6 Essential Tips for Cleaning Your Bike






Does your bike ever look like this? Then its time for a bath. Even if it is just a little dirty, keeping your bike clean and lubricated is the best way to ensure it has a long, healthy life. You will be shifting smoother, braking better, not to mention it will look pristine. Having a clean bike may even be incentive for you to get out and ride it more often.

What you’ll need for cleaning your bike:

  • Hose
  • Bike Degreaser
  • Chain Cleaning Tool or Toothbrush
  • Dish Soap
  • Sponge
  • Clean Rags
  • Chain Lubricant
  • Isopropyl Alcohol (optional)

1) Wash with low pressure water

High pressure water systems can be damaging to your bike. The water can carry dirt into areas with seals and bearings causing your parts to wear out quickly. Instead, lightly spray your bike with a hose. It is best to spray your bike from the top to make sure dirt falls to the ground rather than on your components. Completely wet your bike down and remove as much dirt and mud as you can.

2) Thoroughly clean drivetrain with degreaser and brushes

Apply bike specific degreaser to your chain, chainrings, derailleurs and cassette. Use either an enclosed chain cleaning tool or a toothbrush to scrub down all of your metal parts. Rinse thoroughly, and if dirt and grime still remain, repeat the process. For in depth instructions on deep cleaning your drivetrain, see our article how to deep clean your chain/drivetrain

3) Wash the frame

After cleaning the drivetrain, the next step is to wash the frame. First wet the bike down with water. Using a sponge or clean rag, soap up the frame just like you would if you were cleaning a car. Most people use dish soap for this step. Clean every part of your bike, rinse, and thoroughly dry it.

4) Don’t forget the brakes

If you have disc brakes, try not to contaminate them with degreaser, lubricant, or any other cleaner. Instead clean the rotors and pads with isopropyl alcohol. This step can prevent squeaky brakes

5) Dry your bike

Bounce your bike up and down a little to shake off the water. Use a soft towel to dry off the frame and components. Keep it in a well-ventilated area to air dry.

6) Lubricate to protect

By far the most important step is applying lubricant to the chain and if necessary other drivetrain components. Lubrication protects your metal parts from water and dirt. It’s important to choose the right lube for different riding conditions. If you are unsure which lube to use, read our article on how to choose the correct chain lubricant.

You’re done! Touch up your bike after every ride, but you probably don’t need to do a full deep clean that frequently. Follow these guidelines as needed to keep your bike in top shape. Get out and ride!

  1. I like the suggestion of drying your bike. I think that if you don’t dry your bike then you might ruin it. I think that if you don’t dry it then it will get rust faster than if you did dry it. I recently ruined my bike from forgetting to dry it off after I cleaned it.

  2. Never let the sun go down on a dirty bike , you will thank yourself the next time you go to grab it and go for a ride . While racing the NORBA races back in the 90’s I had the privilege of meeting most of the top names in the sport , Tomac , Overend , Furtado etc, etc, etc, at the Championships at Mammoth CA. Even though some of them were under contract to promote other products , quite a few of them told me they used Simple green , and ever since then I have used it , I remember being told that it was because it was the only thing they would use on the tires , other cleaners / degreasers would weaken the sidewalls. just sayin . After 20 plus years I still do and never had an issue with it . one other plus was that the bike always smelled good after that. Oh as far as the Chain and shifters I used and still do Boshield T9 .. P.S. I am not sponsored or paid to say any of this .. Shredding the trails in Prescott AZ , Eldon Coats… Peace All..

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