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  1. #1
    Senior Member JameB's Avatar
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    Cleaning Bike when Living in an Apartment

    Does anyone have experience cleaning a bike (especially the drive train) when their apartments have no public hose? The management has banned cleaning cars but I'm not sure about bikes... has anyone been in this situation?

    I've tried cleaning in my unit but it required too much water and using a bucket just doesn't get the gunk out of the drive train. I have been able to just wipe down the bike with a cloth but the drive train needs the hose...

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    That's what your shower is for.

    And what are you doing to your drivetrain that it is so dirty?

  3. #3
    Senior Member JameB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    That's what your shower is for.

    And what are you doing to your drivetrain that it is so dirty?
    Got into biking about a month ago, and haven't been able to clean it properly... Bike doesn't fit in the shower either. LOL

  4. #4
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    Well, you could go paraffin and not have a gunky drive train. Hint: wipe the chain with a rag when it starts squeaking (200-600 miles) and then just drop it into a crock pot with your favorite paraffin blend (teflon, molysulfide, whatever). The wax tends to keep the crap off the gears and pulleys as well. Unfortunately, you will have to takes some steps to get the greasy kid stuff out of a new chain, but that's pretty easy.

  5. #5
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    It's pretty easy, if you don't care to disassemble.

    1. Remove chain, place in old glass spaghetti sauce jar, fill with oderless mineral spirits, cap, shake, wait.
    2. Remove cassette from rear wheel, wipe each cog down with mineral spirirts. Grease and dirt will slide off these easily.
    3. Damp a rag with the mineral spirits and wipe down the frame, rims, housings, calipers (but not the pads themselves).
    4. Reassemble rear wheel, place on bike.
    5. Remove chain from jar, wipe clean with dry towel, and reconnect on the bike.
    6. Wipe everything with a dry towel.
    7. Lube chain.
    8. Ride and make dirty again.

    In all seriousness, this takes about half an hour max, and it's how I clean both bikes in my apt. The smell is minimal if you use the oderless variant of the mineral spirits, especially if done in the bathroom with the exhaust fan on. In between cleanings, I use some mineral spirits on a rag to clean the chain, and relube. If the frame is really dirty, I'll just use a small bit of ms on a rag and wipe it, not really a big deal.

  6. #6
    Junior Member airswoosh1's Avatar
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    Go to one of those coin operated car wash places. Should make quick work of cleaning your bike.

  7. #7
    Senior Member coolcamaro12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    That's what your shower is for.

    And what are you doing to your drivetrain that it is so dirty?

    do you really use the shower? I never thought of that.....Might become useful when I move into an apartment without an easily available hose

  8. #8
    Senior Member coolcamaro12's Avatar
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    Now the big question is....do people shower WITH their bikes? Bike_Shower (1).jpg

  9. #9
    Goodbye Leeroy Jenkins tagaproject6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolcamaro12 View Post
    Now the big question is....do people shower WITH their bikes? Bike_Shower (1).jpg
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    TOML

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  10. #10
    Goodbye Leeroy Jenkins tagaproject6's Avatar
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    Put bike on newspapers (do people still read those) or sale flyers. Get WD-40 and spray the cogs and drive train liberally, let it soak. Spray again liberally after soaking, grime usually drips out and you can run a rag multiple times on the drive train. Re-lube (WD-40 is not a very good lubricant). Repeat as necessary.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    TOML

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  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolcamaro12 View Post
    do you really use the shower? I never thought of that.....Might become useful when I move into an apartment without an easily available hose
    I used to ... when I lived in an apartment. I had a shower over the tub, and my shower-head was on a long flexible hose. I would just pop the bicycle into the tub, spray it down with Simple Green, wipe it down, and rinse with the shower-head.

    And I used a chain cleaner for my drivetrain.

