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uk elephant
03-08-2006, 08:46 AM
So I have this brand new (month old) bike and love it, but it's doing something that worries me. I'm not good at writing, and now sure how to explain, but I'm hoping someone will be able to think of what the problem is.

I have a very nice new Specialized Tricross, but sometimes the bike just doesn't run smoothly and I can't quite place the problem. I think I came to the conclusion on my ride today that "it" was located in the chain/cog/derailer area. As I was pedalling, it felt like the chain was tugging at something...or was it the crank not moving around smoothly....in any event, I could feel it in the pedals. This has happened before, and I thought it was the pedals because they were very loose. I too the bike back to the shop and they agreed the pedals were too loose and put new ones on. The new ones are fine, not vibrating at all. So I'm back to the chain/cog/derailer. Could it have something to do with mud and rain? I hadn't noticed it for a while, until yesterday (it was raining) and it got worse today (rain and muddy path). Could it be mud clogging things up? Or should I be worried that it's something worse? If so, what could it be?

Hopefully some of you can desciphre my random description and come with some ideas of what it could be.....

Trek420
03-08-2006, 10:14 AM
Yes, absolutely can have a lot to do with mud, gunk, dust, sludge in the works. A clean chain is a happy chain.

I clean the entire bike including power train (chain, deraileurs etc) about every 3 rides, or 300 miles, or whenever the bike "asks" me to, whichever is first.

I've got 4 minutes left on break :eek: but we've got a lot of new bikergals here so there's tons of info re maintenance here.

DebW
03-08-2006, 11:11 AM
It could easily be gunk in the chain and cogs. Clean off the gunk with brushes and solvent (messy job) and then oil the chain. When things look clean, stand your bike against a wall and run the pedals backwards. The chain should run smoothly through the cogs. If it makes little jerks as it goes around a cog or through the jockey wheels, you have a stiff link in the chain. Your LBS can fit it in 2 minutes, or get yourself a chain tool and do it yourself. Other things to check: remove the chain from the front chainrings and grasp the two crank arms. See if the crank arms move relative to each other. See if the crank arms move in and out relative to the bike. Check that the chainring bolts are firmly tightened with no play in the chainrings relative to the crank arms. Check that the rear derailleur had no sideways play but moves front-to-back on it's spring. Since your LBS recently checked the bike, these things are unlikely, but occassionally something will loosen unexpectedly.

bcipam
03-08-2006, 11:25 AM
Do you understand what "trimming" is? Sometimes a bike is in a "half-gear" and needs to be trimmed. Using your shifters, click it slightly or move it into another gear and see if the problem doesn't go away.

Trimming seems to be a common "newbie" problem. If you don't still understand, ask the bike shop to explain properly.

Trek420
03-08-2006, 12:58 PM
bcipam,

can you trim with Shimano? thought only Campy does that?

uk,

good place to start here with basics of cleaning and bike lube

http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showthread.php?t=4274&highlight=lube


and here

http://www.teamestrogen.com/articles/asa_happy.asp

take care of your bike, it'll take care of you.

bcipam
03-08-2006, 01:34 PM
Never ridden with Campy - only Shimano and yes I can trim although I think it may not work as well with lower end components. I ride with Ultegra and Dura Ace.

uk elephant
03-08-2006, 02:53 PM
thank you all for helping out!

I did clean the bike when I got in today, though not very thoroughly I must admit as I don't have all the proper supplies. I'll get that sorted, and ask the neighbour about using the garden hose and then give the bike a thorough clean on the week-end.

I'll check out the chain etc as suggested tomorrow when it's light out again and I'm on a short ride to work. Hopefully I won't find anything too seriously wrong. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thank you again!!!

bcipam
03-08-2006, 03:13 PM
EEEKKKK!!!! No hose, no water. :eek: :eek: :eek:

If the bike is really muddy, let the mud dry and using an old paint brush, brush it off. Water can get into the bottom brackets and other places where it's unwanted and cause havoc. Use a rag and sweep off as much dirt as possible. You can use something like Pledge (spray furniture oil) to help clean the bike but best a clean rag, some good lube such as Pedro's or Pro Link, a old paint brush, and just old fashion elbow grease. Make sure after the bike is cleaned, that you lube everything up nice. Again I would suggest something like Pro Link or Pedro's Dry. Make sure you wipe off all the excess lube. You can use Q-Tips to get into small, dirty places if necessary. Just trust me on this, no water on your bike and it will thank you!!!!

