Bicycle Maintenance for Cyclists
Are you paying attention to your bicycle's drive train? When you are traveling by bicycle or bikepaking, road grim and dirt accumulate on your cassette. I/ve found that it is important to clean the cassette after riding in the rain. As a bicycle tourist it is hard to avoid at least some wet weather. Whether you have 11 cogs 10, 9, 8 you have lots of teeth to keep clean. Yes, it is a messy job, yet it is essential to the life of your Shimano, SRAM, or Campagnolo cassette. With new offerings of 46 teeth or more bicycle cassettes are too expensive to delay routine cleaning. There are two sources of wear on your bicycle's cogs, grit and worn out chains. Keep the grit off of your cassette and it will last longer. One author suggested with proper care you might expect a 10,000 mile life for your cogs.
Simple Cleaning ToolsThere are brushes designed to clean between the cogs. As bike cassettes progressed from 7 to 10 11 or even 12 cogs, the spaces between them has decreased, requiring narrower brushes. I have had very good success using a narrow rag ten to twelve inches long. The ribbed neck of an old t-shirt works well. An old tooth brush will help clean the faces of the teeth. A few sheets newspaper will help keep your area clean as you work.
Degreasing the cassetteCitrus based degreasers are readily available, environmentally friendly and effective. You can do the job faster and easier, if you remove the rear wheel first. When you camping or bikepacking you will probably clean the cassette without removing it from the hub.
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