Bicycle Network: Bikes 'n' Bits
Bath time for your bike
With spring approaching, it's the perfect time to get your bike looking buff again.
Your bike accumulates all sorts of muck, especially through a winter of riding,. Grit from the road, contaminants from motor vehicles, and aluminium oxide from rim brake surfaces build up and can be hard to remove. Sports drinks are another one which, if left for a period, resemble diamonds on the hardness scale.
The best way to wash your bike is to get it up off the ground and into a stand. If no stand is available, hanging the bike from the saddle works.
Mix up a hot bucket of water and some car wash. There are specific bike wash products if you want to use these. Don’t use dishwashing detergent as many are loaded with sodium. Grab the sponge and start working over the big areas on your bike.
Now do the same with wheels, spokes and tyres. Here, take a bottle brush to get at hubs and the spaces between spokes on the rim.
If there are a few grease spots on the frame or components, put some degreaser on a rag and wipe off. Now can be a good time to degrease the chain as well, followed by another wash off around the area with soapy water. Never use a power washer on a bike.
Finish off with a rinse of clean water.
Lube and general check
Apply fresh lube onto the chain, cables and pivots as you would with your regular maintenance schedule.
Once the bike is dry, consider giving it some protection from the elements. Car wax or specific bike polishes work great. Apply a layer to the frame and fork and allow it to dry. Buff it off with a clean cloth.
Avoid applying polishes to contact areas (i.e. saddles, grips, tape, tyres, etc.) and braking surfaces.
This article first appeared in the August-September 2010 issue of Ride On.
For the full article or more tips on bike maintenance, Bicycle Network Victoria members can log into Blink and view the Ride On Library.
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