Regular contributor KATH FOURIE gives some advice about taking care of your bike
I am a person who likes to focus on knowing the basics, and leaving the not-so-basic to the experts. For example, I can make a quiche quite happily, but ask me to make a soufflé and I’ll laugh nervously while frantically Googling ‘how to’ videos on my cell phone. I have the same approach with my bikes. Now if I am the pancake maker, my friend JayHound is the French chef of bicycle maintenance. After 13 years of bicycle mechanic experience, what JayHound says goes and these are his top tips on achievable home bike maintenance.
1 If you are too lazy to wash your bike after a ride, the number one thing to do is give your chain a good clean. There are a few different options for this, including use of chain cleaner devices with high quality degreasers. But for a cheap-ass like me, a 5L ice-cream tub, paraffin and toothbrush are the perfect tools. Paraffin doubles as two things, it removes dirt and grease and also acts as type of deep lube. Wait for the chain to dry, but then add your regular lube. Many problems on a bike start from drive chain wear, and that stems from grubby, gritty chains. Jay reckons he has noticed this more with the current trend of single ring drive trains.
2 Then, if you’re less lazy, a proper bike wash is excellent. Stay away from heavy duty degreasers, as all the good lube and grease in the bikes sensitive areas gets broken down and disappears, and seals will change their nature to become hard and brittle. An effective and cheap alternative is car shampoo – but make sure it’s a wax free option! Warm soapy water, a soft sponge, and a hard bristle brush to scrub the cassette and chain rings – and you’re golden. Also, avoid using a high-pressure washer as much as possible, as they force things into pivots and bearings that shouldn’t be in there.
3 And for some suspension care that doesn’t frighten the living daylights out of the common mountain biker, Q8 or equivalent silicone spray can be applied to the stanchions of the fork and the shock. This keeps seals soft, and limits how much dirt sticks to the seals. Every now and then, it also helps to turn your bike upside down for 10 to 20 minutes before a ride to let the oil drain from the lower legs into the bushings. This resoaks the foam rings which gives them a longer life span, and keeps all the little moving parts inside a fork better lubed.