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Bike Care - Maintaining a nice bike...

1371 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  SteveUK
I am home with my bike after a few dirty and dusty rides...

Looking at my bike there is dirt/dust coating just about the entire bike (it is really think down by the pedals, crank, etc)... What should I do to keep my bike in top shape (just like my car... I vacuum and clean it out from time to time)...

Should I use a wash cloth and water? Paper Towels? Q-tips for tight spots?

Is there a care kit I should have?

Curious, what I should do/what you guys do... I don't plan on letting the dust sit there and keep building up.


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Detailing I love it

Bucket, warm soap and water, hose, bag of towel rags, good automotive detailing juice (wax). Gear brush, Q tips, dental floss.

Silicon grease WD 40 (stay away from bearings seals) lube oil, iso propyl alcohol (to clean brakes).

Patience, a beer, good sun, gotta rest one day a week
oops, armorall for plastics, leather care for seat and gloves, baby powder for shoes gloves and helmet.

For some reason I dont need butt cream
Go to Sheldon Brown's website for all things bike related. He'll give you the maintenance skinny.

WD-40. It's for frozen nuts, which if you take care of your bike properly it will never see any wd-40 ever, ever, ever.
It's like useful meditation...

I'll confess that I like cleaning my bike. I have a brush which is designed for cleaning alloy wheels on cars and it's great for getting into even the narrow gaps between frame and chain-guide. I only ever use warm water; no detergents as they usually contain salts in one form or another and, though they're no real risk on an alloy frame, if you have any rubber bushes or bearings (and you will) the salt will eventually cause the rubber to crack. Also, you'll have plenty of steel nuts, bolts and, of course, your chain. That said, although I have a Shimano chain I use a SRAM powerlink which means I can whip the chain off before dowsing the bike in water, and then clean it seperately. Only the main frame area gets water, though, and then only if it's heavy and slightly dried on. Stays get a wet cloth over them and the same goes for fork bottoms. If I can avoid getting running water near the headset or hub bearings then I do.
I agree with Fred on the WD40. I have good quality grease, carefully put in, on or around all the right places and there's no way I'm going to start washing it out with WD. Saying that, if I get in real late after a wet ride I'll take my chain of, drop it on a plastic tray and give it a quick spray to disperse the water from the bearings. It'll get a proper clean and lube the next day. The rear mech gets the same treatment. WD40 should have a warning to cyclists, I'm sure it does way, way more harm than good on bikes.
One last thing, I usually do a big strip down towards the end of Autumn. It can get very wet in the UK that time of year and I learned early on in my cycling life that taking taking some good, thick grease to every bolt and thread on my bike before the wet months will save me, and my bike, a whole lot of trouble and wear.
Close attention to keeping a bike clean also means close attention to all its components, so you get to keep an eye on wear and tear. You also learn how to take things apart, how they work and how to put 'em back together.
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Hey, I was reading the post by SteveUK and I got confused with the cleaing of the fork. I know its pretty self explanitory but do you just clean the bottom of the fork or do you clean all the grease that' at the top??

Live to ride:thumbsup:
Hey bunnyman,

If the fork legs are dirty or wet then I'll wipe them down, I don't pour water over the whole fork assembly. I use Finish Line Dry with Teflon for the stanchions; a little on some tissue to wipe off any dirt then pour a little more around the seal. Depress the fork as far as I can by hand which pushes the dirt up the stanchion. The Finish Line softens any set dirt and it can be gently wiped away. Repeat until the dirt 'ring' stops forming on the stanchion. Once the stanchion and seal are clean I use a soft, clean cloth or tissue to remove and residue of the Finish Line. The cleaning process itself leaves a thin layer of lube on the stancions. Any excess will only pick up more grit and dust. Make sure that the top of the seal is dry, too. Lube is unecessary here and it'll only pick up more crap to rub against the stanchions.

I've come to believe that dry is the way forward with looking after my bike parts. I use my bike every day, whatever the weather, so it gets cleaned and re-lubed often. I got fed up cleaning stones and whatever out of the wadge of grease in my rear mech and decided to just do away with it. To be honest, I couldn't see what exactly it was achieving. I use a Powerlink in my chain which allows me to take it off anytime, and I can also take the rear mech off easily. First I take the jockey wheels off to be cleaned seperately if needed, then I use Muc-Off, which has a pump action spray that blasts dirt out of the mech, I then run the mech under a hot tap to rinse, using a small tooth brush to get at any stubborn dirt that the Muc-Off missed. I shake the mech off and get rid of any water with a tissue, or manually blow it out. You can get cans of compressed air if you don't like getting this close to your bike parts!! The Finish Line Dry then gets applied to all the joints and pivots, and also the spring. I leave it to set up for a few minutes, wipe off any excess and check to make sure everything that should be covered is. I used this method successfully on my front mech also, when I used one, for a couple of years and have always enjoyed crisp shifting, with no crunching from that awful grease/grit mixture that you usually find in derailleurs. Full length cables (with Finish Line dripped inside) help here, too.
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Thanks, for the advice anyway one last question, should I lube my chain every bike ride or just every other day or every month?? OK thanks alot for the help:thumbsup:
Hey bunnyman,

That all depends on what you choose to lube your chain with. Check out the different types at your bike store, or here in the mtbr product reviews, see what's best for you then follow the makers' instructions.
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