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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    238

    How do you give your bike a bath?

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    I know this is a stupid question, but I never considered it before. I mean, if I ride when it's really wet and muddy, I use a cloth to wipe off the water and mud so that my bike doesn't get all crusty (but I must admit I love it when my mtb is all dirty...gives it character). But, how would I give it a bath? I live in an apartment so I don't have access to a water hose. In the past if I've been out and gotten it really really dirty, I've stopped by a car wash and used the sprayer to spray it down then rode it home to drive it off.
    How do you wash it? Do you wash everything? Do you wax it? Do you use some special kind of soap? Do you re-lube everything when you're done?
    I know these are probably dumb questions, but I'm curious. because of the knee, I can't ride my bike right now but I could probably clean them up if I knew what I was doing.
    Gray
    Re-examine all that you have been told... dismiss that which insults your soul.
    Walt Whitman

    My blog: A Gamut of Interests

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Folsom CA
    Posts
    5,672
    I suppose everyone has their own way of going about it, but this step by step guide with pictures might be a good start:

    http://www.teamestrogen.com/content.ep?file=asa_happy

    2009 Lynskey R230 Houseblend - Brooks Team Pro
    2007 Rivendell Bleriot - Rivet Pearl

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    2,309
    Didn't go through the entire article, but did notice they used a hose.
    At the shop we clean bikes all day long, and we never use a hose. And we see some pretty dirty bikes. Of course we have a solvent tank for the crusty bits (cassettes, chains ect) but I tell people to try not to use a hose.
    We've had more than a few bikes in with cables rusted, and bearings messed up from the backyard hose. The only thing I would hose off, and would be careful about it is the chain.
    It's funny, some people think they are doing us a favor by hosing off the bike before they bring it in. But it's kind of gross to find stuff dripping out of the bike frame- and not know what it is??

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Bendemonium
    Posts
    9,684
    I've used a hose on my mtb for 20 plus years with no problems. Plenty of shops do the same. You just cannot use ANY pressure at hubs, bottoms brackets, seat collars, etc. so the hose at car washes are a HUGE no-no. I will do this to a road bike only when the entire bike has been soaked with salty fog which is corrosive, otherwise I tend to wipe them down with damp rags and Bike Lust.

    I know some folks do it in their shower.

    One thing that article doesn't mention and is very important. Do not get degreaser on your disk brake rotors or pads. You'll can gum up the pads with residue. Just clean the rotors with alcohol.
    Frends know gud humors when dey is hear it. ~ Da Crockydiles of ZZE.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    566
    Quote Originally Posted by SadieKate View Post
    I know some folks do it in their shower.
    The lesson I learned with this: Take the wheels off first!

    Either that or I need bigger shower.

    -- gnat! (how does one get rubber marks off tile?)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,738
    Hose nozzles are bad news! They'll blast water past the bearing seals.

    I use a plant sprayer hooked to the garden hose when I wash my bike. Very low pressure, and it's got an on/off switch to conserve water.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    somewhere between the Red & Rio Grande
    Posts
    5,310
    My LBS uses a hose. But they have the same sort of thing I have on my hose, a little gun nozzle. Mine has about 10 settings. We leave it set on "mist" for bike washing. No pressure hitting anything just a gentle mist to aid in cleaning the frame.

    Road bikes only get bathed once or twice a year. No sea spray, no winter weather and I don't take her out to play in the rain. My mountain bike has yet to have a bath, she is begging for one though.
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Toltec, Arkansaw
    Posts
    514
    I start with a big bucket of warm, soapy water (Mr. Clean, or Dawn dishwashing detergent) and a big sponge. Wet everything down good, and let it soak a few minutes. Then it's scrub-scrub-scrub to get all the goop and road grit of the frame and wheels.

    The chain usually doesn't come off, so it gets run through one of the Park chain cleaners with a degreaser solution, wiped down and air dried, then lubed (I like Rock & Roll Gold, or the blue stuff this time of year).

