The best bike is the one you ride, and any bike you ride is going to get dirty. That’s ok. Actually, it’s better than ok. That dirt is the accumulation of experience, a testament to your time together. Still, every once in a while you’ll want to get your whip back into showroom shape. When that happens, it’s time for a bike wash!
Gather Your Supplies
There are plenty of fancy bike cleaners on the market, but all you really need is:
Once you’ve got everything in one place, it’s time to get cleaning!
Remove Your Accessories
At least everything you don’t want to get wet. Pull off any bags, lights, etc… and put them safely out of the way. That’ll keep your goodies dry and make it easier to get into those nooks and crannies where dirt and grime like to set up shop.
Mix a little bit of soap and a lottle bit of water in your bucket. Drop your sponge or rag in there, and start wiping everything down!
Don’t be afraid to really splash it on – water won’t hurt your bike, you just don’t want to use a hose or power-washer on the bits with bearings because you’ll blast the grease out of there.
Start at the top so that the dirty water will flow down the bike and you don’t have to reclean the same parts over and over again, and scrub away. Tape, tires, wheels, chains, cogs, everything gets a wipe down. For a more thorough cleaning, you can remove the wheels and tackle them off the bike, but I like to leave them on to keep it simple.
Rinse it Off
Just a simple rinse, and your bike will be sparkling like new. I use a rag or sponge dipped in clean water, but again you can use a hose as long as you’re careful not to blast the headset, bottom bracket, and axles.
Lube that Chain
Since you cleaned all that road crud and dirt off the drivetrain, you’ll need a fresh coat of lube to keep everything spinning smoothly. Just give it a touch of your favorite lube, and you’ll be ready to roll!
Stand Back and Admire
And that’s it! Put your accessories back on and take your shiny new bike for a spin. Sure, you know it’s not new – but everyone that sees it will think you just rolled it off the lot. Just don’t plan on keeping it clean for too long. Once your bike’s restored to it’s former glory, you’ll find it harder than ever to resist the urge to ride.