Tech Spotlight - The Functional Wash

Jan 28, 2014 at 0:07
Jan 28, 2014
by Nate Collins  
 
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Pinkbike and BikeCo.com are excited to bring back the mechanical “how-to’s” with the new Tech Spotlight articles that you can expect to see on the last Tuesday of every month. Joe Binatena, BikeCo’s owner and world class mechanic, will help walk riders through a variety of tasks, from basic jobs like the bike wash shown here, to more advanced work that you'll be able to read about in the future. We aim to provide readers with a gauge on difficulty and risk for these projects, and also encourage you to post any questions in the comment section below when it comes to things that need more explaining.





The Functional Wash


Difficulty: low - no special tools required, and only basic common sense needed to perform.
Risk: low - while there is little chance of damaging the bike, you should know about the chemicals you're using and be aware of any contamination that could occur.

When performed correctly you will minimize shift and chain drop issues, improve component reliability, and even help maintain maximum resale value. When performed incorrectly you not only sacrifice all of the positives listed above, but also open yourself up to more work, paying for service, replacing damaged components, and even possible component failures. So, here we set about showing you good techniques to help keep your bike riding right and increasing service intervals across the board. Performing a functional wash should take only between five and fifteen minutes, and it's something that can be done quicker once you have your routine down pat. There are a few things to be aware of, though, including overspray: Murphy’s law says things are going to go where you don’t want them, so don’t help it along by spraying at poor angles. It's also good to get into the habit of only using the water and supplies that you need to get the job done. Less is more, after all.
Tools for the Job:

• Workstand: No, you don’t have to have one, but it makes every service task on your bicycle easier. Easier means you will do it more often, and doing it more often means things last longer and you have more money for trips rather than parts.
• Bike specific cleaner: Bike specific cleaners account for carbon fiber, aluminum, titanium, and disc brake pads and rotors. While most bike wash is safe on brake systems, avoid all degreasers - it doesn’t take much to chemically foul your rotors and pads.
• Rags
• Water
• Chain lube
• Bearing or dental pick


Tech Spotlight with Bikeco.com

• Step 1 - Mount your bike in the work stand. Be aware of how you position the clamp if you have an adjustable seat post. Here, Joe has marked his seat post height with blue painters tape and extended the outer tube for clamping. This protects the post's stanchion and cable, while also being a good time to assess your seat post / frame interface. If you have difficulty rotating or extending the seat post you may have the beginning of a fusion issue caused by contamination. If so, remove the post and thoroughly clean the interface. Electrolysis fusion typically takes a while to occur, so rotating and extending your post during a wash will almost totally eliminate the potential trouble down the road. This is a great example of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure - a fused seat post in your $3,000 frame is a huge issue that is time consuming and high risk to solve. Also note that the FOX D.O.S.S seat post's cable is not clamped by the workstand's head, but rather routed around to prevent kinks or it being crushed.



Tech Spotlight with Bikeco.com

• Step 2 - Here we see Joe using a spray degreaser on the chain to ease cleaning. Take note of the spray angles in each photo. In the front he sprays towards the three o’clock position on the chain ring, away from the bottom bracket. On the cassette he sprays at roughly the nine o’clock and directly behind to avoid accidental rotor exposure and minimizing potential hub exposure. Once around the chain is enough if your bike is getting functional washes regularly, with keeping the buildup to a minimum being the difference between a quick run through and a huge project. Also, remember that degreaser is only used on the drivetrain.



Tech Spotlight with Bikeco.com

• Step 3 - With the degreaser still on the chain, Joe begins to spray the bike wash. Less is more with this one, so use just enough to get the job done. Bike wash is sprayed directly onto the frame. In this case the bike is dry, but it does depend on the brand as to whether you need to spray the bike first. The fewer times Joe has to spray his bike, the happier he is with bearing life, etc. While they do list this particular bike wash as being brake safe, Joe minimizes any contact by lightly spraying a thin stream near brake assemblies.



Tech Spotlight with Bikeco.com

• Step 4 - Here are four ideas to control water when washing your bike. You will note that the upper photos are utilizing a spray rather jet. The jet is used on the chain and seldom anywhere else, and water should be angled to avoid blasting bearing systems. Headsets, bottom brackets, hubs, and suspension linkages are all susceptible to premature failure if they have water forced into them, so take care not to blast suspension seals! Even in dry, dry Southern California it isn’t entirely unusual for BikeCo’s mechanics to open a bottom bracket, or hub, or frame and have water come out from aggressive washing. If you think you were aggressive with your hose it may behoove you to pull the seat post out, flip the bike and see if water comes out of the frame.


Tech Spotlight with Bikeco.com

• Step 5 - Cleaning the boogers off your pulleys, cassette and chain rings goes a long way to keeping your bike running well. Buildup on derailleur pulleys happens quickly and will negatively effect your shifting equally as fast. The time you take to lube your chain before each ride is also a great opportunity to knock off the buildup, and one of the first things to look for on a bike with a relatively fresh drivetrain and shifting issues is pulley buildup. On occasion we will see pulleys that have so much buildup that they appear to be completely circular, but the amount shown here on Joe’s derailleur is likely only from one or two rides. The same buildup on your chain rings not only affects shifting, but can also create chain drop issues on a single ring setup. A seal pick helps Joe easily clean in the tight quarters, although a dental pick will work equally as well.



