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  • Writer's picturedirtyheart

A Step-by-Step Guide to Washing Your Bike

What You Need

You'll need these everyday, household items to clean your bike: 1. Clean shop rags or old cotton T-shirts 2. Bottle brushes 3. Scrub brushes 4. Bucket 5. Soft, square-head brush for wheels 6. Garden hose with trigger-style spray head

7. Degreaser

8. Sponges

9. Bike wash or Regular cleaner like Clean Green

A regular wash does more than polish up your bike, it helps you find wear and tear so you can fix it before it's too late." We recommend cleaning a road bike monthly (or every 20 to 25 rides), a mountain or 'cross bike more often, and any bike after every messy ride.

Do's and Dont's

DO • Recycle your dish sponges. You'll get another couple of months out of them on bike-wash duty. • Floss with a clean rag between chainrings, cogs, and other hard-to-reach places. • Be committed. A clean bike rides better and lasts longer. DON'T • Mix your buckets, tools, and rags. You don't want to cover your frame with drivetrain grease. • Use an abrasive sponge or brush on your frame. • Blast your bike with a high-pressure hose. Water will get into and degrade your bearings.

Fill two clean buckets with water and a generous squirt of cleaner (Clean Green etc). Lay out your brushes, sponges, and rags. Place your bike in a workstand. This brings it up off the ground and makes all the nooks and crannies easier to reach. No workstand? Try hooking the nose of your saddle over a taut clothesline.

The Wash

Step 1: Chain Apply a degreaser and turn the cranks backward so the product gets on every link. Then go have an espresso while it does its thing for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse with a gentle stream of water from the hose. If the chain is still grimy, apply small drops of dish soap like you would a lube, grip the chain in the rough side of your sponge, then turn the cranks for several rotations. Rinse. Step 2: Drivetrain Dip a stiff-bristled brush into one of your prefilled buckets and scrub the chainrings. Use a bottle brush or toothbrush to get into crevices around the teeth, pulleys, and rings. Rinse with a gentle stream of water and repeat if you still see any lingering crud. Next, grab your rear wheel and drip dish soap onto the cassette, scrub, then rinse. Repeat if necessary. Step 3: Frame Dip a clean, soft sponge into your second (fresh) bucket. Soap up the frame, working your way from front to back. "Be methodical so you remember what you've done. Rinse. If you have caliper brakes, clean the pads with the abrasive side of the sponge. Step 4: Wheels I use softer and bigger brushes for tires and rims so they get into crevices with less effort. Dunk your brush into the bucket you used for your frame. Starting at the valve, scrub all the way around the wheel, hit the spokes and hub, then flip the wheel to get the opposite side. Repeat on the other wheel. Rinse. (If you have disc brakes, use the soft side of a clean sponge with soap and water on rotors.)

The Finish

Spin the cranks to make sure the drivetrain runs smoothly. Wipe everything down with a dry cloth or let it air-dry in the sun. Lube your chain.

Remember washing your bike will save you later on. Enjoy looking after your beauty.

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