    Stubborn spots get scrubbed down with a Scotch-Brite pad, then a light spritz with the water hose to rinse everything down. Rub down and air-dry, then a light coat of Orange Pledge makes it shiny again...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    somewhere between the Red & Rio Grande
    Posts
    5,310
    After misting my bike she gets a good soaping with a big sponge and lemon dawn. Mmmmm lemon. The chain takes a spin in the park cleaner with diluted simple green, air dried, the cassette tooth brushed until it shines. Rock n' Roll Gold Lube the chain (year round I am a southerner), Pedros Bike Lust the frame and she starts singing "I feel pretty". Sometimes I get OCD and start wiping down the wheels but since I am a fair weather rider they normally look nice. When I have lighter bar tape I use Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on the tape and when I had white accents the saddle.
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,409
    Likely we all have different types of road dirt because we ride in vastly different circumstances....but I find that by far the worst part of my bike dirt is the NASTY black stuff that develops on the gears and chain, both front and back. We don't have bike trails or clean roads here, ...all my riding is either on irregular asphalt high traffic roads along with the cars and trucks, or on back country dirt roads.

    I found if I started out by soaping up my whole bike with a soapy sponge and hot water, the sponge gets some of that greasy black crud on it and just smears it on the other parts of the bike (plus it ruins the sponge for all time).
    So my sequence is to use the strong citrus degreaser on the gear rings, cassette, and chain FIRST to get the black crud gone. Plus, I feel the citrus can do a better job of degreasing a DRY chain rather than one filled with water.
    I know the citrus is not good to leave on the frame paint for more than a few minutes, so I saturate the chain first with citrus, scrub the front rings with a brush, then rinse the front rings, then do the back cassette with a long bristled brush I save just for that purpose, give the chain some more scrubbing with citrus, then rinse it all well.
    Following that I get my hot soapy water and big sponge and start going over the whole bike- no black crud to worry about smearing around, plus the soapy water then removes any trace of citrus degreaser (which is basically strong orange oil) from where it may have splattered on my frame while scrubbing gears.
    I wait for the whole bike and chain to dry before lubing the chain. Then i wipe the chain thoroughly with paper towels after lubing, so it won't have an outer film of lube that dust and grit from the road can stick to. Lube should be inside the chain links, not on the outside of the chain.
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,507
    I've had a problem on occasion with that road film stuff adhering to my cassette. It's had to be scraped off even with me being a fairly regular bike washer. I found that spray on stuff you use on your car rims cleans that right off. I would only use it on the cassette taking the wheel off and laying it down.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,321
    auto soap is really good for the frame. it won't harm the clearcoat (doesn't harm a car's paint, right?), and it is good at getting the bug goo and road grime off. I use one with rain-x in it. sort of like when i use Bike Lust, it helps me just wipe down the bike at other times. I don't use that on the gears though, and I have to re-lube the cables under the BB if too much of any kind of grease cutting soap gets down there.

    i only wash it after some gross conditions. the rest of the time, it's just a wipe down with a wet cloth and then polish on the frame. I clean the rims with mild dish soap.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,409
    Quote Originally Posted by aicabsolut View Post
    auto soap is really good for the frame. it won't harm the clearcoat (doesn't harm a car's paint, right?), and it is good at getting the bug goo and road grime off. I use one with rain-x in it.
    Auto soap, eh? that's a good idea- the SimpleGreen is just not doing it for me, even when mixed up in a strong solution with hot water.
    I'll try the auto soap next time- thanks!
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    436
    I use muc off which seems to work for me -

    http://www.muc-off.com/webpage/bike_...aner_1ltr.html

    wet the bike, spray on, give it a bit of a scrub, then rinse. The cruddy chain and other bits need a bit more focused effort but I think it does a pretty good job.
    If it's not one thing it's another

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Limbo
    Posts
    8,783
    I put on some Teddy Pendergrass, draw a warm bubble bath, light some candles, and gently lower the bike into the tub.
    Wash it with a soft bath cloth, not a sponge
    Last edited by Zen; 11-08-2008 at 02:17 PM.
    2008 Trek FX 7.2/Terry Cite X
    2009 Jamis Aurora/Brooks B-68
    2010 Trek FX 7.6 WSD/stock bontrager

 

 

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