Tech Spotlight with Bikeco.com

• Step 6 - Joe uses a rag to finish cleaning the chain. As shown in the top sequence, he grasps both sides of the chain, and while back pedalling firmly closes his fingers against his palm while rotating his wrist to the right. This action, coupled with the chain ring teeth pushing loose debris to the outer radius, works extremely well. A couple times around with the rag engaged near the rear derailleur and you are done with excellent results.


Tech Spotlight with Bikeco.com

• Step 7 - Cleaning the drivetrain also makes for an ideal time to review its condition. While you are cleaning the chain on the ring (use the largest on a multi-ring crankset) use your hand to feel for links that are flared, bent or sticky. This is a great habit to get into between race runs, and only ten or fifteen seconds of checking a chain could prevent disaster. As you backpedal the system, review tooth condition on your cassette and chain rings. Bent teeth will stand out very clear when the system is in motion.



Tech Spotlight with Bikeco.com

• Step 8 - When you dry your bike, take into account the coating. This bike features a matte finish and a large field of white. We have found that the finishes on most bikes seem to dull if they are aggressively dried. Joe uses just enough rubbing to eliminate any grease or finger print marks on the light colours. The less rubbing a frame endures, the longer the finish looks factory.



Tech Spotlight with Bikeco.com

• Step 9 - We recently came across this 'Hard Part Dressing' which brings carbon and other parts to a finish that may be better than the day you unboxed your new bike. For lack of a truly technical term, it seems to give the carbon a “wet” or “liquid” appearance, even on matte bikes. Here again we see Joe using a good spray angle - you do not want this anywhere near your brakes so spray a bit into a rag rather than directly onto the bike and go to work.


Tech Spotlight with Bikeco.com

• Step 10 - It's now time to lube your chain. For dry, sub-two hour rides we suggest thinner dry lube. For rides longer than two hours Joe has been experimenting with a combination of dry and wet lube. ''I find that if I use a dry lube and let it totally dry, maybe even apply it the day before, and then use a bit of wet lube on top of it, there is a substantial performance benefit on three or four hour rides,'' he says. It seems that the dry lube creates a surface that will slightly absorb or hold the wet lube. This keeps the wet lube from flinging off, which keeps it on the chain longer. The dry lube also seems to provide a primer that easily wipes off with the wet, providing a better looking, better functioning chain. Safety check the bike and you’re ready to ride.


We hope that you found tips in this that will help you better maintain your ride. If you made it this far, checking off your good cleaning habits along the way - awesome, you’re doing it like the pros. We will look forward to the next installment here on Pinkbike on the last Tuesday in February. If you have an idea that you would like to see on Tech Spotlight please email Nate@BikeCo.com to let us know what issues you’ve had that can’t seem to be solved and we will put Joe on the task.

www.bikeco.com
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158 Comments

  • + 134
 So bikes need to be cleaned?
  • + 33
 Only if you want to store it in the bedroom.
  • + 6
 Bedroom?
  • + 126
 Bedroom [bed-room] : noun
- A room furnished and used for sleeping.
- Commonly referred to as "bike cave" amongst members of the species Homo shreddus.
  • + 17
 Damn, you are useful.
  • - 17
flag biker5577 (Jan 28, 2014 at 17:25) (Below Threshold)
 I have all three of my bikes in my small bedroom :p, specialized camber, opus senterio, norco six three
  • + 13
 My bikes a murderer, I wouldn't dare sleep in the same room as her.
  • + 3
 Especially after a bath.
  • + 1
 Pretty cool
  • + 2
 It is becomming commonly not just a bedroom used as a bike cave, but something more like a workshop with a space to sleep.
If you ride a lot there is the need to maintain equipment. This becomes a necessary routine or a habit, facing will to experience next riding without surprises or issues. Some store and service bikes in a garage, but it is usually not so cosy to stay for some time. Maintaining favourite bike can become a type of pleasure, so people often tend to do it in warm living rooms or bedrooms like it was mentioned by @johnnyo5 and @Nygaard. Then you wake up in some morning in a bed surrounded by strange bike gears and tools. Usually enough dirty bike is a total contrast in comparison with the rest of a bedroom, so there is potential space for new ideas and new products helping to keep things organised, ergonomic and higienic. It is good to have a large bedroom or to learn from experienced Pinkbike friends like @Sapki who devoted a special room to deal with his bikes. Here is the link to his work place www.pinkbike.com/u/sapki/album/work-place it's very tidy and clean.
  • + 2
 i have two bedrooms one for me and my wife and one for me and my bike, so everynight i'm confused about which one to use to sleep!!!
  • + 1
 Aiming in species conservation, sake of tranquility, communication harmony and lack of reason for jealousy, it is highly recommended to choose a famale over a bicycle in the night. It also may help in avoiding injuries of vulnerable parts of body. However it is good that you have seperate rooms, so your wife does not have to mind dirty and smelly bike parts that don't match curtains. The only thing to manage left is the time schedule of all the activities. Most of my friends, who I had in mind writing earlier, don't have wifes yet, and staying in parents house there is only their bedroom which they have to share with bikes.
  • + 1
 of course nothing is better and warmer than spending the night in the arms of a female, i don't wanna touch a bike with my body naked especially in this cold weather, it was a just a joke...!
  • + 2
 The info really calmed me down.
  • + 34
 Had I not stopped degreasing my chain after every few rides, I think I would have quit mountainbiking a long time ago. It's such a waste of time, energy, money and even environment. Some water and a piece of cloth is all you need.
  • - 24
flag jeff444 (Jan 28, 2014 at 5:50) (Below Threshold)
 Faster,easier,and better job of cleaning just to take the chain,chainring,cassette off of the bike to soak it and clean.
  • + 53
 How is that faster or easier....?
  • + 7
 Parts are just soaking while I do other things, as well it takes me five minutes to take those parts apart or 30 mins trying to clean parts while they are on the bike.
  • + 27
 Another process that nobody will ever agree on a correct way to do. Whatever works for you fools...
  • + 33
 Simple Green. Best. Cleaning stuff. Ever.
  • + 9
 You should only apply degreaser to a chain if you then thoroughly rinse it all away before applying lube. Otherwise you end up with degreaser inside the chain bearings, and oil on the outside !