SadieKate
03-08-2006, 03:39 PM
UK has a cross bike so it isn't as delicate as the average road bike. Though I will very gently clean my road bikes with a hose about once a year. The mountain bikes get washed like this regularly.

UK, be sure you don't use any pressure from the hose and don't aim it at any openings like the seat post collar, headset, bottle cage bolts, bottom bracket, etc. This is one time when dribbling is good. :D Be sure you get every thing bone dry (bring it in the house if necessary or use an hairdryer) and grease really well after.

http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=14
http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,3253,s1-2204,00.html?category_id=365

Trek420, Shimano shifters will trim a couple clicks (I think only on the smaller of the 2 rings on a triple). Campy, as you know, has a lot of minute trim clicks.

UK, this thread got me to thinking. Could you be cross gearing? Do you have a triple or a double crankset on that bike?

www.parktool.com has loads of good info.

Trek420
03-08-2006, 05:38 PM
thanks bcipam for posting "EEEKKKK!!!! No hose, no water :eek: :eek: :eek:" :p :p :p

Exactly what I was thinking while I worked :eek:

OK, gotta go pick up Bikeless's bike, whew ;) glad the TE gals intervened before UK took the bike through the drive through car wash :p ;)

SadieKate
03-08-2006, 06:34 PM
If UK is riding her bike in all kinds of weather the way she describes, she cannot clean the bike without water and cleaner. Too much gunk comes of the road. If she's taking it off pavement, it'll get even dirtier. We're not talking the normal road grime most of us get on our road bikes. Her chain needs more than a wipe down.

Lube on the chainstay, spilled energy drink, chain cleaner, road oil, mud -- it will not come completely clean with a brush and elbow grease and you'll have to be very careful not to scratch your bike with this approach. You have to at least use a very damp rag.

Pro mechanics everywhere recommend it. Here's more. Pro mechanics are known to spend all night washing bikes for the next day's race.
http://www.bikesportmichigan.com/bikes/prevent.shtml

In their instructions, Park Tool shows washing an old school steel Bottecchia. If that bike can handle it, a modern sealed bearing aluminum Specialized can handle it.

Trek420
03-08-2006, 07:31 PM
UK, when Sadiekate says to grease the bike we mean bike specicic lubericant, not WD40, motor oil, canola oil.

Rule of thumb don't lube the bike without cleaning first, don't clean it without lube after.

I keep a bucket with my supplies; citrus degreaser, shop rags, stiff wire brush, park chain cleaning tool...what else is in here? A clean lubed bike runs better, lasts longer, saves you $$....

"Trek420, Shimano shifters will trim a couple clicks (I think only on the smaller of the 2 rings on a triple). Campy, as you know, has a lot of minute trim clicks."

Yep, Campy has lots of little cliques, oops clicks :rolleyes:

uk elephant
03-09-2006, 03:32 AM
Ok, now I'm a bit confused. Clean the bike with no water? But I'm riding it in rain and snow....surely that involves water....and everything else I've tried cleaning, won't come clean without some warm water and soap....

As for the gears, I have two cogs in the front and eight in the back. The small cog in the front has two settings (half click to the right when using the small cogs in the back). I try not to use the large cogs both front and back at the same time, as I understand that puts too much strain on the chain. Anything else I need to be aware of?

I gave the bike a quick clean when I came home last night and that did seem to help. It was running much better this morning. But then I got to the muddy stretch on my commute this morning and it got worse again. So I've come to the conclusion that it must just need a thorough cleaning and re-lubing. My plan is to stock up on the necessary supplies when I get home tonight (if any LBS is still open, if not tomorrow morning) and then give the bike a thorough cleaning and lots of TLC this week-end. But in the meantime, keep the tips coming. Especially on how to best clean the bike....how often....with or without water....

SadieKate
03-09-2006, 07:41 AM
UK, read www.parktool.com.

