7 Tips – The Ultimate Bike Cleaning Routine

Riding is tough on bikes… sand and mud grind away at components; water washes away grease and lubricants; road salt eats metal parts. The only solution is regular bike cleaning. Your wallet and your sanity will thank you for it in the long term—components will last longer, and your bike is less likely to adopt squeaks, creaks, and groans.

This step-by-step bicycle cleaning and lubricating routine will help keep your bike in top condition.

1 – Drivetrain Degrease

First of all, remove the worst dirt and grime—the dried on chain lube that holds grit and salt.
- Use a spray-on degreaser: spraying the whole length of the chain, the chainrings, cassette, and jockey wheels.
- Leave for a few minutes and then agitate all areas with a claw brush or old toothbrush
- Thoroughly rinse all degreaser from the chain and components

2 – Wheels and Tyres

Next, clean the mud and brake dust from the wheels and tyres.
- Spray bike cleaner onto the wheels and disc brake rotors
- Using a soft brush, rotate the wheel slowly and scrub the entire surface area
- Rinse away the muck

3 – Frame and Cockpit

Finally, a softer touch for the frame and fork.
- Spray some bike cleaner onto a micro-fibre sponge and go over the whole bike frame, fork, handlebars, and saddle
- Rinse thoroughly

4 – Dry

Remove all surface water from the bike.
- Using an old bathroom towel, dry the frame, fork and components
- Use a second old towel to remove all water from the chain and drivetrain components

5 – Shine

Restore the glisten to your bike's frame and help dirt to slide off in future.
- Spray a little bike polish onto the frame and polish with a microfibre cloth (do not use the spray near braking surfaces)

6 – Protect

Add a water-repellent layer to components.
- Spray a little water displacer such as Muc-Off Bike Spray onto an old lint-free rag and wipe over components (do not wipe braking surfaces)
- Briefly run the chain through the soaked rag to help provide a protective water-repellent finish

7 – Re-Lube

There are 'Wet Lubes' and 'Dry Lubes'—use the correct one for your riding conditions. Wet lube is oil based and best for harsh wet conditions where a lot of spray is encountered. Dry lube is wax based and preferable for any conditions where grit, sand or mud might stick to the chain.
- Apply a drop of lubricant to each individual chain roller, as you slowly rotate the chain backwards
- If you are using dry lube allow the wax-based lubricant to dry on the chain for an hour, or ideally overnight

Go Ride!

The Ultimate Bike Cleaning Routine Tim Wiggins

The Ultimate Bike Cleaning Routine Tim Wiggins


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