Clean Your Bike!

Clean Your Bike!

by Zen Marketing Inc., July 1, 2014
Your bike is a collection of moving parts. When exposed to mud, grime and debris, not to mention regular usage, these parts begin to deteriorate. If you want to keep your bike in top riding condition them you have to keep it clean. So, clean your bike!

How to Clean your Bike

Just hosing down your bike once in a while and letting it dry isn’t enough. In fact, water (especially when coming from a high-pressure hose) can actually cause damage to your bike’s sensitive wheel and hub bearings. So when washing with water, do it carefully.
Most dirty bike components can be cleaned by wiping them carefully with a damp cloth. Other components require occasional brushing, buffing and lubrication.

How Often to Clean your Bike

Your bike cleaning schedule is really dependent on where and how often you ride it. If your rides are frequently in wet, muddy conditions, or if you ride hard, fast and all the time, you will need to clean your bike more often.
We aren’t suggesting that you need to clean your bike after every ride. But you should set up a schedule of regular bike cleaning, depending on the type of riding you prefer.
Here is what you’ll need…
  • Keep plenty of clean rags around for grease, oil and wax-related tasks and for general cleaning and drying.
  • You can use diluted dishwashing soap or one of the quality bike wash cleaners available at Pete’s, for frame cleaning.
  • Used carefully, clean water is important to have access to.
  • Pete’s offers bike detailing brushes; have several sizes and shapes on hand to get into hard-to-reach places to remove the grime that rinsing alone can’t get. In a pinch, an old toothbrush can work.
  • A general or bike-specific solvent (avoid kerosene or turpentine) will clean up grimy parts like your bike chain. Choose a solvent that is safe on the environment, and always dispose of all used solvents properly.
Keeping your bike parts properly lubricated is crucial for good performance. Lubrication protects moving parts from excessive wear caused by friction, keeps them from “freezing up”, and keeps rust and corrosion from attacking exposed metal components.
Be careful, though. Over-lubricating can lead to poor performance and component damage (excess lubricant will attract dirt and other abrasive particles). As a general rule, excess lube should always be carefully wiped away before the bicycle is ridden.
Here’s a Tip: when lubricating a number of parts at once, remember the order in which you apply the lubricants. Wiping off excess lube in the same order will give the lubricants time to soak in.

What Needs to Be Lubricated?

The chain: Your chain is your bike’s most “at risk” lubricated part. Lube it frequently to slow the rate of chain wear. More occasionally you should remove the chain from your bike to be thoroughly cleaned in a solvent and re-oiled. The more frequently you spot-lube your chain, the less necessary off-bike cleanings (and chain replacements) become. In general, lubricate your chain whenever it squeaks or appears “dry.” Lubing after wet rides will help keep your chain from rusting. Avoid over-lubricating.
Brake and derailleur levers: Apply a drop or two of oil to the lever pivots and the barrel adjusters periodically to keep them functioning properly.
Brake and derailleur cables: Check them frequently (especially in wet conditions) and re-lubricate occasionally so that they can effectively translate your commands to the component groups.
Brake and derailleur assemblies: These consist of a number of small moving parts. Keep an eye on their arms, wheels and pulleys so they don’t bind up or become rigid. Apply lubricant to the pivot points.
Bearing systems: The subject of maintenance and repair for hubs, headsets and cranksets is beyond the scope of this introductory article.

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