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Old 08-27-07, 01:07 PM   #1
mcrae44
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my bike is really dirty and i don't know how to clean it.

so theres dirt all over it from biking in trails, and theres tons of built up black guck throughout the gears and chain. my chain always slips and i think its cause of this, but the middle front gear is slightly bent and that could be a problem to. I have to shift 1 gear over what gear i WANT in the rear, and usually can't use 7, or it will randomly switch between 6 and 7.

i was thinking spraying it with soap+water, getting all the mud off, then using varsol and a knife and then brushes+clothes to get off all the built up lube. (i do squirt some bike lube on the chain every few months, but probably too much, and thats the only maintenance i do)

afterwards i'll wash off the varsol with water, then dry it, then add some more bike lube. is this a good plan or should i go out and buy some products?

your help is very appreciated!
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Old 08-27-07, 01:22 PM   #2
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+

IOW, dilute degreaser for freewheel/cassette, dish detergent for rest of bike + Park Tool or Pedro's brush kit...

(i find the Park GSC-1 to be best for freewheel/cassette cleaning, but i like Pedro's big bike brush for its softness)
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Old 08-27-07, 01:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mcrae44 View Post
so theres dirt all over it from biking in trails, and theres tons of built up black guck throughout the gears and chain. my chain always slips and i think its cause of this, but the middle front gear is slightly bent and that could be a problem to. I have to shift 1 gear over what gear i WANT in the rear, and usually can't use 7, or it will randomly switch between 6 and 7.
This is probably more a problem of adjustment than cleanliness of the bike. Chances are your cables have "stretched" slightly over their lifetime. See Sheldon Brown's derailer adjustment guide: http://sheldonbrown.com/derailer-adjustment.html

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i was thinking spraying it with soap+water, getting all the mud off, then using varsol and a knife and then brushes+clothes to get off all the built up lube. (i do squirt some bike lube on the chain every few months, but probably too much, and thats the only maintenance i do)
Spraying water on bikes is usually not a good idea, as it tends to force water into the bearings (headset, hubs, bottom bracket, pedals) and into the frame tubes... where it causes rust or build up of more dirt.

To clean a very dirty bike, I typically use a moderately rough rag (an old towel works very well) with some solvent. Simple Green is nice as it's fairly cheap, fairly powerful, not (very) toxic, and can be poured down the drain. If it's REALLY dirty I'll remove the chain and clean that separately by soaking in a mixture of Simple Green and hot water for a couple hours. I also use a soft toothbrush to remove dirt from the nooks and crannies. I would NOT use a knife or other scraping tool, as you'll probably damage the paint a lot.

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afterwards i'll wash off the varsol with water, then dry it, then add some more bike lube. is this a good plan or should i go out and buy some products?

your help is very appreciated!
Varsol sounds effective, but I have no idea about its toxicity, so check on that before using! If any of your bike's bearings are rough, you'll want to overhaul or replace them.

Lubing the chain does no good unless you clean beforehand and wipe off the excess... otherwise there is dirt in the chain rollers, which causes rapid wear, and lube on the chain, which causes it to collect more dirt. For more info on chain lubrication, see this: http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html#lube
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Old 08-27-07, 05:37 PM   #4
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qI6lvKVUKcM
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Old 08-27-07, 11:54 PM   #5
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Dunk in Puget Sound. Retrieve. Rinse. Blow dry (optional).
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Old 08-28-07, 06:18 AM   #6
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I use 409 and some elbow grease, as it is effective on everything.
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Old 08-28-07, 06:18 AM   #7
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Nice "A Sunday in Hell" vid!

(reminder: must rewatch for the 100th time)


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