Dr. Stephanie Soares, DPT
10 Easy Steps to a Clean Bike
If you have been riding your bike in the last few months, chances are you have encountered wet conditions. I’m willing to bet it’s probably time to roll up your sleeves and clean your bike. Having a clean bike not only looks nice but it also helps your bike run smoothly, gives you a chance to inspect your frame and components for signs of wear and helps components last longer.
Not sure where to start? I’m here to help!
Gather your cleaning materials: bucket of warm water, soap (dish soap or bike specific product), brushes, sponges, bike stand (optional but very helpful), chain keeper, degreaser, lubricant, chain scrubber (optional but very helpful)
1. If you plan to use a bike stand, make sure to clean the area you plan to clamp to avoid abrasion, then place your bike in the stand
2. (Optional) Remove wheels and insert chain keeper to keep tension on the drivetrain
3. Apply degreaser to the chain for recommended time to penetrate grease, can also use dish soap. (Tip: chain scrubber tool with rotating brushes can help with this step); rinse.
4. Using warm soapy water and a brush, scrub the chainrings, cassette, and derailleurs; rinse
5. Rinse the frame, fork and handlebars; soap with a clean sponge from top to bottom; rinse
6. Scrub tires, rims and hubs; rinse
7. If removed for deep cleaning, re-install wheels
8. Dry and lube chain
9. Test drivetrain and brakes
10. Enjoy your clean ride!
-Keep soap away from rotors and brake pads of disk brakes, there is rotor specific cleaner or you can also use rubbing alcohol
-Use different sponges/brushes for different areas of the bike, i.e. do not use the same thing to clean your drivetrain and your frame
-After you clean your drivetrain, use a fresh batch of warm soapy water to clean the remaining parts of your bike
-There is much debate regarding forcing water into bearings. To play it safe, use low pressure/widespray hose setting and use caution when rinsing bottom bracket, pivots, headset and hubs
There are many ways to clean your bike, this order does the trick for me. No matter which steps you take, just make sure you show your bike some love after wet conditions and otherwise at least once a month. It will keep your ride looking top notch and make your bike and wallet happy.
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