Bicycles are great tools for transportation, exercise, and fun. They also require regular maintenance and cleaning to ensure they last longer.
If you don’t take care of your bike properly, it might become damaged or even break down.
Bicycles are mechanical devices that rely on oil lubrication. This means they need to be cleaned regularly to prevent rust and corrosion.
The best way to clean them is to wipe them down with a damp cloth and then dry them off with a towel.
In this article, we're going to cover the basics as to how to keep your bike well-maintained, as well as some tips and tricks as to how to make your bike work better for longer.
Bike Cleaning Supplies
If you want to get started cleaning your bike, you'll first need to gather up all the supplies needed. You can buy these items at any home improvement store or online from Amazon.com.
Here's what you'll need:
• Bicycle Lube - There are many types of bicycle lubes available. Some are made specifically for bicycles while others are designed for other applications like cars.
Choose one based on what type of bike you have.
• Wipe Cloth - Use a soft, absorbent cloth such as an old t-shirt or rag. It should be slightly larger than your tire so you can easily fit around the entire circumference of the wheel.
• Rubber Gloves - These will help protect your hands from any grime or cleaning substances you use.
• Spray Bottle - This is used to spray water onto parts of the bike that may not otherwise be accessible.
For example, if there is a chain link in between the spokes of the rear wheel, you would use this to help wash off any dirt or grease that has built up over time.
Types Of Soap You Should Use
There are two main types of soap you can use when washing your bike. One is dishwashing detergent and the other is motorcycle specific cleaner.
Dishwasher soap works just fine, but motorcycle-specific cleaners contain special ingredients that help remove oils and grime from your bike.
- Motorcycle Specific Cleaners
These products come in different forms depending on the brand. Most are sold in aerosol cans and usually include a brush and bottle opener.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when using these products.
- Dishwashing Detergents
Dishwashing detergents are generally easier to use because they're already formulated to clean dishes. All you have to do is follow the directions on the label.
However, be careful about which ones you choose since some of them contain harsh chemicals that could damage your bike.
The following are examples of brands of dishwashing detergent that you can purchase:
These are just some of the dishwasher detergents that you can use if you do not have any dedicated motorcycle or bicycle-cleaning soaps handy.
How To Clean Your Bike
You should also familiarize yourself with your bike before beginning to clean it. If you haven't ridden it recently, try riding it around the block once or twice to get a feel for its condition.
Now that you know what tools you'll need, let's take a look at how to properly clean each part of your bike.
Considering that this is the largest part of your bike, as well as where you are supposed to sit, this is a pretty important section of the bike that you'll need to take care of.
The best way to start is by removing the seat post from the frame and then thoroughly wiping down the underside of the frame with a damp cloth. Be sure to wipe both sides of the frame.
Once you've done that, you can now begin to scrub the frame with a stiff-bristled brush or toothbrush. Start with the bottom of the frame and work your way up to the top.
Make sure to clean all of the nooks and crannies along the way. After cleaning the frame, rinse it off with a hose and then dry it with a towel.
Once the frame is completely dry, apply one coat of clear sealant like Rustoleum® Extreme Clear™.
Apply three light coats of the product, allowing each coat to dry fully before applying the next. Do not apply too much sealant, as it may not dry evenly or correctly if too much is sprayed on.
Since front wheels tend to collect more debris than rear wheels, it makes sense to start by cleaning the front wheel.
The easiest way to begin is to simply wipe down the rim with a paper towel.
Once you've done this, use a small amount of dishwashing detergent and a soft, clean microfiber cloth to thoroughly scrub the inside of the rim.
Make sure to work the detergent into all areas where debris might accumulate.
Next, rinse the rim well under running water. Let the water run until most of the detergent has been rinsed away. Don't forget to turn off the faucet while you're doing this step.
Once you've finished washing the rim, wipe it dry with another clean, soft microfiber cloth.
Finally, apply a thin coat of lubricants like WD-40® or a similar product to keep the wheel rolling smoothly.
Rear wheels tend to collect less debris than front wheels, but they still require periodic cleaning. Begin by wiping down the tire with a paper towel.
Then, using a stiff bristle brush, gently scrub the tire. Again, make sure to use enough force to get every nook and cranny.
Afterward, rinse the tire well under running water. Then, apply a light coating of grease to the metal areas of the wheel to prevent rusting in the future.
After the tires are cleaned, wipe them dry with a clean, soft microfiber cloth.
A bike chain needs to be taken care of periodically to ensure proper functioning.
As these sensitive mechanisms can be the sections of a bike that break first, these are a priority when maintaining the health of your bicycle.
Chains wear out over time and become brittle from exposure to heat. They can also become damaged by road hazards such as sharp rocks or nails.
The best way to maintain your chain is to regularly inspect it and replace it if necessary.
Begin by inspecting the chain for signs of wear and tear. Look for cracks in the links, missing teeth, excessive play between the pins and sprockets, or other telltale signs.
Next, check the tension of the chain. It should be tight enough that when you pull one link through the next, there shouldn't be much slack.
If it’s particularly grimy, you can clean your chain with a sponge scrubber and one of the dish soaps mentioned earlier.
Scrub the cassette, the chain rings, and the chain itself. Once clean, rinse with some clean water.
Then, let it dry out completely before you take your shiny new(ish) machine out for a spin.
Bicycle maintenance requires a little bit of work, but it doesn't have to be too difficult.
With a few common household items and a little elbow grease, you can bring back your bike to the showroom-new condition.