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Member Question: How to Maintain My Bike?
I bought a new road bike in April and want to know how to properly maintain it during the season when I'm riding often and during the off season.
Question from ariadnem
I bought a new road bike in April (first one in 15 years!) and want to know how to properly maintain it (1) during the season when I'm riding often and (2) during the off season when I'm too chicken to ride in the below 30 degree weather. It's a Trek Madone WSD.
I clean my chain with Park tool's chain cleaning system (the big blue plastic thing you clamp on the chain + their chain cleaner) about once per month and then follow with White Lightning as my lube. I ride about 50 miles per week or less right now. Is that sufficient for maintenance purposes? Is there anything I should use that is more effective? What about more earth friendly? What else should I be doing that the "average" person can do to keep things up? How should I clean the frame (carbon)?
Finally, what do I need to do before I store my bike for the season? (And yes, I plan to take it to my local bike shop at least once per season for a big tune up.)
Answer from Mark
The best way to wash any bicycle is with warm, soapy water (Dawn is exceptionally good for this, but avoid the anti-bacterial soaps for more environmental-friendly cleaning). I use a wallpaper brush for the big stuff: it holds a lot of soapy water, has relatively long bristles, and L-O-T-S of surface area. You can get various cleaning kits from Pedro’s or other manufacturers that have an assortment of brushes or visit your local home goods warehouse store and look around for specific brushes.
Your maintenance schedule sounds like an excellent start, the drivetrain is crucial to proper shifting and longevity of your components. As long as the chain is lubed properly and clean, you’ll experience far fewer problems.
Additional maintenance items would be the derailleurs and brakes. I’d recommend getting TriFlow lubricant which can be used on derailleur pivots (there are 10 or more pivots on the rear derailleur and about half that on the front derailleur), brake pivots, cables, chain, even some pedals, shifters, and bearings in a pinch. Use a drop or two at each of the derailleur pivots including the pulley wheels, and the brake pivots.
The brake pads can be lightly sanded with 100-120 grit sandpaper to remove the “flash” and make them smooth again. You can clean the rim surfaces with alcohol to remove grease and brake pad dust. Check your tires for embedded glass/rocks/debris and make note of any gashes that go through more than just the outer tire surface. Store your bike at the end of the season after you have cleaned and lubricated it and you should be ready to go in the spring with just new air in your tires!
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