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How to Wash Your Bike

Old 03-19-16, 04:55 PM
  #1  
Hosstyle
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How to Wash Your Bike

I am new to the cycling world and have been riding everyday for the past few weeks and my bike is getting filthy. How should I be washing and performing preventive maintenance? Thanks!
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Old 03-19-16, 05:02 PM
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Dave Cutter
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Originally Posted by Hosstyle View Post
.....How should I be washing and performing preventive maintenance?
People would think that would be something all cyclist could agree on. It isn't.
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Old 03-19-16, 05:04 PM
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You'll need a hose, bike cleaner (like Simple Green), a tooth brush or cassette cleaning brush, chain cleaning tool, and rags/cloth to wipe down the bike. Then you'll need chain lube and lube for other moving parts (like brakes, derailleurs, etc. You should re-lube the cables and inside of cable housings. Don't use lots of pressure and don't spray water into any holes in the frame.
Clean anything else that appears to need cleaning (like rims, hubs, inside of fork, etc).
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Old 03-19-16, 05:11 PM
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http://youtu.be/5ak4AzlUz5Q
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Old 03-19-16, 05:16 PM
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I typically don't ride in slop conditions...any cleaning I do is on the frame is done with an old t-shirt, maybe some windex, and then finish up with some lemon Pledge.

drive train gets wiped down and re-lubed as needed.

in 50+ yrs of riding, I've never used a hose to spray down a bike.
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Old 03-19-16, 05:21 PM
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I use bathroom wipes. They make it so easy that I clean it frequently, before it becomes nightmarishly dirty.

Wipe with the wipe and follow with a clean micro-fiber towel.

I also use them to clean my chain.

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Old 03-19-16, 05:29 PM
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A week ago I rode my bike 13 miles to pick up my car at the repair shop. It had earlier been raining and roads were covered in winter debris, sand, salt, tree branches and other material, whether animal, vegetable or mineral I know not. The bike ended up covered in all this stuff also. I did a thorough cleaning job which took 3 hours that day and 2 more the following day and included removing the chain and cleaning and detailing the drive train. Most of the time a once over with a brush and damp cloth and some oil on the chain, half to an hour of cleaning will do it.
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Old 03-19-16, 07:55 PM
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Old 03-20-16, 10:00 PM
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Wash Your Bicycle | Bicycling
How To Wash Your Bike - bicycle habitat
I will often use a wet cloth to wipe frame and handlebar make my bike always clean!
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Old 03-20-16, 11:12 PM
  #10  
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Depends on priorities and riding conditions. My interest in bicycling has always been functional so even when I bought a bike brand new I didn't fret too much over cosmetics.

When I was in the service, married with two kids, working a part time job on the side and bicycle commuting, I was mostly interested in how well it worked and probably spent more time on basic maintenance than keeping it squeaky clean. The only time I'd do a thorough exterior cleaning was before overhauling the bottom bracket, hubs, etc.

Nowadays I ride on a mix of street pavement and country gravel roads and some off road stuff. Once or twice a month I'll take the bike into the back yard, hook the saddle over a tree limb and secure it with bungee cords, and wash it down with Dawn detergent in hot water, using a synthetic chamois or sponge for most of the tube, sponge with Scotch-Brite pad on one side for the tough stuff like the rims, tires and chain stay. Just a quick sloppy wash top to bottom. Then I'll do the chain with a stiff nylon bristle brush. Then rinse with hot water, top to bottom. Quick dry with synthetic chamois cloth. Squirt the chain, chain rings and rear cassette with WD-40 to displace water. Oil the chain with Park CL-1 (not expressing a preference, it just happens to be what I have). Spin the chain several times, wipe down the excess and spatter off the chainstay and rear rim so it doesn't hinder braking. Done.

