Washing the bicycle does not only respond, as is sometimes thought, to aesthetic reasons. Removing the dirt that accumulates on it after a day of training or competition prevents some of its components from breaking down and, therefore, shortens its useful life and makes it obligatory to disburse money before the account.
In addition, cleaning has a direct relationship with the performance we can get from our two-wheeled friend. For example, if a mountain hike with our MTB has accumulated mud and dirt in the whole transmission, the performance can drop between 1% and 3%. Not much of a joke.
What we need for washing
The essential thing to carry out a complete cleaning of our bicycle is to have water and degreasing soap, two rags (one to remove the areas of grease and the other clean), specific lubricant for bicycles, a brush and a rod to pass it between the discs of the cassette and the front plates.
You will also need the essential tools to dismantle some parts, although the most common ones you may have in your toolbox will suffice.
Soap and water can be replaced by a commercial product, although we must always use non-abrasive liquids to avoid damage, especially to the frame.
If you have a large space at home, budget, and don’t mind scratching your pocket, you can use other tools, such as a workshop stand to lift your bike or an LED flashlight to inspect every little detail you want to leave as new.
Start with the frame and continue with the wheels
Remove the two wheels and, little by little, the rest of the accessories that you have added to it. Once done, spray or pulverize the painting with the mixture of soap and water or the diluted cleaning product you have.
Do not use pressure jets or hoses, you would be surprised how easy it is sometimes to damage some part of the frame and, above all, damage the bearings, the gearbox or the suspension.
Then a cloth passes through the entire sprayed area, better if it can be flannel. You have the opportunity to enter some areas a little hidden to the naked eye, such as the bottom bracket, fork or brakes.
After leaving the painting ready, it’s the turn of the wheels. Spray with the same product that you used for the frame rims, spokes and hubs, and then use another cloth to remove the dirt.
If you want you can also clean the profiles. Before putting them back on the bike, check that they are completely dry.
How to clean the transmission
Cleaning the cassette, the derailleur, the chainring and the sprockets is to clean the heart of our bicycle, therefore special care must be taken. We will apply a soapy degreaser in all these parts that we will then rub with a brush.
With a chain cleaner the task will be quicker and easier. It is worth putting special emphasis on the pulleys, as they tend to accumulate quite a lot of dirt.
Don’t forget the chain
If to clean the transmission is to clean the heart of our bicycle, to do the same with the chain is to take care of its circulatory system. There are special tools to help clean and degrease the chain. If you can’t do it with one, a toothbrush or a flannel cloth can again be our best friends for this work.
After spraying it with a degreasing solvent, we will place it on the chain and we will give some pedaladas, slow, so that the dirt begins to stay in the rag.
Using a brush that has been previously immersed in water and solvent, remove dirt from the gears, including the ridges.
The next logical step is to grease the chain and all transmission components.
To finish, remember that it is not a good idea to let the bike dry itself outdoors, but to do so with a clean towel. If you have an air compressor or an acquaintance who can lend it to you, better than better.
How often do you need to wash your bike?
There is little point in finding the perfect place to store your bicycle, if you don’t spend some time cleaning it afterwards. Mud, sand, rain water or sweat, even salt in sea areas, are enemies of the good condition of your bike in the short and long term.
Rust can also appear in some parts. The ideal is to do a light maintenance cleaning after each use, and periodically, and depending on the type of use that we give, a complete cleaning. Finally, three basic tips:
- Take advantage of the cleaning to check the general state of all the parts of the bicycle. You will do a preventive work that will help you to detect breakdowns, friction, looseness, etc.
- Don’t fall into the mistake of being guided only by the price when you buy cleaning products for your bicycle. The saying that cheap is expensive is true, so buy quality products.
- In the motor parts of the bicycle, lubrication is just as important as cleaning. The one without the other are counterproductive for the useful life of the elements that compose your friend of two wheels.