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Bicycle Maintenance | How to clean your bike

Words by Will Crump

on 17/02/2021 13:00:00

How-to-clean-your-bike

How to clean your bike after a mucky session

What else could possibly hype you up, in the morning, for a ride more than the gratification of jumping onto a bike that is in a spotless and pristine condition? This dream can be your reality with a few genius products, top tips and your effort and dedication to make your bike look like the ultimate Instagram bike.

Cleaning your bike regularly after a filthy ride is not only going to give you pure satisfaction when it comes to aesthetics, it is also going to significantly increase the longevity of your components. This means you can save money on forking out for new components and spend more time polishing and riding your pride and joy.

Maintenance-sprays

In this blog, we will be highlighting some of the best products on the market to use for cleaning and detailing as well as some top tips on how to efficiently clean your muddy bike. It's time we make the change and view cleaning our bikes as less of a chore and more of a satisfying and relaxing end to a day of riding.

Essential Equipment

  • - A set of bike specific brushes or a sponge
  • - General bike cleaner
  • - Accessibility to a hose, low power pressure washer or bucket of clean water
  • - Detailing sprays, lubricants and degreasers
  • - Towels, cloths or rags to dry your frame/ components
Shop our full range of cleaning products here!

How to clean your bike -

Muddy-Bike

1. Removing large areas of mud - Using your water source, spray off any large clusters of mud, silt or grit off of your bike. When using any sort of pressurized water, it is highly advised to avoid your bearings as the power of the stream can push grit into the bearings therefore making them not work as efficiently the next time you ride.

Once the bike is relatively clear of dirt, spray evenly - over the bike - your general bike cleaner. This solution will help separate the base layer of mud from your frame without damaging it. At this stage, your bike should be covered in a satisfying white layer of bike cleaner.

2. Scrub - Grab your largest detailing brush or sponge and proceed to scrub the remaining dirt off of your bike (you can spray more cleaner in areas that you feel like need more soap). To clean inside the tighter gaps of your bike, use a small, clean rag and wrap it around the frame and pull on it gently to clean it.

Bike-cleaning-spray

3. Rinse - Rinse your frame, again using a low powered pressure washer or hose pipe and make sure that all the dirt and detergent has been removed from the frame. Give the wheels a quick spin to also remove detergent from in between the tread. If you find a spot that is still displaying dirt then simply just go over it again with the bike cleaner, brush and water.

4. Drip dry and drivetrain maintenance - Whilst leaving your bike to partially drip dry, you have the perfect opportunity to pay extra attention to your drivetrain maintenance. By using a specific drivetrain cleaning spray and a small brush you can get your cassette and chain looking brand new again. Use degreaser to eliminate any remaining silt on your drivetrain.

Alternatively, you can invest in specific drivetrain cleaning machines that you attach over your chain. I tend to use a cheap toothbrush as an alternative brush for getting in between your cassette. Note: Do not use this brush on any other parts of your bike - especially the brakes as it will contaminate the brake pads.

Drivetrain-Cleaner

5. Drying -Proceed to manually dry off the rest of your bike using a towel or cloth.

6. Lubricate - Now that your bike is spotless, it is time to lubricate the drivetrain again to protect it from the elements on your next ride and make it run as efficiently as it should. Using any sort of ceramic wet or dry chain lube will work an absolute treat on your chain and cassette. Wet lube is often superior in the winter due to the unpredictability of the weather whereas Dry lube is better for summer riding.

If you fear that you may have accidentally contaminated your disc brakes, invest in some disc brake cleaner and spray it around the pads and on the rotor before wiping it off with a clean cloth.

Bike-Chain-Lube

7. Detailing + Final finish - Now for the fun bit, it’s time to really draw out the paintwork in the frame using some specific detailing sprays. For your forks, dropper post and shock, consider investing in some silicone shine spray to really draw out the details, make it shine as well as increasing their performance by making them more plush.

When it comes to making the colour work on your frame look new and instagram worthy, there are no better products than bike polish, such as Miracle shine by Muc-Off. Miracle shine polish is applied after the cleaning process and not only does it act as a water repellent on your next ride, it awards your frame with a spotless shine. If you have a matte finish on your frame, then invest in the matte equivalent which removes fingerprint marks and streaking marks giving you a fresh finish.

Detailing-Polish

How often should I clean my bike?

If you ride a Road Bike, it is almost a given that your bike may not get as filthy as a Mountain bike nevertheless, we suggest that you still give your bike a good clean every 20 rides or sooner depending on the conditions on the road. After 20 rides, the lube on your chain will have started to wash away and be replaced with silt and grit which will deteriorate your chain life.

It is important to keep on top of essential maintenance on a regular basis which will prevent you from unnecessarily spending money on buying new components earlier than you need too.

On a Mountain bike, essential cleaning and maintenance should be an ongoing process - especially in the winter months! During the summer, you can get away with a few rides before completing necessary maintenance and upkeep just as long as your bike doesn't get too dusty and filthy.

Shop our full range of cleaning products here!

Find your nearest Rutland Cycling store