Bike maintenance: washing your bike - Second Part: how to do it
We have already seen how important it is to keep your bike clean and what products you should use. Now we will guide you step by step through cleaning your bike. Remember that washing your bike is the most important part of bike maintenance that you can do yourself and guarantees a timely diagnosis of any mechanical problems. It will not only prevent costly repairs later on but will also allow you to ride in safety.
Cleaning the transmission system: the first thing to clean is the transmission system (gear, chain, cassette, crankset, and pedals). This part is usually well oiled and attracts the most dirt. Spray the strong degreasing detergent over the parts and leave it on for a few minutes. Then, with a brush or with a soft sponge remove the dirt. Try to also clean the spaces between the front chain rings and the cassette. Be careful however with the derailleur and do not forget to clean the pedals and the crankarms. To clean the chain, the old but effective method is to hold the chain between your fingers with a rag while turning the pedals, until you have passed over the chain in its entire length several times. After this, rinse everything generously with water.
Clean the bike frame: Use the medium strong degreasing detergent diluted in water. Pass over the frame with a well-soaked sponge and let it soak for a few minutes. Do the same with the wheels, the spokes and hubs. With abundant clean water rinse the bike and dry everything thoroughly with a synthetic chamois or microfiber cloth. Then spray wax over the entire frame, carefully avoiding the braking surface of the wheels. With a dry cotton cloth pass over the frame to make sure the wax is evenly distributed and to remove any excess wax.
The inspection of the bike: this is the best time to closely check your bike for any cracks in the frame or misalignment of the wheels or other technical problems.
Use this inspection check-list:
- Gear set: change gears several times, and in particular, check the front chain rings.
- Brakes: Check the condition of the brakes to make sure they are not too worn.
- Tires: check the status of the tires, look for cracks, cuts or holes, in which case replace them.
- Wheels: verify that they are centered and correctly positioned with respect to the brakes.
- Chain: Make sure it is well lubricated and not worn.