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Yet another bike cleaning question

841 Views 8 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  VTSession

I've been riding way more than ever before (at least one good trail ride a week, often 2) and I bought a new-to-me bike that I really love. It's been wet out here and I often get home and my front and rear derailleurs (and everything) are absolutely caked with mud.

I don't care if my bike is dirty, but I want the components to last and I imagine that leaving them caked with mud can't help them.

Most of the online guides, and Zinn's book all say to get hot soapy water and a brush and brush and wipe it all off. I can't imagine this working since all the screws and springs and complicated bits are all filled with mud.. The only thing I can see getting all that mud out of there is spraying, and people make it sound like if I spray my bike I might as well just throw it away and that I'm a bad person and deserve to die.

What do people actually do when their components are caked with mud? What I've been doing is brushing as much as I can, then taking a screwdriver with a rag around it and trying to poke out the other stuff.

Or is the answer shut up and ride?

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I just spray the mud off with a hose. Any greasy stuff that still caked on I spray with a degreaser then spray off with a hose. Then lube everything with a drip bottle (a spray is messy and sprays too much lube).
Not a bad idea to remove the wheels and cover the brakes with some kind of bag or a rag before you go spraying any degreasers on there.
Stedenko, your "dirty bike, clean components" approach is very similar to mine. I'm not a fan of splashing solvent and degreasers indiscriminately around my bike, near hub and BB bearings. With a bit of practice, and the right chain lube, it's possible to clean a drivetrain very thouroughly in not much time at all and with very little soap and water. Check out the basic cleaning guide I posted in the beginner's forum (link) for a more concise description.
I don't understand why this subject is repeatedly such a dilemma.:confused: A mountain bike is a machine and any quality bike is designed to take a beating. People wash cars and motorcycles all the time without ill effect. Why should a bike be any different. People ride their bikes through river crossings.

If I come home with my bike covered in mud, I hose it off (even in nooks and crannies), let it dry and re-lube. I have been doing that to most of my components for over five years. I've replaced more by breaking them than by wearing them out. Every now and then I'll use a commercially available chain cleaner to get all the muck out of the chain and it obviously results in citrus degreaser getting into the rest of the drive train, specifically the derailleurs and cogs/rings. I've never had any problems and I'll usually brush the stuff over everything. My 2004 XTR derailleurs are still working fine. I'll rinse it off and wash with some dish washing liquid in warm water. Maybe once a year I'll service My Shimano XTR hubs and there is always still clean grease in the hubs, even after degreaser and a hose.

Oh! Before someone tells me it is bad for bearings, my bike is not a hardtail. It's an Intense 5point5. I've only replaced bearings twice in 5½ years

Wash the bike if you feel like it!.:yesnod:

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+1 Ronnie!!

Just clean it like u would clean your car. The main thing is once cleaned, dry it and re-lube all moving parts. Do this and your bike will last
Yup! Just clean it.

You might avoid and forced spray into major pivots and bearings, though and that is easy. Dry it, relube it.

There are at least 200 hundred thousand kajillion sites to show you how to do this. Just Google Bike Cleaning.
Stedenko, let give you a couple links that will go a long way to help cleaning your bike. And please, please, never, ever use WD-40 on your bike. Water Displacement 40 was designed to clean circuit boards, not for high tech bicycles.

For general cleaning of your bike:

Proper Cleaning and Lubrication of Chain and Deraileurs

Check out Finishline USA's channel on youtube.

One final tip! After you wash your bike wipe it down with "Lemon Scented Pledge", it contains silcon oil that will make your bike shine, and makes it much easier to clean the next time. Lemon Scented Pledge is one of those inside secrets of the bike industry. Just be careful not to get any wax or lubricants on your brake caliper or rotors.

Happy Trails,

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Chain Brain said:
I just spray the mud off with a hose. Any greasy stuff that still caked on I spray with a degreaser then spray off with a hose. Then lube everything with a drip bottle (a spray is messy and sprays too much lube).
Exactly what I do. Good advice here.
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