How to Properly Wash Your Bike

How to Properly Wash Your Bike

Bikes require regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly, quickly and to extend their lifespan. One of the simplest, and most essential aspects of maintaining a road bike is washing, drying, and re-greasing it. Doing this will help to keep your bike corrosion free, and running smoothly for years to come. In this blog post, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to properly wash, dry, and re-grease a road bike, along with a rundown of the tools and equipment needed to do it well.

Tools and Equipment Needed

Before we dive into the steps, let's first take inventory of the tools and equipment you need to have handy in order to properly wash, dry, and re-grease your bike:

  • Bike stand or a secure place to prop the bike up
  • Bucket
  • Bike-specific soap or degreaser
  • Soft-bristled brush or sponge
  • Chain cleaning tool
  • Chain lubricant
  • Clean rags or towels
  • Water source, preferably a hose or pressure washer (but a bucket and sponge will do)

Washing Your Road Bike

Here's how you should go about getting the dried-on road grime off:

  1. First, prop your bike up on a bike stand or in a secure place. This will make it easier to access all parts of the bike

  2. Remove any attached saddle bags or electronics -- don't want to get those wet

  3. Fill a bucket with warm water and add a bike-specific soap or degreaser. Avoid using household detergents, like dish soap. They often have harsh chemicals that can damage the bike's finish.

  4. Using a soft-bristled brush or sponge, start at the top of the bike and work your way down, scrubbing all parts of the bike, including the frame, wheels, handlebars, chain, cassette, derailleurs, chain wheel, and pedals. Pay special attention to any hard-to-reach areas or parts that are particularly dirty or greasy.

  5. Road grime often accumulates on your chain and derailleurs; use your chain cleaning tool -- or even a screwdriver if you don't have a chain cleaning tool handy -- to gently scrape away the gunk. Apply some extra degreaser for added horsepower

  6. Once you have washed the entire bike, rinse it thoroughly with clean water. A hose or pressure washer is ideal for this step, but a bucket and sponge will also do. Focus on getting chain, and all parts that touch it totally clean -- don't want any of that degreaser to be left over when it's time to reapply lubricant.

Drying Your Road Bike

Use spare rags or towels to dry your road bike thoroughly (despite your best effort to clean it totally, there will inevitably still be some dirt on the bike -- especially on the chain). Dry as best you can with towels, and then let it sit out in the sun to finish air drying.

Re-greasing Your Road Bike

  1. Apply a bike specific chain lubricant to the chain and sprockets. Use a chain cleaning tool to remove any dirt or debris from the chain before applying the lubricant.

  2. Apply a small amount of grease to the moving parts of the bike, such as the headset, bottom bracket, and pedals. Use a clean rag to remove any excess grease.

  3. Check the brake pads and make sure they are clean and properly aligned.

  4. Finally, reattach your saddle bags and electronics.

Washing, drying, and re-greasing your road bike is an important part of bike maintenance. By following these steps and using the right tools and equipment, you can keep your bike in good condition and running smoothly for years to come.

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