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Old 08-18-08, 12:21 PM   #1
Andy_K 
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Cleaning sand off a bike

Hi everyone,

I rode my bike along the Oregon coast yesterday, and now I've got a light layer of sand (and no doubt salt) on the bike. I was riding with full fenders, but I figure the sand still got into places where I don't want it.

So my question is, what sort of cleaning do I need to do to prevent my components from being ground into powder over the next few weeks?

I was planning to take the chain off and soak it solvent. I'm also removing the cassette for other reasons, so obviously I'll give it a thorough cleaning. If I wipe down the rims, brakes, chainrings and rear derailleur will that be sufficient? Are there places I should apply oil or grease?

If it makes any difference, I've got a Deore rear derailleur, Deore front hub, Tiagra rear hub, FSA Gossamer MegaExo crankset and BB, and Avid Shorty 4 brakes.

On a related question, when removing a Shimano chain that I intend to reuse, granted that I'll need a new sub-pin for reassembly, does it make any difference how I break the chain? Should I remove the old sub-pin or a different pin, and if the old sub-pin, does it make any difference which side I push out?
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Old 08-18-08, 01:32 PM   #2
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I wouldn't soak your chain in solvent. Just let the bike dry for a few hours, even a day, and then brush off everything you can. After you've done that get a bucket, soap, rags, and give it a bath. Rinse it off with a hose but just let the water run out, don't use pressure. If you see anything that looks like it's still dirty you can target those areas with a soapy rag or brush. Let it dry and then lube the chain.

Done!

Mike
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Old 08-18-08, 02:17 PM   #3
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I agree with mcoomer. It's that simple. I live on the Oregon coast, and sand is ubiquitous. When I used to commute everyday, the bike got a weekly bath (a large soft bristle brush helps) and light lube.

Here's a link for more detailed instructions for a real thorough cleaning. You can decide for yourself what steps you want to follow: http://www.jimlangley.net/wrench/bikewash.htm

Matt
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Old 08-18-08, 08:48 PM   #4
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Your bike didn't see anything on that ride that winter commuter bikes don't see. At least you were warm while sanding and salting your bike.....

Just follow regular washing and chain cleaning and lubing practices.
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Old 08-18-08, 09:41 PM   #5
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And I'd add that bikes are more tolerant of that scuzz than you might think.

When I was in Houston last month, I rebuilt my mom's bike, a '71 Schwinn Breeze. She'd bought it used in 1974 when she immigrated to the USA. All through my childhood I remember it being a grimy bike, with the back gearhub always caked in black stuff. Getting all the parts clean took exhausting amounts of scrubbing - all that black stuff I'd remembered was a thick coat of sand cemented with dried oil and grease. Asking my parents about its history, it seemed to be used pretty politely in the past 34 years...it seems that all that junk was from the original owner using it between 1971 and 1974, likely on Los Angeles beaches.

After the rebuild, tons of Simple Green and new grease and new balls, the bike rides like a dream. All the bearings are silky smooth. Remember also that these are cup-and-cone bearings with no rubber seals or anything like them.

So don't worry so much. Take it easy, and when you are feeling ambitious (or maybe right now as it's on your mind), give the critical parts a detailed, surgical cleaning one by one.
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Old 08-18-08, 10:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
Your bike didn't see anything on that ride that winter commuter bikes don't see. At least you were warm while sanding and salting your bike.....
Warm? You haven't been to the Oregon coast, have you? I think the high temperature was 63 F yesterday. But I guess maybe that's warm in some parts of Canada.

Anyway, I ground up a cassette not keeping my bike clean last winter, which is one reason I'm being paranoid now, but I appreciate everyone telling me that I'm thinking too hard about this. I'll clean it up and be happy now.
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Old 08-19-08, 12:06 AM   #7
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Actually I did do a motorcycle trip down the coast to San Fran many years back. Foggy as blazes and as wet as if it was actually raining. And you're right it was COLD! Found myself there again some 10 years later on a different motorcycle and it was cold and foggy AGAIN! ! ! ! Your coastal Oregonians sure do know how to make a real good pea soup fog!

The picture in my avatar was taken on a grass field in the Willamette valley at Tangent just south of Albany. We fly a couple of contests there every year.
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Old 08-19-08, 06:18 AM   #8
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Just hit it really hard with a strong stream from a hose, especially the front and rear ders,chain, cassette and brakes. Don't aim the stream directly into bearings and you'll be ok.

Let it air dry and lube chain, oil all pivots on ders and brakes.
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Old 09-19-09, 05:03 PM   #9
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I am paranoid myself right now, living in Florida theres sand everywhere. Wont all the little chrome pieces rust if I rinse with water?
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Old 09-19-09, 06:14 PM   #10
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I am paranoid myself right now, living in Florida theres sand everywhere. Wont all the little chrome pieces rust if I rinse with water?
Worse, they'll explode.
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Old 09-19-09, 07:00 PM   #11
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i know, i know. Just hate seeing the rust, and I get paranoid all the bearings will in fact explode.

WHat components should I actually lube aside from the chain?
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Old 09-19-09, 08:45 PM   #12
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90% of my riding is along the coast so sand is a constant issue. Just brush it off; keep the chain, cogs & chainrings clean & lubed; and a good wipe down (I use glass cleaner & a rag) on a regular basis and it's all good.
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Old 09-19-09, 10:18 PM   #13
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Rinse the bike off and buy a SRAM master link for the chain shimano's pin is a rip-off.
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Old 09-19-09, 10:31 PM   #14
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Let it dry and then GENTLY brush it off as much as possible. Sand makes a great abrasive. It wouldn't hesitate to scratch the paint/coating on your bicycle. A damp sponge - gently - can be deployed for small pockets of resistance (I've been living in a warfare-state too long!).

I live in New England. Used to be near the coast. I know about sand.
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