One of the most important ways to keep your bike running smoothly is to wash it often . It will save both money and frustration as it will improve chain wear and show up most minor problems before they develop into major ones . Here’s how to do it properly !
A medium sized bucket filled with luke warm water if possible and a good squeeze of washing up liquid .A set of brushes.
Water soluble degreaser such as finish line citrus degreaser or the 5 litre tin of Jizer which is great value and will last for ages.
A tin of water displacement spray oil such as GT85 or WD40
A large car wash sponge
A bottle of chain lube
A number of old towels ( not new clean white ones from the bathroom which may cause a period of all picture and no sound)
Remove all extra items such as pump , saddle bag and computer .
Fill a small container such as half a water bottle with degreaser and proceed to use a stiff bristled brush to agitate the dirt on the chain , cassette and chainrings and derailleurs .
Also use a small amount of degreaser on the brakes and around the headset area to remove any stubborn dirt . It must be a water soluble degreaser as petrol or any other non water soluble degreaser will leave a film of oil which will be dangerous on the brakes and messy on the chain .
Now use a loose bristled brush to wash all of the areas which have been degreased with the soapy water . The water and degreaser mix will often turn pink and you will be able to see it all along with the dirt just melt from the bike.
Next use a larger brush all over the bike to remove any large bits of dirt .
Now beginning with the saddle and working down along the bike use the car sponge to clean the whole bike with liberal amounts of soapy water .
When cleaning the wheels pay particular attention to the tyres to spot any cuts or pieces of glass in the tyre .
The chain should now be nice and clean from the degreasing and brushing but be sure to run it through the soapy sponge with plenty of water also .
Now use a hose or a few buckets of clean water to rinse the bike .
Again beginning with the saddle dry the bike completely .
When drying the wheels and tyres again check for glass or cuts . Glass can be removed using a sharp pointed object and any holes or cuts may be filled with super glue .
After drying off the chain spray it with the water displacement lubricant and dry off again .
The chain will now be very clean and dry so the lube should now be applied whilst rotating the chain . Any excess should be wiped off using a rag .
Spray some gt85 or wd40 on to the derailleurs and a small amount on the brake pivots . Also spray into any bolt heads which contain water . Wipe off any excess .
Refit the wheels and run through the gears to check that they are working correctly . Also pump tyres to desired pressure and refit pump etc .
Now your good to go on a cleaner smoother running machine which you will enjoy all the more . The whole process only takes twenty to thirty minutes and should be done once per week if possible .