I really liked this article so I wanted to re-post. Think they missed anything??
Here are seven parts of your bike that should never be out of sight or out of mind.
1) Smooth Brake Pads
What You See: It’s what you don’t see–the small grooves in your pads when they were new are gone or almost gone. What You Do: Compare new pads with your old ones. If the grooves in the old ones are worn at least 50 percent more than the new ones, replace your pads. One wet ride can quickly wear out a set of half-worn pads, leaving you in the dangerous position of losing a brake midride. Worn pads can also damage your rims.
2) Worn Chainrings
What You See: Your chainring teeth starting to resemble a great white’s dorsal fin. What You Do: Most teeth on a chainring should be even, although it’s normal for some to be shorter or shaped differently than others, especially on the middle ring, to help with shifting. But when the teeth start to become hooked, like a shark’s fin, it’s a sign of a severely worn drivetrain–and riding on one can result in a thrown chain, erratic shifting or a broken chain. When you replace the chainrings, you’ll likely have to replace your cassette and chain, too.
3) Cracked Leather Saddle
What You See: Your saddle aging like the interior of your father’s ’64 Chevy Impala. What You Do: If your saddle is cracked or has a hole that can cause pressure points and saddle sores, it’s time for a new one. Most saddle manufacturers don’t recommend leather conditioners, because many contain a type of petroleum that weakens the glue that secures the cover. To get the most from a new saddle, clean it with mild liquid soap, such as hand soap, and a soft brush, then air dry it out of the sun. Cleaning intervals will vary with riding frequency and conditions.
4) Ratty Bar Tape and Worn Grips
What You See: Tattered, dirty and torn bar tape, or smooth, gripless grips. What You Do: Look for feathered edges or cuts in the bar tape, and smooth wear areas on grips. You can use electrical tape as a Band-Aid to get through a ride, but it’s really time for new tape, which absorbs vibration and sweat better than old tape. Replace worn grips with new ones, which reduce hand fatigue by giving your hands a better purchase on the bar.
5) Overused Tires
What You See: The rounded profile of your tire looking less like Play’s haircut and more like Kid’s flattop. What You Do: When your tire loses its rounded profile and starts to get a flat spot or when the base fabric cords begin to show through, it’s time to replace the tire. Off-road tires will lose the knobby edges that provide traction and control. Also look for cuts in the tread and sidewalls that could lead to future problems. Continue to cruise on worn rubber and you’re not only more prone to flats and reduced traction, but you’re also setting yourself up for scary, unpredictable handling.
6) Bent Derailleur Hanger
What You See: A derailleur hanger that’s more crooked than Tony Soprano. What You Do: Look at the drivetrain from behind your bike. If your rear derailleur cage (the part the chain goes through) isn’t parallel to the chainrings, like it’s supposed to be, your hanger (the part the derailleur bolts to and which is attached to right dropout) is likely bent. This will throw off your derailleur alignment and affect shifting. Either replace the hanger or take it to a shop and have it straightened.
7) Corroded Cables and Frayed Housing
What You See: Your cables rusting like the General Lee, and your housing ends fraying like Daisy Dukes. What You Do: Replace corroded or rusty cables, and any shift housing that has little wires sticking out near the cable stops. If you don’t, the housing will eventually split, leaving you with poor and unreliable shifting performance. Also look for kinked housing, which can cause friction and result in the same problems as split housing.