This all stemmed from a basic bicycle maintenance course I enrolled in through a local community college. I will make a long story short but many of the other students looked at both me and my bike with contempt. I am sure that they ride really fancy bikes with only the finest matching component groups whereas, I pieced my beloved Surly Ogre together from a number of sources which included parts from my El Mariachi and various discount part vendors on-line. Old and new parts can meet with mixed success. Lets face it a 5 year old used rear derailleur feels just like it sounds, old. I also pieced it together with specific reasons.
Don't judge me because I wanted to go Old School and put a 48 tooth chain ring on my fully rigid steel mountain bike. If I wasn't supposed to, than why does Shimano still make them with a mountain front derailleur to fit it. Anyway I digress, I offered to let the instructor use my bike for demonstration in the hopes that it would get a free tune up. It was in rough shape with loose axles, slightly bent rear derailleur, rubbing disc brakes (due to both bent rotors and the fact that the rear Ogre disc brake tab allows forward to rear movement based on gear vs single speed and various tire choices), and a plethora of minor problems. It was a great example of why maintenance checks are important.
I put thousands of miles on it last year and I decided that I would pull it apart and:
1. Clean everything thoroughly and inspect the parts: I succumbed to peer pressure and replaced the the 48 tooth with a 44 tooth chain ring, mainly because a Surly Ogre with a 48 tooth chain ring, a 2.1 inch tire, and Monkey Nuts requires a long chain. I replaced the disc rotors (even the cheap ones are pricey), and I put a longer stem on in the hopes that I would feel less bunched up with the Jones Loop bar.
2. I hit the inside of the frame with Frame Saver, something I had been considering doing for a while. While this is not rocket surgery, it will be a post of it's own.
3. Replace tires with MTB specific tires vs a Cyclocross tire and go tubeless. Nothing makes a bike feel brand new and pretty like a new set of tires. I went with the Continental Race Kings, low rolling resistance though I am now thinking I should have gotten the 2.1 inch width, but whatever. Tubeless set up will be a post of its own.
I am waiting for the weather to clear just a little bit more before I jump on it and mess it up now that it is "clean." This year I am going to spend more time riding that gravel so I can say that I did it before it was really cool.