Still need to add:
- Other tips from DK
- Any good YouTube videos or other links
Clean Your Bike
This is the easiest bike maintenance you can do to your bike and doesn't really require any skill. Your bike is more fun/enjoyable to ride when it's clean and it's much easier to spot problems with your frame/components when it's not covered with dirt, mud, and grime.
Wipe down and dry your bike if you rode it in the rain or got it too wet. This goes a long way for the longevity of your frame and components. Most material on bikes do not play well with water. Aluminum does not like water, steel does not like water, garden variety stainless steel (home depot, etc.) does not like water. Aluminum hates water even more when interfacing with titanium or carbon (erosion and galvanic corrosion). You get the idea. Keep your bike clean and dry. 8)
Check Brake Pad/Track
Check the pads from time to time to make sure they are clean and without metal deposit, especially after riding in the wet (more on this later).
- If the pad is glazed (shiny smooth), use a piece of sand paper or file to resurface the pad. Make sure no metal deposits are left on the pad afterwards though if you use a file. Obviously, this is assuming most of us won't have a specific file for bike brake pads so the file would have been used for other stuff around the house.
- Keep brake track clean and dry, simple wipe down should work.
- If the track has slight sharp/irregular surfaces, there are specific sanding blocks for resurfacing brake tracks. For me, I would just use a very fine grid sand paper and a block to clean it. Note that most aluminum rims these days start out with a coating that enhance braking. This will wear out over time so degradation to brake performance is expected. If you start noticing a groove in your brake track, it's time to replace the rim. Ask John L. for the consequence otherwise 8)
- Wet braking is extremely harsh on rim brakes because of how close they are to the tires with all the dirt/splashes in close proximity. From my research, the Shimano pads can really chew up aluminum brake tracks in the wet, probably due to the rubber. People's recommendation is the Kool Stop Salmon pads. They don't grab as quickly as the Shimano pads but they offer very good modulation and are much more rim friendly from what I can verify. The part above regarding keeping the track and pad clean applies to disc brakes as well.
De-grease, clean, and lube the drivetrain. Here is a good video on what to do:
At the 2:40 mark, Simon talks about the chain cleaner. That little guy will make your life much easier for this job. 8) When lubing the chain, note which side he is lubing the chain on (inside). Supposedly, this is the 'proper' practice as the outside of the chain is what gets dirty, so you want the lubricant to go from inside out to flush out anything. I can't verify how true this is but it 'sounds' right to me so I just follow it. In California and for the type of riding most of us do, dry or wet lube probably is not going to make much difference. But we do ride on some trails with dirt here and there, and most of us do not ride in the rain anyway, so I would recommend dry lube. Do not just lube the chain when it's dirty! You run the risk of flushing the contaminates inside the chain. At least do a quick wipe down if you are lazy or short on time to do a proper degreasing.