Keeping Your Bike Clean

Oct 28, 2009
87
0
26
Edogawa-ku
#1
I'm trying to get accustomed to life in the city. If you live in a small apartment, how do you keep your ride clean? Using a bucket of soapy water, followed by a bucket of clean water, on the balcony doesn't seem like a great idea. Is this my only option? How do you guys keep your bikes clean? Thanks.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#2
Several ways and this is how I did it on Saturday as I didn’t want to go outside and get cold.

Get an old towel one you have no need for anymore and that you are prepared to get oil and dirt on. Lay it under the bike so that it can catch any dirt, water, oil.

Then using damp cloth wipe down the frame and works, remove the wheels and flip it over on the towel, you'll need to continuously rinse the cloth in warm soapy water. Once the frame and forks and other parts are clean you can now go to work on the chain and groupset.

Now you can either use a degreaser or the same agent you wish to lubricate your chain with. First fold the floor towel up so you get several layers and position it so it protects the floor around the rear derailleur and front chain rings then using a rag spray the cloth with plenty of either degreasing agent or lubricant agent then using the cloth grab the chain just before it runs in to the rear derailleur, turn the cranks so the chain runs through the cloth in your hand, apply some pressure but not enough to stop the chain.

You may need to change cloth or refold to a cleaner part and repeat till the chain is clean, do the same for the jockey wheels on the rear derailleur as in winter these can get very clogged up and cause the chain or gears to slip.

Then do the same to the chain rings. Using some kitchen cloth wipe down the chain set removing any buildup of degreaser or lubricant.

Your bike should be nice and clean without having to hose it down and with minimum mess to your apartment.
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
0
36
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
#3
Thanks for the nice 101, James!

I never use water on my bike as I don't believe it is exactly good for the inner parts. Most of the time, any dirt on it has some oil or grease in it, so easiest to clean with degreaser, alcohol or cleaning cream, depending on the part. For this reason, I would never clean my bike inside the house - it would get too smelly.

I also avoid spraying the degreaser over parts - it risks flowing into bearings with predictable results and it isn't particularly environmentally friendly either. OK, water might be even better...

I was wondering whether anyone had any tips on how to clean difficult parts particularly fast. I invariably end up spending at least an hour cleaning the bike, and this adds up if done after almost every ride.

Cheers, Ludwig
 

TOM

Maximum Pace
#4
Dry clean

Same for me Ludwig...in the beginning I used plenty of water and soap (many bicycle maintenance "handbook" and bicycle magazine articles on this subject, still continue preaching this is the right method complete with pictures featuring a guy hosing his bike) but after a while, I noticed things go wrong...bearings started to sound funny, handlebar started to behave unpredictable, etc. Once in a while it is OK to use a bit of lukewarm water with soap I guess but a quick "dry" cleaning job after every ride (recommendable) as you describe it below is definitely the best approach. I too degrease my chain after every single ride.

The more cumbersome part for me is the sprocket and once every month or so, I remove it to clean each cog separately using the cheapest degreaser spray can (the huge type for car brakes they sell at Keio D-2, Shimachu or other DIY "home centers" sometimes for as cheap as 198 yen). The bicycle-specific kind sold at your LBS can cost almost 10 times as much.

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fi50.tinypic.com%2F9telxi.jpg&hash=6ac508191de96a22d7208af42fa891d7


Thanks for the nice 101, James!

I never use water on my bike as I don't believe it is exactly good for the inner parts. Most of the time, any dirt on it has some oil or grease in it, so easiest to clean with degreaser, alcohol or cleaning cream, depending on the part. For this reason, I would never clean my bike inside the house - it would get too smelly.

I also avoid spraying the degreaser over parts - it risks flowing into bearings with predictable results and it isn't particularly environmentally friendly either. OK, water might be even better...

I was wondering whether anyone had any tips on how to clean difficult parts particularly fast. I invariably end up spending at least an hour cleaning the bike, and this adds up if done after almost every ride.

Cheers, Ludwig
 

snoogly

Maximum Pace
Oct 14, 2007
695
48
48
Machida, Tokyo
#5
Do most of you remove the chain for cleaning? How about chain lube? Which do you use? (though I guess this will depend on the season).

