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  1. #1
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    Do i need to relube my chain after cleaning my bike?

    Common sense tells me i should relube my chain after cleaning my bike since water would sort of wash the lube away.

    But if i wash my bike once a month and ride only 50 miles a month, relubing them would be excessive, no?

  2. #2
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    The short answer is yes, you should definitely lubricate your chain after a wash.

    How often you lubricate it depends a lot on the use its getting: type and amount of riding, conditions, etc. Unless youíre being sloppy with it and getting oil all over your other components like your brake rotors, excessive chain lubing is never really an issue. I quickly lube my chain before every ride. First I give it a quick wipe with a rag by clutching the rag around the chain while freewheeling the cranks backwards. Then after applying a quick coat of lube, I lightly run the chain through a clean rag again to remove any excess that will only serve to attract dirt. Granted my rides average 15 miles, 3 days/week, but you get the picture.

    Iíve encountered issues with not enough lube near the end of long rides before, but never with excessive lube.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobaX View Post
    Common sense tells me i should relube my chain after cleaning my bike since water would sort of wash the lube away.

    But if i wash my bike once a month and ride only 50 miles a month, relubing them would be excessive, no?
    Unless you are riding in mud, quit washing your bike that much...


    Quote Originally Posted by Betarad View Post
    The short answer is yes, I quickly lube my chain before every ride....
    Lube your chain after a ride not before, this allows the lube to pentrate in good, and reduces the risk of slining the lube everywhere when you pedal. Though this is mostly for the dry type lubes, it is still best with to do it after a ride not before.

  4. #4
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    Keeping your bike clean is a good thing IMO but there's no need to break out the hose every time you do it, in fact I never use a hose on mine. A spray bottle of soapy water, windex or whatever is more than fine and avoids soaking areas that don't need to be, like chains.

    A dry rag wiped over the chain usually works fine for cleaning it, although a small amount of degreaser or rubbing alcohol on the rag can sometimes be helpful.

    Depending on conditions 50 (off road) miles is usually a pretty good interval for re-lubing chains, just make sure to give the lube a little time to soak in and wipe off all of the excess.

    My 2 pennies anyway.

  5. #5
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    J.B. you will want to avoid Windex and degreaser for general touch up cleaning. Finish line makes a great ready mixed spray cleaner that doesn't contain ammonia which can be hard on rubber. Use a nice shock oil (a little on a rag) to clean the fork and suspension pieces, and general cleaner like the Finish Line or deluted Simple Greean for hard non moving parts. Also unless you are really doing a good cleaning of the chain, keep degreaser away at all costs. Use a little fresh lube on a clean cloth and that will work wonders to cleaning the chain without breaking down the lube.

  6. #6
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    A small amount of degreaser on a rag to clean a chain hurts nothing, I usually don't use it though because my chains stay pretty clean. I've never had a problem using any sort of soap for cleaning (including windex) because I only use a small amount on the frame and parts that need cleaning, not the tires.

    Also waxing your frame will make cleaning much easier.

  7. #7
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    Yeah a good wax is great, Windex will kill seals eventually if someone gets it on them. Was just passing along a warning to others less knowledgable. While you may be careful about it, I can just picture a fellow nub like myself spraying the bike down judiciously with windex and killing the shock seals after a season. Worse yet putting too much degreaser on the chain and leaving too much on the chain thereby breaking down the lube and killing thier chain and cassette via excelerated wear or in dramatic fashion on the trail.

    Most of the lubes we already use and be used to clean the parts they are used in, and will go a great way to extending their useful life. The one exception I can think of is the brakes.....please do not clean brake parts with brake fluid.....

  8. #8
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    There are tons of YouTube videos on cleaning your bike. Personally I try to clean and re-lube after each trail ride. If I ride the road, i don't need to but on trail there is dust, mud and other crap that gets in the shocks and chain.

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    There's nothing wrong with cleaning your bike, though you don't necessarily need to break out the hose all the time. My bike is generally wiped down after every ride and detailed once every 2 or 3 weeks. I usually just use a rag to wipe it down and occasionally will break out some soapy water or degreaser when I detail it. IMO a clean bike works better and sounds better than it's mud caked counterpart.

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    Bikes only get cleaned in the case of dire need at my house. Quick hosing and maybe a once over w/ a brush if there's a caked mud, then bounced a few times and spin the tires a little to get some water off. That's about it.
    Chains get lubed and wiped down about every 50 or so, as mentioned. Stanchions get a wipe down before most rides with a dry rag.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phinias View Post
    Yeah a good wax is great, Windex will kill seals eventually if someone gets it on them. Was just passing along a warning to others less knowledgable.
    You are right, I guess the reason I used windex as an example was because the last few times I cleaned my bike I used some blue all purpose spray cleaner because that's all that was handy and I was just cleaning the frame with it and using a rag for the rest. I always used diluted simple green in a spray bottle at the shop.

