I’ve run into a couple of interesting, but obscure maintenance tips that I had to take care of on my 5200 over the last couple of days. First of all, my brake pads were looking like they were starting to wear a little low so, having an older Trek, I took one of the pads in to make sure I got the right replacements. On inspecting them, Matt at Assenmacher’s suggested that I still had a couple of seasons left on them (the good news) but that the pad I brought in had a couple of tiny pieces of aluminum – presumably from the rim or road grime – stuck in he pad. Those had to be dug out – I used a safety-pin to keep the holes as small as possible. Being new to the whole high-end bike maintenance deal, I had no clue. Lesson learned though, all four were cleaned before I turned in for the night… Of course cleaning the brake pads from time to time when you’re dealing with a wheel set that can set you back more than $1,000 only makes sense – now.
The second neat little item I ran into has to do with tires. Just bopping around the internet, I found a couple of forum discussions that recommended “wiping” the tires after riding through sand, tiny pieces of gravel or, gulp, glass so said schmutz doesn’t imbed into the rubber to cause a flat later. The recommendation, of course, was to do so with a gloved hand. On the front tire, just ahead of the brakes. On the rear tire, at the seat tube. The idea behind fishing your gloved hand between the seat tube and the tire for the rear wheel is that if you reach behind the rear brake and your hand grabs on the tire your hand could get sucked into the brake and get stuck. This is not easy to do but I have managed to wipe away a few particles that could have gotten stuck. However, truth be told, it’s just a little too dangerous for me to incorporate into my normal riding. My worry is becoming too complacent and accidentally missing the tire and shoving my hand into the spokes. No thanks, too big a risk. That said, I have started to inspect my tires after every ride to make sure I haven’t picked anything up on my ride. I actually found a small piece of a staple that had managed to stick into the rubber the other day – had I missed this, over time it could have eventually worked into the tube and caused a flat.