Monday, January 23, 2012

How to Wash Your Bike

This time of year it seems like you always need to wash your bike. Whether it is from rain or indoor trainer rides it seems like your bike is always dirty even a couple of days after a bike wash. Everybody knows that when you ride in the rain your bike will get dirty, but it can get just as dirty riding on a trainer from sweat and sports drinks.

The list of stuff needed to wash a bike is fairly short. This list is for a thorough degreasing and wash:
1. Workstand or something to hold the bike of the ground (a rear car rack works well too)

2. Brushes (I personally prefer the Finish Line Pro Brush Kit, but there are several different brush sets to choose from)

3. Bucket (Home Depot or Lowes both have cheap 5 gallon buckets)

4. Simple Green (standard green stuff is what we use at the shop)

5. Degreaser (every lube company makes one). Don't use anything real strong, it can damage the paint finish on your bike

6. Access to a garden hose ( don't use a pressure washer, the high pressure can push the grease out of the bearings)

The first thing to do is put a little degreaser on the chain. Don't use too much, a little goes a long way. Let it sit on the chain for a minute or two. Give the chain a light scrubbing and rinse it off with the hose. Next, make a Simple Green solution with about a 3 to 1 ratio of water to Simple Green. Take your big brush and use the solution to wash all the big parts of the bike (frame, fork, wheels, cranks and derailleurs) then use the smaller brushes to get in the small tight areas. I like to start at the front of the bike and go back so I don't miss anything. Then use the garden hose to rinse off the entire bike. Don't forget to wash the bartape, saddle and the tires. These parts tend to get forgotten and they can get pretty gross if they stay dirty. Washing your tires also gives you a chance to inspect them for big cuts and pieces of glass that may be embedded in the tires.
You can let it dry outside or use a towel to dry it off. After it has dried off you can then lube the chain and it will be ready to ride next time.

If you keep your bike clean it will prolong the life of every part on the bike and help to keep it working perfectly. Remember a clean bike is a happy bike.

By James Balentine, Jack and Adam's Bicycles Head Mechanic


1 comment:

Marv said...

Good information. Thanks