open topic, for anything cycling related.
I racked up my first 500kms on my new bike today. Pretty chuffed. When I bought it, they said that I should bring it in for its first service after 3 months, but after hearing what I was planning in terms of commuting, they said probably bring it in end of Feb.
Anyway, I am thinking that I would like to do maintainence tasks myself for some things. I am not an expert by any means, but, I have been putting a 'dry lube' on the chain every week. Mind you dry lube is a bit of an oxy moron if you ask me. It's pretty wet when it goes on. I wipe it all off as much as possible as per directions. I check the tires a couple of times a week. So far that is about it.
I have a couple of questions. If I buy the right tools, how easy is it to get the back gear cassette off to clean it? It is getting grime etc from the trips I do and I want it to be clean like when I rode it out of the shop! Is this the kind of tool I need? Although it does say when used in conjunction with another tool....
The other thing I have noticed with this bike (and my old bike for that matter) is that sometimes when I pedal, I get a sqeak from the base of the pedal cranks (?). I don't know the correct term for the part of the bike, but, it is the bit where the cranks that the pedals are joined onto join with the frame. I assume there is an axle thingy in there that I can lubricate somehow, but, am not sure how or where to apply whatever lubricant I need. I want my bike to be quiet and was surprised when a little squeak was let out every now and then.
Finally, the dry lube bugs me. It is meant to clean the chain and gears, but, I am sure that it adds to the grime at the end of the day. Is there something better I can use. A graphite based product perhaps?
Lots to read and I thankyou for taking the time. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks and regards,
You're meant to clean the chain first, then apply the lube. After it sets it shouldn't let more grit stick, but it will inevitably need cleaning sooner or later.
I don't know why you'd want to take the cassette off the wheel to clean it, you should be able to clean any serious grime from it while it's still on the wheel.
I think these days most bottom brackets are sealed, I know myne is, so re greasing is out, when it starts to wobble I'll just replace it. Older bikes may not be sealed, but it's a bit of a pain to take them apart, special tools and all. Chainwise, I notice on Ebay they sell these chain cleaners that you hang on the bike, easier with a servicing stand. you fill the resevoir with cleaner and turn the pedals. The only problem with graphite based grease is they actually attract more crap and then the grease hardens. It is a pain to clean a chain, but it is the best method for long life. Back in the UK we used GT85, which is kinda like WD 40. I am sure they do similar products here. With gears just a wipe down really is the best way.
G'Day Trig. To clean the rear cluster, I took an old hacksaw blade and glued some velcro, (the rough side) to one side, a bit of split broomstick for a handle and Bobs you know the rest. It works on the hoist with the wheel in and just as well with the wheel on the bench.
CLEAN YOUR CHAIN. Lubing a dirty chain just washes crap deeper into the links where it not only chews your chain, but snacks on rings and sprockets too. On bike cleaners do a great job, but tend to splash a bit of solvent about, watch out if you run discs. I use Rock N Roll extreme wax based lube, leave it overnight for the solvent to evaporate, then wipe down before your next ride.
Get your LBS to check out the bottom bracket, the threads in the shell might be dry, or it could be the cranks were fitted to the spindle dry?.
While you'll get a lot of good advice here, and what I type too hanging around the boss mechanic at the LBS asking questions never hurts, just don't forget the adoring, puppy dog eyes
Keeping your baby running sweetly is all part of the fun.
Ditto, don't take your rear cassette off if you don't have to. If you can't find an old hacksaw (I couldn't) at your hardware store go through the brush section. I found a perfect one, very thin and strong plastic 'brushes'.
One of the best investments is a bike stand. The most regular maintenance requires pedalling, ie, setting up the gears or cleaning the chain. When the bike is off the ground it is much much easier.
Regarding the squeek, if it really is a mechanical problem, your bike store should look into it, but here is a funny though, if the squeek is the same for both bikes, could it be that when pedalling your show is rubbing against the tubing? Also and find out if it the pedal (rotating on the cranks) that are sqeeking or really the cranks going through the bottom bracket.
Thanks for the advice everyone. I was a bit nervouse about taking the cassette off, so glad to hear it is not so advisable.
Clean the chain firrst! Duly noted and applied. Will look at doing such this weekend I think.
My shoes aren't rubbing or anything and I am not sure if it is the actual pedal or not. Seems to be on the left side mainly. The old bike I imagine something just needed lubrication. The new one seemed to have lube everywhere that looked like it needed it. I will take it in soon for its first service and see what they have to say.
I might also take a trip to bunnings this weekend to see what sort of brushes and/or other cleaning implements I can improvise!
Thanks again for all the exerienced advise.
There's an easier way to clean the cassette. Go to the $2 shop and get a can of degresser, spay on the cassette (best if the wheel isn't on the bike), leave for one minute and hose off. It will come up like you its been in the diswasher.
A helmet saved my life
When I was working in the electronic industry we had cleaning tools called micro scrubs. A little hard to describe so here's a picture. It's an old well used one.
About 15cm long and 3mm thick. Doubled over they should make good tools for cleaning the cassette.
Same principle as the velcro but designed for the job. Their purpose is to clean metal contacts.
My supply was kindly and unknowingly donated by Telecom but most electronic stores should sell them - EG Jaycar, maybe Dick Smith, etc.
