After a long bike ride or mountain ride on a mountain bike, all you crave for is a nice long shower to clean up all the dirt and feel refreshing again. But have you ever wondered that your bike needs that clean up too? Well. If you haven’t, then you should start to think about it now! Because we don’t want you to see, your bike getting rust or “freezing up” because of the lack of cleaning and lubricating. While riding every part of the bike gets exposed to all kinds of mud, dirt, debris, etc. And if you don’t wash those stuff from your bike, your desired road bike or hybrid bike no matter what the type may not last long! Though the cleaning process may not be as fun as riding the bike, but if you want to continue the fun, then you should know how to clean a bike!
“Signs” that your bike needs to be cleaned!
It is not necessary to clean your top-class bike every day. But deciding the schedule of cleaning depends on some factors. Such as, how frequent you use the bike, the conditions of your bike ride means a smooth casual ride or rough mountain ride, how many long rides you’ve done after the last cleanup etc. If you only use your bike occasionally or for simple exercise, then cleaning once a month is enough even if your bike seems visibly dirty only after one ride. In case of an adventurous ride with a great mountain bike, it is obvious that your bike needs cleaning after each ride. You must not ignore and leave it for another few days. It would be best if you cleaned that as soon as possible. Also, here is some other sign which tells that your top-notch bike is screaming (silently) for a wash-up!
- Hard, caked debris on the wheels and body.
- Mud and sign of small rust on chains.
- Dirt or mud getting stacked on the lever or brake
Tools you need for cleaning!
As we’ve already told you bike cleaning process may not sound fun and easy! It’s not like you only throw some water from a hose or wipe the bike with a towel or rug. You have to do some setup and gather necessary tools that’ll be needed while cleaning the bike. Don’t get panicked! We’ve got the list for your ease!
- A bucket or garden hose for water.
- Cleans rugs or towels
- Scrub brushes (Different sizes for different parts)
- Liquid soap
- Work stand (optional)
As now you’ve got all the things required for the cleaning process, now let’s get started!
Step-1: Spray water and rinse the frame
If you’re using a hose for water, never increase the pressure to the highest. Keep the load just as you use while watering your plants. Excess speed of water sometimes gets stuck inside the joints and cause them to rust especially in the electric ones as they have battery and other stuffs. On the other hand, cleaning a folding bike thoroughly is easier than its electric counterpart.
Keep a bucket of warm water too. Because warm water help to clean more effectively. But if you have leather parts in your bike, you shouldn’t let those part get wet at all!
Step-2: Degrease Drivetrain
Pour a modest amount of degreaser into a bowl and use sponge or toothbrush to scrub it on the drivetrain such as cassettes, chain ring, derailleurs, chains etc. You can use degreasers of Finish Line, Park Tool, WD-40, Simple Green brands as those are quite popular and available in the market. Then, let it stay for at least 10 minutes. If possible, you can buy chain ring tools for applying degreaser, but it’s optional. And don’t spray the degreaser on the caliper, brake pads or rotors in case if your bike is made with disc brakes. Spraying and scrubbing directly on those parts may cause malfunctioning in your brakes.
Cleaning the frame will require a brush, and it’s better to use a soft bristle brush. Mix liquid soap in a bucket of warm water and gently scrub off the dirt, debris and grimes. Clean from top to down but try to avoid the brake area. And don’t scrub hard, it will damage the color of your bike. After cleansing, use clean water and sponge to wash the soapy water.
Wheels get exposed to dirt and debris the most. That’s why it requires heavy cleaning. Use a toothbrush to scrub the rims and the tires in a circular motion. Carefully wash off the clogs. Many feel to detach the wheels and then clean it. But it’s not mandatory to do. You can clean it while the bike tires are attached to the bike.
We’ve already mentioned avoiding the brakes while washing with wither water or soap. Because it requires extra attention. First, remove the calipers and put the brake pads out of it. Then gently clean the disc, rotor and pads with a small-sized soft brush. Then put all those back again. But you’re using rims you may not need to be this much care. And can then simply wash your brakes just like the rest of the parts.
Step-6: Let it dry
After rinsing all the dirt and soap, use a big, clean and dry towel to wipe the bike. It won’t be wise to leave the bike watery. The water may drop to small joints of the bike and cause problems. After wiping the bike, leave it for an hour or two and enjoy the new glow of your bike! In case of quality hybrid bikes or bikes of any other type, you can polish it after it dries up, to make it look even more clean for a long time.
Step-7: Lubricate the joints and bolts
It is necessary to lubricate the joints, locks, chains and brakes regularly. It keeps the parts moving smoothly or else you’ll feel awkward to run the bike. The components may even get frozen and slow. And it’s kind of mandatory to re-oiling the bike after every wash. You can use any type of lubricating oil available in the market for use such as, Motul 7100 Synthetic oil, Castrol 06112 power1 Synthetic oil, Mobil 1 V-Twin Synthetic oil etc.
Never underestimate the importance of cleaning!
Indeed, many of the bikes, whether for men or women's riding, don’t require maintenance frequently. But that’ll only happen if you clean your bike regularly. Proper knowledge on how to clean a bike can ensure the glow and color of your bike last longer, and it’ll spare you from the extra cost of replacements. Also, a clean bike is safe and comfortable to ride because you know that the parts are doing well. But it’s necessary to check the bike, especially the brakes after every wash to understand that no harm has done while cleaning.