Basic bicycle maintenance tips – how to wash a bike

admin Bike Skills, D.I.Y, Tips & Tricks

Quick tips from Shamala, one of our bike mech’s, on how to keep your bike clean and sparkling.

Time: 20 mins
Skill rating: Easy
Tools: Hot water, degreaser, a bicycle specific chain lubricant, brushes, rags

best tips to clean a dirty bicycle - basic bicycle maintenance - a bike wash
photo credit: blog.atg-training.co.uk

“What you see is what you believe” – most people think a clean bike is the first sign of a great service. Some just want to ride the beast.

A clean bike is certainly a sign of good maintenance. A clean drivetrain (chain, cogs and gears) is default to even a basic service. It’s essential to keep the moving parts of a bike clean and adequately lubed with the right kind of lube to ensure minimal wear and tear. This has an effect that one can immediately experience on the human-powered machine – a smooth quiet hum of efficiency and power.

So when and why does my bike need a wash?

Yes, pamper your bike after all that its been through. Giving it a good wash does not mean a ‘power’ wash. You end up wasting a lot of water with muck and grime still stuck between component interfaces (threaded parts and pivoted joints).

A complete wash starts with stripping your bike down to your frame and taking apart every replaceable component. Separate the greasy components from the non greasy ones and wash them in a bucket of warm soapy water or bike wash to attack the grime and grease. You can use brushes of all sizes and shapes and a degreaser to loosen the stubborn dirt and grease from nooks and crannies. With this we have achieved two good things:

  1. washed the bike clean
  2. saved a whole lot of water

The next step would be to lubricate the bike after you dry it completely.

Keep in mind

  1. use the right kind of lubrication and
  2. use something that doesn’t harm you or your environment

Go engineered by Pedro’s is a great lubricant for your chain for dry to mixed weather conditions. It is a biodegradable formula, safe for the environment. ChainJ, yet another lube from Pedros, is a good wet lubricant for servicing your cables and your chain and meant specifically for wet weather conditions. Always use bicycle specific lubricants as they tend to be less sticky and hence keep your chain and other drivetrain components cleaner for longer.

A complete wash therefore makes most sense when you do a complete overhaul of your bike.

For great dry wash we use Pedros toothbrush that has strong far reaching bristles and Green Fizz, a biodegradable solvent-free bike wash, that not just makes your bike look new but also makes it smell new without leaving you smelling like you had a chemical bath!

Ok! Time to take your sparking, fresh smelling bike for a spin!