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  1. #1
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    Washing your bike

    Living in Manhattan, I don't have access to a hose/yard in which to wash and clean my bike. Any other urban dwellers have methods of keeping their rig clean?

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    Still learning oddjob2's Avatar
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    Protect your floor, then use paper towels and a cleaner of your choice. Make sure to get road salt off your aluminum and steel components asap.
    Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Albert Einstein
    2014 Additions: 1985 Trek 560, 1992 Trek Multitrack 700 (my 2nd), 1994 Trek Carbon 2200, Peugeot PX-10, 1981 Schwinn Voyager, 1989 Bridgestone RB-1

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    Senior Member chriskmurray's Avatar
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    I actually never use water when cleaning my bike, the less chance at it getting into the bearing the better. What works well for me is a diluted (ok I guess there is a small amount of water) solution of a degreaser in a spray bottle. I spray the frame down with the wheels out and wipe everything clean after that. I have a truing stand so I clean the wheels in a similar way with them in a truing stand. This gets a bike looking like new without needing to hose the bike off at all.

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    certified vegetarian veggie's Avatar
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    I use Finish line bike wash both at home and at the shop



    This stuff really works, I even tend to wash my hands with it at the shop.
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    Quote Originally Posted by veggie View Post
    I use Finish line bike wash both at home and at the shop



    This stuff really works, I even tend to wash my hands with it at the shop.
    So I could use this stuff in my apt? Just get a rag or something and wipe it down?

  6. #6
    Senior Member mtbikerinpa's Avatar
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    Be conservative with the degreasers if they contain any citrus solvents. Some such as Simple Green can cause corrosion on bare aluminum/magnesium parts if left on or insufficiently rinsed off.
    Aviation Mechanic, Bike racer, Fitness Equipment Restorer

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  7. #7
    Canadian eh?
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    Quote Originally Posted by veggie View Post
    I use Finish line bike wash both at home and at the shop



    This stuff really works, I even tend to wash my hands with it at the shop.
    Works great on the bike, but irritates my skin.

  8. #8
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    Take it in the shower!

  9. #9
    certified vegetarian veggie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sloring View Post
    So I could use this stuff in my apt? Just get a rag or something and wipe it down?
    Yep, just spray it on the bike r rag and wipe down.

  10. #10
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    Just use normal household cleaners - I use the citrus version of "409" spray cleaner (actually, a store brand/generic version... but it's the same sort of stuff).

    Just spray it liberally, and wipe/clean with paper towels or rags. Then, rise it with clear water and wipe it down again. I just use an empty container of the above cleaner filled with plain water.

    This stuff cuts grease pretty well. But if you have a stubborn grease spot or something, just wet a rag with something stronger, like a more concentrated citrus cleaner and rub it clean. I use that on the chain rings, etc. Again, rinse if necessary.

    You can clean a bike very nicely in about 5-10 minutes, unless you're OCD.... in which case, get over it!

    By the way, this household cleaner, scrubbed with a cloth rag, will really clean up handlebar tape.

    That's how I do it if I can't take it outside. If I wash it outside, I put it on the repair stand, put it in the back yard, remove both wheels and the chain (quick link), then use a solution of something like simple green, a soft brush and just go at it, a large soft brush for the frame, etc., and a stiffer smaller brush (tooth brush or similar) for the rear derailleur and other smaller, more greasy areas (using stronger solution if necessary). Again, this takes about 5 minutes. Then I rinse gently with the hose and let it drip dry. In the mean time, I spend a minute or so on each wheel rim the same way (cleaning solution + brush or rag, rinse), "floss" the cassette, and either change the chain for a clean one (I rotate two chains), or just give it a quick dry wipe-down.

    Seriously, the indoor version can be done in 10 minutes or less, and the outdoor version probably can be done in 15 if I just keep at it and don't fuss too much. That's the key: don't fuss to much. It's a bike, not a dinner plate. I only bother to clean the fancy road bike if I'm in the "mood", but normally only after riding in the rain, or if there's visible dirt on it and it's embarassing. The cross/commuter, I only clean if it's filthy, and then, often the filth will go away with a few days of dry, clean riding.
    Last edited by Camilo; 09-17-12 at 05:29 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    even us country folk are best advised not to hose their bike. I use paper towels and old hand towels or old wash cloths, with windex and or simple green. for drivetrain I spray wd40 on the cloth and wipe that way, rarely spraying wd40 on anything directly. wheels are best cleaned when off the bike.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  12. #12
    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
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    I use all the mismatched socks that have lost their mates in the interdimensional vortex of the dryer. Turn them inside out over my hand, so the fluffy part is outside, and dampen them. The perfect thing for getting into all the nooks and crannies between parts, and disposable.
    2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '88 Trek 900, '92 Trek T100, 2000 Rans Tailwind

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    even us country folk are best advised not to hose their bike. I use paper towels and old hand towels or old wash cloths, with windex and or simple green. for drivetrain I spray wd40 on the cloth and wipe that way, rarely spraying wd40 on anything directly. wheels are best cleaned when off the bike.
    Nah, a gentle rinse with a hose won't hurt anything. Certainly wouldn't use pressure wash. Certainly no worse than riding on a wet road or through puddles. Just re-lube afterwards.

  14. #14
    Senior Member cderalow's Avatar
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    Maybe I'm the oddball that just uses car quick detail spray for the frame/non lubricated bits, after using the appropriate degreasers and cleaners on the lubed bits. Denatured alcohol only on the brake rotors.

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    My bikes are 7 years old and I've always used the pressure wash after spraying a lot of degreaser on the greasy gear parts - no problem whatsoever. I open the hubs every other year just to be sure everything's alright, but never found penetrated water or something.
    ...and I live in Sweden, where the weather is quite harmful, and I bike the whole year round.
    I wonder why are you so concerned even about rinsing your bikes!

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    I wash it by hand using soap/water, but when I don't feel like getting that involved, I use a spray wash/wax. Spray on and wipe off, cleans and waxes.

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