These guys know it all. Lots of good info on there including an interactive bike diagram you can point to for info on that area of the bike.

bcipam
03-09-2006, 10:35 AM
UK - just a word of caution since there are mixed reviews on this. I would never ever think of using water on my road bikes but I did use a hose on my mountain bikes. Here in California I do alot of MTB rides through water, mud and sand. I just had to spend several $100 dollars having my Fisher rebuilt cause I got water in the bottom bracket and some other places. The mechanic has cautioned me to not ever again use water on the bike. If I do, no hose. Use a bucket and wash rag and very gently sponge off dirt being careful around the bottom bracket (this holds your cranks) and any place water can seep in. I've actually started cleaning my hardtail without water, and it's been surprisenly easy. I bought some large paint brushes and once the mud and sand drys, it was easy to brush it off and then polish the bike and give it a god lube. The mechanic also told me MTB and cross bikes ndon't have to be kept as clean as a road bike, a good "brushing" and lube is fine and then once or twice a year, the bike should be torn apart and thoroughly cleaned using solvents, and bike specific washing materials.

bcipam
03-09-2006, 10:39 AM
As for the gears, I have two cogs in the front and eight in the back. The small cog in the front has two settings (half click to the right when using the small cogs in the back). I try not to use the large cogs both front and back at the same time, as I understand that puts too much strain on the chain. Anything else I need to be aware of?

....

Are you possibly "cross-chaining"? For instance if the chain is on the big ring in front, do you go to the largest chain ring in back? If so, this causes "cross-chaining" and the chain will grind against the rear derailleur. If in the big gear, and it's starting to get tough to climb or ride, drop down tot eh smaller ring in front and then use the rear rings to go to granny if needed. This will keep the chain from grinding. Again if I can't explain it properly - ask your bike shop but it seems you do understand cross-chaining.

CorsairMac
03-09-2006, 11:10 AM
Here's my 2p worth: you said you've had the bike a month?....have you taken it back to have all the cables checked? Most cables will stretch over time and they recommended with new bikes to have them checked the first 30 days.

DirtDiva
03-09-2006, 12:02 PM
There is no way, no how Essex mud is going to come off dry; I've tried,and I can tell you that the stuff is at least 30% Superglue. :eek: Much easier to clean whilst still maleable. elephant - you can get a whole kit of Muc-Off cleaning stuff (brushes, detergent, sponge, bucket, bike spray) for about thirty quid. Chould be a good place to start...

http://www.muc-off.co.uk/bicyclekit.html

bcipam
03-09-2006, 01:08 PM
Here's my 2p worth: you said you've had the bike a month?....have you taken it back to have all the cables checked? Most cables will stretch over time and they recommended with new bikes to have them checked the first 30 days.

Excellent observation and recommendation!

Loose cables can cause shifting problems. Make sure you go back in for your 30 day tune up.

Dianyla
03-09-2006, 04:30 PM
I've always used running water to clean bikes and motorcycles, however there is an important point to make... Don't squirt the water directly at the crank bearing or wheel hubs. Never use a pressure washer, and don't even use a squirty-nozzle that pressurizes the water stream in any way. Don't even use your thumb over the tip of the hose to make a stiffer stream. The best is if you have a mister/showerhead style nozzle designed for softly misting the foliage of delicate garden plants.

A light drizzle of water lightly aimed at the body parts of the bike can work very well at cleaning. Basically seals and grease in hubs and bearings are meant to withstand a reasonable amount of moisture such as rain and water spray. So, keep your hose spray as "rainlike" as possible and you'll usually be ok. This all being said, if bikes are run wet in the rain or washed off often, you should service your bearings and hubs more often.

Trek420
03-09-2006, 07:24 PM
eliphant, the Muc-off sounds like a good start.

Yes, take the bike in for a check up and while you're there have them show you how to clean the bike and/or get supplies.

My routine, by no means the best is kinda this:
================================
1) admire bike. ;)

2) use shop cloth or chamois to dust bike, check for scratches and or rust (one of these days I'll fix/paint that on the MTB)

3) take wire brush and lightly brush the chain/cogs/deraileure

4) spray a little WD40 on clean shop cloth and wipe the chain (some here will swear never use WD on a bike, my shop says this gets more gunk off, like pre-rinsing dishes, this is optional)

5) fill Park chain clean tool to level with Citrus degreaser and run the chain backwards through it till squeaky clean.