After each ride, I just wash the bike as normal, and give the drivetrain a scrub with an old toothbrush, and rinse with water. It's then necessary to put a tiny bit of thin oil on the chain to stop it rusting, and then just before the next ride (or once the chain is dry), lube it properly. Then about once a month, depending on how much riding you do, remove the chain (buy one of the those magic-link pliers) and cassette and soak, like jef444 says. I also check for chain wear and replace as soon as my Park gauge reads 1.0. This might seem expensive at first, but I've so far got 2 years out of my cassette and chainrings, and they still mesh fine with new chain, so it's arguably worth it in the long run.
  • + 6
 jeff444 i actually agree for a better job but not easier or faster
  • + 0
 @tjet I agree, here we go with everyone's anal over analyzing breakdown of molecular structures of cleaners and angles of attack with the hose, environmental factors etc. sometimes I think PB posts this stuff so they can laugh at people. If you don't know how to clean your bike don't ride it and get it dirty.
  • + 7
 We don't suggest or imply that degreasing is needed each ride, but we felt it is an important step for in maintenance in a "wash" write up. We do suggest to lube your chain before each ride for maximum performance and longevity. As far as posts to laugh at people - far from it... if you have good habits this likely was a 101 course. We will have more complex "Tech Spotlights" coming. Thanks for the comments
  • + 8
 Don't forget to floss!
  • + 2
 I wasn't bagging on the article but the flood of comments that will follow. They make me laugh. A lot of the people on here need the advise..
  • + 2
 I like the Sram chains with the quick release link for the purpose of quick easy cleans. My degreaser comes in the form of a large can of Brake Kleen Smile
  • + 1
 "@fecalmaster Don't forget to floss" - Good tip, I have a video showing how I clean my chain with no cleaning solution, dry blue shop towels only: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvBZMvj-4lM
  • + 1
 You should not apply degreaser to chains, it removes the grease from inside that you will never get back in again. This advice comes from KMC, who make lots of chains for themselves and Shimano.

Edit: LOL just seen that hampsteadbandit says the same below....
  • - 2
 I would hate to see your chain if you never use degreaser
  • - 1
 Looks clean and greased. But looks are not the most important thing, I'd prefer a dirty looking smooth chain to a spotless degreased one any day. Besides if you ride your bike as much and hard as you should, a good chain should be replaced every couple of months.

Do you ignore other manufacturer's suggestions to keep your bike in top condition too?
  • + 1
 I've got over 3000 miles on a chain and cassette in the past and I soaked that one in gas.. Now I use a chain scrubber and degreaser...
Oh my god, how did the universe notimplode?Shifted perfectly..every couple months?people like you are why the bike companies charge so much.. I don't need to ask someone how to maintain my bike. Maybe you are going through chains so quick because your dumb enough to not clean your chain an all the grime caught in there is causing unneeded wear? Let me see why would a chain company tell you not to clean your chain properly? Maybe so you have to replace it more often? Go figure
  • + 0
 You obviously know it all, especially about how and where I ride. Just popping out to soak my chain in gas. Then off to be a rude cunt to some other strangers. There's some other people having the same conversation below. People like them are are making everything more expensive too. Also we're responsible for any climate change and the plight of the bees.
  • + 2
 Oooooooooohhhhhh!!!!
  • + 1
 Aaaaaaaaaah!!!
  • + 4
 Just a little bit?
  • + 4
 Faaaaaaaaarrrrrrrt!!!
  • + 4
 @parkcityplush There is more than one way to skin a cat there Sir. Your attitude to others who have a different take on the situation to you seems at best, dismissive, and at worst, could be considered by some as rude.

I have a group of buddies parkcityplush that I go riding with and, just like the wonderful(?) world of PB, everyone has a different opinion about how to best maintain their drivetrain. Some use Kerosene baths, toothbrushes and copious quantities of lube to replace the grease the Kerosene washed out, others use water, rags and WD-40, others use degreasers and chain lubes, others soap and water and vegetable oil.

And unsurprisingly everyone has a great time riding, and a drivetrain that works how they want it to, because we are lucky that, in our group of mates at least, there is no-one that always has an opinion about what is best for everyone.

