Recent Surveys and UK cycling statistics show a tremendous increase in the number of cyclists across the UK. A huge percentage of the population own or have access to a bike and the numbers are growing at a high rate. That’s a great move towards a healthy generation and pollution free atmosphere. As the usage of bikes increases, greater is it’s wear and tear and maintenance expenses. If you keep your bike clean and well maintained, you can keep the repair and maintenance costs under control. Here are some great bike cleaning tips, and advice on how to use bike cleaners and lubricants.
Equipment you need to clean your bike:
• Keep aside a separate bucket for your bike cleaning. If you use the one you use for some other purpose it may get greased or stained.
• Use normal water or medium hot water to clean your bike.
• You may need a sponge and a small brush that can reach tight spaces of the bike.
• One wet cotton cloth for first round bike body cleaning and a dry scurfy cloth for final cleaning and drying. Microfibre cloths and towels are ideal for this. Don’t use the same cloth or sponge to wash the body of bike and rims of the tires.
• Use some branded degreaser to remove grease and oil.
• Good quality Chain lubricant to oil the chain after cleaning.
• Wash and clean the cloths, buckets, sponges, brushes etc in soapy water and keep dry for next use.
1. Degrease the chain and clean the chain
The chain is one of the most important parts you have to keep clean. If there is some dust in the chain smooth gear shift will not be possible and will multiply the wear and tear of the bike. If it is a geared bike, put it on the lowest gear and pedal and clean the chain with a use and throw cloth. Change the gear while cleaning. It will be a good idea to apply a degreaser which helps easy removal of the black and dusty grease and oil. Follow the manufacturer instruction while using the degreaser. Use a small tooth brush to clean the tiny holes of the chain.
2. Clean the sprocket, front and rear mech
Degrease the sprocket before cleaning and wait for few minutes. There may be mud and soil stuck inside the sprocket which you can take out using a small stick or piece of thin iron wire mesh. Be patient and do a thorough cleaning. Also clean the front and rear mech using a brush. Don’t use the tooth brush used to clean the chain as it is greasy and dirty.
3. Clean the Rim, frame and pedal pad
Most important part to clean is the Rim or Frame of the wheels. This is the part which has great chances to rust. Also clean the small space of the rim between each spokes. If you apply little polish while cleaning the rim it will act as anti rust especially in humid climate, monsoon and winter. While cleaning the frame make sure that brake pad is clean and no mud stuck in between the frame and brake pads. Now move on to the pedal and clean the pedal pad. There may be mud between the pedal pad which needs to be removed using a wire mesh or stick.
4. Clean the Spokes
Spokes of the wheel are as important as the rim and frame. Spokes are little difficult to clean as your hands or fingers may not reach the narrow space between the spokes. Use a tiny brush or a cloth to floss the spokes. You can apply little oil or polish on the spokes as well for anti rusting.
5. Clean the Body and painted parts
Coming to the painted body parts of the bike, this is the show off part to clean. Use a wet clean soft cloth. Don’t use any other cloths already used to clean other parts of the bike. There may be dust or mud in the cloth and it will scratch the painted parts. If you are using some cleaning liquids make sure they are from a branded and trusted manufacturer. Else it may damage or fade the bikes glossy painting.
6. Apply lube to moving parts Re-oiling
Once the bike is cleaned apply your branded lubricant to the moving parts of the bike. Lube the chain, sprocket, front and rear mech, brakes and gear shifters. While lubricating the chain slowly pedal the bike to make sure that oil reaches evenly to al the parts. Also apply oil on the pedal pads. Make sure you apply enough oil to each and every parts and pivots. Don’t use much oil as the excess oil will drain or attract more dust and mud. Try to clean the excess oil with a cloth. Also make sure that you don’t apply oil to rim and frame which may damage the brake pads.
7. Dry the bike and clean the lights
After washing the bike before it get dries in the sun clean it with a dry soft cloth. If it dries on its own there will be stained marks on the body which will be visible in sunlight. Rubbing with a dry cloth will remove whole marks and water content and keep the bike dry and shiny. There are bike models with head light. Clean the Front glasses of the light with a neat and soft cloth.
8. Wax and Polish
Small scratches on the body parts can be touched using wax polishing. This also can be used for a general touch up on to get a glossy look for the whole body also. Always try to use branded manufacturers products. Apply little wax on a soft and smooth cotton cloth (again microfibre cloths and towels are great for this) and rub and polish the scratched part. If you have a rotating polishing machine that is well and good. This gives you a very glossy and shiny look for the body of the bike. Although we’ve included this as a bike cleaning tip, waxing and polishing is not a mandatory exercise. It’s just a choice as some people enjoy that level of detail.
The golden rule for bike cleaning is ‘be patient’. It needs more patience and time than washing your car! The above bike cleaning tips will help you in saving your hard earned money. Minimal wear and tear ensures minimal repair and service cost and in turn will help your bike perform better and retain its value. Keep riding!