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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 02-20-11, 05:07 PM   #1
B.Alive
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How do you wash your bike?

Well, I made a huge mistake today. I took The Coda out on the Youghiogheny River Trail (part of the Great Allegheny Passage.)

Now I'm not afraid of getting my bike dirty, but the crushed limestone trail was very muddy and not so easy to pedal 700cc-28 tires on. I spent most of the ride on the trail and chose a gear combo where I could spin 80RPM at 8-9 mph! Like pedaling on sand!

Now The Coda is FILTHY and needs her first bath. I'm fortunate that we cut a small notch out of the door that goes from the basement into the garage so my wife could run a hose out to her dog grooming table (dog's are her cycling.) So, I'm planning on backing the car out and washing The Coda in the heated garage!

Now, I don't have a fancy bike care kit that has all the brushes. I was hoping to use a car sponge and car soap after I rinse as much mud and dirt off. Was going to do a 7-1 Simple Green solution with an old tooth brush on the chain, rinse extra well and re-lube.

Any suggestions to what I might do different? I may not get to the wash until tomorrow, but I may get to it later this evening.

As always, your help is greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-20-11, 05:12 PM   #2
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I was about to post something similar to this, hope you don't mind if I just tag on a question, cleaning and changing chains, and advice.
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Old 02-20-11, 05:35 PM   #3
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LOL, I just posted basically the same thread in bicycle mechanics forums, so I shall too tag along.

I get confused about the degreaser. I don't want to ruin hubs or bottom brackets by spraying something that will strip the grease from internal parts.
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Old 02-20-11, 05:40 PM   #4
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I rode my brevet bike around the super muddy course for the Randy Cross race a few weeks ago and still haven't cleaned it.
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Old 02-20-11, 05:41 PM   #5
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Cool beans guys! You know what they say about great minds ...
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Old 02-20-11, 06:38 PM   #6
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I don't know how much this will help you folks, but, this is what I have been doing.
Actually I just finished cleaning my one bike (Rocky Mountain) this way yesterday.

For tools / aids I have a couple of bottle brushes, a Park Tool GearClean Brush and a Cyclone Chain scrubber, paper towels and a few microfibre towels. A chain whip, lock ring removal socket and a 3/4 ratchet.

For a cleaning / degreaser agent I use dish soap (Sunlight, Palmolive etc.). I have a degreaser, however, I have not yet needed to use it on my bikes.

I remove the rear wheel, cassette, chain and the front wheel.

I clean the the wheels by hand using a micro fibre towel and dish soap. I usually wipe it down with a dry towel afterwards and then let them sit to dry off.

The chain I run through the chain cleaner before I take it off the bike (it's just easier) then after I take it off I hand clean it with bottle brush and dish soap. Rinse it, paper towel off and hang to air dry.
I put some easy links in my chains which speeds up the removal and installation.

The cassette I hand clean with the bottle brushes / gear cleaner brush and dish soap. Rinse and towel off, then leave it sit to air dry.

Then the frame is cleaned with dish soap and water and towelled dry using the microfibre towels. The chainset is also cleaned the same way, except that I use paper towels for the rings because of residue from lubes etc.

In my case I have already waxed my bikes so they buff up nice with the microfibre towels / cotton towel.

The last thing I do before re-assembling is to use a amor-all wipe to go over the rims, hubs and spokes. Not necessary, but, it makes them look oh so nice for a day or so.

I re-lube the chain after it is on the bike.
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Old 02-20-11, 06:41 PM   #7
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How do you remove the cassette ? (clueless)
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Old 02-20-11, 06:51 PM   #8
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To remove the cassette you will need a chain whip tool and a socket made to fit your lock. Park tool web site has the #'s and also Performance if you have a store nearby.
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Old 02-20-11, 07:29 PM   #9
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What kind of grease/lube are you using? I've been using Breakfree CLP spray on my cassette and chains because its always handy in my shed but its certainly not bike specific...
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Old 02-20-11, 07:46 PM   #10
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How do you remove the cassette ? (clueless)
I've never done it, but here's a great video: http://bicycletutor.com/replace-cassette-cluster/

I like bicycletutor.com Lot's of great info and videos.
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Old 02-20-11, 07:50 PM   #11
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What kind of grease/lube are you using? I've been using Breakfree CLP spray on my cassette and chains because its always handy in my shed but its certainly not bike specific...
For a lube product I use PL-100 http://www.prolab-technologies.com/p...8-1-pl-100.php and I use some generic multi-purpose white lithium grease, for my pedals as an example.
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Old 02-20-11, 09:51 PM   #12
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So just how bad is it? A full tear down might not be nessecary, but the important thing to remember when washing your bicycle is DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT use a pressure washer. You don't need a ton of pressure, usually putting your thumb over the end of the garden hose is plenty. So, to clean your bike: park it outside and rinse all the muck off of it. Rinse, not blast. Do this in the driveway. Now bring your bike back into the heated garage. remove the wheels and mount your frame on a work stand if you have one. With a bucket of soapy water, dish soap works really well, hand wash your frame. Rinse with water, allow it to dry. While frame is drying, wipe your wheels down with a rag. Use a regular scrubby brush on the casset, pick large debris from between the cogs with a screw driver. Your chain should be able to be cleaned by running a rag over it that has been soaked in lube. Do this a few times and it should be alright. Using a de-greaser on it will do more harm than anything else...but it will make it shiny!

Once the bike frame has dried, apply a good coat of hard shell car wax like Mothers or Turtle Wax. It doesn't have to be a fancy brand. Allow it to cloud then buff off by hand with a soft rag. An old sweat shirt is good for this. Reassemble bicycle, admire the show room shine.

So why wax it? Next time you get your bike all cruddy, it will wipe right off the frame with a cloth. Apply the wax once or twice a season.
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Old 02-20-11, 10:03 PM   #13
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bautieri just described a mechanic's wash for a team. Involved, yes; good, yes.

I don't have that kind of time, patience, or even space, for that matter. Since I commute to work, I do it there, during lunch hour.

Armor All Tire Foam. Spray on liberally, walk away, come back with a towel about 20-30 minutes later, and your bike will be serviceably clean.

Oh, and it leaves the frame slick to the touch, kinda like wax.
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Old 02-20-11, 10:13 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by B.Alive View Post
Now, I don't have a fancy bike care kit that has all the brushes. I was hoping to use a car sponge and car soap after I rinse as much mud and dirt off.
I use an old hand towel or wash cloth. Easier to get in the nooks and crannies around BB and seat clusters. Car soap or Dawn work fine.

I always pressure wash my chain. Once upon a time I did the toothbrush deal, with the chain removed from the bike.

I'm with seve on waxing. Once or twice a year makes washing easier.
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