Some refer to such people as "a know-it-all smartarse", however I couldn't possibly comment.
  • + 2
 I work for one can vouch this shit it's all marketing....
  • - 1
 WD-40 is a water dispersant which is good for making water go away on your chain. but I wouldn't trust it to lubricate anything or let it get near my bike as it will attract contaminants later.
  • + 0
 ParkCityPlush - 3000 miles over even 2 months is 50 miles a day - not that tricky. I'd have thought that riding round a plush city park you should get many more miles than that. Knowing when you need to replace a chain is not an art, it's a science. You use a chain checker. I like my cassettes to last more than 3000 miles if I can, which I do by replacing the chain when they need to be changed, not when it 'feels' like it should be changed. Perhaps if you're gunna be negative you should keep your specialist engineering knowledge to yourself. Yes there is lots of marketing involved in the bike industry, but if you believe that that is relevant here you are more of an idiot than I first thought.
  • + 0
 Oh god here we go again.. I am wondering where this magical lifetime lube that solvents will destroy is hiding. Have you ever taken a link out of a chain? I hate to tell you but there are no sealed bearings in there and if you do not degrease then you have millions of little rocks (aka dirt)grinding at your drivetrain = premature wear. Why do you think a pro mechanic( aka) the one writing this article uses degreaser on the drivetrain. Just like I told mr dirty chain up there is the reason he is replacing his chain every couple months. As for wd40 it is a petroleum based product therefore literally eats away rubber and plastic. The only spray lube that should touch a bike is silicon/synthetic lube. All things that anyone who works on their own bike already knows. Maybe you guys should call your LBS and ask them how to pull your head out of your ass.
  • + 2
 Sorry being the little voice is just always to funny and tempting
  • + 0
 Since you like to follow manufacturer recommendations it's is usually recommended that you replace chain and cassette at the same time. Yes you can throw a new chain on an old cassette and it will still shift. but it wont shift as smooth.Which further solidifies the fact that if you do not know your sh!#t then take your bike to shop. And if you don't know your sh!#t don't comment and look like an idiot, that's why I am busting your balls. Now STFU and let the grown ups talk.
  • + 3
 Some days I get that no so fresh feeling…You know down there….
  • + 5
 just lick it mate
  • + 1
 @parkcityplush
You have a plethora of things yet to learn so I wish you well on your journey. Might I suggest with considering your choice of words in a public arena.

Secondly, if you were to scroll down a tad here you would find people who have had it suggested to them by professional mechanics that to prolong chain life, de-greaser be avoided, others who suggest using A, B or C and so on. Someone who did their own little longevity test found that by not using a de-greaser they prolonged the life of their chains many times over. You see, there are many ways to do things, and more often than not, it requires effort and an open mind to grasp.

I see though that you may not be ready to fully understand that yet since you seem to believe that "anyone who works on their own bike already knows".

Could you explain then the experience of my daughter, who is learning to look after her bike (she was thrilled at being able to change around the brake levers and grips the other day) due to her being 9 years old, as I would love to hear how and why she should, apparently, "already know".
  • - 2
 We all have things to learn. What I meant by my statement was people who KNOW how to work on a bike know that wd40 is terrible on a bike. Why you are chiming in I don't know. I have learned everything I know from hands on experience. Let your daughter tinker and show her how to do things properly. trial and error is the best way to learn. Invest in the proper tools. You would be surprised how easy working on bikes is. I only speak about things I know. I was directing all my comments to mr know it all dirty chain who didn't even know that you are supposed to replace the cassette and chain at the same time. You seem like a nice guy so just because I called out the guy doesn't mean you have to come to the rescue, he deserved it.
  • + 4
 Thanks PCP for the more considered response. I hope that your belief that we all (including the two of us) have things to learn, shows itself more clearly in your choice of words towards someone who has a different approach to you. Phrases such as "that's why I am busting your balls" and "pull your head out of your arse" will guarantee that you will get a response and will give others a chance to judge you: you choose the words, you cannot choose how others subsequently choose to see you.

Furthermore, this is a forum, meaning it is public, of discussion, and as such. anyone may choose to contribute (you prefer the phrase "chime in"), such is the nature of the beast. I disagree with your choice of words, and the exclusivity of your opinion that people who do not de-grease chains are making a mistake (as suggested by your choice of words thus "I'd hate to see you chain if you never use degreaser"). Locoola is not the only person here to suggest not using a degreaser to have merit.

Seriously PCP, the internet is a great place to learn and exchange ideas, and it would be so much more useful to all of us if we were to take just a moment to consider how we wish to express our (valid) ideas. You have very valid points, however they will get lost under your choice of language, leading to people like me, to borrow one of your phrases, calling you out. If you don't like people like me joining in, choose your words more carefully. Let's all be more polite, have a good time today and get some good riding in when we can eh.
  • + 3
 PCP you're funny and the reason prices are getting out of hand. Changing your chain more often saves your cassette, its that simple.What causes wear to the cassette? The bit rubbing on it. The chain.

But you're now suggesting that you should follow manufacturers suggestions around that and buy a new cassette at the same time.

Suggest that to an XX1 owner.

