Saturday, August 25, 2007

How to Wash Your Bike

Where ever you work there is usually one person who is the go to guy when it comes to bicycles. I happen to be that person where I work. Although the most common question is, “Which bike should I buy? Surprisingly, another very common question is “How do you clean a bicycle?” So, for those folks and anyone else who is interested, this is how I clean bicycles. It should be noted I am responsible for maintaining a stable of about 10 bikes, so I have streamed lined the process. Here are the cleaners and brushes I use. You might also want an old toothbrush and a spray bottle with water.
The blue brush is a Park gear cleaner and is a must when cleaning a multi-speed drivetrain; the white and blue bottle is Park Chain Brite. Before I spray on the Simple Green I will rinse the area I am cleaning with water. I use Simple Green for the grunt of the work, and throw in some Chain Brite when the Simple green isn’t getting the job done. When cleaning your bike, don’t use a pressure nozzle and never use a “power washer”; use enough water to get the job done, rinsing before and after using a cleaner. Use a minimal amount of water around the seat/ seat post and head tube/headset areas. Always ride your bike for a few minutes after you have washed it to help remove any excess moister.



First I put the bike on a stand. I use a small flat head screw driver and scrape the crud off the derailleur pulleys



Next I spray the entire drive train with Simple Green and scrub the crank, chain rings, front and rear derailleurs.


To clean the chain I shift the chain to big chain ring and using the Park brush, I scrub both sides and the outside of the chain.



Next I scrub the inside of the chain.


Once the chain is relatively clean (you will be coming back to it), I work on the front chain rings and rear cassette. The rear portion of the Park Tool is designed to clean between the cogs of the rear cassette. As a caveat, Park doesn’t seem to have figured out that their tool is not thin enough for 9 speed drive trains. This one is so worn I can get it in with a little effort, but a new one doesn’t work well at all.


This is a good place to add some Park ChainBrite chain cleaner; this by far the best chain cleaner on the market.


Now rinse off the big stuff and wipe down the chain. This is the place where I sometimes use some ChainBrite with the Simple Green, as it dissolves grease faster than Simple Green alone; you can use the ChainBrite by itself or in a chain cleaner, but you will use 5 times the amount. If I have more time I will remove the chain and place it in a bottle with 50/50 Simple Green and water. I shake the bottle from time to time and let it soak over night. Once the chain is clean I pull off the rear wheel and pretty much repeat the process. I do all this before, because it’s easier to clean the chain while the rear wheel is on the bike. And now, when you clean the chain rings and cassette again, you won’t crud them up again with a dirty chain.


With the rear wheel removed, spray on some more Simple Green with a few drops of ChainBrite and go to town with the Park brush. It doesn’t take long to get it clean like this.


Now spray the drive train with Simple Green again with a few drops of ChainBrite, and clean off what you didn’t get the first time. With the rear wheel off you have better access to both derailleurs.


Once the drive train is done, you can work on the rest of the bike. On a hot day the Simple Green will start to dry up on you. Sometimes I spray some water on it rather than just washing it off with a hose. Generally you will not need to use the cleaner on all areas of the bike; a damp rag will work fine. When you’re done with the last rinse, wipe the entire bike dry.

Now all you need do is put the rear wheel back on and run it through the gears and put a little chain lube on the chain; I been using Chain-L N05 with good results, but it takes a little more work than other chain lubes. A piece of advice here; always put your bike on the ground when you are putting the wheels back on and tightening the quick releases. This makes sure the axles are properly anchored in the dropouts. Failure to do so will cause you fits. This bike has disc brakes. If your bike has rims brakes, remember to thoroughly clean the braking surface and brake pads. And there you are; all you need now do is lube the chain. If you are more anal, you can spend some more time on the chain, wipe down the spokes or spray the frame with a furniture spray like Pledge (it really makes the paint sparkle!). Now take a short ride and run the bike through the gears one more time. Once you do this a few times it should take no more than 20 minutes to wash your bike.

1 comment:

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