I had this on my tourer, and it turned out to be something unusual. If your bike is fitted with a chain anti suicide plate (anti deraillment plate to stop the chain dropping off of the lower chain ring) you may find the inner chain ring is hitting the plate.
The one I have is made of plastic and created a sqeaking noise. Once I eventually found out what it was, I adjusted the bracket out and fixed it.
Worth a look if the bike is fitted with one.
On my forums, I have a sticky at the top of each forum for tips for that particular topic.
Maybe you could suggest it to Christopher.
Thanks again all for the responses, I will be doing some investigation this weekend. I looked for a maintenance (sp?) forum among the many here before posting in this one. I think it would be a good one to have. It would certainly channel the wealth of information that the experienced people here offer.
Last edited by TriggerFish on Fri Feb 09, 2007 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Hey TF if you get a chance do a search on Ebay Bicycle Chain Cleaner or just type in 180084057013
Talk to the hand
Seriously, this a dead easy way to clean the cassette. Try it.
A helmet saved my life
Actually Mike I use your method anyway, allways have done, parafin based 1st such as Gunk, rinsed and then suitable spray. Allways worked for me. I like to get dirty
Talk to the hand
I agree. I do this myself. Works well on the chain as well. Works extra good if you have a pressure hose. Save money and buy the concertrated version (around $5) and mix it yourself in an atomizer. Works out to be around 20cent a litre.
Silicone spray works pretty well as a chain lubricant that is reletively clean. When dirt and grit get on it, it will flake off, although you might have to regularly re-apply it. The best I've found though is a can on Castrols Motorbike chain oil...super smooth and quiet and lasts a long time.
As for the squeaking noise, check your pedals and cleats (assuming you have clip on pedals). I had a similar noise that turned out to be made from my cleat on the shoe. A blast of silicon spray resolved that problem
Aren't you risking flooding the freewheel and bearings this way?
That sounds pretty good, Mr888. Do you have a name to try?
Have to look at those microscrubs too, thanks for all the info people
Haven't had that problem or hear of it. I guess if the bearings are sealed then it isn't a problem.
Should mention that you don't need to use hight pressure with the water.
A helmet saved my life
I should preface this post by saying that chain maintenance is one of the great areas of conflict, confusion, misinformation and mixed messages. The only reason there isn't a different answer for every cyclist is because a lot of people use the 'ignore it and hope it goes away' technique.
Personally, I'd be wary about squirting anything solvent like near bearings or onto the chain for that matter. Solvents wash away the grease that is there to protect the bits and to lubricate them. Solvents, being thin and solvent like, get into the bearings of your wheels and your chain, washing away the greases in both that are there to protect them. Cleaning with solvents works very well for bearings that will be rebuilt regularly and for chains that will be tossed well before their death (as in a pro racing team or a very keen racer). You'll notice later that I use kerosene sometimes - kero being a relatively mild solvent and it's used in conjunction with a brush and a wash.
Nor is it a good idea to use anything high pressure such as those high pressure hoses. These just force water past the rudimentary seals we have and into the bearings. Most of our bearings actually rely on grease to seal them (especially chains though there are some newer ones that address this). Some systems are better than others but high pressure water and bearings is a corrosive mix.
The challenge is, getting rid of all the grit that sticks to the external layer of grease without damaging that protective layer. Well, that just ain't gonna happen, whatever you do will attack that external layer of grease and, as it does so, starts to intrude on the inner layers ie, into the bearings of the wheels and the chain. But have a look at where the grit is - much of it actually isn't doing much damage while the actual rubbing surfaces are clean - the damage has been done as the grit gets onto your chain.
My personal method, developed over years on both pushbikes and motorbikes, backed up by long chats with mechanics and riders ... and I might add, contradicted by people who've spent years on pushbikes and motorbikes, not to mention all the mechanics and riders who've disagreed with me is:
I use a wet oil. These tend to spread better and lubricate better than the waxes and don't rely on solvents to fully cover the chain (wax vs wet is an almost religious conviction, trouble is, it's not something you can be an aethiest about - you need something other than a good layer of rust).
I fit a new chain and oil it only as needed (ie, it looks 'dry') - do NOT clean a new chain, it is protected inside and out with a better layer of grease than it will ever enjoy again. I try not to over oil and just run the chain lightly through a rag to get rid of the excess - if you don't over oil though, which most people do, you don't need this step. I know a pro racing mechanic who puts just six drops of oil on his chain when oiling it - he's braver than me.
Periodically, like when it needs it (okay, when I remember ), I just re-oil the chain. The chain gets cleaned when I wash the bike by nothing more the washing liquid splashing over the chain and being hosed off. I only put extra effort into the clean if the chain is ultra grotty and gritty and then it's just a quick brush down with kero before washing and re-oiling.
I don't mess about trying to get the grit out of the cassette unless it's really bad when it cops the kero and paintbrush treatment like the chain.
This sounds less than a lot of people do, indeed it less than a lot of people do, but I find that my chains and sprockets (remember the motorbike experience as well) last so well that any shortened life is a non-issue, though in reality, I think my gear probably lasts longer because although I'm not religiously getting rid of all the grit, I'm not damaging the greases that do all the protective work for you. But to be honest, who really knows. Perhaps it just appeals to my lazy streak.
But as I said earlier, this is a controversial subject and not even the experts have any clue as to who is right.
That's right. Start cleaning when dirty. Oil when it looks dry or has got wet.
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