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What has been the biggest cleaning mistakes you have made with your bike?

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What has been the biggest cleaning mistakes you have made with your bike?

Old 09-27-18, 06:06 AM
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topshopper19
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What has been the biggest cleaning mistakes you have made with your bike?

Hello,

Need some info on what to avoid.

I want to clean my bicycle regularly (maybe a couple of times per week), but i want to learn from the mistakes of other people.

What are some of the biggest mistakes you have made when cleaning your bike? Maybe as a result it caused breakage or damage to the mechanisms?

Thanks
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Old 09-27-18, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by topshopper19 View Post
Need some info on what to avoid.

I want to clean my bicycle regularly (maybe a couple of times per week)
Avoid cleaning your bicycle a couple times a week.






Unless you're riding through slush and mud on a regular basis.
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Old 09-27-18, 06:39 AM
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I never overcleaned a bike or cleaned something the wrong way...

But I have put it back together wrong after cleaning it. Once time I cleaned all the dirt off the rims of my old mountain bike. Got it all showroom shiny....went to ride it....and realized I forgot to put the v-brakes back on.

That was....interesting.
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Old 09-27-18, 06:44 AM
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I have a fifteen-year old road bike with about 40k+ miles on it...And the brakes have never been removed from the bike for any reason. I really can't imagine disassembling a bike for cleaning beyond perhaps removing the rear wheel in order to clean the cassette every few months in bad weather.

In other words, I'm with Machka - ride more, worry less.
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Old 09-27-18, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Avoid cleaning your bicycle a couple times a week.






Unless you're riding through slush and mud on a regular basis.
Best answer!
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Old 09-27-18, 07:04 AM
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Do not use a high-pressure hose, (as you find in a DIY car wash) to clean the hubs or bottom bracket...it can strip out the grease.
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Old 09-27-18, 07:08 AM
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I once cleaned the protective layer of filth off my bike. Parts of it rusted. Never again.
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Old 09-27-18, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Do not use a high-pressure hose, (as you find in a DIY car wash) to clean the hubs or bottom bracket...it can strip out the grease.
Sometimes you have to spray. I have photos at home to prove it. Rode through some Montana mud during a tour and sunk in well above the rim, which caused the spokes to fling mud everywhere. Just don't spray directly into the seams. Spray down.
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Old 09-27-18, 07:17 AM
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one cold winter evening, using water from my water bottle to rinse off road salt & slush from my drivetrain when i got home from work & leaving the bike out over night.

the next morning on the ride to work, I discovered the rear derailer (cable) was locked up & I had to stop, disassemble, manually clean the ice out of the cable housing, then reassemble the cable, all it in the dark, on the road, in sub freezing temps

after that, I started bringing the bike inside overnight ... duh
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Old 09-27-18, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by topshopper19 View Post

I want to ride my bicycle regularly...
fixed it for you
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Old 09-27-18, 07:30 AM
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Jumping on for a quick spin right after bucket-and-suds washing my new ten-speed. My first bike with handbrakes, i never knew about how how chrome steel rims don't brake when they're wet.
Straight-lined the 'T' intersection at the bottom of my street; I learned the hard way that those bushes were actually a blackberry bramble.
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Old 09-27-18, 07:37 AM
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Ooh, is this another thread where folks come to brag about never cleaning their bikes? I do love those!

Unless you're a regular winter-weather rider, a bike is best served by a quick wipe-down with a microfiber and whatever you choose to clean the bike with.

On the occasions where a soap 'n water wash are called for, use the water sparingly. No need for high pressure. Try to avoid getting anything with wax on the brake tracks/pads/discs.

Biggest cleaning mistake I've made? I would reckon detailer overspray on the brake rotors. Braked fine, but oh, what a noise. Like a couple of angry geese.
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Old 09-27-18, 07:45 AM
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Does hosing your bike down once or twice a month count as "cleaning"?
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Old 09-27-18, 07:48 AM
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Chain cleaning devices don't work very well. Degreasing your chain before relubing it is a complete waste of time. The best way to maintain your chain is to wipe it frequently (whenever it looks black) and lube it sparingly.
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Old 09-27-18, 07:51 AM
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That reminds me, today is my "off" day and I need to clean my bike.

Not one damn thing wrong with having a clean bike. If you have the inclination and time, go for it.

Mistakes... can't think of any
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Old 09-27-18, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Unless you're a regular winter-weather rider, a bike is best served by a quick wipe-down with a microfiber and whatever you choose to clean the bike with.
Yeah. Absent special circumstances (See my post above. I literally had more than an inch of mud caked on the brakes and other places. I even had to spray my shoes.) or regular foul weather riding, I agree with the above.

I once read an article in which the author likened to cleaning a bike to cleaning a toilet. If regularly give it a quick once over, it's not a big deal. If you do it infrequently, it will likely be a messy affair when you do get around to it. As an life-long bachelor, I can vouch for that.
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Old 09-27-18, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime View Post
That reminds me, today is my "off" day and I need to clean my bike.

Not one damn thing wrong with having a clean bike. If you have the inclination and time, go for it.

Mistakes... can't think of any
This.

I like a clean bike. What the hell is wrong with that?

I wash my car too. The horrors.
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Old 09-27-18, 08:05 AM
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"Oh, I've never even wiped my bike down," they say. I guess if you don't ride it, it doesn't matter.

