Washing your bike is one of those controversial topics where everyone has a different method. These days most people run expensive forks and dual suspension bikes with lots of seals and bearings. This means there’s more oppourtunity for mud to seep in the seals during washing. Using a hose is okay, but NEVER use a pressure washer or high pressure hose nozzle. I learned that the hard way when I obliterated every bearing in my bike after using a pressure washer. Here’s how I clean my bike now.
1. Brush off big clumps of mud from the bike. This can be done with a brush or a small piece of plastic
2. Spray with bike cleaner. I use this:
It works well. Some people prefer the pink stuff.
3. Rub it in with a brush
4. Rinse with a hose (no attachment)
And voila, you have a spotless bike with bearings that are no worse for the wear.
What are your thoughts on using something like Simple Green for your step #2? Two different cyclists in my neighborhood (both more experienced than me) have recommended it in place of a bike-specific product.
First, I use Dawn dish soap. Works really well and is mild.
1. Rinse bike well
2. Wipe entire bike with soapy rag.
3. Clean any tight areas cassette, derailleurs, etc, with the Park Tool cleaning,http://www.singletracks.com/mtbreviews/Park/Gear-Clean-Brush/1527.html
4. Rinse well with hose.
That’s it. Sometimes I’ll clean it off at the trailhead so it’s dry from the ride home. I’ll pull the chain off and clean it every month or so. I use Krud Kutter to clean it and White Lightning Clean Ride lube once it’s dry. I clean after every ride.
I use all methods,somtimes when I have the time I like to put the bike on the stand and start unbolting stuff and cleaning it as I go,regreasing and lock tighting stuff as I go etc..
And somtimes I just clean the drive train either because of time constraints or I just like the way the bike feels with the right amount of dirt on it,like when we get done riding Fruita,the tires almost turn white from the dirt up there and it really looks cool when that white dust comes billowing off the bike and rider as you go flying down the trail.. 😎
And somtimes I like to give the bike a good cleaning on the stand,wether it’s with the wheels on or the wheels off the bike.
And somtimes I like to go to the car wash and just give it a quick rinse while NOT depressing the trigger on the wash wand,just let it rinse it off. 😉
I would hate to think that I’m stuck with one method when I could be using all the different methods for different situations due to time constraints or when I have all the time in the world…….
As far as produts,dish washing detergent never hurt anything.The one thing I did spend money on to make for a good bike cleaning is a complete set of brushes to wash all the different parts of the bike,I find that makes feel comfortable about how I take care of my bike.