HAHAHA.
  • + 3
 I would like to add my ten cents regarding replacing block and chain together. I am of the opinion that a high end block is quite expensive so let's replace the chain a little more often and we shall wait and see before I splash out on a cassette eh?
If you tell an xx1 owner he absolutely has to replace his cassette when it still seems to be functioning I bet I know what he will tell you??
Real world guys, comes down to how much will that cost then?
  • + 2
 There are many ways to get after this topic - which we will likely go into more detail later - however everyone is right depending on the angle you look at it. Drivetrain does wear together. If you wear it past a point your new chain wears extremely fast as it drives older rings and cassette. In the 3x days many of the chain ring combos were much more expensive than a cassette - hence if you caught it early you could do cassette and chain to get more miles out of the most expensive components (namely high quality big chain rings). With the advent of 1x systems it is reversed. If you keep ahead of the wear we feel that a quality cassette should last two, possibly three chain ring and chain combos. Again this is all based on how early you catch the wear. When it begins wearing notably on a gauge the whole system is in need of review.
  • + 1
 Thanks Nate-at-BikeCo. Because a wash includes more than just a drive train and for us to be introduced to some new products. In fact once you put a degreaser on your chain I consider it more than a functional wash, it's starting a complete cleaning. A functional wash is more like what you do in a hurry in between rides. Quick water spray down to get that film of mud off, dry and lube. So I will be anticipating the rest of your bike cleaning articles. Because I like to try and make my bike look like new once and a while.
  • + 36
 Didn't get all the shit off the bike there is still SRAM on it
  • + 7
 well said brother
  • + 5
 Yes right this process is not going to get 99% of the shit out
  • + 4
 A good point, well made.
  • + 9
 Agreed, to do a proper clean of SRAM you will need some hex keys and a bin.
  • + 7
 Shimano fanboys are going OFF with the chirping
  • + 3
 Currrently in tears over this had a customer say the exact same thing when he came in for service the other day lol
  • + 20
 good tip for all bike cleaning mechanics and riders: keep your old dental toothbrushes!

They are very effective for cleaning your bike's drivetrain:- especially for scrubbing the cassette, chain, chainring and pulley wheels.


another tip I picked up from speaking to tech people at Shimano and KMC is to never use degreasers, chain cleaning machines or aggressive cleaning products on the bicycle chain. In their opinion it ruins the chain by flushing out the factory installed lubricants in each roller bushing, causing premature wear to the chain and then the drivetrain.

Consider the amount of chains these guys produce (especially KMC) I've trusted their advice on this for the past 2 years for both my mountain and road bikes with great results.

By all means use solvent to clean the chainring, cassette, pulley wheels as these are not moving parts (the pulleys obviously have bearings so go easy on them), at work we use the Rozone bio-remediating parts washers for these items

www.rozone.co.uk/products/smartwasher3.php


For worst conditions I am using warm soapy water (KMC's recommendation), for best conditions just wiping, lubing with dry lube and wiping the chain clean by backpedalling the bike through a clean rag and pulling the rag down hard to pressure the chain and wipe any surface dirt onto the rag
  • - 11
flag Snozz (Jan 28, 2014 at 2:45) (Below Threshold)
 I find new chains with the factory lube very stiff. I remove this and relube so no issue with wear.
  • + 19
 the factory lube is the best lube a chain will ever receive, and it cannot be replaced once flushed out Wink
  • + 6
 in the UK Sainsburys sell 'Sainsburys Basics' toothbrushes for 18p a pair. I get some every time I do a weekly food shop and have a stack purely for cleaning the bike - works really well
  • + 7
 Once upon a time I was chatting to my LBS and mentioned my chains didn't last long. I was told to stop using degreaser. I thought that sounded crazy so I measured the mileage on several chains - some were cleaned only with a dry rag and some cleaned with degreaser. Chains that never saw degreaser lasted three to five times longer.
  • + 3
 @graeme187

smart thinking!

I've also found the cheap nylon brushes and sponges in "Pound" stores to be a much better value than buying "Park Tools" or similar branded bike brushes, as brushes get quickly ruined when cleaning bikes
  • + 1
 Ive recently made the switch to KMC as I found the SRAM powerlock a load of bollocks. I'll take this advice and try not to use degreaser at all. In the UK its a muddyride50 weeks a year so a big wash is necessary but I just use washing up liquid water on the frame and will use it on the drivetrain now as well. Cheers for da advice
  • + 7
 Dental hygiene tips from a brit, now that's ironic...lol
  • + 26
 Maybe the issue is we are toothbrushing the bikes, not our teeth!
  • + 1
 @fingerbangextreme you shouldnt use washing up liquid for cleaning your bike or car for that matter as it contains salt as a water softener.
  • + 2
 @mallorcadave

don't worry about the sodium chloride in washing up liquid, it won't do the drive train any damage because of the very short time frame its applied to the drivetrain for during cleaning, before being rinsed off.

