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How can I quickly clean my bike?

Old 01-08-15, 02:51 PM
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huhjunn
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How can I quickly clean my bike?

I took my bike out for a ride and the tires kicked up snow and salty slush / water onto me and itself. I ran my fingers along the brake pads and black grease got all over my fingers.

What's the most efficient way to clean my bike? Can I just take a soapy rag to it and wipe it down? While the bike is dirty, I don't feel that it needs a super thorough clean since this has only been the third time I've ridden it :s.
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Old 01-08-15, 03:15 PM
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If you can get the bike inside and have access to warm water where you can rinse the slush and especially the salt solution off of the bike, that would be ideal. I used to connect a hose to my hot water heater when the weather wasn't conducive to cleaning the bike outdoors, and used that to clean the gunk off of the bike. The hot water was used with a bit of gentle soap to wash/wipe the frame and wheels. Then a quick rinse with the hose, a quick wipe with a soft cloth down to the chain stays and bottom bracket area, and that part was completed. For the lower part of the bike, rear derailleur, chain rings, the underside of the bottom bracket area, fork, wheels and chain stays, I used a mild mixture of Simple Green. It cuts the oil/grease type lubricant you find on the lower part of the bike. Just use a soft cloth, spray the Simple Green on and wipe it off right away with a clean soft cloth. I've never had an issue with paint problems using this mild mixture of Simple Green, usually a mixture of 75% water and 25% Simple Green. It cleans and cuts the "gunk" you find in these areas, especially in the winter months. Then I usually will use a soft cloth cloth and some auto wax to give the bike some protection from these elements ( and it makes cleanup easier the next time! ), in the future. If you don't have indoor access, a garage and a bucket of warm water would have to do. My bike is a '89 Miyata 1000LT and looks new yet, so I guess this type of cleanup does it no harm. The process usually takes about an hour start to finish.

Last edited by 1 Miyata Biker; 02-13-15 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 01-08-15, 03:17 PM
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My regular approach is first to hose it down, then use a bucket with warm water, some washing-up liquid, and a brush for wherever the gunk is sticking. Then another go with the hose. Actual time on the bike perhaps 5 minutes. Takes me longer to stow away the hose and stuff.
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Old 01-08-15, 03:24 PM
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My approach when I lived in snow/salt country? Have a winter bike that doesn't get cleaned. Fix gear so chain condition mattered little. In the spring I would cut all the spokes, get new rims and start fresh for the new year. (This was Michigan and Massachusetts. Outside hoses were long put away and most of that time was spent living in apartments.)

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Old 01-08-15, 03:38 PM
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Time Your self , then see How much you can Cut the time ..

A Speed Chess player's stop watch would make seeing How long it takes you easier

Cross Racers Have a Pit Guy washing the Bike and ready to go in the time it takes to get around the course Again ..


If the course is Muddy, the lap time would be slower so the spare Bike wash down though has more muck to clean Off ,

you get a little more time to Do It.


Bike stand , Hose with a spray Nozzle and some brushes .. , Maybe easier to get to some parts of the frame with The wheel Off



At The LBS a lot of the time in Major Tuneups is Cleaning Their Bike .. the set up in the Shop could be Better .. Hose Is in the Basement , Stand is Upstairs .

Last edited by fietsbob; 01-08-15 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 01-08-15, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
My approach when I lived in snow/salt country? Have a winter bike that doesn't get cleaned.
This. Past couple years I've availed myself of the local bikeshare system;I get their bikes salty.

Best thing for a winter commuter is a set of full fenders. These will go a long way towards keeping the bike,and you,much cleaner.
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Old 01-08-15, 08:06 PM
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+1 for fenders...
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Old 01-08-15, 08:13 PM
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5 minute bike wash

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Old 01-08-15, 09:24 PM
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Fenders won't keep salt spray off the bike.
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Old 01-08-15, 10:06 PM
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Ride through a car wash?
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Old 01-08-15, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by huhjunn View Post
I took my bike out for a ride and the tires kicked up snow and salty slush / water onto me and itself. I ran my fingers along the brake pads and black grease got all over my fingers.

What's the most efficient way to clean my bike? Can I just take a soapy rag to it and wipe it down? While the bike is dirty, I don't feel that it needs a super thorough clean since this has only been the third time I've ridden it :s.
That's not grease, that's grit and aluminum worn off the rim.

IMO, a minimal cleaning would be wiping down the rims with warm, soapy water and a quick rinse of the rest of the bike. If possible, do this in a garage- washing outside in snow country is no fun at all. I would store it in a warm place so moisture can evaporate.

And +1 to a winter bike.
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Old 01-08-15, 11:32 PM
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Apply Lemon Pledge when it's clean.
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Old 01-08-15, 11:49 PM
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Hose it down every 2-3 weeks, clean the chain weekly. Ride it every day.
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Old 01-09-15, 11:06 AM
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I ride daily and service the bike weekly which includes washing with soap and water,service chain and whatever else it may need.

Last edited by Booger1; 01-09-15 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 01-09-15, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by huhjunn View Post
I took my bike out for a ride and the tires kicked up snow and salty slush / water onto me and itself. I ran my fingers along the brake pads and black grease got all over my fingers.

