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  1. #1
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    Cleaning/Degreasing your bike

    I've been riding for a while, but have never thoroughly cleaned any of my bikes. My LBS is REALLY nice about cleaning everything when I take it in for adjustments, etc, but I think I need to step up and do this for myself. Does anyone have any advice for doing this or know of any books that could guide me through this? I seem to have this reoccurring problem with gunk getting into my bottom bracket.I also know that my chain needs a very good cleaning.

    I bought performance brand degreaser and have lube to get everything back in working order, but....is this good stuff?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    gimme friction
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    Best advice = search the forums

    It seems nothing elicits more opinions than the correct way to lube your chain. This topic has been discussed ad nauseum, so have at it with the search tool.

    That said, nothing hurts the performance of your bike worse than a dirty and/or dry chain, especially shifting performance. Also, a dirty chain greatly accelerates wear of the chain itself, which in turn acccelerates wear of cogs and chain rings.

    If you are going to be disciplined about cleaning one thing on your bike, have it be the chain.

    Also, I can't believe your LBS cleans your bike for you. AFAIK, the 'unwritten rule' of getting your bike serviced is that you bring them a clean machine to wrench on. By showing them you take care of your gear, they will be much more inclined to to a good job themselves.

  3. #3
    life is a barrel o'fun
    Reputation: Christine's Avatar
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    Oh crap, is that right? No wonder my LBS has mentioned my "dirty bike."

    Seriously, though, it's right near the trails, and I'm often in there right in b/w rides. So it's always dirty. But....but they're getting dirty in the workshop anyway, right?!
    "We sat outside the dentist, tooting a horn on the guy's bike."-overheard in the Underground

  4. #4
    Keepin' it real since '74
    Reputation: trailrash's Avatar
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    This is what I do:

    1. I take soapy water and a soft bristled brush (car cleaning brush). I use that to clean the frame, being very careful around areas that have bearings (bottom bracket, hubs, pivots, and headset area. Then, I take the water hose and rinse it off. DO NOT use the high pressure nozzle for this...just low pressure rinse.

    2. Remove the chain, soak it in Gunk degreaser (found at any autoparts store), then spray simple green on chainrings, derailleurs, and cogset. Use a stiff bristled brush to scrub the cogset and chainrings. Use a toothbrush to scrub derailleurs. Once the chain has soaked in the Gunk for 15 minutes, rinse it with water, wipe all excess water off with a towel or paper towels, and hang it to dry for a couple of hours so the water around the pins evaporates. You can blow dry it to speed up the process.

    3. After the chain is dry, put it back on your bike and apply the lube of your choice. Then, I take teflon based lube and put a drop on the moving parts of the derailleurs. Wipe off any excess lube. If you have a FS bike, lube the pivots according to manufacturers instructions.

    Side note: I'm very anal about the cleaning process/keeping my bike clean, so this process might be overkill.
    "If God didn't want us to eat animals, He wouldn't have made them out of meat."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quercus agrifolia
    Also, I can't believe your LBS cleans your bike for you. AFAIK, the 'unwritten rule' of getting your bike serviced is that you bring them a clean machine to wrench on. By showing them you take care of your gear, they will be much more inclined to to a good job themselves.
    This is helped by the frequent beverage and baked goods that seem to find their way in the door when I show up.

    Besides, they all know I ride way too much and would rather be riding than doing anything else. Although, yes, now it's time to take on these responsibilities by myself. And there is no better time than the winter when I can't ride as much as I normally do.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailrash
    This is what I do:

    1. I take soapy water and a soft bristled brush (car cleaning brush). I use that to clean the frame, being very careful around areas that have bearings (bottom bracket, hubs, pivots, and headset area. Then, I take the water hose and rinse it off. DO NOT use the high pressure nozzle for this...just low pressure rinse.

    2. Remove the chain, soak it in Gunk degreaser (found at any autoparts store), then spray simple green on chainrings, derailleurs, and cogset. Use a stiff bristled brush to scrub the cogset and chainrings. Use a toothbrush to scrub derailleurs. Once the chain has soaked in the Gunk for 15 minutes, rinse it with water, wipe all excess water off with a towel or paper towels, and hang it to dry for a couple of hours so the water around the pins evaporates. You can blow dry it to speed up the process.

    3. After the chain is dry, put it back on your bike and apply the lube of your choice. Then, I take teflon based lube and put a drop on the moving parts of the derailleurs. Wipe off any excess lube. If you have a FS bike, lube the pivots according to manufacturers instructions.

