Talk to me about bike maintenance

I’ve had my bike for a little over a year now. It’s a 2019 Giant Advanced Revolt 1. I bought it from my brother in law. He had it serviced each winter. I’ve put about 2200km on it since July 2022. 99.9% of that riding has been dry conditions, a lot of miles on Boomer and Schummer. My guess is 65% gravel roads, 35% paved.

I’m wondering what maintenance I should do to it. Didn’t come with an owner’s manual.

I believe it has a press in bottom bracket.

It’s not giving me any grief, no noises etc. I suppose I could try removing it and removing the seals and palm repacking the bearings.

Do I need to do anything with the bearings on the wheels/hubs? It has thru axles, (I believe 12mm)

It shifts fine. once in a while, it’ll make a bad shift where you hear it trying to climb or fall into the next ring at the back, but I just go past and then come back to the desired gear and it pedals fine after that. Not everytime, but once in a while. It happens so rarely, that I don’t even know which cogs it does it on.

My headset seems tight. No rocking to speak of on the front fork.

I am a tool junkie. I would prefer to buy the BB press (or make one from various auto bearing packing sets I have) and the bottom bracket removal tool if I need one; and do the work myself.

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what do you consider yearly maintenace for your bike?

I have my regular stuff that I’ve gotten better at being on top of from riding gravel – regular cleaning of the bike, cleaning an lubing of the chain.

Gravel – especially in wet conditions – is tough on the drivetrain, so I also check chain wear (I finally bought the tool after trying to do it with a ruler!) and replace the chain when needed; I did the P2A in the spring which was particularly gritty and ended up also changing the rear gearset.

I keep an eye on tire wear and replace when they get low, but that’s pretty variable.

My gravel bike has mech discs, so there is also periodic pad adjustment and replacement.

Other than that – I mostly watch and listen. Most bearings are sealed, so it’s a questions of listening for new sounds and observing how moving parts move. Again, after P2A I could tell the front wheel wasn’t spinning as well – took that into McPhails and they cleaned/lubed the wheel bearings and adjusted the headset and recommended the headset would probably need replacement at the end of this season. But, that’s after some winter riding and P2A which seemed to greatly accelerate wear.

Cables do stretch and wear, but I mainly wait until there is a reason to change them (poor shifting/braking even after adjustment). Mostly, I focus on cleaning, lubing and adjusting and replace as needed.

Maintenance is more km and conditioned based then time. 2200km isn’t a lot for most components.

Check the obvious to start with, tire and brake pad life. Most neglected wear part is the chain, you pretty much want a chain checker to keep an eye on this. If it is too far stretched your choice is wait and then have to replace the cassette at the same time and possibly the chainring. Or change it now and hope that the other parts mesh, if it starts skipping then you know it is time to replace other parts.

Checking that all the bolts are torqued and possibly removing and reinstalling.

Check the wheels are reasonably true and that the spoke tension is reasonable (disc wheels generally won’t have the same tension both sides). I think the wheels will be a sealed cartridge bearings, if so then they are service free until they need replacing, just check they are running freely. if they are cup and cone then they will need cleaning and repacking, you will need cone wrenches for this.

If the crank is spinning freely and there is no side to side wobble then the BB is fine. Some BB will fail in a few thousand K others will last a lifetime. Problem with BB tools is that there are a million standards, and it feels like I need a new tool every couple of bikes.

You could take the headset out and clean and check that it is good. You could bleed the brakes as it is dot fluid and only lasts so long. You could change the shifter housing and cable if it doesn’t feel smooth.

Most parts have torque specs on them, if not check on line and don’t over torque.

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thx folks. gives me a good understanding on what i should look out for.

i do have a basic chain checker, but it starts at .75 wear. Maybe I should get one that measures more minute wear.

i am running 2 chains on my bike and hot waxing them after 300-400km riding. I just started using a drip wax lube on them after the 1st few weeks of riding them in.

Tech documents suggest to replace at 0.5 for 11 speed and above. I have got to 0.75 plenty of times and have been fine. I’ve been using the park CC-2 for years as it gives you a better idea of how close you are. Having said that SRAM says they aren’t compatible with the latest 12 speed chains.

SRAM recommends replacing the chain at 0.8% elongation.
MTB and Road Cassette and Chains
I couldn’t find the Shimano spec but I believe it was 0.75% wear.

Although both SRAM and Shimano are motived to sell more bicycle parts means they might not be optimizing for the lowest overall maintenance costs.

I would completely agree with replacing 12 speed chain at 0.5 especially for MTBs. We have ruined at least 1 SRAM cassette by running the chain until fully at 0.75. And the higher-end cassettes for MTBs are really expensive (>> $400) so I think it makes sense to replace earlier then that.
For 11 speed I’m a little less concerned since the cassettes are much more reasonable…but at the same time the chains are cheaper too.

For the bikes in my family we try to replace 11 speed chains just before they hit 0.75, and 12 speed MTB chains when the are just past 0.5. But we have switched to hot waxing and only using the SRAM X01 or XT chains for 12 speed which has increased the chain lifetime considerably :slightly_smiling_face:

Thx for the chain advice. Will look at getting a chain measuring tool with more precision than the one I have.