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Is there a quick, easy way to wash a bike??

Old 07-28-20, 06:14 PM
  #1  
trainchaser
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Is there a quick, easy way to wash a bike??

...like the title asks, is there a fast and easy way to wash a bike? My wife has a Trek Marlin and has been riding several times a week on a bike path that has a section that is compact dirt, the rest is all paved or compact gravel. Because its been so dry the compact dirt section is coating her bike with dust, it's very fine dust that has gotten into everything. We looked up washing your bike and had a good laugh. We live in an apartment so no bike stand, no place to hose it down, wash it, rinse it, all using multiple buckets, multiple brushes, bike polish, chain washers, etc, etc.
Any thoughts or suggestions would be helpful, thanks.
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Old 07-28-20, 06:19 PM
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A damp rag, a spray bottle, and a hard floor? Wipe the chain with a rag to get the dirty lube. Maybe the chain rings and jockey wheels too?
Don't over think it.
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Old 07-28-20, 06:42 PM
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Inside an apartment? Don't think I would try that, but I have one of those spray bottles sold for watering plants and have it filled with a mix of water and car wash soap. Spray plus some old t-shirts will do the job. Of course it's easier if you have a stand and can remove the wheels, as getting between the wheels and frame / fork is useful, in particular for the back wheel / seat post. I guess if careful you can lie the bike down on the non-drive side with the wheels off and do it that way. Would help to have some cardboard underneath.

scott s.
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Old 07-28-20, 07:09 PM
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My goto for gravel dust/dirt buildup is to use an old toothbrush to loosen the material, and an air compressor to blow it away once loosened. A dampened shop rag can then be used to further tidy up any left over dirt or sweat residue on the frame. I then use a chain scrubber with simple green/ water solution to clean the chain and wipe clean the chainrings and deraileur jockey wheels with a rag and similar cleaning solution. Re-lube the drivetrain, clean the disc rotors or rim brake tracks with a rag and rubbing alcohol.
If you can get the bike outside to use an air compressor, this is a quick and tidy job which i usually do in my driveway. If i had to do it inside, the process would be similar, but with a tarp under the frame to catch debris, and without the air compressor to aid in the initial dirt removal which could make quite a mess indoors.
Hope this helps!
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Old 07-28-20, 07:28 PM
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Y'all got a bathtub or shower?
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Old 07-28-20, 07:28 PM
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No. Take it outside and wash it.
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Old 07-28-20, 07:29 PM
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I have 2 spray bottles, 1 with 1:10 Simple Green and water and the 2nd with straight Simple Green. Other than the chain I use paper towels and only use a hose after riding in the rain and there's mud everywhere.
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Old 07-28-20, 07:35 PM
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I leave the dust on. It's not hurting anything, it's not making a mess and it adds a bit of character to my bikes.
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Old 07-28-20, 07:39 PM
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Lysol wipes work well.

In your case I would take it to a self-service handsprayer carwash.
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Old 07-28-20, 08:01 PM
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The bikes my family rides on the beach get hosed down with water after every ride. These bikes require frequent chain and derailleur lubrication.
The bikes I use for basic transportation and trips to the store get wiped off with a damp rag and periodic chain lube.
The (18lb carbon fiber) race bike I use for long distance & club rides probably gets the least maintenance of any of my rides. I clean it with furniture polish and, lubricate it with tiny drops of oil on each pivot point.
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Old 07-28-20, 11:06 PM
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Derailleur bikes?? NO. LOL
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Old 07-29-20, 03:15 AM
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Originally Posted by trainchaser View Post
...like the title asks, is there a fast and easy way to wash a bike? My wife has a Trek Marlin and has been riding several times a week on a bike path that has a section that is compact dirt, the rest is all paved or compact gravel. Because its been so dry the compact dirt section is coating her bike with dust, it's very fine dust that has gotten into everything. We looked up washing your bike and had a good laugh. We live in an apartment so no bike stand, no place to hose it down, wash it, rinse it, all using multiple buckets, multiple brushes, bike polish, chain washers, etc, etc.
Any thoughts or suggestions would be helpful, thanks.
Could you take the bike to a self car wash place, one of those coin-operated ones, if you have something nearby?
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Old 07-29-20, 03:52 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
I leave the dust on. It's not hurting anything, it's not making a mess and it adds a bit of character to my bikes.
I do this too.

I only clean and re-lube the drivetrain periodically and much less periodically, any unsealed bearings. The rest of the bike can take the dirt.

For mud or anything from wet-weather riding, I have full fenders and mudflaps on my bike.
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Old 07-29-20, 05:35 AM
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Only time my bikes get washed anymore is when it rains.

