Bike cleaning

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Matt49, 7 Jan 2018.

  1. Matt49

    Matt49 New Member


    It's been many years since I rode a bike, when I'd just fill a bucket of soapy water and sponge it down. The bike shop looked at me funny when I said I sprayed my trek bike chain with WD40 so does anyone have some simple every day cleaning advice as I don't want to much effort but after cycling 30 miles the other day I didn't feel much like cleaning it but aiming to cycle every other day even in this cold weather. The shop gave me some TF2 and some cycle wash and I have a can of SAS and GT85. Advice appreciated.

  2. ChrisEyles

    ChrisEyles Veteran

    Soapy water and a sponge down is what I do after a wet muddy ride, paying particular attention to the wheel rims getting rid of all grit/mud. Then dry the bike off with an old tea towel - the frame doesn't matter much but it's good to dry off the derailleurs and chainset.

    Search on this forum for the "mickle method" of cleaning your chain, that's probably the best cleaning tip I've picked up from this forum.

    I use a drop of light oil (chainsaw oil - it's cheaper than bike oil, another tip I picked up on here) on all the derailleur and brake pivot points every once in a while (careful not to get any on your rims or brake pads), and a small spray of GT85 on the points where the gear/brake cable inners go into the outers while I'm at it.

    Cleaning the bike is a great time to check for any damage or mechanical issues too. Every few months I'll give it a more thorough clean and check over all the bolts, BB, wheel axles etc, better than finding out on the road a long way from home.

    It does take a lot of time but it's quite satisfying keeping a well maintained bike and it does seem to ride the better for it.
    Vantage, johnnyb47, mjr and 1 other person like this.
  3. mjr

    mjr Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next

    What's the cycle wash? Far too many IMO are degreasers putting the bike on the fast track to corrosion and generating more sales for bike shops.

    Car shampoo with wax, sponge, soft brush where needed and dry.
    Paulus likes this.
  4. bpsmith

    bpsmith Veteran

    I would advocate some proper bike lube for the chain tbh, but will soon be shot down by the chainsaw fanatics.
    Ffoeg likes this.
  5. OP

    Matt49 New Member

    Thanks for your replies. Why pay attention to wheel rims so much, is that so the brake pads run clean? Cycle wash as attached. The bloke said in the shop that my bike being dirty was the reason the chain would come off at least once a ride so every 25 miles I'd say it comes off once mainly when I switch from the 1st to 3rd crank or vice versa, does jumping across the gears do that rather than smoothly changing up or down? I will check out the mickle method, thanks


    Attached Files:

    ChrisEyles likes this.
  6. screenman

    screenman Legendary Member

    Jet wash and blow dry with air line for me.
    bpsmith likes this.
  7. MiK1138

    MiK1138 Über Member

    A tip if you use spray wax, don't apply it in -2 degrees and then go searching for a cloth to polish it. came back out and wax just flaked off the bike DOH!
    NorthernDave likes this.
  8. ChrisEyles

    ChrisEyles Veteran

    Depends on what the soil type and state of the roads is where you ride, but I find the red sandy soil around here hell on wheel rims and brake blocks. Leads to premature wear of both rim and block, and lots of messy black gungy alumnium paste if you don't clean it often. Grit can also get stuck in your brake pads, leading to a scoring motion on the rim when you apply the brakes, so best to pick it out when you clean the bike.

    The chain has to be pretty manky to jump off (assuming the derailleurs are indexed nicely), but it does run smoother and quieter for being cleaned and oiled. Jumping from the 1st to 3rd chainring on a triple can cause the chain to derail, but you can look at adjusting the limit screws on your front derailleur to help, and possibly all together prevent this. Guess you know already, but it also helps to ease off on the pedal pressure while you're shifting.
  9. NorthernDave

    NorthernDave Never used Über Member

    My cleaning routine - takes 10 minutes unless the bike is absolutely filthy

    Muc-off bike cleaner
    Wait 3-5 minutes
    Hosepipe again
    Dry off with a microfibre cloth
    Mickle the chain using the lube of your preference - ask 50 CycleChatters and you'll get 50 different opinions on this one :laugh:
    GT85 on cables and other moving parts (using the little red straw)

    Javi likes this.
  10. johnnyb47

    johnnyb47 Über Member

    Hi Matt and welcome to Cycle Chat buddy.
    If like me, a hose pipe is a bit awkward to get out this time of year ,I just use one of those pressurized garden sprayers. The type that you pump and not the smaller trigger type. I just fill it up before I go for ride, and as soon as I get back after a ride, I give the bike a good spray, with the mud on the bike is still wet. It seems to do a good job at washing off all the crud. A quick spray of Wd 40 or Gt85 over the gears and its good to go.
    Hope this helps buddy
  11. OP

    Matt49 New Member

    I realise even after spending my childhood on a chopper and then a racer that I know little. I can't do any mechanical fixing, never felt inclined to bother as a teenager, perhaps I should have tinkered with it, as for derailleurs indexing :-/ !!! I think I need to watch some you tube bike videos.

    Why is there red sandy soil in Devon? I spent some time in the Australian outback once where there is red soil but Devon is a green and pleasant hilly land unlike Hertfordshire.
  12. ChrisEyles

    ChrisEyles Veteran

    Devon has a lot of sandstone, which I guess accounts for the reddish gritty soil.

    You tube is ace for how-to videos. There's a lot of useful stuff to be found on CycleChat with the search function too, and plenty of helpful people on hand if you can't find what you're looking for that way.
  13. NorthernDave

    NorthernDave Never used Über Member

    Good advice, I used to do this before I put the outdoor tap in.
    johnnyb47 likes this.
  14. ChrisEyles

    ChrisEyles Veteran

    If you use a hosepipe with a pressurised trigger end on, be careful not to point it directly at the headset bearings on either end of the head tube, it can be quite easy to blast the grease out if you've not got a sealed headset.

    How do I know...? Don't ask but let's just say I need to re-grease the bearings on the headset of my MTB after a muddy Exmoor ride!
    johnnyb47 and NorthernDave like this.
  15. bpsmith

    bpsmith Veteran

    There’s a cracking video on GCN on YouTube where they blast a bottom bracket bearing with a proper pressure washer. It takes a long time of direct high pressure to even let any water through. A lower pressure garden sprayer would do nothing at all to your bearings.

    It’s a myth basically.
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