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How often/thoroughly clean your baby?(24 posts)

How often/thoroughly clean your baby?StormGirl
May 28, 2001 11:57 AM
My copy of "Zinn and the Art of RB Maintence" arrived the other day. Very good book! And just in time. The DB was quite dirty after two rain storms. Wow, she was messy!

Per book, today I began the habit of regular cleanings. Since I'm under 600 miles, I was able to strip off most of the grease/grime and get the bike nearly spotless. Surprisingly, it was kinda fun. And yes, I relubed!

Do you have any tips/tricks for cleaning that you find have saved you time/money? How often do you clean your bike thoroughly? Finally, what kinda tape works best for covering holes permently?
re: How often/thoroughly clean your baby?peloton
May 28, 2001 1:01 PM
Simple green degeaser from any hardware store is a lot cheaper than bike company degreasers, and works really well.

I wouldn't reccomend covering the holes on your bike. They are there to let water and moisture out. Covering them traps it in and can cause corrosion, especially with a ferrous frame material.
re: How often/thoroughly clean your baby?Dinosaur
May 28, 2001 1:27 PM
I use Simple Green also. I saturate a heavy duty folded up single piece of a paper "Shop Towel" and wipe my bike down after every ride. Every place the towel will reach. I usually end up using two or three towels. Then I clean the chain and apply a light layer of chain lube. My bike has gotten really grimey dirty only once, when I got stuck in a unexpected heavy rain shower. Then I took off the wheels and sprayed simple green on the whole bike, excluding the seat and bars and let it dry in the sun for about twenty minutes. Afterward I sprayed it off with a garden hose using a light spray of water. I also wipe down my tires after each ride and inspect them for cuts. My '99 Klein still looks like is is brand new, you have to look close to see a couple of chips in the paint, which is unfortunately unavoidable if you ride on roads. If you keep your bike nice and clean you will notice stuff that needs replacing as they pop up and avoid breakdowns on the road.
Dawn Dish SoapKristin
May 28, 2001 9:58 PM
Dino- Thanks for recommending the book! It's helped a ton already.

Mr. Zinn recommends regular soapy water for cleaning. Dawn did the trick for me. Are degreasers faster? Is Green environmentally friendly? I live in a condo complex, disposal could be a problem.

Mr. Zinn also recommends permentantly covering the vent holes on the bike, explaining, that they were drilled before welding to let gases escape, and that they should be covered to keep water/moisture out in the first place (page 26). I've found 5 holes total... two on each seat stay and one on the chainstay bridge. Hmmmmm... What to do? If a few more people jump on the RBR side of the scale, you may out weigh Mr. Zinn.

Then again, Mr. Zinn does say on page 25 that it's okay for me to turn my bike upside down. Perhaps he's just another Fred...just kidding.
Dawn Dish SoapDinosaur
May 29, 2001 9:59 AM
As another poster mentioned I would think you want to leave the vent holes open in order to allow for a place for moisture to escape. I'm sure the dawn dish soap works great, but he's describing a complete scrub down of a dirty bike. If you use a light spray from a garden hose you won't have to tape the vent holes closed.

Yes the Simple Green is biodegradable. I started using it as I had some laying around the house. I used it to wipe down the rail of my Concept II Rowing machine which we have stored in our living room.
You can make the simple green stretch a little bit if your delute it.
I have a deluted bottle and another that is full strength. I messed up the finish on my derailleur when I was using a degreaser, so I went to the Simple Green. I spray it on the cherry paint job of my Klein and it doens't harm it.

I turn my bike upside down as part of the cleaning, I think the guys were talking about turning your bike upside down for wheel removal, which as you know by now, isn't necessary.

I'm glad that you find the book helpful, I saw it mentioned several times in various cycling forums and I purchased a copy about a year ago.

