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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    How often should you clean your bike and lube your chain?

    Greetings everyone. Newbie to the site and semi-newbie to mountain biking.

    I’ve been mountain biking since 1995. My first mountain bike was a GT Ricochet (hardtail, Quad10 Rockshox, Shimano STX SE components… do you guys even remember this stuff?) I stopped riding during college and decided to pick it back up again. Recently, I picked up the Giant Trance2 . I’ve been biking every weekend for the past 2 months and I love it.

    Before, I never paid much attention to cleaning and maintaining my bike. At least anything further than hosing it down and wiping it dry. Now that I’ve invested a bit more money into a more aggressive bike, I want to make sure I’m doing it right by keeping it well maintained. SteveUK’s post about basic cleaning and maintenance is great, but I couldn’t find anything on “how long to keep your bike dirty.” Or “how often to clean your bike.”

    For example, my last ride was last weekend. Nothing too dirty, nothing more than dust on my frame and components. Is it okay to store my bike in this condition for a week? I live in a condo, so access to a cleaning bay is a bit difficult. This weekend I plan on going to a friend’s house to clean up my bike. In the meantime, it’s sitting upside down in my kitchen un cleaned from my last ride. Last but not least, how often are you supposed to clean your chain and lube it?

    Thanks in advance. =)

  2. #2
    another bozo on the bus
    Reputation: washedup's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    i clean and lube as nessesary. i dont hose it off or do a thourogh cleaning unless it gets muddy or very dusty. i usually do it after the ride so i dont have to worry about a wet bike (grips may spin) when i go out for the next. as far as lubing goes, i check my chain before each ride and usually apply some white lightning, which doesnt build up too much. cables and other stuff i dont do on the regs. more to solve a problem rather than prevent, but always lube cables when replacing. im sure you will get alot of different responses b/c some people love to tinker with there bikes, while others hate to. im not so much into it at the moment.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: karpiel666's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    My rule of thumb:

    If its dirty, clean it. If its dry, lube it. This can be applied to more than biking.
    Quote Originally Posted by Qatarbhoy
    I have to ask for them to do a "Number two" on my head

  4. #4
    Freshly Fujified
    Reputation: Call_me_Clyde's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    Cleaning advice

    Clean the bike when you feel it's dirty enough to warrant it. Storing the bike with a film of dust as you describe it should be fine. You want to pay the most attention to moving parts, in particular, the drivetrain and brakes. Dirt and gunk that build up on deraillers, cranks, cassettes, cabling, etc. causes friction and they will wear out faster. I would pay more attention to keeping these items clean and lubed (as necessary) than say worrying about spokes, frame, seatpost and other non moving items clean. The best thing to do is give it a quick hosedown after you've ridden, and lube the drivetrain components after they've dried but before putting the bike away. If this is impractical, just be sure to clean it as often as possible, and if you lube it before a ride, try to do so with enough time for the lube to penetrate, and for excess lube to evaporate.

    As stated earlier, there are many thoughts on this subject. This happens to be what works for me personally.
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    How often?

    Depends on:

    riding conditions
    how often you ride
    condition of drivetrain
    what type of lube you use
    whether or not degreaser is used

  6. #6
    Double-metric mtb man
    Reputation: Psycho Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    I ride a fair bit in a variety of conditions (some pretty nasty, others pretty tame).

    For myself, I give the chain and sprockets/rings a quick wipe clean and re-lube to minimize the gunk collection about every 50 km (about every 3rd ride). If it needs more, it gets more and I break out the degreaser and chain cleaning tool...for me, that can be every 50 km to every 150 km.

    In terms of the pull the chain off the bike, degreasing (using more caution around certain parts) and cleaning the entire driveline: at least every 500 km for me.

    It's overkill, but when you put 1500+ km on the bike in a summer, it sure helps stuff last a bit longer.
    As if four times wasn't enough-> Psycho Mike's 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Page

    Moran? Let your opinion be free -> F88me

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Uses Q tips when cleaning

    I agree with Psycho Mike (can't believe I said that, heh, heh). The cleaner it is, the better it will perform and the longer it will last. If you ride them hard and put them away wet, you better own a LBS. Achieve some balance though, if you wrench on them more than you ride, you're not having enough fun. Water and mud are the enemies of bearings and drivetrains. If you are riding in rain often (or through deep water), the bike will need more maintenance. Buy a Park tool chain checker and keep an eye on the chain. They are cheaper to replace than cassettes and chain rings. Most of the wheel bearings have pretty good seals and will wait in normal conditions till the end of the season for a clean and lube. When the snow is deep and you're doing spin classes while dreaming of the thaw, it's a good time to strip the bike down and give it a complete overhaul.

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