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Winter tips for salt clean up

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Winter tips for salt clean up

Old 01-31-20, 01:39 PM
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chupster98
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Winter tips for salt clean up

For the winter riders out there - how do you clean your bike once it gets all splattered with salty crud?
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Old 01-31-20, 02:40 PM
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Old 01-31-20, 02:42 PM
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Leave it out for the moose to come lick it?

OK, actually, I wait for a warm day and hit the bike with a bucket of water, dish detergent, and a brush.

But we don't have to salt here very much, or very frequently. And I did see a moose once! (and it was licking salt off a sidewalk).
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Old 01-31-20, 03:17 PM
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There's another thread here on the topic of washing bikes. My idea was to get a $20 pressurized water spray and hose it off outdoors.

Another idea I just had was to go to a car wash and borrow their hose, if it's running. But that might be somewhat expensive? Not to mention you'd be competing with autos.
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Old 02-02-20, 02:35 PM
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I have a brush soaking in a tub of windshield washer fluid and a pressurized spray jug.
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Old 02-02-20, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
I have a brush soaking in a tub of windshield washer fluid and a pressurized spray jug.
I might try that!
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Old 02-03-20, 10:29 AM
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think I'm gonna get a 2nd brush just for the wheels & tires, or use the current brush for just the drive train
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Old 02-04-20, 07:55 AM
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I've done just a couple watering cans full of fresh water. Better than nothing.
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Old 02-04-20, 08:32 PM
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Car wash. It’s not a problem. Just don’t pull the trigger when washing around the bearings, although GCN did a thing on power washing and they didn’t find that it harmed the bearings at all even with 2 minutes of direct close spray.
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Old 02-05-20, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Car wash. Itís not a problem. Just donít pull the trigger when washing around the bearings, although GCN did a thing on power washing and they didnít find that it harmed the bearings at all even with 2 minutes of direct close spray.

Although an effective way to clean your bike, you might not feel like doing it everyday. And after the car wash, you'll still have to ride it back home - through all the salt and slush that you just washed off.
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Old 02-06-20, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Although an effective way to clean your bike, you might not feel like doing it everyday. And after the car wash, you'll still have to ride it back home - through all the salt and slush that you just washed off.
You don't have to do it everyday. I wouldn't wash my bike at home every day. That's just asking for things to be frozen when you go out to ride it tomorrow. I probably wouldn't wash it every week, either.
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Old 02-09-20, 09:29 PM
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Rust in chain is the worst.
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Old 02-09-20, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Hexar View Post
Rust in chain is the worst.
Get a better chain. KMCís Eco Proteq chains are very rust resistant. They arenít all that expensive, either.
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Old 02-10-20, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
You don't have to do it everyday. I wouldn't wash my bike at home every day. That's just asking for things to be frozen when you go out to ride it tomorrow. I probably wouldn't wash it every week, either.
After spending a few hundred dollars two years in a row replacing the bottom bracket and then the crank, my bike shop told me to clean my bike of the salt after every winter ride. That's the fat bike I bought new. But my other bike is a beater that I ride when the snow isn't that deep and I have never cleaned it.
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Old 02-10-20, 04:53 PM
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I'm on my third or fourth new chain at this point. I just swap it out at the annual tune-up and move on. Lasts about one year due to heavy usage and environmental factors.

I think the weather has an impact. here in the North East US, we get some cold, some snow, the roads get salted/sanded when it snows, and... the sea air also contains sea-salt and that sea-air can react with a metal bicycle chain. But that might be different where you all live. It just depends on your climate conditions

300th post here ....
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Old 02-11-20, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
After spending a few hundred dollars two years in a row replacing the bottom bracket and then the crank, my bike shop told me to clean my bike of the salt after every winter ride. That's the fat bike I bought new. But my other bike is a beater that I ride when the snow isn't that deep and I have never cleaned it.
There is something seriously wrong if you've had to replace the bottom bracket two years in a row. I don't know if you had to replace the crank twice (it's unclear) but I can't think of any reason why a crankset would have to be replaced because of salt. Nor should it cost "a few hundred dollars" to replace a bottom bracket, even twice. I think there is something else going on here. Even cheap bottom brackets have seals that are sufficient for years of abuse.
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Old 02-12-20, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
There is something seriously wrong if you've had to replace the bottom bracket two years in a row. I don't know if you had to replace the crank twice (it's unclear) but I can't think of any reason why a crankset would have to be replaced because of salt. Nor should it cost "a few hundred dollars" to replace a bottom bracket, even twice. I think there is something else going on here. Even cheap bottom brackets have seals that are sufficient for years of abuse.
I rode the bike for three winters before taking it back to the shop for its free annual maintenance. That's when they told me the bottom bracket was all corroded. Then the following year, they said the front chain rings were all shark-toothed. I was getting skeptical but I had those changed too. So that's when they told me I had to clean off all the salt after every ride. So now I'm brushing the joints and bearings with diluted windshield washer fluid after every ride.
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Old 02-12-20, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
I rode the bike for three winters before taking it back to the shop for its free annual maintenance. That's when they told me the bottom bracket was all corroded.
Okay. Riding for 3 winters is not what you described. Of course you should wash your bike once in a while if riding in winter. Washing it after every ride is excessive. Additionally, when you say the bottom bracket was "all corroded", did it still turn? Could you feel any grating or difficulty moving the crank? The bottom bracket spindle could have rust on it but that doesn't have any effect on the function of the bottom bracket. And if you had to have it replaced again the following year..."two years in a row replacing the bottom bracket"...because it was "corroded", I'd be dubious that it really needed replacing. A bottom bracket...or any sealed bearing...that is seizing is pretty obvious. It the unit still spins freely, it's doesn't need replacement.

Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Then the following year, they said the front chain rings were all shark-toothed. I was getting skeptical but I had those changed too. So that's when they told me I had to clean off all the salt after every ride. So now I'm brushing the joints and bearings with diluted windshield washer fluid after every ride.
Did they replace the chainrings or the crank? If the rings are "shark-toothed", then yes, the ring needs to be replaced but the crank doesn't need it. Additionally, getting a chainring to the point where it is shark toothed is difficult. It takes a long time and a lot miles...I mean 10,000 miles or more...to wear one out. I've got cranks with 20,000+ miles on them and haven't needed to replace the rings yet. In fact, in 40 years of riding and doing mechanical work on bikes (road, mountain and touring), I haven't ever replaced a ring due to simple wear. I've replaced them for upgrades but never for wear.

Additionally, were the teeth actually shark-finned or did they (or you) say that there were teeth missing? I see that complaint all the time here on the forums and at my local co-op. People see a couple of teeth that look different from the others and think they have broken something. The "missing teeth" are a feature, not a bug. They are designed that way to work with the shifting ramps. There are usually 4 of them spread evenly around the chainwheel.

I'm not saying that these things didn't happen. I just saying that they are rather improbable based on my experience. I'll also say that brushing the bike with windshield washer fluid probably isn't doing anything. You are just hitting the surface and seldom does a component suffer damage on the surface. Corrosion does it's thing in the dark.
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Old 02-12-20, 04:17 PM
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Canít say how much I hate salt. I have to budget 30 min on to the end of every ride for a complete rinse, then oil on the chain. Last week I decided not to after a ride, and the result two days later was several fused/stuck/rusted links.

All so drivers can keep driving like itís not winter.
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Old 02-12-20, 07:52 PM
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Google "Salt Away". I keep a yard sprayer full of it for my winter bikes and the one motorcycle I have ready year round.
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Old 02-14-20, 07:44 AM
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how about vinegar instead of washer fluid? I recently watched an auto detailer video where they used vinegar to get road salt off floor mats (50/50 w/ water)


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Old 02-14-20, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
how about vinegar instead of washer fluid? I recently watched an auto detailer video where they used vinegar to get road salt off floor mats (50/50 w/ water)
Vinegar is one of those things that people use for no good reason...at least no good chemical reason. This is another one of those. The video is wrong in that there is no calcium carbonate nor magnesium carbonate in road salt. There is no function for it as neither is appreciably water soluble. Ice melter doesnít work if the material doesnít dissolve. There can be magnesium chloride in the mix but that is a very different animal. Thereís very little calcium chloride in road salt as well as calcium chloride is more corrosive than sodium and magnesium chlorides, which are already corrosive enough.

Acetic acid...vinegar, for the general public...doesnít react with the magnesium or sodium or even calcium chlorides. The addition of acetic acid doesnít change the solubility of the salts in water either, especially if the acetic acid concentration is cut in half from an already low level of 5%. If water were used in the video, Iím reasonably the same result would occur.
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Old 02-14-20, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
After spending a few hundred dollars two years in a row replacing the bottom bracket and then the crank, my bike shop told me to clean my bike of the salt after every winter ride.
Why did the crank have to be replaced ??...One of my MTBs has original cranks which are 13 years old and had a lot of exposure to road salt and all types of other abuse. I went through 3 bottom brackets on that bike but the cranks itself are still solid.
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Old 02-15-20, 12:07 PM
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Mild splatter: Into the kitchen, clean with baby wipes. (Baby wipes will freeze to a bike in the cold...ask me how I know.)

Full cleaning: In the bathtub/shower, with dishwashing soap. Dry thoroughly - indoors - and make sure that there is not water in the cable housing. (Outdoor water does not work in the cold places I've lived; it just freezes.)

But yeah - it should not be necessary to do a full clean after each ride.
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Old 02-15-20, 05:29 PM
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Put some vinegar in the water it will neutralize the salt. We use it in the floor scrubbers at the school I work at. You don't need vary much maybe 2 oz for each gallon of water.
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