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How long to clean drivetrain and bike?

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How long to clean drivetrain and bike?

Old 09-06-23, 10:18 PM
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How long to clean drivetrain and bike?

Cleaning both seems to take an inordinate amount of time. Depending how anal I am, it will take 2 to 3 hours. Cleaning the drivetrain on the bike necessitates cleaning the frame and then we go down the rabbit hole. (I am not waxing the bike either).

If you do a thorough job, how long does it take you?
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Old 09-06-23, 10:20 PM
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Never Timed it.
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Old 09-06-23, 10:55 PM
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Maybe 30 minutes? I clean the bike every time I lube the chain. Mount the bike on the stand, then wipe everything down with Meguiar's Ultimate Waterless Wash & Wax and a microfiber cloth. Wheels and spokes are black, and I'll wipe them down too. I'll also reach inside the wheels and clean the hubs. Then I clean the chain using Simple Green and two toothbrushes squeezed together. Usually there is some caked on dirt/grease on the front sprocket and the derailleur gears, and I clean that off. Wipe the chain with a shop towel and lube it with T9. That's it.

I could probably use Q-Tips to fully clean the brake calipers, but I don't go that far. Just do the best I can with the microfiber.

I'll take 2-3 hrs to detail the car, but not the bike.

Mark

Last edited by msalvetti; 09-06-23 at 11:02 PM.
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Old 09-07-23, 04:32 AM
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if you don't want to you don't have to.
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Old 09-07-23, 04:39 AM
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Thorough job - maybe 30 mins for a road bike. I use a Muc-Off chain scrubber and then dry and re-lube. Frame and wheels just get a quick wash in warm water and dry with a micro cloth. Minimal effort really.
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Old 09-07-23, 04:46 AM
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an invasive clean might include bearing services. 2.5hrs maybe? That's touching each nipple too.
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Old 09-07-23, 06:03 AM
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30 minutes without rushing, 20 if I'm pressed for time. I do it outside cause it's easier. I put it on a stand, take off the wheels and chain, spray with water, soap up with an all in one car wash/wax thing wash/wax thing working from top to bottom and rinse. Use a laundry brush for the drive train and underside with some degreaser and rinse that. Do the same to the wheels, then drop the chain in a juice/tea container with degreaser and shake the bejesus out of it, pull it out and dry it and hang it in the sun while I wipe down the bike and reassemble it.. Go back to the chain, spray lube it and wipe it dry and put it back on the bike.
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Old 09-07-23, 06:29 AM
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The most thorough I ever do includes a tooth brush for dust on the chain and/or a similar brass wire brush at the cassette to remove any gross debris or flakes of wax. Probably 5 minutes of actual work if I'm superlatively thorough. Not that any such attention is warranted more than maybe once per season or so.

The chain goes in a preheated crockpot for 5 minutes, and get reinstalled at my convenience anytime after it has cooled enough to be stiff.

I wax my stainless steel Wipperman Sx chains when I hear "the rattle of pearls." So far they refuse to generate any measurable wear. So, maybe I am spending too much time fussin' over cleaning.

Last edited by base2; 09-07-23 at 06:34 AM.
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Old 09-07-23, 06:59 AM
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I’m embarrassed to say how long a deep clean takes.
In my defense, bikes get this annually.
I'm a road cyclist in California and bikes stay clean. Although last weekends Metric (Tour de Fuzz) was in the rain & this is what happened the day after.

Chain off & in the ultrasonic twice (once in a ziplock bag with degreaser & once in the tank to flush it)
wheels off & cassette goes in the ultrasonic after chain finishes
bottle cages off & washed
Crankset off & cleaned by hand.
Take bike outside and blow out brake dust
Hand wash bike (inc. bar tape) & dry
Clean nooks and crannies with Q-tips
Wax & polish (2 coats)
clean wax from nooks and crannies, more Q-tips
Clean RD cogs (usually in-place)
wash tires, rims, hubs & spokes.
Lube & reassemble bike


All this in 15mins…. Honest!

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Old 09-07-23, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Troul
That's touching each nipple too.
I miss INTERBIKE...
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Old 09-07-23, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Troul
That's touching each nipple too.
Does your bike have a sister who is single?
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Old 09-07-23, 07:26 AM
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they're a recumbent fixie though...
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Old 09-07-23, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
If you do a thorough job, how long does it take you?
Well durn. You just excluded me from qualifying to answer the question. <grin>
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Old 09-07-23, 07:43 AM
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30 min or so. Right now, I'm taking care of my 2 main bikes, my sons road bike (he's 12 and helps) and his MTB.

Dry/ceramic chain lube really makes my life easy.

Some people will probably yell at this method - but it works for me.

I simply wet the bikes down, spray with simple green and let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse off with light spray - most of the grime is gone at that point. Then wash the bike with a microfiber cloth and dawn.

I let the drivetrain sit with simple green, scrub it with a brush, rinse/dry/relube.

About every 5 lubes or so, I take the chain off and soak in simple green.

"wet" lube - for me its a nightmare of gunk, build up and the stuff transfers all over the bike.
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Old 09-07-23, 09:16 AM
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When I clean my bike in the car wash, clocks run backwards!

It's the darndest thing.
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Old 09-07-23, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
Well durn. You just excluded me from qualifying to answer the question. <grin>
Me, too. It’s hopeless to resist. My bikes are almost always trail-dust colored.

