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Advice for Cleaning my Bike

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Advice for Cleaning my Bike

Old 09-24-15, 01:02 AM
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RedandBlack
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Advice for Cleaning my Bike

So, I've recently purchased a Surly LHT and have put a decent amount of miles on, mostly, crushed gravel. The problem is that I've never cleaned a bike before. I know it can't be rocket surgery, but I'm afraid that I'll do some sort of damage to a bike that costs more than my car. Should I just hose it off? Soap or no Soap? Chain lube afterwards and if so, how do I lube a chain? Any other general maintenance? Sorry for the stupid questions, but this is the first bike I've bought since middle school (and yes, that bike for middle school still hasn't been cleaned). Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-24-15, 01:44 AM
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Bikes aren't that delicate. About the only likely mistake to make is using a pressure washer. This can push water past the seals and into the bearings. Hosing down will be fine. For what constitutes a thorough clean for me, I first use a hose for a quick rinse, then a bucket of hot water with just a little washing up liquid in it. A rag or a brush. Another rinse. Done
Chain maintenance can be done in any number of ways, and any level of ambition. If I consider it needed, I'll hit it with soapy water and a brush, allow to dry, them relube. Give it a little time to soak in, then wipe off excess.
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Old 09-24-15, 06:18 AM
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Congrats on the new bike. Gravel riding is fun.

Dabac's advice is all good. I usually just spray on some Pedro's Fizz cleaner and wipe down the bike to clear off the dust. Last evening some kids took my bike through some mud pits, and I did then run some hose water over the gearing and front derailleur to clear out the mud.

Sometimes I floss the gears. And I clean my chain not by spraying, but by wiping with a clean and dry rag. I try to avoid overspray on my brake pads, though honestly it's never been a problem and I don't obsess if a little bit of cleaner hits them. (Except disk brake pads. Those I obsess about).

Keep the chain lubed on a regular basis. Do you have any friends who ride? Any experienced rider should be able to show you how they lube their chain. There are really only a couple of techniques, and which to use depends upon the style of lube.

And did I mention that gravel riding is fun?
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Old 09-24-15, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by RedandBlack View Post
So, I've recently purchased a Surly LHT and have put a decent amount of miles on, mostly, crushed gravel. The problem is that I've never cleaned a bike before. I know it can't be rocket surgery, but I'm afraid that I'll do some sort of damage to a bike that costs more than my car. Should I just hose it off? Soap or no Soap? Chain lube afterwards and if so, how do I lube a chain? Any other general maintenance? Sorry for the stupid questions, but this is the first bike I've bought since middle school (and yes, that bike for middle school still hasn't been cleaned). Thanks in advance.
Like @dabac said

I have a couple things to add. I like a baby bottle brush for cleaning, it helps get into tight places and it's soft. The baby bottle brush is great on spokes and hubs too. I use Dawn soap, I'm sure most liquid dish soaps would be just as good.

I like the Park Tool chain cleaning kit for cleaning the drivetrain. If you don't want to spend the money, a tooth brush and Dawn soap will work. After cleaning, be sure to rinse the drivetrain well, getting all soap/chain-cleaner off. Dry with rag, let stand for a hour or more to be sure the water is out of the chain (overnight if you have time, I rarely have that kinda planning and patience). Then apply lube to chain.

I will also add that my good friend is a daily bike-commuter, year-round in Minnesota. His route is mostly crushed limestone. His year-round bike is a LHT, and he rarely cleans the bike, the bike can take it.

Enjoy the Trucker and enjoy the ride!
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Old 09-24-15, 07:58 AM
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I was always a hand-detailing kind of guy until a particularly muddy morning left me with no choice. I pretty much follow this regimen now (minus the WD40)

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Old 09-26-15, 05:21 PM
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Thanks everyone for the advice and yes, I'm am enjoying the bike very much so.
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