (or last) deep clean of the season might need to go further, and look at bearings, cables, etc.

    This all is assuming moderate time, conditions, etc. If you spend 25 hours a week riding, or see a lot of mud/rain, or do other stuff outside the norm, you might need to do more. If you ride once a week, in the dry, you might be able to get away with less.

    The worst thing you can do is a half-assed bike wash. If you hose it down or spray with solvent, you need to get it all out. Spray can carry contaminants in further than they already were. So now instead of a dusty hub shell, you have dust and water (that makes mud) in your hub bearings. Wiping stuff off with a damp rag is your best bet for a cleaner bike without having to do a full deep clean.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by eric1115 View Post
    I'd say it depends on how you define "full cleaning." If that's a strip to bare frame complete overhaul, you'll spend all your time wrenching and no time riding if you do it once a month. Total overkill IMO unless you're spending 5 hours every day on the bike. mimi, I'm not implying that you were recommending this, just want to clarify.

    If it's a pull the cassette, chain, crank, and wheels, clean it all well, and put it back with fresh lube, that's reasonable to do a few times per season. Wipe down between deep cleans and keep the chain lubed properly, and you should be good to go. That first (or last) deep clean of the season might need to go further, and look at bearings, cables, etc.

    This all is assuming moderate time, conditions, etc. If you spend 25 hours a week riding, or see a lot of mud/rain, or do other stuff outside the norm, you might need to do more. If you ride once a week, in the dry, you might be able to get away with less.

    The worst thing you can do is a half-assed bike wash. If you hose it down or spray with solvent, you need to get it all out. Spray can carry contaminants in further than they already were. So now instead of a dusty hub shell, you have dust and water (that makes mud) in your hub bearings. Wiping stuff off with a damp rag is your best bet for a cleaner bike without having to do a full deep clean.
    I agree with you eric, "full clean" is a bit vague. My definition of a full clean would be a thorough wash but not taken apart parts and relube. My normal before or after ride clean up would be to brush off dirt on my drivetrain. Lube or not is another story as it's not needed sometime.

  7. #7
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    How often does it get "full dirty"?

  8. #8
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    That's a good one AZMTN.

  9. #9
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    Like the others said, I clean the drivetrain before everyride. And, like the other guys mentioned, our conception of "full clean" might well be different. For me a full clean is a complete dismantle, hub and suspension service, detail, lube, cable and housing replacement, etc. I do this once a year during the rainy season. Otherwise, I wipe the bike down once a month in order to inspect the frame and welds.

  10. #10
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    When it rains...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS View Post
    How often does it get "full dirty"?

    Very good question. I'm very new to real mountain biking. I just got my bike a few days ago and have taken it out a total of 2 times, so I can't really tell you how often it gets fully dirty. Nor do I really know what that means.

    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    I agree with you eric, "full clean" is a bit vague. My definition of a full clean would be a thorough wash but not taken apart parts and relube. My normal before or after ride clean up would be to brush off dirt on my drivetrain. Lube or not is another story as it's not needed sometime.
    What do you use to brush it off? Is there a specific tool you're supposed to use?

  12. #12
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    AZ.MTNS was poking fun... but the question is sort of valid. I know living and riding in the mountain west my bike stays a LOT cleaner than it did when I lived in the Midwest. Regular rain and lots of organic matter in the soil meant that very few rides didn't encounter some mud, and some were slop-fests. Now, high mineral content soil and much less rain in the summer means my bike mostly just gets dusty (and not from sitting around). A quick wipe down with a damp (couple squirts of 409) rag every couple rides, lube the chain with a good dry lube (I use Boeshield T9), then wipe off the excess with a dry rag after the lube dries. Good to go!
    -Eric

  13. #13
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    I just finished wiping down my bike from this mornings ride, it rained a few hours beforehand. To wipe the dirt off of the frame I just use a little brush with a handle like this:



    then I wipe it with a wet rag, rub it down with the brush again and finally wipe it down again. Don't use anything with metal bristles, it can damage the bike.

    EDIT: I just noticed how big the brush in the picture is, the one I have is like 4 inches long so it can get into the tight areas.

    EDIT EDIT: This little chain cleaner can also help

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Park-Tool-CM-5-C...item4aad4ed562
    "Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

    Setup:
    11' Giant XTC 2 29er

  14. #14
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    sorry not to thread-jack but how do you guys get grime/dirt/debris off the chain? toothbrush?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by James_spec View Post
    sorry not to thread-jack but how do you guys get grime/dirt/debris off the chain? toothbrush?
    http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...ike+chain&aq=f

    http://www.google.ca/search?sourceid...ean+bike+chain
    "Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

    Setup:
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  16. #16
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    i give my bike the works once a week at least.full wash,including degreasing the chain,chainwheels and cassette.

  17. #17
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    You're supposed to clean bikes??? I assume by this point that crud is the only thing holding my bike together.
    I clean and lube the chain every few rides. Other than that I just ride the wheels off it. Our biking season in MT is relatively short only being 5 or 6 months. At the end of the year I'll hose all the big crap off of it, then drop it off at the LBS for a rebuild/tune up and all the little details are then their problem not mine.

  18. #18
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    I sweat and bleed on mine. Does that count as a wash?

    Honestly, I wipe down the stanchions and the chain (different rags) after every ride. Re-lube the chain every few rides. I inspect the brakes, tire pressure, and fork pressure before each ride.

    Haven't washed it, yet. Really see no reason to do so. It's just going to get dirty on the next ride anyway.
    Contact information: http://about.me/marpilli

  19. #19
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    Yea I could care less if the frame has dirt on it, I'm going to start just cleaning the mech parts that actually affect the performance.
    "Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

    Setup:
    11' Giant XTC 2 29er

  20. #20
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    I do a total rebuild every yr or to that includes tearing down to the frame and cleaning everything. Anything else is pretty much on an "as needed" basis. I'm lazy.

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