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Best way to clean bike post-rain ride(6 posts)

Best way to clean bike post-rain ridekomatiite
Dec 29, 2003 9:21 PM
I went on a long ride in the rain today (realizing i need some fenders) and am planning on cleaning the entire bike, i just wanna know what,if any, areas i should really concentrate on?
re: Best way to clean bike post-rain riderussw19
Dec 29, 2003 10:47 PM
Don't concentrate on one part or some parts of the bike, clean the whole thing.

There are two ways to clean a bike, when it's dry or when it's wet. Either way is just fine, but the technique is different.

If wet, get some rags and wipe it down, then clean it with mild soap (dish soap works fine) and water. Cleaning the drivetrain is the hardest part, but the most important. Clean it, dry it, then relubricate it. But clean everything as excess dirt just hurts your bike.

If dry you can clean it with soft bristled brushes. Brush all the dirt off and wipe the frame down with a clean dry rag, and clean the drivetrain really well.

But if you are going to take the time to partially clean your bike, you might as well clean the whole thing. No point concentrating on one area.. do it all, but most important is the drivetrain.

Put the bike in the showerpurplepaul
Dec 29, 2003 11:03 PM
and hose it off (need to have a removable shower head on a hose for that). Just be careful around the seatpost so you don't get a lot of water in there.

Unreal the crap that goes down the drain!

Then, just wipe the bike down with a cloth.

The drivetrain will need additional cleaning. How much depends on how anal you are. I use a Park chain cleaner (the kind that fits over the chain and you back pedal). Then I remove the chain (Wipperman) and clean the chainrings and rear cluster.

As long as the chain's off, might as well drop the wheels so as to get into those hard to reach places by the BB.

Whole thing takes a while which is why my Klein, which used to be my good bike, became my beater when I got a Spectrum. I haven't cleaned the Klein in over a year.
My Bike Cleaning MethodHereford Flyer
Dec 30, 2003 7:51 AM
I would agree with Russ for the little extra effort + time required clean the whole bike. Although if you are short on time clean the braking surfaces and brake callipers - concentrating on the brake blocks just to keep you going till the next full wash and clean. I have perfected my own method over the last 25 years of riding bikes. It's basically what a lot of pro team mechanics do.
Equipment needed:-
1) Hose with adjustable spray head.

2) 2 large buckets full of warm soapy water (I use washing up liquid - in the squeezy bottles).

3) Large soft car washing brush.

4) Looped bristle brush - something like a car wheel washing brush.

5) Large Scrubbing brush with a loop handle on the back - bit like a giant nail brush.

6) Chain cleaning stuff. Pot with a couple of stiff 1" paint brushes. Turps or white spirit (stuff you use for thinning oil based gloss paints or cleaning brushes etc). Best to use it outside or in a well ventilated area.

7) Container for washing chain in, something like an old plastic pudding bowl or roasting tray.


1) If you have work stand it makes things much easier.

2) Remove wheels and chain.

3) Wheels- first get you pot of white spirit and brush. Tip wheel on its side so cassette is facing the ground. Then using the brush dab in the white spirit to loosen and dissolve the gunky mess. Remember to keep the cassette hanging down so any excess white spirit just drips to the ground and not back into the cassette body. Next give the cassette a blast with the hose to wash off most of the oily mess. Then get straight in with the big soft brush with lots of soapy water. Quick blast again and the cassette should be gleaming. Next just wash all over using the big brush then the backs of the spokes using the looped brush. A good tip is to rest the wheel on the top of the bucket when you are washing the rims so most of the excess water just goes straight back into the bucket. Next get the scrubbing brush and give the braking surfaces a good scrub not forgetting the tyres as well. The scrubbing brush is also good for gleaning the spoke heads at the hub (presuming you have traditional wheels). Then give the wheels a good rinse. Now is a good time to check for splits and cuts in the tyre tread – as they show up really well when wet and clean.

4) Oh don't forget to put the chain to soak in some white spirit give it a good mix round with a screwdriver. Rinse with clean white spirit as many times as required to get the chain looking good. Then wash the chain with soapy water and rinse then shake of the excess water and hang it somewhere to dry - radiators are good or blast it with compressed air. Once bone dry you need to give the chain a good soak with you chosen lube and work it well into the chain.

5) The rest of the bike. Chain rings and jockey wheels – get the white spirit and dab on the rings and jockey wheels. Then blast off with the hose. Then get the big brush and just wash away with lots of soapy water. Pay particular attention to the brake blocks. Use all three brushes to get into all areas then hose down. Next you need to give the brake blocks some beauty treatment. Using something sharp and pointy gouge out any bits of embedded grit, flint or alloy splinters. You want your rims to last and not to end up like a ploughed field!

6) Then dry the bike off.
Finish off by lubricating all the usual pivot points etc

When you are cleaning the bike it's usually the time you will notice any problems adjustments that need doing.

Below is a photo of my bike washing kit.
A Most Excellent step-by-step! (nm)dave_w
Dec 30, 2003 1:52 PM
re: Best way to clean bike post-rain rideWoof the dog
Dec 30, 2003 9:58 AM
just leave it to dry, then wipe the dirt off. If you really think about it, the places that need to be clean on the bike are moving parts: hub, headset, chain/rings, cables. If there is dirt on the chainstay or seat tube, why does it matter other than it looks dirty?