Keep the rubber side down...
Weekly/annuallyKerry Irons
May 28, 2001 1:10 PM
Every week, the bike gets a full wipe down and drive train (chain, cogs, derailleur pulleys, chainwheels) cleaning, followed by a chain lube. Annually, the bike gets stripped to the frame and everything that can be taken apart is taken apart, cleaned, and lubed. If some serious problem develops, a given part may get an overhaul during the year, but this is rare (due to the annual overhaul). A weekly cleaning takes about 30 minutes, and involves no water or solvents, only clean (to start) rags and chain lube. Most of the time is spent on the drive train. Occaisionally I add a drop of oil to brake and derailleur pivots. In my experience, the holes in bikes are meant to be left open, unless they result from rust-through!
May 28, 2001 10:30 PM
same here. I'd only add that a good bike stand makes the weekly cleanup much faster and easier. And during the winter, the bike often gets cleaned up to some degree (or at least dried off and a quick re-lube) after every ride.
Every ride.12x23
May 28, 2001 3:26 PM
I have a 'stack' of old towels for this purpose. After each ride I soak half a towel with HOT water. I go over the bike starting with the bar tape and levers, then from the saddle down and wipe each tube, brake calipers, and crankarms. Last I clean the tires and inspect them. I save the dry half to wipe where needed. The hot water removes any dried, gooey sports drink residue from the bottle cage areas. This only takes two or three minutes and keeps the bikes looking new.
You don't have kids, do you? (nn)mike mcmahon
May 28, 2001 3:39 PM
May 29, 2001 4:41 AM
I borrow those from friends, when I'm feeling fatherly, and return them promptly. :-)
When they start crying, right? (nm)mike mcmahon
May 29, 2001 6:59 AM
Yeah, and when they ask for $$$. (nm)12x23
May 29, 2001 3:30 PM
That's when I start crying. (nm)mike mcmahon
May 29, 2001 3:48 PM
wait till they ask for the car/truck? keys (msg!)Breck
May 29, 2001 9:22 PM
My dad had the 1957 Plymouth Fury when i started driving. A few years back checked out the Christine movie cause it had the '58 Plymouth in it for my mom and dad to watch, not previewing it first!

Now having fun with the Dodge and Ford Boyz, my ride being the Toy Tundra V8 :)

Lucky guymike mcmahon
May 29, 2001 9:27 PM
I got my driver's license at the height of the 1970s energy crisis and was forced to cruise around town in a fuel-efficient '77 Honda Civic. The back seat didn't have enough room for any action, but with the number of zits I had at the time, that wasn't a big concern. I sure wish pops had still had one of those '55 Bel Airs he was always bragging about from his younger days. At least it would have been more fun to drive than a car that was about as long as it was high.
Zinn and Cleaningboy nigel
May 28, 2001 9:33 PM
Hey there, K.

I got the Zinn book for Xmas, and it's given me lots of confidence in my maintenance and tooliness. I've since purchased a bike stand, cleaning/lubing/greasing solutions, many tools, and a tool box. The book is plainly (but nicely) written, and the illustrations and descrips have helped me a great deal to realize that a bike isn't so tough to maintain after all, despite all of the parts involved. Great choice! Have fun with it.

I wipe my yellow TCR down after each ride or, at worst, every other ride. The yellow really shows the city grit and sooty stuff on the road and in the air (Nasty). Wiping it down with a rag (using degreaser--Pedro's Bio Degreaser--where needed) takes a couple of minutes, but it's therapeutic to see the paint shiny and new-looking again, and it makes me feel good that I'm really taking care of my bike (for the first time in my life--my old steel bike wasn't hardly looked after at all, the poor thing) and cherishing my investment. Can't think of any money- or time-saving tricks per se, except that once every ride or two takes less time than once every week or so, since there's less gunk, grit, and grime to clean off. This can, I suppose, save money on cleaners/degreasers, since the bad stuff's wiped off straight away and very little solvent is used.

Important point: If you can, wipe down the chain after every ride or so (you can use a bit of degreaser on the rag), since a dirty chain equals an inefficient bike. The Zinn book's helped me realize this, and wiping it down frequently keeps it from gunking up the gears, derailleurs, and chain rings; this keeps the bike smooth, quiet, fast, and shifting crisply and happily. As much as the chain can be the nastiest part of the bike, it's what makes it all work; be extra good to your chain, and check for wear as directed, replacing when necessary.