One of the merits of the Rohloff (internal gear hub) bike I am (finally) having built is that cleaning is going to be easy!
 

TOM

Maximum Pace
#6
100-yen shop

I don't go as far as actually removing the chain but do make it a point to degrease and lube it again after every single ride. I used to use expensive brands "White Lightning whatsoever", etc but have switched to the stuff they sell in those yellow plastic containers with little red screw tops at 100-yen shops. Honestly, I notice no difference no matter what season.


Do most of you remove the chain for cleaning? How about chain lube? Which do you use (though I guess this will depend on the season).

One of the merits of the Rohloff (internal gear hub) bike I am (finally) having built is that cleaning is going to be easy!
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
0
36
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
#7
The more cumbersome part for me is the sprocket and once every month or so, I remove it to clean each cog separately using the cheapest degreaser spray can (the huge type for car brakes they sell at Keio D-2, Shimachu or other "home centers" sometimes for as cheap as 198 yen). The bicycle-specific kind sold at your LBS can cost almost 10 times as much.
Indeed, very expensive. I need to visit one of these home centres and buy a year's supply.

As for the lube, I have tried various bicycle oils and have found that there is a difference - some come off the chain rather too easily and mess up the back wheel.

I never remove my chain (except for when it gets replaced). I used to do this on my touring bike where the chain had a lock, but ultimately I didn't find it really helped that much.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#8
Unless you have a chain with "Quick-Link" then i recommend not removing the chain as it will weaken the chain.

As for rear cassette...... easiest and quickest method is to throw it in the dish washer then once its dried wipe it over with acloth with some lubricant on it. I always do it when the wife is out for the day though. :D

As for washing the bike NEVER EVER use a pressure hose on your bike as you will blast all the grease and lubricant out of the bearings work it's way in to the frame, rims and so on. A bucket of warm soapy water and a sponge is all you need to clean the bike.

Ludwig.... as for spraying there are lots of non-aerosole products out there that you can spray. As for the technical bits like the rear and front mech, Q-tips, Tooth Brush and pipecleaners are the way to go!
 

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
1,214
436
103
Tokyo
#9
I never take the chain off to clean or re-lube. With a Shimano chain that requires a new joining pin each time which would soon get expensive.

For cleaning I use a chain cleaning device which clips to the chain and uses rotating brushes and degreaser to scrub the dirt off. After the chain has "dried" I use Finish Line Dry lube on it. I try to lube the chain well before going riding to give the lube a chance to creep into the rollers and dry. Then just before riding I give it a quick wipe to remove the excess. That way the chain stays clean for longer. Riding in mostly dry conditions and doing the above every 3rd or 4th ride, my chains last about 5000km.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#10
I admire and envy the dedication to cleanliness, but I'm not nearly as diligent...

Once every 3 months: Wash whole bike in soap and water, wipe chainrings and cogs (also usually do this after muddy/rainy ride)
Once per month: Wipe chain with rag and degreaser, re-lube lightly(!), wipe off excess after letting sit overnight

Just another point on the graph in case anyone is starting to feel guilty about not giving their bikes enough tender loving care...

(IME, chains seem to need a lot less cleaning if you (a) use the lube very sparingly and (b) wipe the excess off thoroughly once it has had a chance to soak in.)
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,516
213
83
Noda
japanichiban.com
#11
Both my bikes are pretty grimey atm and have only been getting a good clean pre-race days lately. (which was a long time ago now).
:eek:

I've also got the chain cleaning contraption which does a good job.

For thick grease I use the COSTCO degreasing detergent.
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It works like magic (please don't tell me it will damage something).

I try not to get it inside the wheel hubs or BB but if I use a lot of this stuff with kitchen paper towels.

Also put it in the chain cleaner.

This stuff also gets the grease stains out of your clothes.

After I get my bike sparkly clean and dry I apply some lubricating bicycle wheel wax to the chain. This stuff also likes to lift out the dirt and self cleans the chain as you ride. (Pedros ICE wax). Was given a bottle and still have some left but don't think they sell it in Japan).