    Similar to this ... only mine is an older version:
    http://www.parktool.com/product/cycl...crubber-CM-5-2

  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JameB View Post
    Got into biking about a month ago, and haven't been able to clean it properly... Bike doesn't fit in the shower either. LOL
    Your drivetrain shouldn't be that dirty in a month! Are you riding through mud? What kind of oil are you using?

  13. #13
    Senior Member escarpment's Avatar
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    I used to use the near by mexican restaurants garden hose.

    Or take it apart and clean with a rag, I lived in a tiny studio and that was my primary method.

  14. #14
    SpIn SpIn SuGaR! FIVE ONE SIX's Avatar
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    you only need 4 things to clean a bike, ever, and those are:

    Pledge Multi Surface Cleaner (frame and fork, bars, brifters, hoods, stem, seatpost, crank arms)
    Rubbing Alcohol (braking surface on your wheels, brake pads, saddle, tires to find wear markers and/or damage)
    Pro Link (or whatever chain cleaner and lube you use)
    White Lightening Clean Streak (front and rear gearset)

    as far as cleaning your drivetrain goes, other than cleaning the chain every so often, all you need is the White Lightening Clean Streak, a bag of foot long pipe cleaners that you can get a local craft store and some cotton rags. first, clean the chain. then take the rear wheel off, spray the cleaner all over your rear cog, then run a cotton rag in between the gears to clean them out. also, use the pipe cleaners to get further down in between the gears, where the cotton rags won't reach. after you're done with the rear wheel, you can take the chainrings off the front crank and clean them with the cleaner too. if your cranks are old, or if you don't clean them often, you'll probably need a 3M ScotchBrite pad to help get all of the grime off, but when you're done they should look really good. and i would re-lube the chain when i'm done...

  15. #15
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    I use one of those canisters that are used to spray weed killer. You fill it full of water and then pump it up.

  16. #16
    MyBikeRunsonNukePower cmschmie's Avatar
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    Find a secluded spot in the complex (out back?) and bring your bike with a pitcher or two full of water and your cleaning supplies.

  17. #17
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    You don't need any water to clean a road bike under normal conditions. The only exception would be if you have encountered cross ridi g type muddy condition in which case you should be horse-whipped.

    A wipe with Windex is all the frame, rims, hubs, post, stem, etc. need. The brakes can often benefit from a dry toothbursh, and a scrub with a paper towel followed by a spray of WD-40. Same for the front and rear dearailleurs. Now we get to the dirty stuff. Remove the chain and follow others' advice for cleaning it with odorless mineral spirits. Be careful-no open flames. Don't dispose of it down the drain. Let the grit settle out and reuse it several times before discarding it. Wipe the crank teeth with WD-40 or the mineral spirits. Clean the cassette with dry strands of cotton cord run through the spaces between the cogs like you are shining shoes. Back and forth. Reassemble and go. No hoses, no soap, no problem in an apartment.
    Robert

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  18. #18
    Senior Member MagicHour's Avatar
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    I live in a small apartment, I only resort to the shower after a rainy sloppy ride, otherwise I'll use a spray bottle with water and a rag as best I can without making a mess all over the place. I'm sure you could do this outside your apt. without an issue from your mgt company. I'll do this out front on the sidewalk sometimes.

    For the drivetrain I use a Finish Line Pro chain cleaner and gear floss on cassette. Some guys hate these things, but The Finish Line chain machine works pretty well, and has held up well after a year of use. I put newspaper underneath bike when cleaning in case of leaking. In a small apartment a citrus chain solvent is more pleasant to work with than mineral spirits. Like anything else if you do it fairly regularly and keep drivetrain clean without a lot of gunky build up, it's less of a chore each time and goes pretty quick.


