Knowledge Level: Beginner
As the saying goes, a clean bike is a happy bike! So, with some help from Muc-Off, how do you clean your pride-and-joy to keep it happily running smoothly?
At any time of year, your bike can pick up dirt, mud, salt or dust, which can be tough on your bike and prevent it from looking and performing at its best. Cleaning your bike is a simple yet essential part of bike maintenance, which will prolong the life of components and allow you to check it over for any signs of wear or faults that you can then correct before your next outing.
At any time of year, if there’s dirt on your bike, then it’s time for a clean! Especially, if your drivetrain is looking gritty too. Ideally, washing your bike should be your first task when you return from any ride. Even in the summer months, keeping components clean will improve their performance and reduce wear.
Washing your bike only takes five minutes and is made easier with a bike specific cleaner. Nano Tech Bike Cleaner is safe to use all over your bike, including components. After rinsing your bike thoroughly, spray and leave it for around 3-5 minutes to get to work. If you’re left with any stubborn grime, use a brush or sponge. Rinse your bike thoroughly with fresh clean water.
Degreasing and re-lubing
As part of your bike wash, you will need to de-grease your drivetrain (chain, cassette and chainrings) and then, having dried it, ensure you re-lube your chain.
Bio Drivetrain Cleaner (a pourable liquid degreaser) and then a bike chain lube like the Hydrodynamic lube which works in all conditions.
With a clean drivetrain, you can quickly and easily use a chain checker to check for chain-stretch (see degrease and lube chain video above). You should fit a new chain when it indicates your chain has stretched by 0.5%, a new chain also helps to reduce the wear on your cassette and chain-rings too.
You can also easily check and index your gears to keep changing gears crisp and trouble-free.
Rim brakes can be inspected for brake block wear, and disc brakes could also be kept clean and squeal free with a Disc Brake Cleaner. Don’t forget to cover disc brakes or rims when using any protection sprays or lubes.
Protecting and finishing
Once you’ve got it all clean, adding a layer of protection against dirt and salt will help keep your bike looking like new and also make cleaning easier next time.
You could protect your frame using a bike-specific spray such as Matt Finish Detailer or Bike Protect. For long-lasting protection from any dreaded rust, you could use MO-94. Whilst suspension could be kept as smooth as butter with a spray of a Silicon Shine spray.