The 30 Minute Bike Wash – How To Clean & Degrease Your Bike

The 30 Minute Bike Wash – How To Clean & Degrease Your Bike


Sometimes your bike just needs a really
thorough clean, particularly if you’ve got a big event
coming up like a sportif or a race. First of all run a bucket of hot soapy
water. I always washing up liquid because there’s always some in my house. If you’ve been more organized you can
use a specific bike or a car soap. I’ve never had a problem with that though so it’s up to you. It is important that it’s hot though,
it gets the grease and oil much much better. Before your bike gets wet though, first of all, decant some degreaser into an old pot. Half an old water bottle
works particularly well pro mechanics tip, amazing Now with old brush I just paint the
degreaser liberally onto the chain. Some people swear they need to take the
chain off to clean it thoroughly I don’t agree with that and more than
that i’m quite superstitious about how many times a break it and then rejoin it
even the power link, so i try to avoid it and just paint, paint it on. After that chain is thoroughly coated in
degreaser take a flat head screwdriver and just run around the jockey wheels
just to scrape all that gunk off, and then sparingly I get a bit more degreaser on here too –
then finally on the chain rings as well Now while that decreaser is actually working it’s time to actually clean the rest of
the bike using an old car sponge I start the front of the bike and then
work backwards and downwards getting loads of soapy water on it. When you get to the area of the
drivetrain I swap my clean car sponge for a greasy old one, I find having the chain on the
big ring is much much easier to clean the outside of the chain But to get onto the inside, you need to get your
sponge involved elsewhere Now this has come up pretty clean if it needs a bit more going over just
apply some more degreaser and again just leave it to sit. Now when I come back
to again I’ll use my clean sponge and it should come up pretty spotless. Now it’s time to move on to the
derailleur and the chainrings. This little brush was an excellent buy as it gets right in there. Make sure that when you’ve cleaned it
satisfactorily, that you get the degreaser off really thoroughly. Any
degreaser left on there is going to basically ruin any lubricant that you
put on afterwards so make sure it’s thoroughly thoroughly rinsed off. Now I’m going to turn my attention to
the wheels drop the front one out and then start by
cleaning the frame and the front forks that you can get to us the wheel was in. Pay
particular attention as well to the brake calipers Now I turn my attention to the front wheel
I make sure, I’m a through cleaner, so I am particularly careful about cleaning the
side walls Blackwall tires not so much of a problem
but if you’ve got skin wall tires, your bike is never going to look clean if you’ve got dirty sidewalls, so give it a
proper going over. Clean the spokes next and then finish off with the hub. Now drop the back wheel out as well. If you’ve not got a work stand, then whatever you do don’t put the bike upside down on its seat and it’s STI’s. Instead you rest it
on the tip of the fork blades and the brakes and then lean it against something
else. Just to keep the bike a little bit more pristine. Approach the
back wheel in pretty much the same way that you did with the front the only difference is the cassette now this has already got some degreaser
on but I’m going to paint some more on because we need that to come up. Now
unlike the chain this probably would benefit from being cleaned. The more
expensive your cassette the more difficult it is to actually get it clean, but in
this instance I’m just going to try with degreaser and then a rag as well, you can
just fit between the sprockets and clean it like so. Just pop the wheels back in, the bike should be
pretty much spotless now so all we’re going to do is replace our bucket of dirty
soapy water with clean water and rinse the bike off you can use a hose at this point as well. Some people do use power washes but if you do that just be a little bit
careful, particular around delicate bearings that you don’t actually blast
all the grease out and strip the components completely It’s not necessarily a problem but it’s
going to give you more maintenance in the long run. The bike is pretty much spotless except for
one jarring thing. Now you’ve noticed Tom Last riding
around on filthy bar tape now there isn’t much you can do to get
it clean particularly if you’re running white bartape, and that’s why most people probably
use black, but you do want to give it a try soap isn’t going to work so try
something like wd-40 and then elbow grease. So the bike’s clean but your job’s not
finished yet. Because this is a tune up there is a few little
bits we’re going to take a look at it so drop the front wheel again we’re going
to check the tire for anything sharp that’s wedged in the carcass. If there is
something you can just take either that or a pic and lever the object out. If it
creates a hole that’s too big and you are concerned about it, you can always just
take a dab of glue from your puncture repair kit and just glue the tire back
together. If it’s too bad you’re gonna need to
replace it hole like that it’s gonna be absolutely fine now you can repeat the process obviously on your back wheel and while the wheels are out just go and take a look at your brake
pads often they can get, if you’ve got alloy rims they’ll get little bits of metal wedged
in them and then you can also lever out any gunk from inside It’s really really important if you’re using
carbon rims as well because that’s an expensive mistake if you leave any bits
of grit or anything in your pads. Now for re-lubing. Use whichever lube takes
your fancy. I know that my five-minute bike cleaning tips with my WD40 isn’t
going to work because we’ve used degreaser on the chain so that just
won’t last, so I tend to use a wet lube that’s just because of where i live and
the kind of riding I tend to do, but if you’re lucky enough to live in
somewhere dry then use dry lube. Take your rag and just wipe off any excess and that will take an air so and give
the derailers a bit we going over the brake calipers While the bike’s in this position you can
always check things like the indexing or the brakes, just so that it’s properly
tuned up for your sportif or your race otherwise it’s good to go with the
exception of that grotty bar tape which I’m going to have to change for Tom
Last. For a more in-depth clean and service click here, or for a quicker
faster routine watch my five minutes cheats guide over
there.