A clean bicycle will be a well tuned bicycle and will serve you much better than a greasy, grimy bike that you rarely have time to wash. Everything on your bike is open and easily attacked by dirt and grime and if you do not regularly clean it off, you risk not only losing performance, but endangering yourself with shoddily performing parts.
The most complex and actively moving part on your bicycle is its chain. It is here you should devote the most attention regularly, cleaning every time you go out. There are options to buy expensive, all-in-one chain cleaners, but you rarely need those if you have a good cleaning routine already in place.
First, make sure you have a chain that is easily removed for cleaning - a Wippermann or Sachs preferably. The Wippermann in particular is stainless steel, immune to the effects of rust and corrosion. You still need to clean it regularly, but it will not succumb quite as easily to small problems that other chains might.
After removing the chain, place it in a tub and cover it in self cleaning lubricant. Use a basic degreaser if the chain is especially dirty and scrub it clean. You should do this every time your chain or bicycle gets wet or dusty.
Place degreaser on a toothbrush and clean these thoroughly with the brush. Get inside every little crevice you can find. However, do not spray the cassette directly as it will get the degreaser into the bearings and remove the grease that you actually want to be there. Afterwards, rinse lightly and let it dry.
Use some luke warm water, a sponge and plain old dishwashing detergent to clean your wheels. Sponge off the tires, rims and spokes while being careful not to get the detergent into the bearings. Rinse it carefully and dry the wheels off manually with a towel.
Cleaning Chain rings
First, take the chain rings off of the crank - this might require a special tool - and place them in a tub or sink. Cover them with degreaser and brush them thoroughly. Rinse them afterwards and give them time to drip dry and then take a towel lightly to them to finish the job.
Cleaning the Frame
You will need a lot of additional help for the frame cleaning. Don't take a pressure washer to your frame because it looks easy - you will only get stuck replacing shocks or other parts because of it. Clean the frame carefully and by hand and look for any other indications that you might need to clean other parts of the bike - such as the pulleys.
When you are finished, check over every part for any signs of wear or damage, including chipped paint, dings or cracking. Now, lubricate your bike thoroughly with the right viscosity of lubricant for each moving part and ensure everything is well placed and put back together properly.
If you regularly wash and lubricate your bicycle, it will run like a brand new machine every time you take it out of your garage. Make sure you follow the right steps provided for your specific bicycle in its manual and that you take it to a professional shop if any major work needs to be done.
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