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I just bought a new trek 4900, and I was wondering what I should do to keep it maintained? I've never taken care of my cheaper bikes in the past, so I figure I should start taking care of this one. Obviously, I have to keep the chain lubed. But is there anything else I should do?
 

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Keep it clean

Wah said:
I just bought a new trek 4900, and I was wondering what I should do to keep it maintained? I've never taken care of my cheaper bikes in the past, so I figure I should start taking care of this one. Obviously, I have to keep the chain lubed. But is there anything else I should do?
There is some controversy as to how to best wash a bike. I like to keep my bike clean, so I degrease the chain after every ride, clean the chain / bike with water / rags as needed, dry thoroughly, and re-lube the chain. If the bike is not too dirty, you can simply dust it off between rides. Periodically check over the bike - tires, shock, fork, brakes, etc. Your LBS should be able to give you more specific pointers.
 

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You should be able to get tons of tips on this by using the search function on words like "clean", "maintenance", etc..

*Like Yangpei pointed out, first and foremost, keep the drivetrain clean. It will work better and last longer.
 

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Wah said:
I just bought a new trek 4900, and I was wondering what I should do to keep it maintained? I've never taken care of my cheaper bikes in the past, so I figure I should start taking care of this one. Obviously, I have to keep the chain lubed. But is there anything else I should do?
I learned a lot from the articles here, just about everything you need to know:

www.utahmountainbiking.com
 

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Ditto on buying a book on the subject. There are some great ones out there. Two of the better ones, I think, are Zinnand the art of bicycle maintenance, adn the Bicycling magazine book.

I don't think it's necessary to degrease and re-lube your chain every ride unless you're riding through mud and grit that gets on, and stays on, your chain. Keep it clean enough, keep it lubed when it needs it. If you're worried about it, get a chain gage to check once in a while if it's "stretched." Hardcore riders replace the chain once a year. Some people maybe once in the lifetime of the bike. The reason being that a stretched chain can wear cogs and rings in weird, and not-good ways, that result in full driveline replacement. But if you're not a hardcore rider, you may never get to that point.

But the thing is, that's a long and detailed answer that I've now given to a new guy, who may or may not need chain replacement ever. So it's probably too much information, which can be a bad thing. There's no sense worrying about something that may or may not be relevant for a while. Keep the chain clean, keep it adequately lubed. (ie, not so heavily lubed that dirt and dust stick to it)

Maintenance, like anything else, is best learned one thing at a time, in layers. Learn to keep things clean and lubed. Then when it's boring, learn about whatever is next. If your brakes or derailleurs need adjustment, learn about that. If your headset is clicking, or your wheel bearings are making weird noises, learn about re-packing and adjusting ball bearings. Read the book. Generally, they'll tell you what you should start out with, and tell you how to progress from there.

One thing they will tell you is to buy tools and things as you need them. Procedures are pretty much the same way. Learn to perform them as you need to. Most of the book is reference material for this very reason. There's a lot of technical information in there. Most of it won't make sense. The second time, it may not make sense either. So don't read it until you need it. I haven't read most of what's in my books. I simply haven't gotten to it, or was able to figure it out on my own.

Read the book with the bike in front of you, so you can see what you're reading about. Reading the book without the bike there is pointless, because all of the information in that book has to be understood in the context of the bike. I don't care if you are able to learn the book cover to cover, and recite it word for word. If you can't see it on the bike, it's useless knowledge to you.

The illustrations will only make real sense if you can see the part on the bike, and watch it operate, and it's important that you look at your own bike when you read a certain passage, because every bike is a little different. When you look at the illustrations, you should think of them as something that is there to help you look for that part on your own bike. Your bike is a much better illustration than anything in the book, both because it's 3 dimensional, and because it's the bike you'll actually be working on. Better to have the impression in your mind of the parts on your bike, not the parts in the book, since the bike is what's relevant. It's nice to have the illustrations there, but the bottom line is you need to base all of the knowledge in the book on reality as quickly as you can, so you don't get caught up in the trap of abstract knowledge.

For instance, knowing that there are upper and lower limit screws on a derailleur is all fine and good. Knowing that they are there to set the upper and lower boundaries of the derailleur is cute and conversational. Being familiar with the ones on your bike is a totally different thing. Watching the chain fall off the sprocket when the limits are adjusted too far out is real world experience in why the limits are there. (And hopefully you'll watch this while turning the cranks with your hands, to prevent frame or spoke damage caused by the next pedal stroke.) The reason for the limits is so the chain doesn't fall off. The reason why you don't want it to fall off is so you don't damage the spokes or frame, or jam the chain between the cog and the frame, which would prevent you from pedaling any more. Playing with the limit screws and becoming familiar with all of that, and learning how to properly set those limits will add an entirely different layer to the text, and it will provide you with the lesson you bought the book for. You will have learned something about your bike. And you'll learn to make the connection between written theory and practical application. I know it's tempting to pick up and try to read as much as you want in a brand new book, I can read I can learn, oh, cool... But wait until you're there with your bike to do so. You'll learn far more than you would by just reading.
 

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good pointers from all, another thing that i have done to help me find my way around a bike is just taking apart old bikes, cleaning everything and putting them back together and see if i can get everything running better than it was. this may not be what you are really in to but if you are like me and like taking things apart to see what they do.....

i wouldnt do this with your new bike right away, and i assume no responsibility of anything you break :D
 
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