If your apartment has a parking lot than you can bring down a bucket of soapy water and wash it there.
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Old 07-29-20, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by trainchaser View Post
...like the title asks, is there a fast and easy way to wash a bike? My wife has a Trek Marlin and has been riding several times a week on a bike path that has a section that is compact dirt, the rest is all paved or compact gravel. Because its been so dry the compact dirt section is coating her bike with dust, it's very fine dust that has gotten into everything. We looked up washing your bike and had a good laugh. We live in an apartment so no bike stand, no place to hose it down, wash it, rinse it, all using multiple buckets, multiple brushes, bike polish, chain washers, etc, etc.
Any thoughts or suggestions would be helpful, thanks.
I love my wd40 spray the bike wipe off everything with fresh rag. cleans degrease love that stuff.
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Old 07-29-20, 06:43 AM
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The danger in using a self-serve car wash is the high pressure hose. It will displace the grease from where it is needed, in the hubs, head bracket, bottom bracket, pedals, derailliers, jockey-wheels, etc.

I now prefer a bucket and some rags. I buy cheap bristle-type pot scrubbers from the dollar store to clean gunk off the chain and driveline, then toss 'em.
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Old 07-29-20, 08:25 AM
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I'd take to a self service car wash. You can get this done for a couple of dollars and no need to do it on your apartment.
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Old 07-29-20, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
The danger in using a self-serve car wash is the high pressure hose. It will displace the grease from where it is needed, in the hubs, head bracket, bottom bracket, pedals, derailliers, jockey-wheels, etc.

I now prefer a bucket and some rags. I buy cheap bristle-type pot scrubbers from the dollar store to clean gunk off the chain and driveline, then toss 'em.

Yep --

I do use a carwash - I just don't spray directly at my suspension pivot points or bearing areas --- instead I use the carwash to get the heavy dirt off, then use a rage around those areas ---- WD-40 gets used a lot too for bike washing to spray off the cassette, - then a quality lube
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Old 07-29-20, 08:46 AM
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no quick method for a good wash.

Just wipe it down with lint free dry cloth & wipe the chain down after each ride. Once in a while, give it a real wash & lube. If I am riding a lot in a short period, that is what works for me for my carbon bicycle.
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Old 07-29-20, 08:47 AM
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Personally I would not wash my bike inside. Too much road grime, oil, dirt, small rocks, etc. that can come off and stick/coat nice surfaces like couches and kitchen tables. I would to my best to clean the bike outside wherever possible.
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Old 07-29-20, 08:58 AM
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Generally, I just wipe off my bikes with a damp rag and then lube as needed. The only time I ever needed to hose it off was one day when a bunch of wet oak pollen got all over my bike. Does your apartment have any outside spigots?
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Old 07-29-20, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
Personally I would not wash my bike inside. Too much road grime, oil, dirt, small rocks, etc. that can come off and stick/coat nice surfaces like couches and kitchen tables. I would to my best to clean the bike outside wherever possible.
Yeah. I don't see why this is so difficult to figure out. When I was doing possibly my most riding I lived in an appartment. Almost 9 years in the same place. No access to a hose. No apartment complex parking lot of lawn. A realy big city apartment with just a sidewalk. I would bring out a big bucket of water with a small amount of soap and clean the frame, wheels, etc., with a large sponge. If I needed to "hose" it off I would use filled water bottles. Chain cleaning also took place outside. These days I have a house with a back deck and a hose. I would never dream of cleaning the bike inside.
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Old 07-29-20, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
The danger in using a self-serve car wash is the high pressure hose. It will displace the grease from where it is needed, in the hubs, head bracket, bottom bracket, pedals, derailliers, jockey-wheels, etc.

I now prefer a bucket and some rags. I buy cheap bristle-type pot scrubbers from the dollar store to clean gunk off the chain and driveline, then toss 'em.
Not really...especially on modern bicycles with sealed bearings. The GCN guys did a test with a power washer where then directed the spray right at the bearings for 5 minutes and saw no penetration. I wouldn't go that far but with just a little cautious use, a car wash is perfect acceptable.
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Old 07-29-20, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
Yep --

I do use a carwash - I just don't spray directly at my suspension pivot points or bearing areas --- instead I use the carwash to get the heavy dirt off, then use a rage around those areas ---- WD-40 gets used a lot too for bike washing to spray off the cassette, - then a quality lube
Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Not really...especially on modern bicycles with sealed bearings. The GCN guys did a test with a power washer where then directed the spray right at the bearings for 5 minutes and saw no penetration. I wouldn't go that far but with just a little cautious use, a car wash is perfect acceptable.
Ok, perhaps a car wash is not a horrible choice if used with caution.
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Old 07-29-20, 09:54 AM
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I use self-service spray car washes to clean bikes after CX races, and during the winter months when my outside hoses are put away.

I bring a chain cleaner like this: Park Tool Chain Cleaner and some de-greaser in a spray bottle. I run the chain through it a few times, then spray on some degreaser and brush off any gunk or mud from the rest of the drivetrain, then just use the car-wash spray soap and a sponge to clean up the rest of the bike, rinse and dry off with a towel. I avoid spraying high pressure right at the bearings and drivetrain, but as others have noted it's probably not really an issue.

I'll re-lube the drivetrain once I get home and it's had a chance to dry off.
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