In our wet Juneau environment, our bikes need a little more TLC than those ridden in dry weather. Regular maintenance involving cleaning, greasing and lubricating is important. Chains, cables, seat posts, nuts and bolts will show evidence of rust quickly unless we keep them lubed or greased.
A quick rule of thumb is: if it is threaded, grease it. Parts to think about are:
- rack parts
- water bottle cage bolts
- stem bolts
- headset bolts
- saddle bolts
- seat post clamp bolts
- quick release skewers
Put tape on your seat post where it meets the frame to mark your seat height, and pull out your seat post. Jam a rag inside the seat tube and twist it around to clean it. Wipe the seat post off and apply a light coating of grease on the section of post that sits inside the seat tube and reinstall it. This procedure doesn’t apply to carbon fiber seat posts and frames. Friction paste is best for carbon fiber seat posts. Fork steerer tubes, wheel hub bearings, headset bearings and bottom brackets also need grease. However, it might be best to let a bike mechanic overhaul these components.
A light lubricating oil is essential for maintenance. The most obvious part of the bike that needs lube is the chain. Proper cleaning and lubrication of the chain will be covered in another post. There are a variety of products designed for bike chains, which work well on other parts of the bike too. Less obvious parts are:
- rear derailleur pulley wheels
- brake pivot points
- front and rear derailleur pivot points
- barrel adjusters on the brakes, shifters, and rear derailleurs
One place easily ignored is the cable channel on the frame under the bottom bracket. That area is exposed to grit spraying up from the front wheel which can make it tough for the cables to glide smoothly through the channels. A little light oil dripped into the cable housing can sometimes make shifting or braking smoother. If your cables are a little rusty, wipe them with steel wool or the rough side of a scrubbing sponge until they are smooth and shiny again. If the shifting is still sticky, get new cables and housing.
by Alice Tiernan