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I have a 6 years old bike, I got it when I was 9. It's a great bike, however I've always had the problem of maintaining it properly. I have a few questions which I hope to get answered here. Before everything.

1. How can I maintain my bike during winters?

I live in a small house in the city, and during winters I often am at a loss when it comes to maintaining my bike because I can't put it in the house (It's a big bike, and the hallway is tiny). After winter the bike often has terrible problems which take me at least a month to fix. They are: Rust, dust, completely useless tires, sometimes even a loose chain, and it makes terrible noise until I oil it. How can I maintain it during winter? I should note I have a tiny tool shed I keep it into. It's not helping by much but it's better than being outside.

2.How long should a bike tire stay pumped?

I very often find my tires loose after 3-4 weeks from the last pump. I'm wondering if this is normal.

3. What are the basic things that you have to do when maintaining your bike?

All these years I have been oiling specific areas of my bike and pumping my tires occasionally but that's pretty much it. Can you tell me other things you can do to maintain your bike at top performance?

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Welcome to the site! I think you'll find that many of these questions have been asked and answered here already, at least in some form. Have a look at these: How much maintenance?, Optimal Maintenance Schedule, How long should a road tyre hold its pressure?, and there are several questions here tagged both winter and maintanance. –  Neil Fein Jan 8 '12 at 18:44
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Also, IMO, this question will get better answers if you focus it more tightly, perhaps asking several questions rather than one complicated one. –  Neil Fein Jan 8 '12 at 18:45
    
Thanks for the warm welcome. I'm asking maintenance advice specifically for my 6 year old bike. Giving the condition and all. –  Bugster Jan 8 '12 at 19:16
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Good point. May I then suggest you tell us more about the bike? Model, make, and possibly even pictures? (We love pictures here!) –  Neil Fein Jan 8 '12 at 20:44
    
A 6 year old bicycle by no means can be considered old. There are people riding 20+ years old bycicles without a problem. But, besides time, bycicles surely can "age badly" if we don't take proper care. If you apply the given suggestions, you'll be surprised with the great results and how nice the bike will feel. –  heltonbiker Jan 9 '12 at 12:15

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

If you must leave a bike outside during winter, the best thing to do is to shelter it as best you can (eg, under an eave, but not in the "dripline") and cover it with a sturdy plastic tarp. The tarp should be tied down well to keep it from blowing off, but should be open at the bottom to allow air in.

Before storing the bike, squirt some chain oil on the chain and sprockets, and squirt some aerosol lube (not WD40 but maybe something like LPS or SuperLube) down the brake and shift cable housings. Dab off excess but leave a good coating.

Ideally, hang the bike or store it upside down, so that the weight is not on the tires. (Standard quality tires and tubes will hold enough air to support a bike without going flat for anywhere from about a month to 6 months, but will only hold enough air to support the rider for 2 days to two weeks.)

Otherwise, maintenance is based on wear. Clean and relube the chain once a season or (ideally) every 500 miles, replace the chain after maybe 2000 (get yourself a chain stretch gauge to check this). Have a bike shop check the sprockets for wear after maybe 5000 miles and then every 1000. Have the wheel and headset bearings relubed every 10,000 miles or so. Replace tires when the tread wears through or when the sidewalls develop cracks. Replace tubes when you replace tires.

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Thanks alot, I'll do just that. –  Bugster Jan 9 '12 at 6:28

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