This Article is About
road bike
wheel rims
soapy water
excess oil
water use
Cleaning A Road Bike
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Cleaning A Road Bike

Quick Clean for Your Road Bike

Ok it’s the job we all hate. Finishing a long ride and all you want is couch time, but deep down you know you should spend a little time cleaning your road bike.

Now you don’t need to do this after every ride, but it’s advisable if you’ve been riding in the wet or there’s a obvious build-up of road grime.

Not only will your bike look better after a good clean, but it will last longer. And a basic wash doesn’t have to take hours.

If you do it as soon as you get home, then its done and you can concentrate on eating and relaxing. Leave till later and chances are it wont get done.

You’ll need a bucket of hot soapy water, use dishwashing liquid which has a mild grease dissolving agent.

Soft bristle large brush, some clean rags and your preferred chain lubrication.

Get plenty of soapy water on the brush, start from your handlebars and work your way down and towards the back of the bike, and just scrub away the dirt. Refresh the brush with more soapy water frequently.

If you want to get the forks and rear stays really clean you can take the wheels off and clean those hard to get at areas.

Leave the chain, chainrings and cassette until last, as this will leave oil on your brush.

Once done, simply rinse down with a slow flowing hose.

Then use the clean rags to wipe the bike dry. Change rags often to make sure you're using a clean rag.

Use an old rag to clean the chain and chain rings. I use a water soluble degreaser on a rag and run the chain vigorously through it a few times to get rid of surface grease.

To really clean the chain, you need to spend some time with a small brush or old toothbrush to get right in between the links. But that’s something I would only do every couple of months or so, depending on riding conditions or after winter rides.

Don’t forget to clean and dry your wheel rims and spokes as well.

Re-lube the chain carefully, making sure each link is covered with oil, spin the pedals backwards a few times, then wipe off any excess oil from the chain with an old rag.

Finally just check and wipe off any oil that has splattered from the chain onto the frame.

It’s not essential, but if you have a bike stand it makes it easier, these are widely available and very useful if you're thinking of doing some bike maintenance.

That should take 15 to 20 minutes max, your bike will look sparkly clean, and you’ll feel better for it, especially on your next ride.


Street Talk

Anna26  

Thanks for the tips, it is a chore that has to be done from time to time.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Absolutely, so if you can do it quickly you're more likely to do it.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Mike, your article just flooded my memory banks! Before coming to Nova Scotia I lived in Calgary, Alberta and worked in the oil industry. I commuted to work on my mountain bike for decades, year round. Typically it was a little more than 15 Kilometers one way until the last few years when I moved in a little closer. My bike was a work horse and so it got pretty grungy fast. Although I did give it a good hand cleaning once in awhile, similar to what you have helpfully detailed here it needed a quick thorough cleaning regularly. I found it well worth my while to find a car wash with pressure wands. Nothing like a high pressure stream of hot soapy water to get into all those hard to reach areas.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Cheers Jim, you're so right about the high pressure hose to give that complete clean.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Its amazing what happens to the life expectancy of anything, and the better performance you will get using basic care like this. Great article:)

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thanks Wayne.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Nothing beats riding on the open road with a bike! Great Article Mike

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Too right Jacob.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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