Clean your bike regularly to help prevent build-up of dirt and grease in the wrong areas, which can chew into your drivetrain and other mechanical parts. This will accelerate corrosion and result in potentially costly damage, which is why you should always clean your bike after riding in muddy or wet conditions.
Giving your road bike a thorough cleaning only takes only a few minutes to accomplish, and helps you find any wear and tear on your bicycle components before they become a larger problem. A little bit of mud speckling here and there may not do much harm, but if your bike has been through a muddy ride, or if you're pulling it out for the first time this season, you'll want to get out the brushes and give it a good, thorough cleaning.
What you'll need:
If you have a bike stand, this is helpful as you'll need to access the entirety of the bike for cleaning, including pedal motion for cleaning your bike. Otherwise, lay down a towel to protect your seat and handlebars, and turn your bicycle upside-down.
- Clean cloth or sponge: For grease, oil and wax-related tasks and for general cleaning and drying.
- Brushes: A bristled brush small enough to get into hard-to-reach places where dirt & grime can collect. Old toothbrushes work great.
- Hose or bucket of water: Careless water use can cause damage to sensitive bearing systems on your bicycle. Avoid using pressure washers for this reason.
- Soap / general cleaner: Use Simple Green Bike Cleaner & Degreaser, a non-toxic, biodegradable formula free of alcohol, ammonia or other harsh chemicals.
- Chain lubricant: Properly lubricating your chain helps extend the life of your drivetrain. Always apply bicycle-specific lube oil to a clean chain.
- Rinse down your bike with hose, sponge or wet cloth - Use a hose or bucket of water and a sponge or cloth to wet the entire surface of your bike.
- Clean the drivetrain - Spray Simple Green Bike Cleaner & Degreaser directly into your drivetrain, and use a toothbrush to work into smaller areas and penetrate tough grime, dirt & grease.
- Clean the chain – Spray a cloth with Simple Green and loosely wrap around the chain, and run the pedal so the chain moves through the cloth. For dirtier chains, you'll need to use a scrub brush or toothbrush to work out the grime, being careful to work out any buildup between the gears.
- Rinse - Rinse the bike with fresh water, then check to make sure you've shifted all the grime off the bike, gently brushing again before rinsing where necessary.
- Lube the chain – Slowly pedal the bike, dripping the lubricant onto the links as they move. Wipe off any excess lubricant.