After riding my bike for a long time, I noticed that my bike kept on getting dirty and I was worried if it would affect the lifespan of my bike, and I found myself questioning when I should clean it. I decided to do some further research on how often I should be cleaning my bicycle…
A road bike should be cleaned every month, or every 20 – 25 rides. Cyclocross & mountain bikes should be cleaned more often, with a cyclocross bike needing to be washed after every ride, & a mountain bike to be washed at least once a month. An electric bicycle needs to be cleaned after every ride or two.
Whatever type of bike you have, it is best for you to clean it as often as possible, because dirt is much easier to clean off if it hasn’t been on your bike for long. And it also prevents the dirt getting into the mechanisms of your bike, which helps your bike work more efficiently.
42% of people in the UK have access to a bicycle. But how many of these people know how to clean their bike without damaging it? There are different components of a bike that need to be cleaned in different ways, and different methods of cleaning your bike, depending on what type you have.
This article will guide you through everything you need to know about cleaning your bike…
The Parts of Your Bike That Need Individual Cleaning
Some parts of your bike need individual attention, rather than being cleaned as a general part of your whole bike. Let’s take a look at which parts need this:
Your bicycle chain – You should clean your bicycle chain after every ride, regardless of the type. Using a chain cleaner or degreaser is recommended as they’re specifically made for cleaning metal objects such as bicycle chains.
The disk brakes – If you’re constantly riding muddy trails, you should clean your disk brakes and calipers.
The rims –You should clean the rims of your bicycle whenever you notice a build-up of dirt and see dust from the brakes. you should wipe this off with a damp cloth or sponge.
How You Should Clean Your Bike
Different types of Bicycles need to be cleaned in different ways. The main way to clean a bike is thus.
- Firstly, you need to rinse the frame of your bike with a wet sponge or cloth.
- Next, use a bike-cleaning product or, if you don’t have one, a degreaser, and leave it sit for a few minutes.
- Then you must gently scrub your bike.
- After, clean your brake pads and rims.
- Use degreaser on your chainset, cassette and gears and scrub them down.
- Lastly, rinse your bicycle, dry it and lubricate the joints.
Recommended Cleaning Products for Your Bike
I’ve listed out some great cleaning products that are great to keep handy, keeping it easy for you to clean your bike whenever the need arises:
Fenwicks Bike Cleaner – With a low price, this cost-effective cleaner will transform the way you clean your bike. It rinses of completely with using just water and penetrates deep within the dirt to remove it quickly and effectively.
Muc-Off Ultimate Bicycle Kit – The brand Muc-Off is well known to be an excellent bicycle cleaner. The whole kit ensures your bike will be spotless. Formulated using nanotechnology, this bike cleaning kit tackles even the hardest to reach places to clean. It’s available at Amazon here.
Bikehut Mini Cleaning Kit – This product is perfect to keep with you while travelling. It has a compact design and includes the essentials- cleaner, degreaser and a lubrication sponge, meaning you have all you need when you find yourself away from home and in need of a bike-clean.
Why You Should Clean Your Bike
The maintenance of your bicycle is essential. A build-up of dust and dirt located on the rims of your bike and around your brake pads. As a result of this, your brakes will get worn-down which will lead to your bike becoming faulty and it could potentially be dangerous to ride. You could potentially get into a serious accident due to your brakes being worn by the grime on your bike.
You will also notice that your bike’s performance is better when it’s clean than when it’s dirty. This is because the dirt can get lodged between your bicycle chain, which will then cause friction between the chain and gear, slowing your bike down. Cleaning your bike is also good for your money, owning to the fact that damage caused by not cleaning your bike will be kept to a minimum.
If your bike is covered in excessive dust and dry dirt, riding it can dislodge some of these particles and they can possibly enter your airways and harm your lungs. Also, a dust and dirt-free bike is much more aesthetically pleasing than a bike covered in grime. Not only does it show that you’re dedicated to riding, but it shows that you are a responsible biker who takes the condition of your bike seriously.
What Not to Do When You’re Cleaning Your Bike
Here’s a list of not-to-do’s when it comes to cleaning your bike so as not to damage it:
- You should not use harsh abrasives when cleaning your bike, as this will leave scratches in the paint and metal. This leaves your bike looking unpleasant and vulnerable to rust.
- Never clean your bike with everyday cleaning products such as kitchen or bathroom spray, or any sort of washing up liquid. These commonly contain salts and other bleaching agents that can discolor your bicycle’s paint and make it rust.
- Avoid washing your bike in still bodies of water, such as ponds. This is because you’re aiming to clean your bicycle, and bodies of water that don’t flow are almost never clean.
- Don’t use hoses with high pressure, or jet washers to clean your bike. This is because on regular bikes, they will push water into the bearings, making your bike age more. For electrical bikes, the water may damage the electrical components and cause them to stop working.
- If you need to wash your bike but don’t have any bicycle cleaning products, don’t resort to acidic substances. This is due to it will damage your bike’s paint and leave the nooks and crannies of your bike sticky and unpleasant.
- You shouldn’t wash your bicycle upside down. This causes the dirt you’re trying to clean to run into the contact points of your bike.
Although regularly cleaning your bike may be a strenuous task, as there are many things you need to take into consideration, the results at the end will be worth it, as you will now be able to ride your bicycle with ease.
Consider investing in a good quality cleaner to make sure your bike is at its cleanest with every wash. Perhaps you would rather get someone else to do the heavy work for you, which may be a good idea, if they know themselves how to properly clean a bicycle. Simply watching another person is a great way to get the hang of cleaning one, so why not watch a fellow biker or even an online tutorial on how to thoroughly clean your bike.
With practice makes perfect. If your bike qualifies to be cleaned after each ride, you will gain the skill to clean your bicycle and it will take less time to clean it as you continue to ride and clean.