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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Thumbs down First time cleaning a bike

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    Newbie here.
    I have done some research on how to clean a bike and bookmark them all. But today I have spend about 3 hours cleaning my not so dirty bike. And I found myself redo the steps several times.
    First I washed the bike with dawn cleaner. Everything seems ok. Then I decreased the chain and all the grease dripped onto my bike frame, and even though I have used almost half bottle of the degreaser, my chain is still not clean yet, so, I clean my frame and then the chain and then frame for several times.

    Big fail!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Rowland Hts, CA
    As a newbie, I also cleaned my "not so dirty" bike (about 500miles on the bike) once recently via watching Youtube videos and TeamEstrogen.com's "How to clean a bike" advice page.

    I used a screwdriver to scrape the grease gunk off of my jockey wheels before using the degreaser. I also took the back wheel off to scrape and scrub the cassette before using the degreaser. Maybe, that's why spraying a ton of degreaser didn't work well??

    But, one of the last things to be done is to clean the frame (not the first thing...because as you had noticed, the frame gets dirty again). I used a little bit of Murphy's Wood Oil Soap (which is safe for cars, so I am hoping that that cleaner is also safe for bikes) with a lot of water. Since Dawn takes away grease, I worry about you using Dawn for cleaning your bike frame and stripping away your bike's waxy coating.

    Also, I used the Park's Chain Tool cleaner to clean my chain (hook the Park's tool cleaner to the bottom chain and back pedal while your bike is hanging on your bike rack with a large towel underneath). That totally cleaned my chain well.

    Lastly, I rinsed and wiped everything down, hoping that I got all the degreaser off of my bike frame. Let things dry. Then I oiled my chain and tried to figure out how to oil the different pivot points. Apparently the chain oil is different that the oil used for pivot points.

    I did my best, but I think that I will take in my bike for a once a year full service with cleaning and lubing.

    Hopefully, the next time I clean my bike, I'll be faster too.


    2012 Specialized Amira Elite, upgraded carbon handle bars, Jett saddle 143mm switched to 145mm 2012 Selle Italia Max SLR Gel Flow saddle

    2011 Specialized Ariel Sport,suspension post,Serfas Rx Women's Microfiber saddle
    Last edited by TigerMom; 06-09-2012 at 09:55 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Marin County CA
    Your chain is never going to be perfectly clean again once it's been used, unless you take it off the bike and use an ultrasonic cleaner. As long as most obvious old dirty lube is gone, and its re-lubed with a sparing amount of new lube, you're fine.

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.

    2011 Volagi Liscio
    2010 Pegoretti Love #3 "Manovelo"
    2011 Mercian Vincitore Special
    2003 Eddy Merckx Team SC - stolen
    2001 Colnago Ovalmaster Stars and Stripes

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    So Cal
    Getting a chain cleaning tool like Tigermom is probably a good idea. You don't want to get degreaser on your paint. If you have an REI near you, you might want to look into their comprehensive bike maintannce class. In the 5 hr class they teach you everything you need to know to do a bike tune up: adjust derailleurs; true wheels; adjust and replace brake and derailleur cables; repair flats; clean and lube chains; wash and inspect your bike; clean cassettes; etc. It's all hands on--you bring your bike and perform all these tasks on your bike.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Tucson, AZ
    It'll never be like-new clean again. I use a chain-cleaning tool and only change/add degreaser until the chain is mostly silver rather than mostly black. And the frame, for reasons you've discovered, is the last thing to be cleaned.

    FWIW, I think most degreaser (the stuff they sell in bike shops, anyway) is safe for paint.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva

    Saving for the next one...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    The reason I cleaned my frame repeatedly is because the part that got dripped on is white color. Even though I clean it right away, it is impossible to remove the degreaser totally. If I wait till the very last minute to clean it, it might not be able to remove anymore.
    Yeah, I am considering to get the chain cleaning tool too after all this mess, haha

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    northern Virginia
    Can you cover the part of the frame that is getting dirty while you clean the chain?

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by ny biker View Post
    Can you cover the part of the frame that is getting dirty while you clean the chain?
    Yeah, Didn't think of it at that time, but after I finished cleaning the bike and look back, I told myself I should have cover it in the first place.



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