Cleaning your bike regularly helps prevent build-up of dirt and grease that would otherwise chew through your moving mechanical parts – especially your drive train.
If you are short on time, our team mechanics and cleaning partner Fenwicks have five hacks to help you cut down on cleaning time and more time riding.
1. Easy way to keep your road shoes looking box fresh
Spray Fenwick’s professional protective coating on your white shoes.
Although designed to protect gloss, matt or carbon finishes this spray will reduce the build up of muck as the coating stops dirt adhering to your kicks.
2. Keep emergency chain lube in an old sushi soy bottle
No one likes a squeaky chain when your out on a long ride. Grab an old plastic soy bottle and squeeze in chain lube. These little bottles take up next to no space, so you can keep it in your saddle bag.
3. Use an old paintbrush to get into nooks and crannies
Bike cleaner comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes including as a spray. But if you’ve neglected your bike and the crud has built up, pour a small amount of concentrated bike cleaner into an old waterbottle. Dip your brush into the fluid and paint vigorously all over your cassette.
4. Make your own chain cleaning device
Your bicycle chain will wear for various reasons, but the key accelerant is grit that grinds away the metal. A chain has many small intricate moving parts and getting the grit out of it half of the challenge.
Cut a channel out of the middle of a sponge. Aim for a depth of 2cm. Apply a chain cleaner to your chain, insert the chain into the slot you have cut in the sponge. Hold the sponge in position and pedal the bicycle to move the chain through. Then rinse with water.
If you don’t want to cut up a sponge, use Fenwick’s Chain Cleaning Sponge (£1.99), which has a channel already cut.
5. How to clean your bike properly in under 5 minutes
“Having a plan will speed up your cleaning time, don’t just attack the bike and clean different parts at random.” explains head mechanic Richard Lambert.
1. Follow this order:
Spray your bike with bike cleaner: drivetrain, cassette, frame, in between the fork and wheel, hubs.
2. Whilst that is soaking in, go and fill up your bucket with hot water, don’t use washing up liquid. It will leave a residue on your moving parts and can discolour some frames.
3. Grab a brush and agitate the dirt on the moving parts of your bike.
4. Get the soapy water and work from top to bottom in this order: top tube, under the saddle, downtube and then onto the hubs, under brake and behind the fork.
Then wash the drivetrain.
5. Rise the frame with water.
Use an old rag or tshirt to wipe water residue from the chainset, bottom bracket, hubs and any bolts you can see and finally the chain. This will stop water from sitting and causing rust.
6. Apply chain lube to the chain to the lower links, pedal the bike through. Gently wipe off any residue.