    Side note: I'm very anal about the cleaning process/keeping my bike clean, so this process might be overkill.


    Thanks, I'll try this process out!

  7. #7
    a.k.a. MTBMaven
    Reputation: mtnfiend's Avatar
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    Dry Clean

    I dry clean all of my bike except for the drive train. By dry clean I mean I only use a rag to wipe off the dirt. I live in So Cal so bikes don't get muddy here often. For my drive train I remove the chain, cassette, and drive side crank arm and remove the chain rings. I take all parts to my tub and spray them with some form of cleaner. I've been using Kaboom or a citrus cleaner mostly these days. Don't under estimate the power of kerosene. Lots of debate on this issue but it cleans the crap of a chain.

    I'm impatient so I blow dry my chain and towel dry the rest. Reassemble and lube. When lubing apply a drop of lube on each link making sure not to get lube on the outside of the chain.

    SRAM chains are the easiest to work with because of their master link, which makes removing the chain infinitely easier.
    I thought of that while riding my bicycle. ~ Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by polartrekker
    Thanks, I'll try this process out!
    If you don't have a lot of time, Park and I think Pedro's makes these little plastic contraptions that you fill with soap or degreaser and clamp onto your chain. You spin the cranks, and there's little brushes inside that do a good job of cleaning your chain and it only takes a couple minutes.

    I also use simple green (diluted) to clean cassette and chain rings with a stiff brush.

    Let the chain dry before you re-lube.

    There's a good set of instructions at the top of the beginner's forum.
    功夫大师喜欢骑着他的自行车在山上。

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by polartrekker
    This is helped by the frequent beverage and baked goods that seem to find their way in the door when I show up.
    Now I understand why it always takes them at least 3 weeks to fix my bike. polartrekker keeps showing up with baked goods. How can I compete with that?

  10. #10
    Ex-Clydesdale
    Reputation: Dwayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnfiend
    I'm impatient so I blow dry my chain and towel dry the rest. Reassemble and lube. When lubing apply a drop of lube on each link making sure not to get lube on the outside of the chain.
    I spin my chain backwards and let the lube run onto the links of the chain. That method has been working well for me since I started riding, and it's a heckuva lot quicker.
    '94 RSBikes Stampede (commuter), '05 Prophet, '09 Scattante XRL Team, '10 Slice 4
    Retired: 97 C-DaleSuper-V, 05 C-Dale R5000

  11. #11
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    Hee hee...yes, that is the secret to my success. My turn around time is usually 2 or 3 days.....Don't underestimate the power of home-baked goods!

  12. #12
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    Prevention of even more dirt and grime on the chain!!!

    After cleaning my chain I use a wax based lube like White Lightning on my chain to keep the dirt from getting on back on there. Plus it lasts longer than say a laytex based lube. This way I don't have to do the process of cleaning my chain over and over after every ride.

  13. #13
    Official Cooler Inspector
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    Hide this from the kids

    Pic used to be one of my screen savers. You Ol' Timer's - what ever happened to Stever?


  14. #14
    ballbuster
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    Funny...

    I have not washed my bike (for real) in a while, and just today, I decided that the dried sports drink dribbled down my down tube was just too nasty to look at. 'That can't be good for the paint' I told myself, but it prolly doesn't do much.

    I usually take a soft car wheel brush and a bucket of warm water with carwash soap. I heard that dish soap actually leeches out the oils in paint and makes it brittle and prone to cracking.

    I dunk the brush and quickly give all the tubes, wheels, etc a good light scrubbing. If I'm feeling extra OCD about it, I take an old toothbrush and get in the tight areas around the bb shell, the hubs, etc. A good rinse off with a sprinkley hose and all is good.

    Then I remove the chain and clean the crud out of it with orange cleaner. After cleaning the chian with any kind of solvent, the LBS recomends that I clean it with Dawn to cut the solvents and get them out. That way, the chainlube won't break down prematurely. I usually clean my chain with a Finish Line chain cleaner on the bike after a few rides, but when I do a 'real' cleaning, I remove and soak it in solvent, scrub, Dawn, dry and lube. SRAM powerlinks rock for this.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
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    I've been using Simple Green as my degreaser/cleaner for my drivetrain, it works good and is cheap and easy to find.
    Remember, "We're not here for a long time, we're here for a good time".-D.Ritchie

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