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  1. #1
    Jet Jockey Banzai's Avatar
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    Post ride cleaning

    Salty, cruddy roads.

    What do you do for post ride cleanup? I can't really run the garden hose, and I don't want to spray the bike down to let it freeze with a bunch of water on it.

    But, I don't want to kill my bike either.
    Good night...and good luck

  2. #2
    V73
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    Personally, during the snowy months I use a cheap (free in my case) & durable mountain bike and wipe down/regrease the chain every once and a while. Other than that I only really clean it if it's terribly dirty or it's been a while, and then I'll just take it inside and use a damp rag. I'll do a full cleaning and tune up in the spring but I try to limit effort in the winter.

    I've seen a lot of suggestions online, and one idea was to use a pump up lawn sprayer filled with water. That way you don't need a hose, you can keep it indoors, and you can clean one spot at a time, drying off afterwards. This sounded like a good option to me if you want to clean your bike regularly.

  3. #3
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    Let it sit in the mud room on old towels until the frozen glop drips off, then wheel it into the shower. Works for me - YMMV.

  4. #4
    meh Hypno Toad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banzai View Post
    Salty, cruddy roads.

    What do you do for post ride cleanup? I can't really run the garden hose, and I don't want to spray the bike down to let it freeze with a bunch of water on it.

    But, I don't want to kill my bike either.
    I have a Pugsley (steel frame), I ride in daily in the winter (200 to 300 miles a month). I ride it on roads and on trails. It gets lots of snow, slush, road spray, and road salt on it. My basics for the bike in the winter:

    Before bring the brand new bike home - shop applied frame saver. Basically spray a wax inside the frame.
    Start of winter conditions, clean bike completely, use wax (T-9) to cover the whole frame.
    About once a week or 100 miles (more often in wet/slushy conditions) add T-9 to chain and derailleurs.
    Leave bike in garage after rides with no extra attention. IF the bike comes inside, be sure it can stay warm long enough to completely dry.
    About once a month or prior to a race/event, bring the bike in to give a full wash and wax.

    You will find parts of the bike will brake down faster with winter riding, and anything less than a deep cleaning after every ride, this is still going to happen. Best advice is expect to replace components more often or spend extra on winter specific components designed for the harsh winter conditions.
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I'm blaming you. There's a difference.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    I mostly don't, aside from cleaning and lubing the chain and deraileurs now and then. I just don't have a good place or way to do it. My main winter bikes have had aluminum frames, fortunately, which reduces the damage the salt and snow can do. I make sure to buy stainless and nickel-plated steel chains, though. They're not cheap, but the extra corrosion resistance is worth it IMO.

    When I took my commuter in to my LBS this past spring to get "tear down and clean all the things" service, they seemed impressed at the mechanical condition given multiple years of winter commuting.

  6. #6
    Senior Member scoatw's Avatar
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    I use a plastic gallon jug of warm water and rinse the bike off outside, then let it dry in the garage. In temperatures below 15f/-9c I'll bring it inside. It seems to operate better storing it in warmer temperatures versus leaving it in the garage when its really, really cold out. I try to clean my drivetrain at least once a month, when temperatures allow. This year it hasn't been an issue with the mild winter that my region is having. But thats about it. I don't polish it up. I like to keep it looking grungy. I've had the same parts on it for years and they work just fine in the cold temperatures.
    Last edited by scoatw; 02-03-16 at 06:28 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member jfowler85's Avatar
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    More like monthly cleaning. In between I sometimes spray it down just to dissolve salts and break up mud clots. I get home most nights around 1am, get up around 9:30am, spend time with the family, clean the house up, and do classes/homework in between all that for the grad degree. At this point in my life I have the least amount of bike-washing time I have ever had, plus it's about to decrease even more. As long as the wheels turn, I get on it and ride. When it's nice out (no crap on the roads) I take the nice bike out so it rarely needs cleaning at all.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member jrickards's Avatar
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    I'm concerned (perhaps overstated) that freeze/thaw cycles will cause more problems than just keeping it outside (under shelter) through the winter. However, so much of the old drive train needs to be replaced, at this point, it doesn't really matter.
    I was asked, "Now that you're an adult, what are you going to do with your life?" I replied, "I don't know, I didn't think I'd make it this far."

  9. #9
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    I ride a steel steed, and while I generally don't ride in the worst weather, due to only having 25mm non-studded tires, it does get grimy from roads after the snow is gone...

    I try to keep the chain well lived and do in garage wipe-downs when needed, and in my area (Midwest), even in winter we have a few days each month with temps up in the 50's....I pick one of those days to take the bike outside and do a proper full wash with the hose, soap, degreaser, etc....wipe it as dry as I can, lube, and let the sun finish the drying.

    I keep the bike in the attached garage, so it gets cold, but never freezes in there.

  10. #10
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    If you can bring your bike inside a garage or your home to dry without freezing solid, it REALLY helps to wash the salt and crud off your drive-train. You don't need a garden hose, just a pump sprayer like this:
    RL Flo-Master 1 Gal. Economy Sprayer-1401P - The Home Depot

    A quick spray-down in the garage takes about 30 secs. I try to do this nightly when there is a lot of salt or slush on the roads, and I just aim a box-fan at it for about 20 mins to dry it off quickly, and then a quick lube. I got 2.5 years and over 10,000 kms out of a new drive train on my year-round commuter.

    If your bike will freeze, then a good compromise is to use a soft-bristled brush to brush off as much crud as you can each day.

    Some prefer to just let the drive train "rot out" each winter, but I just can't bring myself to it! :-D

  11. #11
    Senior Member snow_echo_NY's Avatar
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    same as my in season post-ride cleaning, except i do it more often. so maybe 1x a week (1x every 50 miles) instead of every 2-3 weeks.

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