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So, how clean is your bike?(27 posts)

So, how clean is your bike?MB1
Aug 31, 2001 5:55 AM
Do you carry a clean rag and camel hair brush on the Saturday club ride so you can touch up the shine on your 3 month old FetishItalia (made to your exact specifications by the master himself and rejected twice by you for paint blemishes that you found with the larger of your 2 electron microscopes) at rest stops. You lube with paraffin and like to ride at the front so you can keep a sharp eye out for gravel and over zealous water sprinklers. You always use clean 100% cotton t-shirts to wipe your bike down since the fabric in shop rags is too rough. You could eat off your chain.

Or you riding a 14-year-old Bucket-O-Rust (salvaged from the local landfill while you were redecorating the single wide) that has taken the clubs "Filthy Bike" contest 3 of the last 4 years? No one will ride with you. You regularly lube with 30 weight and ride off road as much as on. Rags are what you wear, never to touch a bike with. Things are growing on your chain.

Fess up, you can tell us. Entries will be judged by a jury of your peers. Extra points for naming names.
re: So, how clean is your bike?raboboy
Aug 31, 2001 6:02 AM
Well, seeing as how I just picked up my new bike on Monday, it is still quite shiny. My plan is to keep it pretty spiffy and well-lubed... Somewhere between your two examples.
The Gunnar is muddy, the Kestrel is dusty...Alex-in-Evanston
Aug 31, 2001 6:05 AM
Road season is over, time to have some fun.

re: So, how clean is your bike?Tylerman
Aug 31, 2001 6:10 AM
Considering I am riding a 6 year old DiamondBack, wearing tennis shoes with the right laces tucked in and a t-shirt to soak up the sweat, as long as I can pass the
"no shoes no shirt" test at my mid-ride Krispy Kreme rest stop, I am OK. A little machine oil on the chain once in a while and I am rolling.
cleaner than a snowflake in August :)breck
Aug 31, 2001 6:27 AM
In the beginning and after God admired his handi-work there was a large pile of dust and dirt left over. The newly formed Inter-cosmos of THE GODS just passed a bill requiring no Galactic dumping of this hazardous waste in Space. So you guessed it, pack it in; pack it out, God had to re-sprinkle the mother earth with the stuff. And this was good as mixed with water the silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms played around on their own time and came up with a formulae to actually grow things.

All was well in the oceans, woods, mountains, and deserts till creepy crawly things evolved and got the sneezes and later a whole industry grew up to rid the habitat of the dust, dirt, lice, crickets, etc. that came forth and especially the powder coated decal'd greyhounds of the road we call "bikes".

My take is if you are ahead or behind the pack of dogs you ride with not to worry. But if you are "stuck in the middle again" (what song, Mikey?) at least you ride knowing you have the cleanest, though not meanest, ride on the road. MTB-ers need not apply.

cheers all!
cleaner than a snowflake in August :)MJ
Aug 31, 2001 6:31 AM
Breck - welcome back - where you been?
Steeler's Wheels!4bykn
Aug 31, 2001 7:27 AM
From the early-mid 70's? I can't think of that song wothout remembering the movie Reservoir Dogs. That song is rather prominent in one scene!
Welcome backMike
Aug 31, 2001 8:02 AM
Someone already beat me on the song. Funny, I just finished a ride and when I looked down while putting it away, I saw dust, dirt, lice, and crickets. Time for a scrub! I hope we'll start hearing from you again

bgcc (I've been inducted)
Is this THE Breck! Welcome back........Len J
Aug 31, 2001 11:09 AM
I for one missed you.

Hope all is well

A clean bike will last a long time.Cima
Aug 31, 2001 6:36 AM
I wash my bikes down after every 3rd/4th ride, but that also depends on what I've ridden through during a ride. If the bike is overly gunked up after a ride, I'll wash it immediately. This has proven, for me, to be a good system, as it has allowed my Merckx to last 14 years with 0 rust, and a clean paint job with only the typical "use scratches" in the paint. I treat my new bike with the same care.

A lest clean bike will lasts a longer time.char
Aug 31, 2001 6:25 PM
I seem to keep my vintage Eddy Merckx (orange) in a virtual "paris-roubaix" condition, however, like to keep the drive train clean and oiled. It's on the repair stand now getting it's bi-annual overhaul so it's looks pretty good right now, scored a nice set of Mavic GL 330's with Mavic 501 hubs to maintain the period styling that will replace the clincher set I built for it. 6 speed rules. See you on the road and trails.

Not!Mike Prince
Aug 31, 2001 6:43 AM
Well, usually Mon-Fri I pick up quite a bit of grime commuting. Surface stuff though. One thing that always gets attention is the chain. A wipe down after every ride and Pro Link as needed keeps that part immaculate all the time.

Every 2nd weekend or so I get guilty looking at a 3 month old bike that gets to look 5 years old during the week so I break out the cleaners, etc and after about an hour (and a few after-dinner beers) looks absolutely brand new. Proud to say that after 1500 miles since July I have yet to find anything on the frame or components that a little cleaning doesn't take care of. I admire it until I hit the first puddle in the first miles of my next ride (lots of wet in the UK!) and then I'm back to square one.

