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  1. #1
    Ride Daddy Ride Jet Travis's Avatar
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    The Great "How Do You Clean Your Bike" Thread

    I've only been cycling for 35 years, and I still haven't figured out the best way to clean my bike. I don't think I have an obsessive compulsive bone in my body, but I try to keep the bike reasonably respectable. I am also a bit of a cheap busturd, so I like to keep my moving parts from wearing out too soon.

    Anyway of late, I'm using less and less harsh chemicals and more and more just wiping everything down pretty carefully, as per an article I read by Lennard Zinn (I think). Then I polish up the frame (sometimes) with something like Pedro's Bike Lust and lube the drive train.

    What does everyone else do?
    "Light it up, Popo." --Levi Leipheimer

  2. #2
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    I take it apart and put it in the dishwasher
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  3. #3
    Ride Daddy Ride Jet Travis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
    I take it apart and put it in the dishwasher
    "Light it up, Popo." --Levi Leipheimer

  4. #4
    Third World Layabout crtreedude's Avatar
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    Jet Travis, my system is very simple.

    I hand my bike to my gardener and ask him to clean it - it comes back in about 30 minutes like new. It isn't lubed, I do that. I wouldn't want to be TOO decadent...

    I did have to teach him not to wax the seat though...

  5. #5
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I have to admit that I look at the bike and it gets clean- Don't know how it happens but My elbow hurts for a while afterwards and the pile of rahgs goes from the clean pile to the dirty pile.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jet Travis View Post
    I've only been cycling for 35 years, and I still haven't figured out the best way to clean my bike. I don't think I have an obsessive compulsive bone in my body, but I try to keep the bike reasonably respectable. I am also a bit of a cheap busturd, so I like to keep my moving parts from wearing out too soon.

    Anyway of late, I'm using less and less harsh chemicals and more and more just wiping everything down pretty carefully, as per an article I read by Lennard Zinn (I think). Then I polish up the frame (sometimes) with something like Pedro's Bike Lust and lube the drive train.

    What does everyone else do?
    I do exactly what you do...wipe down and pedro's lust stuff. Still looks showroom.

  7. #7
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThinLine View Post
    I do exactly what you do...wipe down and pedro's lust stuff. Still looks showroom.
    +1
    Same routine. The MTB is a different story. It really gets dirty. If it is just dry dust a wipedown will do it, but if it is muddy, I try to let it get dry, knock off the major dirt with a brush and then wipe it down with a wet cloth and then Bike Lust. If I'm in more of a hurry and the bike is really nasty, I'll resort to a bucket of soapy water and a washcloth followed by a gentle rinsing with a hose, no pressure nozzle.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  8. #8
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Those wet rides on the MTB are a godsend. But for me, the bike has to be cleaned as soon as I get home. If I let the Clay dry on the bike- it will take a hammer and chisel to get it off. Thorough hose down and Wash with soapy water and a sponge. Clean the chain with the cleaning tool and then it is time to get rid of the water by spraying with WD40- Or similar-I use something similar. I spray the whole bike taking care not to get it on the Pads, but the wheels are off the bike by this time. Shake the bike to get rid of the surplus and put the wheels back on. Couple of hours- or days if I do not have the time- The bike is rubbed clean and at the same time- I am checking the bike for parts starting to fail. Then the bike is all ready to go out and get muddy again.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  9. #9
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Geez, your supposed to clean your bike!!! WHY am I always the last to hear about these things.
    Is it OK if I put it on the bike rack on the car and drive it through the Car Wash? What do you think?
    Roccobike BF Official Thread Terminator