    I'm lazier these days than I used to be but I really like riding a clean bike and keeping a clean ride is part of good maintenance IMO. It's OK if that's not your thing but it seems like every time there's a thread about cleaning a bike people chime in saying it's pointless and unnecessary. I disagree, done right it will do much more good than harm.

  12. #12
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    There was time when I put a good amount of effort into keeping my bikes clean; there's definitely no harm in it, and it would be silly to say there aren't any mechanical or performance benefts. At some point I found that most dirt falls off by itself after another ride or two and just kind of went with knock the big chunks off, and lube it if it squeaks route. It ain't for everybody, but when I get some time, I'd rather go ride a dirty bike than clean it. Long as you keep up with the important stuff, a lot of it is just aesthetics.
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  13. #13
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    Once a month bike wash is fine if it needs it. 50 mi is a good lube interval depending on what lube you use. Unless you are degreasing, lightly spraying some water on your bike isn't going to wash the lube off.
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  14. #14
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    Only time I wash mine is if I do a really muddy ride, as in getting caught in a storm and walk the bike out, or before a race. I'll drop some lube on the chain frequently, but rarely does it get the full washing.
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  15. #15
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    I rinse the gravel dust of mine after every ride and I lube my chain daily. Limestone gravel dust tends to be abrasive. Most lubes are good for 200 miles in good conditions, but chains collect abrasive dust like a magnet.
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  16. #16
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    To me there is a difference to wiping down and cleaning a bike. I always wipe my bike down after a ride. I do so from the top down, and while doing so i look at everything to make sure it is in working order so when I load it up next time I won't be surprised. I always use a clean rag on forks and rear shock with a little shock lube on it to kepp things clean and slick, plus if your pour a couple drops right on the seal then compress the fork to sag level it will clear out the dirt stuck in the seals. The chain gets the same treatment, wiped down with a clean rag with some chain lube on the rag, i brush out the cogs, no water just the cog brush and alittle (very little lube) then wipe psedo dry with chain rag and left for next ride.

    It is important to note in my area trails are physical barred and closed when wet, so we ride in dry conditions only. As such I have never had to break out a bucket and hose and "wash" my bike. If that is not the case the biggest warning all knowledgable people will say is never spray water into any moving parts, and chain cleaning is best accomplished off the bike.

  17. #17
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    I can't even remember the last time I washed my bike. It might have been last Spring, but it could have been longer than that. I wipe down the derailleurs from time to time, keep my chain clean and lubed, and wipe the dust off my fork, but that's about it. Most of the time, "cleaning" means waiting for any mud to dry and running a dry rag to wipe it off.

  18. #18
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    Contrary to popular belief...hosing off your bike carefully with a low pressure "shower" setting every once in a while will not f up your bike...you just need to be careful not to aim high pressure water at you bearings.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phinias View Post
    the biggest warning all knowledgable people will say is never spray water into any moving parts, and chain cleaning is best accomplished off the bike.
    I'd have to agree to disagree with the second part of that claim, the only time I'll pull a chain off is when I'm replacing it. With reasonable maintenance there is never a reason to remove it for cleaning IME.

    I don't want to get into a "how you should clean your chain" war though, however anyone else wants to do it is fine by me.

  20. #20
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    ^^^truth.
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  21. #21
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    I like to clean and lube after every ride, I don't really have to but I like to.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phinias View Post
    If that is not the case the biggest warning all knowledgable people will say is never spray water into any moving parts, and chain cleaning is best accomplished off the bike.
    In real life, most people wash their bikes with hoses and if they clean their chains at all, they do it on the bike. Neither of these things really makes any noticeable difference in the performance or longevity of parts.

    Source: not the internet, the company trying to sell bike cleaning products, nor MTB Fiction magazine.

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  23. #23
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    Re: Do i need to relube my chain after cleaning my bike?

    Looks like we got a whole new crop of newbies that haven't seen the ultimate proper chain maintenance method. I just use this kit after every ride. It might take a little longer than if you half ass it but my drive train stays silky smooth and whisper quiet.

    http://sheldonbrown.com/chainclean.html

    You're welcome.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terp View Post
    Spectacular!!!!!

  25. #25
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    I refrain from riding through puddles or streams because I'm afraid the water will ruin my hubs and drivetrain.

