Sometimes when your job is working on bikes you start to forget why you’re doing what your doing. You start to wonder how important it is to do what you’re doing. So, this year I treated my own bicycles different. Instead of tuning them regularly, oiling them regularly and replacing worn parts I decided just to ride them with minimal involvement. It’s important for me to do things like this so I don’t get set in my ways and I constantly evolve my idea on how to fix your bike!
It is important to note that I did wash them occasionally and add some oil. Except on one bike, one bike I completely neglected, I rode it very hard, left it in the rain hardly ever oiled it and didn’t ever clean it. And after riding them all summer of ’15, here we are January of ’16 and I’ve inspected and started the maintenance process.
So my “beater” is a Trek Lync 3 which I’ve added drop bars to. I use it for family rides, hauling kids, hauling trailers, wet weather, off road and trips to the store. This is the bike I did the least maintenance to. The hubs feel a little rougher, there’s a little more rust, the cables aren’t too smooth but yet the bike still rides. My biggest concern is the chain but for now it’s OK. Long term I can see that things are going to wear out on this since I didn’t do preventive maintenance.
My mountain bike – my mountain bike is a Trek Stache 9 which is pretty much stock. I raced the Muskingum Enduro on it, did a lot of Dillon riding on it. I did add some grease to the drive train and wash the bike occasionally, other than that, not much. There’s only one mechanical cable and it needs to be replaced to work well but is fairly decent.. The cassette does look pretty haggard and the chain looks OK. MTB cassettes usually look haggard because of the conditions they see. The bike does sit higher in the line and this is important to note because the components can take more. Over all the bike is good. Things are slightly more worn on this bike but nothing seems on the verge of wearing out. Some cleaning and maintenance protected it for sure. A full cleaning, lubing, tune up with chain replace and cassette and this feels new.
My road bike – my road bike is a Project One Trek Emonda. This is by far my favorite bike, my most prized bike and the hardest one not to obsess over. I’m not going to lie, it was difficult not tuning it up every month. I didn’t tune it up once. I washed it and kept it oiled but didn’t do anything close to what I would normally do. It was amazing that I though around December of ’15 that I was too much of a maintenance freak before and everything was wrong. Well, here I am to tell you that that line of thinking was wrong. After completely disassembling the bike, cleaning, inspecting, lubricating it and adding new cables the bike feels way better by a ton. I didn’t replace the chain even though it measures needing replaced and it doesn’t shift as crisp as it should.
All in all I would recommend learning basics, like cleaning the bike and lubing the bike and then having the bike tuned up seasonally if you ride regularly. If you ride for sport then I would recommend an overhaul annually and a tune up mid season. This steps are preventive to make sure your bike keeps going instead of one day being too far gone.