  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roccobike View Post
    Geez, your supposed to clean your bike!!! WHY am I always the last to hear about these things.
    Is it OK if I put it on the bike rack on the car and drive it through the Car Wash? What do you think?
    Wouldn't try it. The ripped off parts of the bike get stuck in the brushes and And deafen you as they go down the roof of the car.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  11. #11
    Senior Member guybierhaus's Avatar
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    Well I own a self serve car wash and usually clean the bike there. I keep pressure wand back a couple feet so there is little pressure. Actually use the no pressure foam brush to wipe down tubes and wheels. Then a quick rinse followed by a few bounces to knock off excess water. If I'm taking pictures later of the bike, I'll wipe tyres with Armoral. I do have a problem of where to hang my Little Tree air freshener.
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  12. #12
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    I take a workstand out to the back yard, or sometimes if my rack is on the car, I just hang the bike on it.
    Gently spray the bike down with a garden hose being careful around hubs, BB, headset. Using a foaming cleanser, I cover the bike with white foam and carefully scrub with a soft bristle brush. Then I rinse entire bike again with hose, taking the same precautions as mentioned above. I then move bike to a shady place* to drip dry. The bike comes out sparkling clean every time. Last, I lube chain, dérailleurs, brake pivots etc.

    This 15 minute wash job has been working for my bikes for about 25 years.




    *My entire residence is a shady place.
    Last edited by Louis; 08-25-07 at 04:52 PM.

  13. #13
    Coyote!
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    I'm mostly cyclocross and mountain bike so coming home grotty is the usual scenario. I'll blast off the mud with a garden hose and let it drip a few moments. Every third time I'll follow up with a spray of one of the citrus-based degreasers on the chain and other greasey things, wait about fifteen minutes, and then blast off the dissolved crud with the hose again. Drip-dry, relubricate, and store. 'Bout twice a year it gets a wax.

  14. #14
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    White bikes don't get dirty. Just sayin'
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  15. #15
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    All this talk of pressurized water blasting a bike makes me cringe. I'd rather err to the side of caution when it comes to possibly washing the grease out of my bearings. I find that gentler methods work just as well with less potential for harm.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  16. #16
    Third World Layabout crtreedude's Avatar
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    You mean we shouldn't be using a firehose?

  17. #17
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
    White bikes don't get dirty. Just sayin'
    Red bikes move so fast the dirt doesn't stick
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  18. #18
    Third World Layabout crtreedude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
    White bikes don't get dirty. Just sayin'
    Is that because their owners just can't bear to ride them?

  19. #19
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    Black bikes don't show dirt. And they don't get hot like black cars .
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    All this talk of pressurized water blasting a bike makes me cringe. I'd rather err to the side of caution when it comes to possibly washing the grease out of my bearings. I find that gentler methods work just as well with less potential for harm.
    I have a well, so high water pressure has never been a problem for me. The way I do it requires only a fine spray. But yes, if one is not careful, blowing out the grease can occur.

  21. #21
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    Have a 1 qt pump spray bottle with a mix of car wash soap & water. Spary the soap/water mix on and brush with a soft brush(horsehair) then spary off with garden hose. Wipe dry. Figure if the soap is ok for clear coat paint it is not going to attack a bike finish.

  22. #22
    Get out and ride! Pamestique's Avatar
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    I stop using a hose on my bikes awhile ago after I messed up a bottom bracket. Now If doing a wash/clean up, especially on a MTBike, I used a soft cloth and a bowl of soapy water and squeeze out the excess and gently wipe down. I try to keep the water away from the drivetrain and the bottom bracket.

    I try to do a thorough cleaning on both bikes (road and MTB) each month and that means taking the drive train apart and soaking it in degreaser and rinsing and drying it thoroughly. Andthen lubing it (with ProLink) thoroughly. The frames get wiped down with a clean cloth and Pledge lemon scented furniture polish.

    If I want a quick wipe up before a ride I use the Pledge on the frame. I use a brush to wipe down the cassette and chain rings. I lube and wipe the chain with ProLink and that's it.

  23. #23
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    For everything except drivetrain, I use a costco 'auto' (the white ones ) towel sprayed with windex. For the chain, cassette and chainrings, I use another towel wetted with brakleen. (no need to remove the chain) I clean between the chain links with 1 'ream n kleen' pipe cleaner. Paper towels clean the derailleur nooks and crannies really well. Do it often, and it is quick and easy. Of course, I ride only on pavement. No mud running 'round here. bk

  24. #24
    It's all about the Ort. TrackGuy's Avatar
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  25. #25
    MAK
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    You're supposed to wash your bike? My LBS told me that when my bike gets dirty I'm supposed to trade it in for a new one.

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