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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Laziness combined with road salt and grit. Bad idea?

    I ride a aluminum framed Trek T1 to class and because of my busy school day, I rarely have time to clean it off everyday anymore. Is it detrimental that I leave the salt and grime on the bike and then clean it come spring when I go home and have access to all my cleaning equipment?

    I figured this wouldn't have any adverse effects since the frame is painted and it is comprised mostly of aluminum. I figure the chain, sprocket and chainring would be the only areas prone to wear due to the added grit that would be picked up from day to day usage.

    Add to that the higher risk of getting the paint job all scratched up. And the negative "flashiness" factor.

    Am I missing anything? Or have I laid out all the key areas of concern?

    My only other option is to just throw the bike into the shower clean it out that way since I'm living in an apartment on campus. Yay or nay?

  2. #2
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Salt will eat away at some clear coat finishes, too. If you have a hose nearby, maybe spray it down every now and then between proper cleanings.

    There isn't any real shortcut to this kind of maintenance.

    Think of the time the bike saved you going to and from class. Use a fraction of that time saved to clean her up!

  3. #3
    Senior Member aMull's Avatar
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    What i do is fill a bucket with warm water, go outside and soak that *****. Gets rid of the slush and salt, then i wipe down the frame.

  4. #4
    zungguzungguguzungguzeng Catnap's Avatar
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    you should get a brush and brush down the whole bike every 2-3 days (10-20min of time). then give it a more detailed cleaning once every week or two. salt and grit will really destroy your bike, so unless it's a beater you should make the effort to keep it reasonably clean.
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  5. #5
    Not a dick. Guvna's Avatar
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    I've been thinking about this too. This is the first winter I've braved the elements, and parts of my bike are positively crystallized with salt, sand, and grime. My land-lord turned off the hose, which was plan A. Plan B will either be scrubbing it down with a big brush in the shower or out back with a bucket of hot water. Might make a good fixymatosis gallery.
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

  6. #6
    antisocialite dirtyphotons's Avatar
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    turtle wax (or any of the bike specific protective polishes) will afford you a little more time between cleanings.

    if a hose isn't availalbe a spray bottle full of water works just fine.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown
    Because when fashion conflicts with function, I vote for function.

  7. #7
    chickenosaurus j3ffr3y's Avatar
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    aluminium is better than steel for resisting corrosion. Still a hose down never hurts. You can always get a cup of water at a mcdonalds or something.
    2010 Motobecane Team Track
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Steve90068's Avatar
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  9. #9
    Senior Member gkelley's Avatar
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    ^^^^^^^^^same pic^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    nice chain

  10. #10
    extra bitter kyselad's Avatar
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    A trip to the shower can actually make things worse, depending on how you go about it. If you periodically ride through salt and slush, and it's cold and dry in between (Chicago, perhaps?), getting dried salt wet just renews the assault unless you really get things clean and get all the salt out of there. A proper disassembly/cleaning is the best, but it's time-consuming. Since I'm not willing to do it up right during the winter, I just ride a beater, use plenty of wet lube, and keep it outside -- inside it just warms up, sweats, and makes everything worse. If you do rinse the bike, keep in mind pressurized water can drive moisture, salt, and grime into the most problematic spots like your hubs, headset, and bb.

  11. #11
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    this reminds me, i haven't washed my bike in a few weeks and the roads are all gross because of all the snow we've been getting.

  12. #12
    Senior Lurker [Mr.B]'s Avatar
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    same here. I forgot to clean it and there is slush and salt dry all over it.

  13. #13
    Yup pyze-guy's Avatar
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    Spray bottle with warm water, wipe and lube.
    When sadness fills my days
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  14. #14
    Not a dick. Guvna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyselad View Post
    A trip to the shower can actually make things worse...
    Good advice, appreciated!
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

  15. #15
    rep
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    Hurl a few buckets of water on it, at least, for the maximum gain and minimum time. A spray bottle or water bottle isn't enough to rinse the salt away, and a hose can indeed flush salt into the bearings if you haven't started with our friend the bucket. I always start with just hurling a few buckets on my bike, whether I then continue with more cleaning or not.

  16. #16
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    What if you have sealed hub assemblies? You figure dirt and salt particles would be too large to get into them correct?

    I think the main issue here is that the majority of the road grime is being splattered on the frame. Mostly on the bottom tube and seat post/tube. Areas such as the headset, bottom bracket, and hubs are areas less prone to the brute beating of road grime however we cannot say that they won't get dirty. The rotational motion of wheels does not allow the hubs to get dirty at all. If anything, it is the drippings from the tires/rims that cause the hubs to get dirty unless you're riding in really sloppy conditions. (All these assumptions are based on my riding style which is primarily commuting on moist roads)

    With this logic, would it not be okay to just spray down the bike, top to bottom, to remove as much as the grime as possible? This way, the dirt would just wash straight from the frame to the ground

  17. #17
    extra bitter kyselad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guvna View Post
    Good advice, appreciated!
    Bathing only washes off street cred.

  18. #18
    Senior Member ZiP0082's Avatar
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    this thread scared me into giving my bike a good cleaning last night, well, in the form of just water and towels. steel all winter for me.

  19. #19
    Vern
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    get a winter bike you don't care that much about.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vern View Post
    get a winter bike you don't care that much about.
    I have two frames I was going to build up as winter bikes(my old mtb for when its real gross out and an old road bike from when the roads are clear) but my financial situation wouldn't allow me to finish either. So now i'm stuck with 2 half built bikes i invested in and I'm still riding my good bike, although not when there is too much crap on the roads.

  21. #21
    ECR Meepers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dayvan cowboy View Post
    I have two frames I was going to build up as winter bikes(my old mtb for when its real gross out and an old road bike from when the roads are clear) but my financial situation wouldn't allow me to finish either. So now i'm stuck with 2 half built bikes i invested in and I'm still riding my good bike, although not when there is too much crap on the roads.
    sell off parts from one bike to finish the other. then later on if you still have the frame and money finsh that bike to.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    The parts are already up on craigslist. I'll try ebay if I don't get any response.

  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    just cleaned my bike and noticed I need new brake pads soon.

  24. #24
    ECR Meepers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dayvan cowboy View Post
    The parts are already up on craigslist. I'll try ebay if I don't get any response.
    good call. i like how craigs list is free, but i never get any real nibbles, i always end up on ebay, then you get your monthly email with how much they are taking off the top.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    Someone get me my brown pants!

  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meepers View Post
    good call. i like how craigs list is free, but i never get any real nibbles, i always end up on ebay, then you get your monthly email with how much they are taking off the top.
    The bike section of the Athens, Oh craigslist is like nothing but wal mart bikes and used bike's the lbs posts up there. I've only ever gotten one response, and once I asked his question he said he'd pass.

    Back on topic, does road salt corrode tires at all? I was thinking about that while cleaning my bike so I went ahead and cleaned them.

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