The wife and I made the mistake of heading down the river trail the morning after a big rain. The bikes got the full wash that day.

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Old 09-27-18, 08:10 AM
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T'was probably the worst weather of the year down there in LA. I imagine the old timers still refer to it as, "The Day The River Trail Got Wet".
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Old 09-27-18, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Avoid cleaning your bicycle a couple times a week.






Unless you're riding through slush and mud on a regular basis.
^^^This. Not sure why you want to clean it so much.

Maybe OCD?
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Old 09-27-18, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Do not use a high-pressure hose, (as you find in a DIY car wash) to clean the hubs or bottom bracket...it can strip out the grease.
This wasn't even all that true 30 years ago and it's even less true today. Modern hubs are quite well sealed. The guys at GCN did a several minute test of direct spray at the bearings and saw little to now water infiltration.

Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Ooh, is this another thread where folks come to brag about never cleaning their bikes? I do love those!

Unless you're a regular winter-weather rider, a bike is best served by a quick wipe-down with a microfiber and whatever you choose to clean the bike with.
To what purpose? Mechanically a "quick wipe-down" does nothing. It may make you feel like your bike is shinier but it does nothing to make the bike work better. If washing your bike makes it work better mechanically, you have other problems.

Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
On the occasions where a soap 'n water wash are called for, use the water sparingly. No need for high pressure. Try to avoid getting anything with wax on the brake tracks/pads/discs.
Other than conserving water, again, why should you use water sparingly? It won't make the bike work any better or any worse.

Originally Posted by mihlbach View Post
Chain cleaning devices don't work very well. Degreasing your chain before relubing it is a complete waste of time. The best way to maintain your chain is to wipe it frequently (whenever it looks black) and lube it sparingly.
Using a lubricant that doesn't leave your drivetrain all black goes a long way towards keeping the important bits of the bike clean and working well.

Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
"Oh, I've never even wiped my bike down," they say. I guess if you don't ride it, it doesn't matter.
And there's the other side of the bike cleaning discussion. Don't assume that just because some of us don't spend all our time obsessing over the cleanliness of our bikes that we don't ride. I would argue that those of us who don't spend inordinate amounts of time obsessing about the cleanliness of our bikes ride more because we aren't spending all our time cleaning.

There is nothing in your picture that would require immediate and thorough cleaning. You've already ridden it with the dirt in place and if the dirt stays there a little longer, it isn't going to do anymore harm then what has already been done.

With some regularity, I ride for weeks at a time over hundreds to not quite thousands of miles where I have zero opportunity to clean my bike. I ride in rain, over dirt, through mounds of goose crap, etc. and don't feel the need to "clean" my bike all the time nor do I carry the stuff to do the cleaning. I lubricant the bike when it needs it and just keep riding. My bike doesn't care if it is dirty and neither do I. The dirt shows that I do indeed ride my bike.
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Old 09-27-18, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Blah, blah, blah, blah
You think pilots walk around their planes before they take off because they're bored? Cleaning is a fundamental part of maintenance-- it's when you notice a frayed cable, or a loose headset, or any number of other things.

Don't assume that your successful inaction negates the actions of those who actually care about their stuff.

The implication here is, if you don't clean it, you probably don't maintain it very well either. I cannot generate the energy to care about your approach to bicycle touring. It just sounds lazy. Whatever... man.

Many times on this forum I detect the subtext of one who is deliberately contrarian, purely for the sake of being contrarian. Most times I can resist taking the bait. But not every time. Shame on me for that.
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Old 09-27-18, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Many times on this forum I detect the subtext of one who is deliberately contrarian, purely for the sake of being contrarian.
Pot, meet Kettle.
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Old 09-27-18, 10:39 AM
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My cleaning routine is:

Hose down with a spray after wet or dirty rides (often, not always, not in winter with the outside water shut off), wipe painted surfaces with a cotton rag once in a while (after a hose down to not scratch the paint) and likewise the metal parts. (The wipes happen more often with my good bikes, rarely with my rain/winter/city bikes - just enough so I can lock them without my hands getting too dirty.) An area that needs work (say the BB) gets cleaned with a rag.

Basically I have no cleaning routine, just as needed or wanted. I find bikes get by quite nicely with very little cleaning. My chains get wipes fairly often with a rag or paper towel (wrapping it around the top section of chain and holding with my left fingers and thumb with my pinkie around the seatstay, turning the crank with my right hand. Fast and easy. Lube if necessary and repeat the wipe. Rims get a wipe once around periodically. Wipes occasionally around the brakes for that black aluminum brake dust.

Doing more than this seems only to decrease my riding time. This amount seems quite sufficient as part of keeping my bikes in good riding shape. (Current bike mileages: 3,099, 11,872, 16,978, 19,193 and 49,224,so this plan seems to work. Granted, the two bikes with the most mileage got repaints so they did get one really good cleaning. )

Edit: when I spray down my bike, I do use high pressure blasts - between the rim and brake pad, making sure I don't get the HS, I ride in Oregon where the lava dust kills rims. 4,000 miles in the winter.

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 09-27-18 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 09-27-18, 10:47 AM
  #25  
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This isn't nearly as good as the "Do You Sanitize Your Bike?" thread. You guys need to work a lot harder!
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