Cleaning and prolonging your bike will help it run more efficiently
Cleaning your bike is simple, and by lubricating it well you’re really looking after your bike properly. Cleaning is investing in your bike, it will provide you with many years of happy cycling. In general at least half of my maintenance time is spent cleaning and then re-oiling the chain and gearing system.
What essentials do I need to clean my bike?
The main thing you will need to buy before any maintenance can be done is a good degreaser. Cleaning products really have moved on in the past few years, Muc-off are a well recognised and established company within the cycling world, providing products for the top pro cycling teams. The products are safe (on all components) and give top finishes on carbon aluminium and steel, not only this they also have a unique anti-corrosion inhibitor which leaves a protective layer.
Can I use a toothbrush to clean my bike?
Yes, there are some specific cleaning brushes on the market, but if you do not want to invest then using a simple toothbrush combined with any degreaser will make it easier to get in those hard to reach places.
Is it worth buying a chain cleaner?
A chain cleaner can also be a great investment. Chains are becoming more expensive and being one of the hardest worked parts of the bike it makes sense to look after it. The chain cleaners do a far better job than a toothbrush alone and clean and remove grease in seconds. They are easy to use and can be used on any bike chain.
How do I clean the Jockey Wheels on my bike?
The jockey wheels in the rear mech are also an essential part to the chain running smoothly. These wheels tend to retain a lot of the dirt and grit and can easily become clogged up. Use a little degreaser and your brush to scrub the the wheels, not forgetting the insides of the mech arm. As I said about your toothbrush is ideal for this. Once in a while you will need to deep clean you bike, simply unscrew the jockey wheels from the mech arm, give them a good clean and re-grease them, then reinstall the pivot bolts with some thread lock.
How can I clean my bike If I don’t have much space?
Another great product if you struggle for space is the Brake Shield, it is a cheap solution for catching the run off when cleaning the rear cassette. Very simple design that slips between the spokes and the cassette and catches the run off in a reservoir below.
Once the bike has had a quick wash down I will release the wheels to give the bike a deeper clean. Releasing the wheels gives you full access to items such as brake blocks and the hard to reach area behind the crank.
Take care with your brake blocks
Extra care and attention should be given to the brake blocks, although small in size if not cleaned regular and properly, grit or a small wedged stone can cause damage creating a groove in the rim of the wheel which is unrepairable and can cost you to repair.
When should I reapply lubrication to my bike chain?
Reapplying lubrication once the chain has been dried off is a must, resistance or friction within the chain and other moving parts has an effect on how efficient the power is used. Again Muc-off do a fantastic range of lubes that increase efficiency and performance through the top level race and cycling teams.
What is the difference in wet and dry lubes, and when should I used them?
Lubes come in a vast range from wet, dry, wax and ceramic to name but a few. I personally use two, wet and dry. Basically they are used for weather conditions, one for wet rainy weather, wet roads and the other ideal for dry, sunnier rides.
How do I use wet lubes on my bikes?
I have a dedicated winter bike that I use the wet lube on which has a downside of being sticky which can attract grit which in turn damages components. However this really does protect your chain in the wet but does require cleaning and reapplying at regular intervals.
How I use dry lube?
The dry lube is a lighter lubricant normally wax based. They are much cleaner than the wet lube and attract a lot less dirt, even when reapplied. Wet lubes can be used in dry weather but as said earlier they do attract grit and may not run as efficient as the dry lube. Putting the effort in really can save you time and money long term and can also give you a much smoother ride.
What’s the best way to finish off the bike and protect it at the end?
To finish off I will spray the whole bike with a protective spray like Muc-off’s Bike Protect this gives the ultimate protection and finish. It drives out moisture and leaves the bike sparkling. Just remember not to spray the wheel rims brake pads and tyres!
Remember cleaning your bike makes it look better, last longer, and also improves performance.