Sweat, dirt, grime. Over time, these can do serious damage to your bike. Clean your bike between tune-ups to keep all of your moving parts working optimally. This is especially true if you are going for longer rides, are a heavy sweater, or if you ride in the rain.
Clean your bike and it’ll make your next ride feel better while prolonging the life of your bike parts.
Supplies to clean your bike
- Rag – at least three; two that can get greasy and one to dry off and polish the bike after it is clean
- Brushes – one soft and a smaller stiff brush for the drivetrain
- Water Bucket
- Cleaner – Simple Green is a great general cleaner to use for overall cleaning of the bike
- Bike Degreaser – get one that’s specific to bikes, not just turpentine
- Chain Lube – there are a lot of options here and what you want to use may vary. Talk to your local bike shop about what might be best. When in doubt, go for a light, self-cleaning lubricant.
1. Washing the frame
Use a soft cloth or brush to clean the entirety of your bike frame, including the front fork and handlebars. Work from the top down. Finish by scrubbing the chainstays, cranks, and cogs. Let sit for a minute. Then rinse all of the parts in the same order you cleaned them.
2. Cleaning the drive chain
Depending on how often you clean your bike this can get really messy.
Apply degreaser to the chain, cassette, and derailleurs. Let that sit and then scrub with a hard-bristle brush. Run through all of the gears to make sure each section has been covered in degreaser. Rinse thoroughly and then repeat if needed. You should be able to wipe a clean cloth along your chain with little to no residue showing.
3. Let your bike dry completely
Kinda self-explanatory. You can use a clean cloth to wipe down the frame so that water spots don’t show after.
4. Lube the chain
Once your bike is dry it is important to lube your chain. You lube the chain by holding the bottle and steadily dripping it onto the chain while turning the pedals backward. It should not take more than a few drops. Run through all of the gears. You should be able to run your fingers along the chain and have little-to-no residue on your fingers. An over-lubed chain will just attract more dirt.