I'd be more concerned about the 'road salt' the authorities put onto our roads during freezing weather, as this is ground into the drivetrain during rides, and causes much more damage, especially if the bike is not cleaned after the ride, where the salt will start to attack the aluminium alloy components, especially the wheel rims, rear brake and front derailleur, and any aluminium alloy fittings on carbon fibre frames
  • + 1
 @hampsteadbandit
Having worked in the marine industry for many years i have seen the damage done to gel coat and painted surfaces after repeated use of washing up liquid. why would you use a product that is not designed for cleaning bikes when it could damage it!
Some raw finished carbon frames have a clear coat finish which have waxes in them, washing up liquid can strip the wax leaving the carbon exposed to uv light damage which can turn the surface milky or to loose its shine.
  • + 1
 been using washing up liquid for cleaning bmx, mountain, hybrid and road bikes since 1981, no damage to report Smile


in contrast, have seen products like "Muc-Off" change the colour of anodised aluminium alloy rims from black to gold/bronze with repeated use!
  • + 0
 @hampsteadbandit
Well good fr you! My point is we spend all this money on expensive gear and then use what comes to hand to clean it. Would you wash your Ferrari with it? No of course not! Then why use it on your bike.
  • + 2
 @mallorcadave

thanks for your input, I value your experience, and am not trying to start any argument with you Smile


for years, I was told by the industry advertising to use "muc off" and did try it many times, but found it very expensive and that it did not clean any better, and actually changed the colour of my rims and seemed to ruin my chain

of course, there is a well founded industry telling us we have to use particular cleaning products to clean our bikes, which are ridden in dirt and rain, and thrown down the hillsides

when I wash my bikes, its diluted (mild) detergent in the bucket with warm water, then quickly rinsed off with clean cold water.

Bike is then wiped dry, and usually polished using Pedro's Bike Lust to install a protective layer to the frame, components, rims and tire side walls. Chain is lubed and wiped. Forks and shock seals have a dose of silicon spray
  • + 2
 @hampsteadbandit
Sorry didn't mean to start an argument either! I just use a mild boatwash and soft brush myself! I don't agree with these spray on miracle cleaners either if it works that easily it cant be doing your bike any good!
  • + 1
 @mallorcadave

thanks for the reply. I remember seeing a "muc off" advert (video with sexy nurses) some years ago and they advertised using something like 7 different products to clean your bike

I added it all up and it was £50 of expenditure, and would be used up very quickly.

The only "products" I use are quality chain lube (Finish Line) and disc brake cleaner (after washing) and the Pedros polish.