    Also, +1 on Terp's advice. That's the only real way I clean a chain. Just make sure to have a few extra parts lying around unless one bounces off the table, never to be seen again.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    I refrain from riding through puddles or streams because I'm afraid the water will ruin my hubs and drivetrain.
    Please, tell me you're joking with this...if not, you can stop worrying about it. Your parts will be 100% fine, unless your talking about salt water. Seriously.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Please, tell me you're joking with this...if not, you can stop worrying about it. Your parts will be 100% fine, unless your talking about salt water. Seriously.
    That's news to me. Maybe you can answer this question too: is it OK for me to ride over roots and rocks, or do I need to find a way around them? I'm worried about my suspension.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    That's news to me. Maybe you can answer this question too: is it OK for me to ride over roots and rocks, or do I need to find a way around them? I'm worried about my suspension.
    Thank gawd...I though u were serious for a minute there.

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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terp View Post
    Looks like we got a whole new crop of newbies that haven't seen the ultimate proper chain maintenance method. I just use this kit after every ride. It might take a little longer than if you half ass it but my drive train stays silky smooth and whisper quiet.

    The ShelBroCo Bicycle Chain Cleaning System

    You're welcome.
    I think I'll stick with my Park Tool chain cleaner.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Thank gawd...I though u were serious for a minute there.

    You never know around here; stranger things have happened...
    Ha! I guess so. Now off to shred some gnarly singletrack:
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  31. #31
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    Since we're in beginners corner, might be good to point out that washing a bike with a hose is okay, but using a powerwasher or carwash wand is not. I would caveat that with (unless you have Sheldon Brown's bike cleaning kit with wheel bearing grease). That last part was a joke, please don't google it. We joke around on this sight then someone (Hawg) says something we take seriously because I wasn't tracking on his sense of humor and we respond by writing something stupid about soldiering irons. Next thing you know someone is calling us names and we're all 'hurt' inside. Or worse, we take the joke and turn it into internet-truth. Pretty much how the second Gulf War started.
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  32. #32
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    Thanks for the tips guys.

    So I'll just wipe down my bike with soap+water and cloth, and then another rag to dry it.

    For my chain, I bought one of those chain cleaner rollers. I dig this extensive chain cleaning method, but I'm not spending $70 just to clean my chains....

    When you guys re-lube your chains, do you clean the old ones out first with chain cleaning tool before applying new ones? Or just overlapping them?

    For stanchions, there's people that say to use teflon lubricant on them and wiping them down. Even using it on the dust seals and compressing the fork to clean dust and crud... Others say to just leave stanchions alone and wipe down with a dry rag after every ride...

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobaX View Post
    Thanks for the tips guys.

    So I'll just wipe down my bike with soap+water and cloth, and then another rag to dry it.

    For my chain, I bought one of those chain cleaner rollers. I dig this extensive chain cleaning method, but I'm not spending $70 just to clean my chains....

    When you guys re-lube your chains, do you clean the old ones out first with chain cleaning tool before applying new ones? Or just overlapping them?

    For stanchions, there's people that say to use teflon lubricant on them and wiping them down. Even using it on the dust seals and compressing the fork to clean dust and crud... Others say to just leave stanchions alone and wipe down with a dry rag after every ride...
    In all honesty man I think it's going to come down to what you, the buyer/rider/owner thinks is enough. I use a rag and run my chain through it cleaning off any crud, then re-lube it. If it's really bad, I'll run it through a chain cleaner a few times, grab with a rag and run it through, then lube.

    As far as the stanchions go, I use a lubricant, spray on, wipe down, compress the forks, wipe, spray again, and wipe after every ride. I ride in pretty dusty conditions most of the time, and I want my fork to last as long as possible, may be overkill, but again, you gotta find that level of comfort for you and what you feel is enough. Some guys spray, brush, disassemble, soak, lube everything after every ride. About once a month I'll squirt grease through my VPP linkage to remove the old and replace with new and do a closer inspection of all pivot points and frame joints, I'll wipe her down with a rag and be done with it. Before a race I may clean the bike up really good but again, I'm not a cat 1 pro guy, so I'm not spending $150 for a tune and clean before I go race.
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  34. #34
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    i would say you don't have to rebuild and clean after every wash, but chain lube from your LBS would work the best. But rebuilding every winter and meticulously cleaning once a year is a good idea.
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  35. #35
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    Read your fork's owner's manual...I know my Fox one says to not put any lube on the stanchions and just wipe them off after each ride. As for the chain...again...just wipe it off and re-lube when necessary..no need to do any sort of de-gunking beyond that. Also, if you are getting that much gunk on your chain you should look at your lube/lube method.
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