A clean bike is a happy bike. I often personify my bike when I wash it, because it just makes the whole process a lot more enjoyable. My bike works really hard for me, it takes me to amazing places, and sometimes I put it to the ultimate test. The least I can do is give it a bath once in a while to prolong its life, help it to work better, to make it faster! No one wants to be slowed down by grime, dust, mud, or anything else unwanted hitching a ride with you.
How Often Should You Wash Your Bike:
There is no technical answer to this question, but the bottom line is that if you are washing it correctly, you really can’t wash it too much. So when it doubt, wash it out.
If you are riding in standard conditions, I recommend washing your bike a couple times a week. If you are riding in unusually dusty or muddy conditions then more might be warranted. The time of year may also influence how frequently you give your bike a good clean. If you plan to store it for the winter though, don’t ever let it sit dirty for months.
Tools You Need to Wash Your Bike:
Brush/Sponge: A big brush and sponge will be used in order to wet down your entire bike and spread out your cleaning solution.
Fine Brush: A find brush will help you get into all of the nooks and crannies of the bike and drain train.
Cleaning Solution: Buy a good and safe cleaning solution for your bike. There are tons of options if you just open up google. Even something like Simple Green is plenty good for a bike wash.
Degreaser: A degreaser will be used for the chain, cassette, and drive train. Really get in there and scrub. This area can make the biggest difference.
Towel: A towel will be used to dry the bike at the end. It’s very important to actually wipe it dry. It not only helps aesthetic by preventing water spots, but it also prevents rust.
Lube: Make sure to always lube the chain after you wash your bike. Wet lube will be best for rainy, or muddy conditions. A dry lube will be better for dry and dusty conditions.
Bike Shine: This is just a bonus. A bike shine is not essential in the bike cleaning process, but it can add that extra shimmer to really make your hard work stand out.
Bike Stand: A bike stand is also not essential, but it will definitely make your cleaning processing easier, faster, and more efficient.
Where to Start:
Here is your step-by step cleaning process.
- Spray your bike down with water and get the big chunks of dirt off.
- Spray with cleaner and scrub it all over with your brush and sponge.
- Spray the bike with water again to clean off the cleaner and extra dirt.
- Spray your chain and cassette with degreaser and scrub with your smaller brush.
- Spray the bike with water again.
- Dry off the bike with a towel.
- Lube the chain and follow the chain lube’s instruction.
- Spray the bike frame with bike shine.
Power Washer: A power washer is an easy and quick way to spray down your bike in the winter, but don’t let it become a habit. Don’t spray the linkages or bearings up close with a power washer. The pressure can be damaging to those more sensitive parts.
Always Dry It Off: I know drying off the bike can seem like an unnecessary step, because it’ll air dry anyways, but drying the bike is a very important step. If you chronically allow your bike to air dry, you risk rusting your chain or other part.
Leave Rotors Clean: Don’t let anything get on the rotors. Lube or shine on the rotors is a recipe for danger.
I hope that you have to wash your bike very often because you’ve been putting it to the test out on the trails.
One thought on “How to Wash Your Bike”
A very good article, well done! I often see people shelling out fortunes for a top end bike, then rob themselves due to bad maintenance. Keeping it clean is the foundation for performance. One question, what are you using for shine? Shine is important beyond the cosmetics. It also lubricates and keeps things such as rubber seals functioning optimally. Good luck with your Olympic ambitions, I’ll be following you closely.