Truly maintenance free??

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Truly maintenance free??

Postby mill4six » 28 Mar 2010, 1:32pm

My commute is 15 miles of red gravel towpath. My bike has evolved in haphazard fashion as I try to achieve true low maintenance, somewhat unsuccesfully. With the last few months of horizontal rain, broken branches, ice wind and snow things have not gone well. In 3 years I've chewed up 2 Nexus 8 hubs (red stripe) one cheap and nasty coaster brake hub (this might have been a success if I'd shelled out for a shimano one) and one freehub body. I converted to singlespeed to eliminate gear worries but have ended up with a tensioner. This morning I fitted a new wheel with new freehub and hope to be mobile again. On the plus side the BB and front hub and roller brake, which has been truly zero maintenance, seem fine. So if the freehub goes I suppose I can eliminate it by going fixed but I now have a collection of rims with ruined hubs :( Well come on then, what is a true no maintenance bike, bearing in mind this one usually wears half it's own weight in mud??? Shaft drive? Don't suggest regular cleaning, at 6:30 pm every night when I stagger in, I'm heading for a cuppa, food and bath :D

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Re: Truly maintenance free??

Postby GrahamNR17 » 28 Mar 2010, 1:37pm

Alas maintenance-free cannot exist. Well, not for as long as your bike involves moving metal parts against other metal parts. You could just stand it in the garage and get a bus, but that costs more than just looking after your bike :roll:

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Re: Truly maintenance free??

Postby rogerzilla » 28 Mar 2010, 2:18pm

Fixed or singlespeed without a tensioner are pretty good. The chain is tight, so can't be derailed by grit (it just gets spat out) and there are very few moving parts. My fixed commuting bike gets the chain cleaned every 6 weeks or so, but apart from that it only gets the tyres topped up between October and March. If you have a singlespeed, the expensive freewheels are better-sealed and also rounder, meaning you can get the chain properly tightened. Cheap ones will allow grit in, and freewheels are never fun to remove.

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Re: Truly maintenance free??

Postby pete75 » 28 Mar 2010, 2:28pm

No such think as no maintenance but there is low maintenance and I'd suggest the closest to a no maintenance bike ever made is the traditional type of roadster like the Raleigh superb with SA hub gears and dynamo , rod brakes, full oil bath chaincase etc. The bikes had only one cable to stretch, wheels with a type of rim Sheldon Brown describes as the strongest ever made , a permanently lubricated chain protected from grit and moisture etc. Only drawback really is that they are somewhat heavy - about 3 stone.

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Re: Truly maintenance free??

Postby MikeMarsUK » 28 Mar 2010, 2:30pm

mill4six wrote:...what is a true no maintenance bike...

A truly maintenance-free bike would be one that you throw away every few weeks (whenever the chain needs cleaning, tyres pumping up, etc!). In more practical terms, there is no such thing - all you can do is reduce the maintenance rather than entirely eliminating it.

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Re: Truly maintenance free??

Postby fraxinus » 28 Mar 2010, 5:44pm

Have you seen those belt drive Treks ? No chain cleaning sounds good to me. ... /district/
So many bike rides so little time

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Re: Truly maintenance free??

Postby corshamjim » 28 Mar 2010, 7:57pm

I bought my Pashley Paramount about a year ago in the hope it would be very low maintenance for my 4 mile each way commute on rural (often muddy) roads. So far so good - it seems to be going very well after cycling all weathers through the winter and with very little extra maintenance except a liberal spraying of everything with TF2 once in a while. I do try to keep it clean when I have the time, but agree, during winter I'm not going to spend much time cleaning it when it's usually either too bloomin' cold or too dark to see.

The only modifications I would make to it for even lower maintenance would be a hub dynamo (I added a bottle dynamo which hasn't been without its problems), and a plastic saddle - the Brooks saddle does of course need some attention (effort well worth it IMO).
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Re: Truly maintenance free??

Postby FATGAZZER » 28 Mar 2010, 11:11pm

what about this.
Image Attachments
penny farthing.jpg
Wouln't fancy the towpath though

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Re: Truly maintenance free??

Postby random37 » 29 Mar 2010, 1:15am

What I have been experimenting with recently is a chain lubricated with a mixture of candlewax and engine oil. I put them in a redundant slow cooker, drop the chain into the mixture and all the dirt floats up to the surface.

But yes, an oilbath chaincase, single gear and rod brake roadster would be hard to beat.

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Re: Truly maintenance free??

Postby Pugwash » 29 Mar 2010, 2:12pm ... king-bike/

Maybe one of these - A bike with a driveshaft.

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Re: Truly maintenance free??

Postby [XAP]Bob » 29 Mar 2010, 2:49pm

Apparently, they lose up to 5% over chain-driven bikes in efficiency, but who cares?

I presume that's over a well maintained chain - so it's probably not bad at all....

Although with limited power to start it's probably not a race/long range tourer.
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Re: Truly maintenance free??

Postby djnotts » 29 Mar 2010, 4:08pm

Don't see how could better a fixed with big 'grds. Hub brakes ideal I suppose, but not a decider IMO.

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Re: Truly maintenance free??

Postby vorsprung » 29 Mar 2010, 4:28pm

I have 15 miles of Devon lanes so pretty close for muck and wet to you

I was riding a single speed with no tensioner. I was using a 105 hub + spacers for the SS freehub. Not a good choice. It lasted 6 months before needing the pawls relubricating. Then after another 6 months it was shot and had to be replaced.

Now have a alfine 8 sp hub with no tensioner, new since mid January

Brakes are V brakes. Might try disk brakes at some point, the new bike will take them

Gets a wash once a week + chain clean. If it is very wet it gets extra 3:1 on the chain at work. I have had to replace the brake blocks at the front, after only 2 1/2 months. I am generally happy though. The alfine hub will be oil bathed before next winter.

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Re: Truly maintenance free??

Postby MikewsMITH2 » 29 Mar 2010, 6:30pm

This gets pretty close. You would jsu tneed to swap the front disc for a drum brake and fit some guards

Gets my vote and on their website they say it is more efficient than a chain. Anything would be more efficent than the rusty chain on the commuter bikes I see I suppose they don't oil them so they keep their trousers clean. Either that or they use that White lightning stuff!
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Re: Truly maintenance free??

Postby djnotts » 29 Mar 2010, 9:32pm

The Biomegas (shaft and chain) are really rather refreshing! And then realise as drivel-and myth-driven as most marketing - "the unforgiving nature of rigid aluminium frame bicycles, and the joint injuries that can result from prolonged use of these bikes."