After riding in the wet my cables get a bit oil dry and need a bit of oil through the brake levers.
 

trad

Maximum Pace
Dec 4, 2006
393
30
48
Tokyo
#13
ditto for Costco... two big bottles of the stuff is about 450 yen and lasts forever - unless your significant other starts to use it. Biodegradable, crazy effective with grease, and dries quick. For some reason, my bike cleaning results in some greas spots not matter how well I lay down towels, etc... under the bike. I swear these black grease mites must jump off of the bike when they see the orange bottle, and I've found nothing better to take grease out of floor, carpet, whatever.

I spray onto a rag or paper towel (vs directly onto bike) to clean bike. Also use the stuff in my chain cleaning tool or with cleaning pails (when I clean rear cassette).
 

snoogly

Maximum Pace
Oct 14, 2007
695
48
48
Machida, Tokyo
#15
You can buy online, from Flying Pig, if Costco is too much of a trek.

http://www.theflyingpig.com/tfp/list.asp?SC=466&PR=172&LN=1&SS=orange&sid=7B3C07EACB04986EACCB

These cleaning cloths are good too, but the yellow sure does show the dirt!

http://www.theflyingpig.com/tfp/list.asp?SC=466&PR=2220&LN=1&SS=cleaning&sid=D0E5BCF6DBF3BF97278C

Both my bikes are pretty grimey atm and have only been getting a good clean pre-race days lately. (which was a long time ago now).
:eek:

I've also got the chain cleaning contraption which does a good job.

For thick grease I use the COSTCO degreasing detergent.
proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fimg.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fv521%2FSirZephyr%2F177123.jpg&hash=fcefe8d4cc4394804e45df5b25e91a69


It works like magic (please don't tell me it will damage something).

I try not to get it inside the wheel hubs or BB but if I use a lot of this stuff with kitchen paper towels.

Also put it in the chain cleaner.

This stuff also gets the grease stains out of your clothes.

After I get my bike sparkly clean and dry I apply some lubricating bicycle wheel wax to the chain. This stuff also likes to lift out the dirt and self cleans the chain as you ride. (Pedros ICE wax). Was given a bottle and still have some left but don't think they sell it in Japan).

After riding in the wet my cables get a bit oil dry and need a bit of oil through the brake levers.
 

kimm

Maximum Pace
Dec 25, 2009
193
25
48
tokyo, arakawaku
#18
I clean my bike after every ride. swap dirts from chain/brake/rim/frame/cassette/etc with WAKO super jumbo. But, I don't do special cleaning stuff(Hub/BB/Shifter) because long time ago, I horribly jammed all my bike's parts and I couldn't assemble them...(at last, I have to bring my bike to LBS...how embarassing experience!!) After that time, once a year I just throw my bike to LBS and tell them, " I need overhaul!!! "
 
Oct 28, 2009
87
0
26
Edogawa-ku
#19
Wow! Lots of great advice from everyone.. and less than 24 hours too! Answers to questions that I wanted to ask, but also information that I haven't thought about. Very helpful. Thank you, very much. :)


...I swear these black grease mites must jump off of the bike when they see the orange bottle...
That's the way I feel sometimes.
:D :D :D

When my bike is too dirty and in need of a bike wash, I wash it inside the bathroom. But then I have to clean the bathroom after... :D
:D I don't think my wife would be very happy to see me do this..

or this..

FarEast said:
As for rear cassette...... easiest and quickest method is to throw it in the dish washer then once its dried wipe it over with a cloth with some lubricant on it. I always do it when the wife is out for the day though. :D
Really? :D



I must admit that I too haven't been very meticulous in the past when it comes to bike cleaning, so it's good to know that I am not alone. With the help from you guys, I hope to make improvements. :)

Anyway... My bike isn't as nice as some of the dream bikes I've seen on this forum, but it is new to me and this information will help me keep it looking clean and, more importantly, riding smoothly! Thanks again!
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#20
Yes REALLY.... I also put Road and MTB tires through the dish washer along with pedals and cranks.

Pedals only do when I completely break them down to check the bearings and springs as I repack the bearings afterwards.