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Maintenence on neglected bicycle

DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
edited June 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I have a bike that hasn't been used in 4-5 years. What steps should I take to get it up and ready to ride? Currently all I am planning on doing is putting the tires up to pressure and applying some oil to the moving parts. Anything I'm missing?

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  • RecklessReckless Registered User
    edited June 2009
    If I were you, I'd take it down to a local shop and ask them to give it the works, just to be on the safe side. You don't want to be rolling 25mph downhill when you realize your brakes are crap and needed replacement. Before I took my bike to school, my shop did about $100 worth of work to it. They replaced pads, the chain, cleaned things up, and gave it a general overhaul.

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  • EncEnc FloridaRegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Check and make sure the chain isn't rusted and can take use. Flip the bike and work the pedals in your garage. Do all of the segments of the chain operate normally? If it has gears, make sure you can still shift up and down through all of them.

    Also, check the seat and cushion. Nasties can live inside that foam for years only to crawl out mid-ride. Depending on where you live, these can be pretty scary (I had a scorpion on my leg! D: ).

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  • The SaviorThe Savior Registered User
    edited June 2009
    Instead of just oiling the chain, I recommend a 2 parts oil to 1 part mineral spirits mix. The spirits will work to get gunk out of the chain while the oil lubes. You can use commercial chain lubes, but DIY is more satisfying.

    As far as what other work needs to be done, that depends on how the bike is holding up. Pump up the tires (they might be going bad by now, BTW), lube things and take it around the block. As long as it stops/shifts alright, I'd say you're ready to roll.

  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Where has it been stored? If it's been stored in the dry oiling the moving parts and reinflating the tyres should be enough to get it rolling. I'd probably fit new brake pads (because they tend to perish) and probably replace the brake cables just in case. Condensation in brake lines is not kind to cables over time.

    Gear cables I'd be less concerned about because they don't take as much tension, but be aware that the chances are a couple of things are going to break with use if you don't get it looked at by someone that knows what they're doing.

  • ElrosstElrosst Registered User
    edited June 2009
    Reckless wrote: »
    If I were you, I'd take it down to a local shop and ask them to give it the works, just to be on the safe side. You don't want to be rolling 25mph downhill when you realize your brakes are crap and needed replacement. Before I took my bike to school, my shop did about $100 worth of work to it. They replaced pads, the chain, cleaned things up, and gave it a general overhaul.

    This, especially if you aren't too bike-savvy. At the very least, a new chain is cheap (match length w old chain), new brake pads, new tubes in case of rot, along with checking for spiders and creepy-crawlies.


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  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Thanks for the advice, everyone. It's currently being stored hanging from the ceiling of my garage. As far as the climate of that space, it's generally between 40-80 degrees Fahrenheit -- depending on the season -- and rather dry. I haven't pulled it down from the hooks yet, but I'll probably do that today and take a quick look over. Definitely considering taking it to a bike shop just to be sure that the brakes/tires are sound. It's pretty dusty/dirty, so I'll probably also give it a wash to check for any critters.

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  • BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    WD40 works wonders. New tires and tubes could be a good idea if there are cracks when you give the tires a massage before trying to inflate them.

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  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    WD40 works wonders.

    Just don't use it as a lubricant.

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  • LavaKnightLavaKnight Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Yeah, use a proper bike lube for the chain and not oil/wd40.

    Make sure the chain is not so rusty and all the gears are cleaned out and everything. If you wash it down, make sure to lube it up with the proper lube afterward.

  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    eh, just pup up the tires and you will be fine. if you are feeling ambitious get a bike chain lube and use that.

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  • Seattle ThreadSeattle Thread King of the Forest Camphor TreeRegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Get a bit of steel wool and clean the rims, along where the brake pads touch. Additionally, brake pads are cheap, and only take about five minutes to replace. That, along with a chain lube and some reinflated tires, should make you road worthy enough for a casual ride.

  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Took the bike into a local shop, and am now getting the wheels trued, brakes adjusted, and gear-shifter checked for any defects. Thanks for the advice, I think I should be all set now. :)

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