Bicycle Mechanics - Cleaning do's and don'ts
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06-24-10, 03:42 PM
I had a very messy ride this morning and am a little confused as to how to go about cleaning my trusty steed. After 8 miles of pouring rain my bike is covered in plant material, dirt and worst of all sand. Should I just hose it off? And will that cause any damage? I know that this post may seem a little infantile, I just don't want to wreck something. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
06-24-10, 04:00 PM
If you're riding regularly on trails, I say hose it off, wipe it dry, and relube drivetrain.
If you're riding on roads, it's worth it to be a little more delicate, keeping water away from the bearings when possible.
I usually wipe my road bike down with a wet rag and then with a dry rag.
06-24-10, 07:04 PM
Hosing off isn't bad unless you're firing water into the bearings or breather holes of the frame tubes. Make sure you oil the chain afterward though. It will rust up if you don't.
06-24-10, 08:17 PM
The main place to avoid the axles & the headset, thou some bikes have rubber gaskets around the axes to keep water out. What I usually do is give my bike a sponge bathe, then relube the chain.
06-24-10, 08:58 PM
mild citrus based degreaser and scrub your chain/cassette (do it whenever you get the chance) and sponge off the frame. Relube chain and pivots, call it a day
07-11-10, 10:39 AM
I was thinking about a jet wash at my local garage, is this wrong? Just been on a 40 mile towpath ride and my cycle is dusty. Its an old bike that as been outside for years, just riding again now. I sold my car a month ago, so I am new.
I thought maybe a jet wash n oil once every couple of months?
07-11-10, 03:27 PM
I would not suggest any sort of relatively high-pressure cleaning such as a jet wash unless you are willing to basically regrease all of the bearings. If your bike is only dusty, then wipe it down or hose in of gently. and relube the chain as stated above.
I know this is politically incorrect, but I have a simple cleaning method that's served me well for 40 years. Whatever God gets on my bike he's responsible for getting off. Over those years I've probably accumlated as many rain miles as anyone else except maybe a Scot.
My commuter route takes me through a park and on rainy days it gets covered in organic crap. I used to bring indoors when I got home, and the crud would dry all over it, and take days to flake off. Now I simply leave it outside and let nature complete the job it started.
With the exception of some high end race equipment, bikes are outdoor vehicles and should be able to handle all but the most extreme weather. In forty years of touring and all season riding including a few floods, I've only washed my bike a handful of times, and that's only to de-salt it as I neared the end of winter, or part of a seasonal overhaul.
If you want to wash it, gentle soap, and a garden hose, not directing the spray at the gaps between moving parts. If you have good chain oil it should survive rain or a wash and only need drip dry, though with some which wash off easily, you'll need to dry or re-lube the chain consistent with the product you're using.
BTW- If you think I'm callous about bikes, my friend takes his expensive machine through the brushless car wash, mounted on a trunk rack. Comes out fine but once he paid for hot wax, and it took a while for his brakes to work normally afterward. He'll never make that mistake again.
07-11-10, 04:42 PM
Never take it to a high pressure car wash. A friend washed the grease out of his BB with the 1500psi these things put out. Use a garden hose and don't use a hard spray. Just let the water flood down on the bike.
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