Re: the frame holes. I think Lennard mentions this in the book: don't dare plug them up; they keep moisture from building up inside the tubes and doing nasty things to the metal. If a little water gets in, so be it. You can shake the bike a bit to try to rid it of the excess liquid, but don't sweat the holes.

Glad things are going well, that you're out there riding a lot, and that you're taking care of that nice new ride of yours.

StormGirl = KristinKristin
May 28, 2001 10:12 PM
Sorry, sometimes I can't get my alter-ego to go back into the closet.
May 29, 2001 1:05 AM
What about post-washing: is it ok to wax the frame with something and is it recommended?
May 29, 2001 7:32 AM
After the bike is THOROUGHLY dry I use Lemon Pledge. Off-brands and generic stuff don't work as well. Easy to use and leaves a nice shine, and reasonably cheap. I've seen many riders that use the same.
re: How often/thoroughly clean your baby?Mike P.
May 29, 2001 5:26 AM
After almost every ride, I use simple green on a soft cotton towel to get it clean. Then give it a once over with windex on a paper towel for a nice shine. After you do it a few times it only takes 15-20 minutes to get it clean.

After wet rides I rinse the bike off with water, clean with simple green, put it in front of the fan to dry. Lube all the gimme-lube places and I even go as far as putting some gt-85 on a q-tip and hitting all the heads of the allen-heads, they like to hold water and get rusty. Then get the windex.

re: How often/thoroughly clean your baby?notes_clp
May 29, 2001 7:41 AM
First thing I did when I got my LeMond Zurich home was to remove the unneeded decals, size decals, safety decals.. etc etc. I then put a coat of wax on the frame and forks.. Nice and smooth,, it slices through the air..

Then after every ride I get a dusting cloth (nice and soft) and spray Lemon Pledge on the cloth and wipe the frame and forks down.
splish splashBreck
May 29, 2001 10:05 AM
splish splash i was warshing my bike
long about saturday nite
rub dub just ah puttin on tha suds
thinkin every thing was alright
well i put the scrub in tha tub turned on the tv
set down with tha remote clicked oln to see...
now how was i to know there was a bike race goin on!
they were ah rockin and ah rollin, reelin with tha feelin.
...[it's tha geero guyz and galz know this part]

not in 1958, but now *often* suds up the tub use a soft pep boys auto wash brush and minimum dish wash liquid soap. thoroughly soap the bike from headset to rear dx chain, hubs, wheels, spokes, every pore of the bike. rinse off with the garden sprayer, wipe down with a chamois. the chain is waxed so only need to re-lube the dx's.
armorall on the tires, cables, saddle, anything plastic or rubber. apply some auto polish. in between rides use the car-dash version of the California duster. always ride a clean bike.

any riders on the storm besides oliver stone. damn wish he would do the tdF bike race on the order of "any given sunday"!

btw zinn ripped off robert persig's title "zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance"(~1974), and didn't get into trouble for it as the oak's did with the simple phrase "Oom Poppa Omm Poppa Mow Mow" in elvira, 1983.

cheers bike riders and music lovers alike
Golly, reading these I would think I was on the Tri-geek forum.railer
May 29, 2001 2:55 PM
No wonder you guys don't ride off road!!!! The dirt would really bother you. You guys really clean your bike after every ride???????? I thought that was a triathlete trait! You guys really blow my mind. It takes all kinds I guess huh?
Ferrari v. Ford F150mike mcmahon
May 29, 2001 2:58 PM
Most folks with Ferraris or similar cars (what's similar?) are meticulous about keeping their machines clean. Many truck owners, on the other hand, see mud and dirt on the truck as a badge of honor: kind of like the tough-guys in the GMC truck commercials. Maybe the same thing is going on with the road bike and mountain bike thing.