    Quote Originally Posted by FIVE ONE SIX View Post
    you only need 4 things to clean a bike, ever, and those are:

    Pledge Multi Surface Cleaner (frame and fork, bars, brifters, hoods, stem, seatpost, crank arms)
    Rubbing Alcohol (braking surface on your wheels, brake pads, saddle, tires to find wear markers and/or damage)
    Pro Link (or whatever chain cleaner and lube you use)
    White Lightening Clean Streak (front and rear gearset)

    as far as cleaning your drivetrain goes, other than cleaning the chain every so often, all you need is the White Lightening Clean Streak, a bag of foot long pipe cleaners that you can get a local craft store and some cotton rags. first, clean the chain. then take the rear wheel off, spray the cleaner all over your rear cog, then run a cotton rag in between the gears to clean them out. also, use the pipe cleaners to get further down in between the gears, where the cotton rags won't reach. after you're done with the rear wheel, you can take the chainrings off the front crank and clean them with the cleaner too. if your cranks are old, or if you don't clean them often, you'll probably need a 3M ScotchBrite pad to help get all of the grime off, but when you're done they should look really good. and i would re-lube the chain when i'm done...
    That Pledge Multi Surface Cleaner sounds pretty good. I'm gonna try this the next time I need to buy cleaning spray for the house. I could never justify the $15 or $20 price tag for the bike specific cleaner they sell in shops.
    Last edited by MagicHour; 08-28-14 at 07:24 AM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member JameB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Your drivetrain shouldn't be that dirty in a month! Are you riding through mud? What kind of oil are you using?
    I left it untouched for a month. I don't ride in mud but one of my favourite route has dusty parts.

    A few days ago, I tried to clean it but there was just so much black residue and stuff, I couldn't get it all out with soap, and water. I think I'm gonna need to invest in Simple Green or some kind of degreaser. :O

    Quote Originally Posted by cmschmie View Post
    Find a secluded spot in the complex (out back?) and bring your bike with a pitcher or two full of water and your cleaning supplies.
    Quote Originally Posted by MagicHour View Post
    I live in a small apartment, I only resort to the shower after a rainy sloppy ride, otherwise I'll use a spray bottle with water and a rag as best I can without making a mess all over the place. I'm sure you could do this outside your apt. without an issue from your mgt company. I'll do this out front on the sidewalk sometimes.

    For the drivetrain I use a Finish Line Pro chain cleaner and gear floss on cassette. Some guys hate these things, but The Finish Line chain machine works pretty well, and has held up well after a year of use. I put newspaper underneath bike when cleaning in case of leaking. In a small apartment a citrus chain solvent is more pleasant to work with than mineral spirits. Like anything else if you do it fairly regularly and keep drivetrain clean without a lot of gunky build up, it's less of a chore each time and goes pretty quick.

    That Pledge Multi Surface Cleaner sounds pretty good. I'm gonna try this the next time I need to buy cleaning spray for the house.
    I'm gonna try this but I have a feeling I'm going to run out of buckets of water :/

  20. #20
    Bike rider alexaschwanden's Avatar
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    Don't worry about cleaning your bike so often, just ride it.
    2013 Felt 960 MTB 1701.6 miles
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  21. #21
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    I generally just wipe the bike down with a rag or paper towels. Every now and then I'll disassemble it for a more in depth clean in the kitchen sink.
    Quote Originally Posted by thosebikes View Post
    i know how to write dumb $h!t

  22. #22
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    Remove the front wheel and put it in the bathtub. Clean away.
    2012 Focus Culebro, 1997 Raleigh R-700
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolcamaro12 View Post
    Now the big question is....do people shower WITH their bikes? Bike_Shower (1).jpg




    Lol...

    But seriously, as another poster said, if you take the front wheel off a bike should always fit in the shower.

  24. #24
    Senior Member coolcamaro12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post




    Lol...

    But seriously, as another poster said, if you take the front wheel off a bike should always fit in the shower.

    how did he manage to lift a dirtbike into there >_>

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmschmie View Post
    Find a secluded spot in the complex (out back?) and bring your bike with a pitcher or two full of water and your cleaning supplies.
    You are making way too much sense.

    OP: Sounds like you are using too much lube. And you can look into one of those hand-held chain cleaning gizmos.
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

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