Whether you use your bike for commuting, for exercise or for off-road fun, it is important that you keep it clean and usable. There are basic cleaning routines you should perform after every ride and those that you should look at on a regular basis as part of your maintenance routine.
We had a good look at some of the advice that is available on how best to clean your bike, so read on and we’ll tell you what you need to do, and when you need to do it.
After a Ride
So, you’ve been out for a ride, and you’re back now; what do you need to do to keep your bike in top condition? Here’s a quick checklist that should help:
- If it’s wet – the wet weather means that all the mud, salt and other debris from the roads will find its place to hide on your bike. This will likely be on your tyres and wheels, and around the brakes. Use a rag to wipe the mud off the wheels, and wipe down the frame so there are no corrosive elements left.
- If it’s dry – even in dry weather your bike will pick up stuff along the way, so you need to follow the same routine. Clean the frame of all debris, check the brakes for similar, and make sure there is nothing in the chain or gear mechanism.
- A good wash – there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give your treasured bike a nice wash once you get home. Warm soapy water will do the trick, and remember to have a cloth handy for drying if you can.
Now, what about cleaning your bike more thoroughly? Here goes!
A Regular Wash
Every once in a while, it is strongly recommended you take your bike down to its components and give it a good wash. This basically means removing the wheels, so they can be washed individually, and as you probably have a quick release, it’s not hard to do.
- Degrease – you can buy degreaser from your bike store, and it is an essential part of cleaning. You should use it as the manufacturer states, and apply it using an old toothbrush to the cogs. Also, apply it to the chain, and you will soon begin to see the difference. This removes all the grease and gunk that will build up across time and will bring your chain and gear-set back to good as new.
- Wash the frame – once you have the degreasing done, which is the really dirty and messy bit, you can attend to the frame. Dirt will build up under the frame especially, so make sure you use warm soapy water to thoroughly check that it is fully clean. Start at the top and work down, and remember to give your wheel rims the same treatment. If you want to do things really nicely, get a soft brush and go over the frame and wheels to remove any surplus, and your bike will soon look amazing.
- Re-oil – this is a dirty job, but you’ve got to do it! You’ve removed the grease from your chain and cogs, and you need to make sure they are oiled freshly for future use. Lightly oil the chain while turning the pedals slowly; you will see when you have reached full-circle. Next, lightly oil the cogs and the gear cassette where necessary. Leave it for a few minutes, wipe off any excess, and you’re pretty much done.
There’s really not much to it, is there? You can be more thorough if you wish, but the above is all it takes to keep your bike clean, fresh and ready for use, and to get the best out of it every time you bring it out to play!