6) let dry

7) run a line of chain lube on the chain, pedal backwards (bike is on bike rack) and shift through the gears so the lube is distibuted evenly.

8) optional step, clean the frame with frame cleaner or other product

9) admire clean bike. ;)

10) ride till you need to repeat steps 1-9

Duck on Wheels
03-09-2006, 07:25 PM
Back on the farm I remember Joel and I used to clean our bikes and chains using kerosene. We'd tap off a washbowl of kerosene from the tank for the chick heaters, take the chains off the bikes, then scroll them through the kerosene scrubbing with cleaning brushes and rags as we went. Finally drip some chain oil (I think we used sewing machine oil) on as we rolled them back onto the cogs, and wipe the bike frame with the cleanest part of a kerosene-damp rag. This was waaaay back when we still had chickens and lived at the old house. I can't have been 10 yet, Joel no more than 12. I have no idea why your grandparents let us use flammable liquids with no supervision (or maybe they were watching carefully and we just didn't notice). We did have a specific place for the flammable rags afterwards! Anyway, you're a grownup now so you could certainly do this safely on your own. Also there are chain cleaning fluids that might work better, though they're likely to be more expensive. And I think you're right that since you're riding in rain and mud, it can't do all that much damage to use water as long as you dry and oil the bike well right away.

Trek420
03-09-2006, 07:40 PM
bikeless in WI "I have no idea why your grandparents let us use flammable liquids with no supervision"

and we ran with scissors :eek: and took said bikes to the top of Warrington and rode down till the brakes melted and and ....

"Also there are specific chain cleaning fluids that might work better, though they're likely to be more expensive."

There are bike specific everything :) all more expensive than non bike specific things.... but cleaning/repair supplies...it's all less expensive than replacing my power train. Or the bike :eek:

"And I think you're right that since you're riding in rain and mud, it can't do all that much damage to use water as long as you dry and oil the bike well right away."

It can if you get it in the delicate bike parts, so follow what Sadiekate sed :D

Duck on Wheels
03-09-2006, 08:11 PM
bikeless
and we ran with scissors :eek: and took said bikes to the top of Warrington and rode down till the brakes melted and and ....


Yeah, and I ran through the window playing multiplication tag indoors once. Still have the scar. But as for melting down brake pads racing down Warrington ... I never dared. There were blackberry bushes at the bottom of that hill! :eek: And cars if you didn't manage to stop by crashing into the blackberries. :eek: :eek:

But we did survive, somehow. As did you, Elifant. But do listen to Trek about bike cleaning. I manage somehow, but she actually cares for a beauty of a bike! And even with my clunkers, it's kinda fun cleaning 'em once in a while. The bike sorta gleems and purrs in appreciation. Almost like brushing the cat.

Trek420
03-09-2006, 09:05 PM
multiplication tag?

"it's kinda fun cleaning 'em once in a while. The bike sorta gleems and purrs in appreciation. Almost like brushing the cat"

More like brushing a dog, because like dogs our bikes appreciate it. :) speaking of which, I should brush the dog

uk elephant
03-10-2006, 12:58 AM
My cat also appreciates a good brushing. In fact she loves it at least judging by the loud purring and the fact that she comes running if you pick up the brush.

I did take the bike in to get breaks and gears checked a week ago so that should be taken care of. Bike cleaning supplies is on my shopping list for today (along with milk, cereal, potatoes etc), and bike maintanence is scheduled for tomorrow (along with Amnesty International meeting). I'll let you know how I get on or how the bike gets on.

Thank you for all your good tips!

Duck on Wheels
03-21-2006, 07:43 AM
You got an avatar :D 'Zat you maneuvering bike and a big bag of cleaning gear up your narrow stairs?

uk elephant
03-21-2006, 08:41 AM
it is me manouvering cat to vet by bike....

CorsairMac
03-21-2006, 09:38 AM
it is me manouvering cat to vet by bike....

wouldn't it have been easier to just duct tape the cat to the rack?? :p