The silicon spray for the fork/shock seals is from Maplin / RS (this is the same product that is rebadged as "Fork Juice" or if no silicon spray available then Finish Line dry chain lube works just as well!
  • + 2
 @hampsteadbandit. Ok I got negged for my comment on finding the factory lube too heavy but I am actually interested in your response. Why is the factory lube the best lube a chain will ever receive, and why can't it be replaced once flushed out?
  • + 2
 @Snozz
The factory lube on your chain is more of a grease than an oil. Once removed with a degreaser you cant get a grease to penetrate between the rollers and pins, chain lubes can penetrate far enough but are no where near as good at lubricating under the pressure that a bike chain has to endure. You used to be able to buy a tin a grease for motorcycle chains that you heated up and dropped your chain into. After letting it soak for a while you pulled it out, wiped of the excess, let it cool down and you had a fully lubed chain like when it left the factory. Might be something worth looking into.
  • + 1
 Cheers for the reply. Might have to rethink my approach Smile
  • + 12
 nothing about brakes, suspension cleaning or checking areas for cracks and damage?
  • + 3
 I was wondering the same thing. It was a good intro, but if u got a full suspension thats like one of the most important things to do, i use cotton swabs for those hard to reach places.
  • + 3
 Absolutely a post wash check is in order. We had 1,500 word post on the wash - thought we'd save the go thru for later. Adding to your list we suggest post wash is a great time to do a bolt check, assess your hubs, etc as well. thanks for the reply and you guys are on it
  • + 1
 Anytime dude, thanks for comin back mate
  • + 7
 washing? I kinda feel bad now, I'm always the guy that starts a ride with a dusty rig.
  • + 8
 Your not alone….
  • + 22
 What's this "dust" you speak of?
  • + 3
 Dust- that odd stuff that comes off your bike after it sits inside & all the mud becomes dry.
  • + 3
 Haha, portlyone. Sorry bro but hot dry rides are a year round phenomenon here.
  • + 2
 Riding in the rain is just a novelty for me… doesn't happen much.
  • + 6
 I dont know what to say about people who spend their time polishing frames...
  • + 1
 Plenty of mud where I ride. Even in dry spells in summer
  • + 1
 Hey, I take pride in making my Killswitch shine like a mirror, mostly because I spent about 100 hours stripping the crappy paint job, sanding, buffing and polishing it. Wouldn't want it to lose its shine! (It's an annoying task though, I will admit that)
  • + 4
 does anyone use simple green to clean their bikes with? i have tried it but diluting it with water first and it works like a charm, didn't know if there were some chemicals in it to stay away from though...
  • + 1
 Never had a problem with Simple green. I use it on drivetrain then spray rag to clean bike. I also use 2 chains. remove one let it sit in SG an hour then spray hose till water is clear. Then dry with towel. I even clean rotors with it when needed. Clean bike is a quiet bike
  • + 1
 professionally I wouldn't suggest simple green or 409... I have seen evidence that they are quite hard on bikes. Typically "etching" is the first sign. On loose drivetrain parts you can be more aggressive - but if its on the bike be wary
  • + 4
 Myself and a large portion of people I know use it. I dilute it 1/4 simple green to 3/4 water and put in in a spray bottle. I have never had a problem with it hindering the bike.
  • + 7
 Was this just an Ad for that 'feedback sports' bike stand?
  • + 1
 Hey, they're good stands! Not as good as the PRS25 from park but they are over £300.
  • + 4
 £300 !!!!!!!!!!!1, you sir were mugged
  • + 1
 Nope I was thinking of a different Park stand. But still the RRP on the PRS25 is £285. I got mine for like £75 brand new from Madison lol
  • + 1
 UKOrange - everything's an ad at some level right?? That is the stand that Joe travels with. In the shop we offer Feedback and Park. The Pro Elite by Feedback is nice with its ratcheting head for speed if you have different diameters you are working with. Thanks for the post.
  • + 2
 Thanks for your reply.
  • + 3
 Living in Scotland I rarely get back in with dried on mud. I just splash it off with a bucket of water, drip dry. Remove chain and cassette and clean with some citrus degreaser whenever it needs it, rinse and rip dry, relube on the bike. Done. None of that fancy shit ever gets near my bearings.
  • + 1
 I agree. I never use soap or degreasers. Just blast off the mud. Dry the bike. Clean the chain with a rag/lube. I will on rare occasion use car wash soap and a sponge to clean the frame surface but don't wipe down anything else with it. But that's a rarity. I usually just clean the frame with Pedro's after it's dry.
  • + 2
 Good to know i been doing it right this whole time, even without such a great guide. I live in an apartment so we don't have access to a nice water hose. I got myself a 2 gallon pump sprayer from Lowe's. It works great with the adjustable nozzle. Just enough pressure to wash but not harm the bike.
  • + 6
 TL;DR Spray your bike with some stuff, wipe off.
  • + 1
 Instead of dental picks to clean dirt from hard-to-reach places, I use disposable wood chopsticks, carved to the shape of the space I'm scraping the dirt from. This, IMHO, is preferable to metal-on-metal cleaning. I inherited a pile of disposable chopsticks, but I'm sure there is a supplier of those somewhere, Amazon or whatever.
  • + 1
 I agree that factory lube is great but you are fooling yourself if you think it lasts. When it's dry I use Squirtlube and never have to clean my chain. In the Winter months I will remove my chain, place it in a Tupperware container with degreaser, shake, rinse well, dry in the oven at 200F for 15 min and then lube. If I am lazy I will wash it on the bike and then lube but you will be amazed at the dirt that will come out of a clean looking chain. I know it is obsessive, no excuses for that.
  • + 1
 Thanks for the tips, but I want to see them actually wash a truly dirty bike. That may be hard to get in So Cal, but its a way of life in the PNW (this "winter" excepted). I find it is virtually impossible to fully clean a bike here without significant hose, cleaner, and scrub brush efforts. That's why so many eventually go with Chris King components. Their bearings outlive everything else.
  • + 1
 You hit a couple of great ones here! 1. Yup we see mud very seldom here. 2. Most of our bikes are kept fairly clean for a variety of reasons (testing, marketing, display, etc) so it is a much quicker process. 3. re: Chris King - you have it nailed...
  • + 1
 Good info but I'd say its a bit over dramatized. I've been spraying water at my components, using spray on cleaners for 5 years. Same drivetrain, same Headset bearings, Same wheel bearings. No issues. I only ride every 1-2 weeks but still...after all that time most people would have gone through 3 bikes. Maybe I'm using components from when bikes where made to last...
  • + 6
 Nice Lapierre.
  • + 1
 The XR929 is a pretty sick 100mm offering. Joe has rocked it in a variety of conditions, he typically rides smaller chassis on bigger trails. The bike pictured is great from Marathon XC to just shy of a serious Enduro (might do great at the Bend Enduro).
  • + 1
 Factory lube is the best. But when it wears off, if the chain doesn't need replacing then I do the following.

Warm water rinse to get the mud/ salt off of the bike and drivetrain. Remove chain and dry. Apply wax lube allow to dry. Apply one drop of chainsaw oil or wet lube to each link. Wipe down. The combination of wax and oil creates a pasty/ greasy lube that stays on repels water and wipes off of your hands easily. This takes about 10 minutes and lasts at least a month. The process is repeated when the chain doesn't leave some lube on the fingers when pinched. In my case maybe twice for the life of the chain.

