Mechanical advice required... (got a wheel out of true, and also can't get front brake caliper off)
I'm looking for a bit of friendly advice. I've got a 9 month old Trek 1 series (virtually bottom of the range, it's a £700 bike with Sora parts), that I use for commuting every day, but I keep wearing stuff out. 5 months after I got the bike, the wear groove on the original Bontrager-stickered rims had disappeared, so I replaced the wheels with a set of Fulcrum Racing 7s.
Anyway, with the bike up in the stand today, I noticed that one of my wheels (the rear) wobbles ever so slightly side-to-side as it rotates -- maybe about 1mm out of true. These wheels are now about 4 months old, so I'm not sure how much more life I'll get out of them anyway, given what happened to the original rims. I don't think I've hit anything major (there are plenty of of pot-holes on my daily commute, but I'm pretty good at missing them). I do brake quite heavily, but I'm not sure that could cause it, could it? Anyway, my question is, do I need to have them seen to? Or will they be OK for a few months until the braking surface goes and I need yet another set of wheels... Does this (going out of true) sometimes just happen to new wheels, without any real reason, after a few months on a bike? Is it something that I could attempt to have a go at tweaking myself (I've had a quick skim of the appropriate article on Sheldon Brown's site, but it kind of put me off...) Also, are there wheels out there that don't wear out so fast? I use Clarkes multi-compound brake pads, and need to replace them every 5 or 6 weeks on the back, so it's not just the wheels I'm killing.
My other problem is that the unbranded brake callipers that came on the bike are pretty poor (very poor), and the bare metal on those (the screws etc) are all tarnished and rusted. I also noticed the paint is bubbling on some parts of the calliper arm too. So I think I'm going to replace them. Except, I have a problem -- I can't get the front calliper off. The bolt that goes through the fork is kind of furry and soft (to be fair, that part of the bike took a hammering before I got mud-guards, and then again after I broke the front mud-guard before the replacement arrived, and then again when I broke the replacement...). I tried to take the calliper off today, to give it a clean and measure the reach, but the bolt was completely stuck and I think it may now be slightly rounded off. It's a hex bolt, of course. I was using a pretty decent set of Allen keys that usually work fine with even the very cheapest bolts around (like Ikea bolts, for instance), but the metal on these (even cheaper) Trek callipers must be something else. Anyway, my question here is this: if I dismantle the front brake calliper by removing the pivoting arm, will I be able to loosen the nut that the retaining bolt threads in to from the front-side instead? Anybody got any other idea how I might get the calliper off if the bolt is rounded?
Oh, I just thought of one other question too -- the reason I had the bike in the stand (apart from to clean it) was to sort the gears out. Since new, the Sora gears have been janky (I bought it from the LBS, and it went back a few times, but they never got it working that great - they just said that's how Sora is). For a while, my 11-tooth cog has been completely un-selectable (not that I often push the 50/11, but other gear changes were getting really quite sloppy). I read a few guides on tuning gears, and today I set the cable tension up properly. It's much, much better now, but it's still a bit hit and miss between certain gears in the middle of the cassette. Do I maybe need to replace either the gear cable or the mech? The mech's looking really kind of sorry for itself after winter (metal parts are all kind of tarnished a dirty brown colour), though I did my best to keep it clean.
Ah, pants, I didn't mean to write nearly so much. Sincere thanks to anybody read this far down... Any advice would be very gladly received and great appreciated. If I don't get anywhere with this myself, maybe booking it back in to the LBS where I bought it (for a service) is the answer, but I'm quite keen to learn this stuff and have a go myself where I can...