To Clean or not to Clean?
Updated: Mar 24
With a few months of uncertainty ahead of us but a reality of 3 weeks lock down minimum, working from home with less commute time why not put that commute time to good use and get out on the bike while we still can. We do not know how long bike shops will be open for, unlike me the lone mechanic and bike fitter who can easily come up with counter measures others bike shops may not. Even though I am isolating now due to a bad pesky dry cough and some slight muscle ache, The possibility of bike shops closing for an unknown length of time is a real prospect.
Why not get a hands-on approach to keeping our beloved steads clean and shiny? Keeping our bikes clean will also mean that all components from brakes to chain will last longer and work at their optimal, reducing friction, ultimately meaning we are using less effort to enjoy the ride also you the rider will identify issues becoming apparent and be able to get them to a mechanic to rectify before it happens out on a ride.
Whilst we do need to remember government guidelines to social distance, yes we should adhere to this and not ride in big groups as the sooner we ride this chronic virus out of town the sooner we can be out getting healthier fitter and lots of sun in groups again.
A clean bike means a proud rider, we spend a lot of money on the bike itself and servicing, we do sometimes negate to wipe down and clean as soon as we finish the ride thinking we will do it after that cuppa (that never happens) and the clean never comes, ensuring rust arrives on chains, cassettes and cables stopping perfect changing, damage to pads both disc and rim, rust on stem bolts and everywhere else, whilst we are on a constant wash our hands policy during these uncertain times lets ensure we do the same for our bike and get in to a good habit, saving money in the long run and enjoying our bike, how often to do you see an old bike looking immaculate with a proud rider in the saddle, and you thinking how is that still riding, smoothly it’s not just about a tweak, and flying past your carbon frame simple the rider is proud of his bike and looks after it meticulously, so here are my tips and direction for what I do for I am one of those riders without the overtaking though.
Cleaning need not take hours but in fact a few minutes, I will go through cleaning products I use and why, what I do and break it down to 3 cleans,
3, love that machine.
Keep it Green, Keep it British
I will always use Green oil the products for kings, environmentalists, bike lovers unless otherwise requested by the customer.
is an excellent product the brain child of Steve Nash who came up with the products, they are totally environmentally friendly and Made in Britain? Skin safe, no carcinogenic PTFE and nontoxic. All containers are recycled, and they offer everything from cleaning wash and brushes to lubrication and degreaser. link to green oil products on my site click here
This is the most environmentally friendly stuff around and my go to products. I use their degreaser lubes and chain oil daily and I love it from agent apple to dry wax they have it all and you are also supporting UK business. Their bike cleaner GREEN CLEAN comes in a concentrate (just add water) that will make up 1litre and will last for about 8 good washes. Items can be bought individually or in an eco-ride deluxe pack (greenest bike maintenance set on the market) containing
- Green Oil Wet Chain Lube - 2 x Bike Armour! - Ecogrease - Green Clean - Clean Chain Degreaser Jelly - EcoRag - Tub for water or storage of our products
- Includes FSC Certified Ergonomic Drive Chain and Bicycle Brush
RRP 64.99 (my price £54.99 or 59.99 with 100ml of chain lube)
Mobile low-pressure water system that works with pressure only no motors just fill and go I use this as I do not have a hose at home and I can also just put it in the car for days out at the beach, £89.99
Guy Martins Proper cleaner
The man the legend Guy Martin has come up with another great cleaner/ degreaser Simple to use, again containers are recycled and just add water. It comes either with a bottle or refill pack with 2 capsules. £10.00 including bottle £7 refill
Let’s go through the 3 ways that I would recommend
Simple Clean (only enough time for a cupper),
When I don’t have time on Returning from a ride, I get the bike off the road and in the garage or garden and put it in a stand or lean it up ensuring I don’t scratch the shifters or anything else if I need to I will wrap an old rag over the leaves, I use old clean cloths boxers etc washed and ripped up.
I ensure that all stem bolts seat bolts are dried, chain wiped down, mechs dried, brakes dried rim pads wiped and rims and tyres wiped, once dried I finish my cupper and lube my chain (remember oiling over a wet/ dirty chain will increase wear and tear of the drive chain and increase friction and slower gear change).
intermediate Clean (only enough time for a cupper and sarnie),
As the simple clean but with the following beforehand
Hose the frame down with clean water (not with a pressure washer you do not want to ruin any bearings).
Squirt degreaser on the front and rear mechs and chain with some green oil agent apple in a spray bottle and rub with a loose brush let it work in for a couple of minutes and then spray again to remove the degreaser.
Finally wipe down and oil the chain and mechs springs and pivot points with some chain oil or green oil spray lube.
Love that machine (a good 30-40 minutes to spare)
Start by giving the frame a basic wipe. Use a sponge and a bucket of water, hose or other low-pressure washer.
Spray the bike with a bike cleaner I use Green oil green clean, and leave it for a couple of minutes
Then, with more clean water, use a soft bristled brush to give the bike a scrub. Do not use washing up liquid and an old sponge as this can damage scratch or even colour faded frame.
Give the rims on your wheels a good wash and wipe, and if you’re using rim brakes wipe the pads to make sure there’s no road dirt or grit on there that could erode the braking surface and hamper braking performance. If using disk brakes ensure to wash the rotors.
Wash and wipe the tyres to remove any loose debris, punchers are rarely a one hit wonder and are usually a foreign object making its way further into the tyre, also check for splits you can repair this with super glue.
Next, spray the derailleurs and chain set with a degreasing agent (Green oil Agent Apple is Great £12.00 for 300ml) and give them a thourgh (but gentle) scrub. It may be easier to take the chain off the chainring to do this.
Spray more degreaser over the chain and cassette – and give them a scrub. Try using a gear brush this really helps you to get into the cassette cogs.
If the chain still looks bad remove it and place in an old bottle and fill with agent degreaser, shake this for 30 seconds this will allow it to get in to all hard to reach parts, leave for a few minutes and re shake 2 or 3 times. I never use a chain cleaner as they are messy annoying and in my view a waste of cash.
Finally rinse the soap suds off the bike, dry the chain with an old rag and apply chain oil or wax to the chain and lube the pivot points on the derailleurs, then if you have time use a frame polish to buff that frame and make it shine.
Below are some photos on how I clean any chain that comes through my workshop. On some hard-dirty chains, I will use both Green oil Agent Apple and then Chain degreaser, sometimes they are bathed over a few days. Dried cleaned and re soaked, filtering the dirt each time through a cloth until I get an acceptable cleanliness.
Just remember Look after your bike and it will pay you back by riding better and parts lasting longer, saving you cash in the long run.