Silicone spray the fork and shock seals and wipe down. 15 minutes and the bike/ drive train is clean.
  • + 1
 Here, Diesel and a tooth brush is used to to take all the grease off the chain. Works like magic. Just dip the chain in a small bowl of Diesel... and brush it and wipe it with a dry cloth.
  • + 1
 Diesel is a really good degreaser. Not too harsh and leaves some lubrication on the chain since it doesn't evaporate well. Then when you apply your choice of lube it actually helps carry the lube into the parts where it's needed, rollers and pins.
  • + 1
 Good tips overall. I also keep a can of compressed air handy for blowing water out of chainring and rotor bolts, cockpit crevices, bearing pivots, etc. I'm always surprised how much water remains in certain areas even after I've bounced the bike on the driveway a few times and run it through with a dry towel.
  • + 1
 It will fill the BB shell too, and stay there until the BB is is cracked open. And if its been there for a few months, it smells like butt crack.
  • + 1
 And get a Park Tool CC-3.2 chain checker. As soon as the chain reaches 0.5 percent worn, replace it. Some would argue sooner. If your chain gets to over .75 percent, all of your chainrings and cassette are probably too far gone. A CC-3.2 is something everyone should have, especially when buying a used bike. It's a great price negotiation tool, considering the parts-and-labor cost of a worn-out drivetrain. A gnarly rider can go through at least one chain per season, and I destroyed a chain in one ride that featured rain and a constant slurry of fine-grained mud, over 60 km. Replacing the chain before 0.5 percent wear doesn't mean your sprockets and chainwheels will last forever, only that you will replace them less often.
  • + 1
 I am sure someone will say "are you nuts" but I agree with a small amount of simple green, water and an air compressor. Oh no you are not suppose to use high pressure air on your bike! If you try it in areas that don't have seals or even if there are seals you will never do it without again. I have been using the air for 20yrs on bikes, dirt bikes and cars. The finish product is killer. I never found water or dirt somewhere that I thought got there from an air hose. It also cuts the time way down and makes me enjoy the process way more. I also never use water on the controls unless if can't be avoided. Ride it, clean it and fix it yourself.
  • + 3
 Sorry but using any 'bike wash/de greasers' is worst thing you can do... there I said it... now hide my comment!
  • + 3
 Typically here at BikeCo we would agree. We stay away from most of the mixture chemicals and we steer clear of nearly all non bike specific cleaners. The Matrix Concepts bike wash was tested behind the scenes for quite some time before we got on board with it. I don't think it is a particularly strong degreaser (and since they offer a specific one I bet they know it too...) but in general you have a solid point. I'm not here to hide comments when they're strong.
  • + 1
 CRAP!!!!!!!! I degreased my chain at a Twenty degree angle instead of TwentyOne point Five. Well, I guess its new bike time, no way to salvage this one. Honey, I have to buy a new bike…Hmmm, hello pivot mach 6.
  • + 1
 Gortho - the Mach 6 is a banger! I was able to spend some time testing those last month, bikeco.com/what_to_review_demoing_bikes-news.aspx
  • + 1
 Articles like these are always open for scrutiny! In all honesty though, nice to get someone else's ideas and cleaning routines to assess if my methods are at the best they can be. Well written.
  • + 1
 The quicker you wash it, the easier it is. At the moment a fine spray is all that's required in the UK, or just leave it outside for 5 minutes after the ride if it's really dirty.
  • + 2
 Singlespeeder says "meh". Lube chain once a week and replace chain once a year.
  • + 3
 I pressure wash everything and spray the whole bike w WD-40 bwahahahah!!!
  • + 1
 For me the best time to clean my bike is when mud is still wet on the frame and components. I don't use pressure washer specially on fork and parts with bearings...
  • + 2
 I swear my bike feels grittier after I clean it, but when it has a nice layer of grime. . .smooth.
  • + 2
 DO NOT SPRAY WATER DIRECTLY ON A SUSPENSION DUST WHIPPER !!!!!!!!!! always use a towel and soap.
  • + 1
 even a gentle spray can do seroius damage to a suspension fork.....dirt that still between dust seal lips will go down in the lowers and before you notice you'll have railing on your stanction. This kind of bad behaviour can void the warranty on your fork and the replacement cost for those damages ares pretty high. In the worst case senario you can also have corrosion in the magnesium lower, this corrosion doesn't affect the suspension mechanic but it will be impossible to replace the bushing while staying in the manufacturer's tolerance, whish means that your fork can DIE !!!!
  • + 1
 oh Sh*t! I'm so frustrated that I missed all this while I was out there on my bike!
  • + 1
 Just take a power washer to it..... everything comes off.... or what xjshane said ^^^^ lol
  • + 1
 I would never hose or pressure wash my bike! its completely retarded and horrible for your seals.
  • + 1
 1. Spray everything with Hope Sh1t Shifter (no need to worry where it goes)
2. Rinse
3. Dry and lube

Job done
  • + 1
 Hope sh1t shifter has made my black Lyriks and saint crank discolour
  • + 2
 give my muddy bike to the butler and he returns it box fresh
  • + 1
 I wish I had a hose. These "5 minute cleanings" take 30 with a bucket. You just keep finding spots you missed.
  • + 1
 That even happens with the hose. You keep finding spots you missed if you look hard enough.
  • + 1
 if you know how to properly oil or grease a chain as well you will not have that buildup of sand and debris...
  • + 1
 I do this like once a year...but I use my 2800psi pressure washer..I wash chain like for one minute at that´s it.
  • + 2
 Or you could just use the jet wash just as good but none of the show
  • + 5
 Jet washing can force water into places it shouldn't go, like bearings and headsets.
  • + 1
 True water can and probably will get into tight spots, but if possible, use an air nozzle on a compressor and blow out all the residual water.
  • + 1
 i just get a new chain every month by the time i need to clean it its stretched out to the max
  • + 1
 It is good to have these back!
  • + 2
 BikeCo is very excited to be working with PinkBike on these again. Don't be shy with requests!
  • + 1
 How bout a Pike service video?
  • + 2
 I'll note the Pike service onto our whiteboard. Anything in particular? Feel free to email or message me. nate@bikeco.com
  • + 1
 I just pressure wash the shit out of it.
  • + 1
 what is and where do you get that spray gun?
  • + 1
 My undead cleans herself with fairy dust mwoohahahah........
  • + 1
 much work for getting dirty again. to hell with the bike
  • + 1
 S100 best bike cleaner i have used.
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