Depending on how gunky stuff is it takes 10-30 minutes. Last weekend took 30 minutes because I'd just ridden through some slimy, thick black gumbo mud. To get mud out of the tire treads, between the forks, around the brakes, etc., I'll use a stiff bristle nylon brush -- pretty much any kind will do, including a toilet brush. I'm using one of those twisted wire figure-8 shaped toilet brushes. Perfect for getting between the bike forks, all terrain tire treads, etc.
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Old 03-21-16, 06:35 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
People would think that would be something all cyclist could agree on. It isn't.
We agree to disagree.
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Old 03-21-16, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by RonH View Post
You'll need a hose, bike cleaner (like Simple Green), a tooth brush or cassette cleaning brush, chain cleaning tool, and rags/cloth to wipe down the bike. Then you'll need chain lube and lube for other moving parts (like brakes, derailleurs, etc. You should re-lube the cables and inside of cable housings. Don't use lots of pressure and don't spray water into any holes in the frame.
Clean anything else that appears to need cleaning (like rims, hubs, inside of fork, etc).
And on following times,
there be the option of using a spray bottle with Diluted ratio of Simple Green. (also) As that will save you money on the S-G.
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Old 03-21-16, 08:35 AM
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(my comment be of a review):
F-L brand 'super bike wash' (the pink formula)-- be of a formula that over-washing will fade the paint of your bike.
As there are those owners who prefer to wash everyday.
and/or Everytime before waxing.
F-L be of a company that does not reply to the emails of their customers. Nor answers the phone.
F-L just has interest in money; as this name has been out too long.

This is where it is great to always see new brand-names coming out on the market.
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Old 03-21-16, 08:42 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
I use bathroom wipes. They make it so easy that I clean it frequently, before it becomes nightmarishly dirty.

Wipe with the wipe and follow with a clean micro-fiber towel.

I also use them to clean my chain.

I do the same for my frame and rims, except I use baby wipes, because I have literally thousands of them in my house at the moment and they don't contain bleach (having a 1 yo has it's perks lol). The microfiber will clean off any streaking afterwords.

I bought a chain cleaner at walmart for $10 and use an old kitchen brush to gussy up the drive train, and it works amazingly well.
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Old 03-21-16, 09:14 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by ypsetihw View Post
I do the same for my frame and rims, except I use baby wipes, because I have literally thousands of them in my house at the moment and they don't contain bleach (having a 1 yo has it's perks lol). The microfiber will clean off any streaking afterwords.

I bought a chain cleaner at walmart for $10 and use an old kitchen brush to gussy up the drive train, and it works amazingly well.
When I choose the liquid for cleaning the chain: I stay with the Simple Green --- the most simple to use, and cheaper than the others.
As the cleaning items in the bicycling market be of extreme profit (no sic).

I still have the original model F-L Chain Cleaner clip-on tool, with the rotating brushes & scrubbers. During the years, the plastic housing be surviving, as I had replaced the brushes & scrubbers.
Then there was some time of no use, and then I began to start to make use. During the usage, the arm of the C-C that hangs on the rear derailleur for support during the cleaning process: had broken apart from the remainder of the housing. As I then had found that those were 2 separately manufactured pieces.
But all the past years of my use -- the 2 pieces were so firm to each other. That I would think, w/o investigating the product like an attorney does, that the housing be a 1 piece manufacture.
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Old 03-21-16, 10:08 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
We agree to disagree.
Yes we do! But surprisingly.... I agree more with most than I thought I would.

Originally Posted by RonH View Post
You'll need a hose, bike cleaner (like Simple Green), a tooth brush or cassette cleaning brush,....... and rags/cloth to wipe down the bike. ....... Don't use lots of pressure and don't spray water into any holes in the frame. Clean anything else that appears to need cleaning (like rims, hubs, inside of fork, etc).
I like simple green too! Full strength SG sprayed on the cogs and such and a buck of hot water and dawn dish detergent/soap for top-to-bottom.

Originally Posted by FullGas View Post
... in 50+ yrs of riding, I've never used a hose to spray down a bike.
I know people who could say the same about their cars..... homes, decks, patios. They aren't bad people... but have different standards for clean. To be honest.... if you never use a bucket of soapy water to actually wash your bike... it is unlikely anyone will ever notice. But there will be a difference when compared to a bicycle scrubbed clean.

Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
...... Once or twice a month I'll take the bike into the back yard, hook the saddle over a tree limb and secure it with bungee cords, and wash it down with Dawn detergent in hot water, using a synthetic chamois or sponge for most of the tube, sponge with Scotch-Brite pad on one side for the tough stuff like the rims, tires and chain stay. Just a quick sloppy wash top to bottom. Then I'll do the chain with a stiff nylon bristle brush. Then rinse with hot water, top to bottom. Quick dry with synthetic chamois cloth. .......... Oil the chain

I'll use a stiff bristle nylon brush -- pretty much any kind will do, including a toilet brush. I'm using one of those twisted wire figure-8 shaped toilet brushes. Perfect for getting between the bike forks, all terrain tire treads, etc.
A bucket of hot sudsy dish water makes a bike squeaky clean in quick-time. A toilet brush is very handy with bicycle parts... like between the spokes. My own bikes... rarely take a full 10 minutes to wash clean. I set my bicycle stand (it's portable) in the back yard for bicycle cleaning.

From time to time... I get a project (vintage) bicycle.Those bikes can take much more effort to get clean. Often I need to wash them twice... before disassembly and more cleaning.
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Old 03-21-16, 10:12 AM
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Or you could strip the frame of every last part and clean everything in a tank of distilled mineral spirits then reassemble and lube .

Last edited by goraman; 03-21-16 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 03-21-16, 10:38 AM
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Lots of very good tips here. Thanks for all the replies and the OP for posing the question.
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Old 03-21-16, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
But there will be a difference when compared to a bicycle scrubbed clean.
possibly...if you ride in sloppy, crappy conditions and have mud- and salt-encrusted parts.

I rarely encounter anything other than dry asphalt...the bike got detailed this wkend with an old t-shirt, a toothbrush, and some furniture polish. it looks pretty pristine.

and in a similar vein, I also don't subscribe to anal-retentive chain cleaning procedures...washing with solvents, ultrasonic cleaners, blah blah...just lube, wipe, repeat as needed.
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Old 03-21-16, 12:18 PM
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CRC Hydroforce in a spray can is tested as the best degreaser you can buy .
It is industrial strength, and dose a good job on sprockets and cogs.
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Old 03-21-16, 01:38 PM
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I'll challenge anyone who says that their bike is cleaner or my standards are lower because I don't use soap. Granted, I don't ride in the mud and they don't put salt on the roads in Georgia.

Wax the bike generously and dirt won't stick in the first place. Wipe down after every ride before the bike goes in the car on on the bike rack. That's 99% of the battle. I use a dry microfiber towel, a little water on the towel if dry doesn't work.

The rest is lubrication and mechanical maintenance which I don't consider to be washing.


-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 03-21-16 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 03-21-16, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by FullGas View Post
possibly...if you ride in sloppy, crappy conditions and have mud- and salt-encrusted parts..... with an old t-shirt, a toothbrush, and some furniture polish. it looks pretty pristine.
No. I don't limit my cycling to only sunny days and freshly sweep sidewalks.... But even gently used bicycles collect road residue. It's alright that you don't notice it... many don't. Furniture polish and old tee shirt don't make bikes look "pristine".
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Old 03-21-16, 05:50 PM
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Gasoline works well too, when I was a kid that's what we cleaned our bikes with.
We even cleaned grime out of the wheel bearings of skateboards with it.
A coffee can full of Ethyl 102 and an old tooth brush will do the trick every time.
When we weren't cleaning our bikes we would see how much wheel bearing grease we could cake on our neighbors cat, packing gobs into the fur.
They only try to lick it off once then they pucke up hair and grease.
The real fun is when the cat is let into the house!!!

Last edited by goraman; 03-21-16 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 03-21-16, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
No. I don't limit my cycling to only sunny days and freshly sweep sidewalks.... But even gently used bicycles collect road residue. It's alright that you don't notice it... many don't. Furniture polish and old tee shirt don't make bikes look "pristine".
you seem to be very concerned about the effectiveness of my detailing process.

which is curious, because your standards of cleanliness mean squat to me..
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Old 03-21-16, 06:20 PM
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Another bike washing thread. Statistics show you should simply bring it in the shower with you.
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