A never-ending cycle...
Depends on how NEW!MrCelloBoy
Aug 31, 2001 6:43 AM
The Calfee tandem just got its first nick, DOH! I'm polishing the crankarms as we speak.
The other bikes get dirtier in exact relationship to their age, save periodic washings.
The first thing I do with a new bike is ride it in the dirt.MB1
Aug 31, 2001 6:48 AM
Solves all that new bike anxiety. Miss M makes me keep her bikes clean. My bikes work fine.
Not to start any big debate, but I bought aM1A1
Aug 31, 2001 7:03 AM
Titanium bike to avoid the worrying over having to clean my bike all the time. I hardly ever clean the titanium but when I do, it looks as good as new 31/2 years later. No worrying about gravel or scratches, paint chips etc. Compared to my steel frame which needs to be watches for chips and sweat corrosion. It is even less worrysome than carbon in that there are no concerns about the bike cracking and shattering apart like some do when they go. Heard of a OCLVs making an explosion sound when they fail and the whole bike literally goes limp. Air bubbles apparetnly in the woven fibers working their way to the surface is the culprit or any cracking in the frame can eventually lead to failure. So that to me is the beauty of ti, the most versatile of all the metals and the most durable. As long as the welds are solid, it will outlast all other materials. So the initial cost factor isn't an issue as ultimately it will be a better value. I love titanium!
I love bare metal frames. Ti or anodized Al.MB1
Aug 31, 2001 7:50 AM
We have 4 of them. Hose 'em down and dry 'em off. Life is good.
Stays cleaner now with the $360 powdercoat job ...Humma Hah
Aug 31, 2001 6:49 AM
... it finally looks good enough to keep clean.

Usually, that means I hose it off, maybe wipe off the worst specks, every week or two, or if it gets into some mud. I don't like leaving mud on any bike (microbial activity in mud can be extremely corrosive).

I will do a little better cleaning, and maybe shine up the chrome rims and put a little tire-prettifying spray, on it before a fun-run. If I'm doing other maintenance, lubing the bearings, for example, it generally gets a pretty good detailing.
I confess...Scott H
Aug 31, 2001 7:33 AM
I have the filthy bike. I can't remember the last time I washed it. The frame is covered in sweat, R4, Gatorade, bugs, ???. The chain has some kind of black sticky gu on it that may have once resembled chain lube. My cables are rusted to the point shifting is becoming an art. My rear tire is almost square from never being rotated. I plan to take better care of my new bike when I get it...probably won't happen though. My mountain bike had two different 6 hour races worth of dirt on it until a couple days ago. I'm taking it on a trip next week and I didn't want to get my XTerra dirty.
U da man!!! nmMB1
Aug 31, 2001 7:35 AM
Aug 31, 2001 7:45 AM
I wipe my bike down after every ride with simple green. EVERY stinkin place the rag will reach. I even down wipe the tires. I clean the chain and apply lube. A couple of times a week I'll wax it with spray on furniture polish. The only time I didn't clean it is after I crashed and ended up in the hospital. My bike is 3 1/2 years old, has approx 15K miles and when I'm on rides people say, New bike?
Can you drop by tonight, bring your rag. nmMB1
Aug 31, 2001 7:47 AM
Clean frame weekly, drivetrain once a month...Bruno
Aug 31, 2001 7:59 AM
That is usually enough to keep it good looking and working fine. I've never wax the frame or used any metal polishers.
Like the Doggrzy
Aug 31, 2001 8:41 AM
Some days it's all crispy and sweet smelling right after a bath. Other days it looks like it's been out rolling in foul mud and refuse. The bike is about six years old, but can look like 12 or 0 depending on the wash cycle. Found that using the Pedro's method is both thorough and quick. I never spend more than 20 minutes cleaning - putting it in an Ultimate Stand in the driveway and a complete selection of brushes makes it a no-brainer. I was told in 8th grade social studies class by the teacher in front of the entire class that "Neatness wasn't my bag." I got over the trauma and never looked back ;-) Every dog has it's day.
And today is your day! nmMB1
Aug 31, 2001 8:45 AM
re: So, how clean is your bike?Geko
Aug 31, 2001 11:00 AM
I own both the rusty and the cleany. I guess I'm a bit of both. I don't wear the rags a lot I guess.
I Clean it when it's dirty.....Len J
Aug 31, 2001 11:15 AM
I'll take a dry rag to it once or twice a week to get the big crud off, clean & lube the chain once weekly (unless I'm riding in the rain) and do a complete wet cleaning about once every 2 to 3 weeks.

It looks cared for but not protected.

Mud dauber's nest in the spokes & dust all over.E33
Aug 31, 2001 12:04 PM
A mud dauber built a mud nest in my spokes, a final insult to the most physically and (especially) mentally agonizing summer in my memory.

The mud nest is stark evidence that my wheels haven't turned since this past May because of knee surgery and a painful lower back condition. Meanwhile, I continue to endure the most perfect summer weatherwise since I began riding five years ago.

It's been frustrating to have my bike torn from me - I went from 150+ miles per week to nuthin'.

So, my bikes are all dusty and forlorn. I think about cleaning and servicing all the bearings, really giving a good going over, but I can't bring myself to touch'em. It's truly depressing.