What's the most efficient way to clean my bike? Can I just take a soapy rag to it and wipe it down? While the bike is dirty, I don't feel that it needs a super thorough clean since this has only been the third time I've ridden it :s.
The two most dangerous things in the hands of new bike mechanics: a hose and WD40.

I use a wet rag to clean the outside. Getting water inside the hubs, headset and bottom bracket is the fastest way to kill a bike. The outside of the bike is not as important as maintaining the bearings. Since I ride in all kinds of crappy wet weather year-round, my bikes get stripped down and rebuilt roughly once per year. When I mean stripped down, I don't mean the lame superficial 'tuneup' that bike shops offer. I will take apart every part of the bike apart, including pulling out the 2 coiled springs in the rear derailleur.

Chains: these are disposable throwaways. They last 3,000 miles at most and then get chucked. If you ride them longer than this, they eat up the rest of the drivetrain exponentially, and this gets really expensive. Chains are cheap. Cassettes and rings are expensive. You should be replacing chains 3-4 times for every cassette and ring replacement.

I do clean my chains (off of the bike) occasionally, using varsol or paint thinner. Water-based degreasers, including anything 'green' are useless.
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Old 01-09-15, 02:13 PM
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Maybe this will help you. Roger

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwO6...ature=youtu.be
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Old 01-09-15, 02:17 PM
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squirt wutz left in your water bottle at the hot spots, and maybe get another bottle full if necessary, then use paper towels. then park it over cardboard to drip dry. that's what I used to do at work. if you're at home and won't be riding it until the next day or a few days then after it dries use some brushes on it to get the dried dirt off.
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Old 01-09-15, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by GeneO View Post
Fenders won't keep salt spray off the bike.
They'll keep most of it off. Fenders make a big difference in keeping the bike,and rider,clean.
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Old 01-09-15, 07:52 PM
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Beater bike for the winter. Ride it till it rusts out which will be never. It might look like hell in a few tears, but yeah. Beater bike!
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Old 01-09-15, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
They'll keep most of it off. Fenders make a big difference in keeping the bike,and rider,clean.
Even if it keeps most off, you still need to clean your bike if salt spray gets on it. So they are ineffective IMO.

How about taking it into the shower with you
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Old 01-10-15, 08:49 AM
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Bathtub, but don't tell the wife. It's a good excuse to install a handheld shower head. Make sure to [hide the evidence] clean the tub after.
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Old 01-10-15, 09:48 AM
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Hosing and strategically applied WD40 is probably the quickest @ Dave

I just wipe it down when I clean the chain. I fully understand the clean bike fetish, but in reality they work fine even wet or with dirt on the frame.
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Old 02-11-15, 08:53 AM
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For quick clean I just spray green oil's Green Clean and then brush dirt off with a brush (there's a good one from green oil too) and then rinse. I found 'non-green' products acctually damaging the lawn..but I guess another solution to that is to shower with the bike
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Old 02-11-15, 09:03 AM
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Here's an auto detailing tip that translates well to bicycles:

https://www.amazon.com/Optimum-NR2010...waterless+wash

Use that to create either a rinseless, or waterless wash. The dilution rates are on the bottle.

For rinseless, fill a bucket with warm water and the appropriate amount of ONR, then use a soft mitt and wash the bike as you would normally. Then simply dry it off with some microfiber towels. No need to rinse (hence, rinseless). Doing this with regular soap will leave streaks.

For waterless, get an empty spray bottle, and apply the waterless dilution into the bottle, and fill it with water (I don't make the terms). Then simply spray down the bike, and wipe it clean. And yes, this will work way better than most other spray-type-products, as it's designed specifically for this. If you've got a spot that's particularly dirty, saturate it with the spray and let it sit for a few seconds.

Another thing you can do afterwards, is wax your bike. Waxing it will help prevent some of the crud from sticking to it. But a word of caution; there's two reasons real car wash soaps exist (not the crap you get at Wal-Mart, the stuff a real detailer would use.) The first is lubricity. To prevent micro-fine scratches that, over time, dull the paint of a car; quality car wash soaps provide lots of lubrication to help get dirt off the paint without allowing it to scrape across the paint. The second, is that while it's capable of cleaning, it contains no degreasing properties. That's important, because soap with degreasing properties (including hand soap / washing up liquid) will remove wax. Hand soap / washing up liquid is fine, it'll get the bike clean. It won't offer any lubrication (but most of us aren't as worried about a pristine bike finish as we are a pristine car finish); and it will remove anything you've applied to try and keep the finish protected. It may also leave an invisible layer of 'scum' that may make it hard for waxes to adhere to the paint.

That might be overkill for most of you; which is fine. But I just figured I'd pass it along. I spray mine down using the 'waterless' method after every ride. And then every couple of rides use the 'rinseless' method so I can get my wheel brushes out and clean the spokes, tires, etc. I keep the bike waxed, to protect the finish and it really helps it stay clean. Salt, dirt, etc., doesn't adhere as well. Also cleans easier. (Plus, makes it more aero! I mean, probably not, but you might be able to convince someone it does...)
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Old 02-11-15, 10:08 AM
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Just hose it down. Any bike with aluminum frame, and with aluminum, stainless steel or nickel coated components should be fine with just that.
This bike was ridden on salty roads and bike paths for the last 5 winters. No issues with any part on the bike.

The only one rusty place is inside the steerer tube, as on any other bike, even if not ridden on salty roads...
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