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Old 09-07-23, 10:57 AM
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I use the bucket of warm water with Dawn and a good brush. "Thorough" for me means brushing the rims and tires, and the outside of all the spokes to get rid of rain ride dirt.

Getting everything together takes 15 minutes. Washing the bike is 5-10 minutes, depending on whether or not I get the rims. Next bike is 5-10 minutes again. Third bike I usually want to change the water.
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Old 09-07-23, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
If you do a thorough job, how long does it take you?
Twenty minutes or so.

Edit: as it happens, today was bike bath day. (2-3 days in a row of riding on our incredibly dry and dusty gravel roads left the bike covered in dust and dirt, and a puncture on last night's group ride left sealant all over the rear triangle.) I timed it, and it was 17 minutes -- that includes filling the bucket with soapy water and also dragging the hose around to the driveway and putting it away when finished. Bike is now in the workstand, out in the sun, so the drivetrain can dry completely prior to lubing the chain.

Last edited by Koyote; 09-07-23 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 09-07-23, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
I use the bucket of warm water with Dawn and a good brush. "Thorough" for me means brushing the rims and tires, and the outside of all the spokes to get rid of rain ride dirt.
I clean the insides of the spokes, too, though it's metallurgically challenging.
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Old 09-07-23, 09:59 PM
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Amazed how fast people get it done.

What I do:
Run chain through Chain Pig device several times
Spray rear cluster with degreaser and scrub
Clean both front and rear mech - remove jockey wheels/ clean-lube
remove both wheels and clean wheels hubs and spokes
wipe down frame and bars with water and Dawn mix then rinse everything
reassemble bike and wipe down.
blow the chain completely dry using compressor
lube the chain
Do any fine tuning of mechs if necessary

If people can do all that in half an hour, my hat is off to them.
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Old 09-07-23, 10:38 PM
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10-15 minutes at most. Grab the windex, pull both wheels and spray the frame and wipe it all down toss each wheel in the truing stand, spin it and spritz it. Spokes get wiped first, then the rim between them followed by the hub. Rub the edge of the rag between the cogs if needed. If bored, spray the frame down with pledge for that lemony fresh scent and rewipe down, install the wheels. Lightly drip lube on the chain and after a minute wipe off the excess. I used to get lots of complements on my repairs being the cleanest customers had seen, gave them a sense that the bike had been thoroughly inspected, but with practice its a quick and easy job. its only 12.00 for the 50 pack of white cleaning cloths from HF, and windex really does cut through grease and leaves a cleaner looking finish.
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Old 09-07-23, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth
10-15 minutes at most. Grab the windex, pull both wheels and spray the frame and wipe it all down toss each wheel in the truing stand, spin it and spritz it. Spokes get wiped first, then the rim between them followed by the hub. Rub the edge of the rag between the cogs if needed. If bored, spray the frame down with pledge for that lemony fresh scent and rewipe down, install the wheels. Lightly drip lube on the chain and after a minute wipe off the excess. I used to get lots of complements on my repairs being the cleanest customers had seen, gave them a sense that the bike had been thoroughly inspected, but with practice its a quick and easy job. its only 12.00 for the 50 pack of white cleaning cloths from HF, and windex really does cut through grease and leaves a cleaner looking finish.
perhaps I am getting to compulsive about cleaning the chain so it looks almost like new. But after it is cleaned, it is whisper quiet. Maybe that isn’t necessary. Major caveat, I only clean the bike once every month or month and a half depending if I ride some gravel.
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Old 09-08-23, 03:55 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
perhaps I am getting to compulsive about cleaning the chain so it looks almost like new. But after it is cleaned, it is whisper quiet. Maybe that isn’t necessary. Major caveat, I only clean the bike once every month or month and a half depending if I ride some gravel.
I’ve been down that rabbit hole and eventually came to the conclusion that it’s not really worth all the extra effort. So now I just wipe the chain down between rides and occasionally run it through my scrubbing device with de-greaser (once a month maybe). Chains are a fairly disposable item too.
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Old 09-08-23, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
Clean both front and rear mech - remove jockey wheels/ clean-lube
Pulling jockey wheels for cleaning seems pretty OCD to me. Kind of like how dog show contestants wash, blow dry, and comb the dogs all the time. I'll wipe jockey wheels off if I see any buildup on the wheels, but that's about it. (And wash a dog when it rolls in something stinky.)
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Old 09-08-23, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by msalvetti
Maybe 30 minutes? I clean the bike every time I lube the chain. Mount the bike on the stand, then wipe everything down with Meguiar's Ultimate Waterless Wash & Wax and a microfiber cloth. Wheels and spokes are black, and I'll wipe them down too. I'll also reach inside the wheels and clean the hubs. Then I clean the chain using Simple Green and two toothbrushes squeezed together. Usually there is some caked on dirt/grease on the front sprocket and the derailleur gears, and I clean that off. Wipe the chain with a shop towel and lube it with T9. That's it.
Yup. 30 minutes. You might consider doing the chain first so that any splatters from your toothbrush scrubbing get cleaned up when you wipe everything down. I can't imagine what takes 2-3 hours unless you are taking things apart. Once a year I tear the bike down to the frame and take apart everything that comes apart for a clean and lube. That takes several hours over a few days, but it pretty much lasts the season, which is about 9,000 miles of riding.
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