Taking good care of your bike is a must. Regular cleaning and maintenance will make it run more smoothly and (not to mention when your bike is clean it will look better!)
We have put together this guide to demonstrate how to clean your bike properly. Along with a list of our favourite products to keep your bike looking and running at its best.
Cleaning your bikes drivetrain
Start your clean by degreasing the drivetrain, this is because this is typically the part of the bike and attracts the most grime. If you have a chain cleaning device like the X-3 Dirty Chain Machine from Muc-Off, you can simply fill it with degreaser and run it along the chain. If you do not have a chain cleaner, apply the degreaser and use a brush to scrub. It is important that you use a specific brush when cleaning the drivetrain, to avoid contamination when cleaning. Where dirt is stubborn or you have caked on grease/lube (for instance around the jockey wheels), you may need a tool such as a flat headed screwdriver to dislodge this. Be careful and take your time whilst doing this, so as not to injure yourself or damage the bike/components. After you have cleaned your chain, spray your degreaser over your cassette,chainrings and derailleurs and leave for a few minutes, then scrub with a brush. Remember to rinse thoroughly with fresh clean water.
Keeping your bikes brakes clean
It’s almost unavoidable to get some muck or contamination on your rotors/braking surface at some point. At this stage of the clean it’s advisable to clean your discs or rim brake surface, because no matter how careful you are whilst cleaning the drivetrain there’s always a risk of contamination. It is advisable to wipe down your rims regardless of the braking system you're using. For rim brakes, it is important to give the braking surface clean and wipe down, as well as the pads in case any debris has got stuck. For disc brakes and rotors that you choose a suitable product to clean them with that is safe for use on them, Muc-off Disc Brake cleaner is great for this job.
When to rinse & apply cleaner to your bike
At this point of the clean it’s time to give the bike a rinse down, you can use a hose or a bucket and sponge. We would not recommend a standard pressure washer, due to the risk of water pushing its way into sealed units on the bike causing a wide array of issues. If you want to use a pressure washer make sure it's a bike safe one like the one available from Muc-Off, you can view the range available here. Now it's time to spray your chosen detergent all over the bike,then wait a few minutes. We recommend Nano Tech Cleaner from Muc-Off.
What brushes are best to clean your bike
When it's time to dislodge some of that dirt, as your cleaner has now had some time to loosen some of that grime, brushes are the best tools for this job. You can buy specific bike ones from Muc-Off like these and they have been designed in a variety of different shapes and sizes, to get into every area of your bike. The cleaner and brushes should remove/loosen most of the remaining grime from the bike.
It is OK to rinse your bike off!
Now it's time to rinse off your cleaner and any remaining dirt from your bike. Always using fresh water, so as not to dirty the bike again. Thoroughly make sure that you rinse off/ remove all of the remaining soap from your bike, revisiting any areas with a brush if needed. A good tip to remove any remaining detergent from your wheels whilst rinsing is to spin them- obviously this is easier in a bike stand, but you can also do this by turning the bike upside down too.
What is best to dry your bike
At this stage it is time to dry your bike. If you have a work-stand, placing the bike in it will make drying around the bike easier, if not place the bike against a wall. To dry the bike you can use a rag, microfibre or something similar. Personally we recommend Muc-Off’s Microfibre range for this job. Now it’s time to give the bike a polish, taking great care to avoid braking surfaces to limit the risk of contamination. Muc-Off do supply Disc-Brake Covers to limit the risk of contamination. For polishing we recommend Muc-Off Bike Protect or Silcon Shine, rubbing it in with a soft cloth. Polishing will not only make your bike look lovely and shiny, it will also limit the amount of dirt that will stick to it the next time you are out, making it easier to rinse off.
How to get those finishing touches to your bike cleaning
Now it's time for the finishing touches! This includes lubing the chain with a specific chain lube and spraying moving parts like the derailleurs with a spray lube to disperse any remaining water, keeping rust at bay. To lube your chain using a workstand is easier, but you can rest your bike up against a wall. Apply your chain lube by turning the crank backwards and placing a drop of lube on every link, change through the gears and then wipe off any excess. Using a spray lube, spray the derailleurs and other moving parts, taking extreme caution to avoid contaminating your braking surfaces. Now is a good time to clean your rotors or rim brake surface again to eliminate any contamination that has occured from polishing or lubing.
And you are done! Stand back and admire your hard work! We have compiled an easy to view checklist below of our bike wash/maintenance must haves below;
- Bucket, garden hose or Muc-Off Bike specific pressure washer.
- Workstand- (Not essential but will make your life a lot easier)
- Brushes- Muc-Off have a variety of bike bushes designed with the specific use in mind singularly and in kits, making those hard to reach places easy.
- Chain cleaning device- Makes cleaning the chain a lot quicker and easier, the X-3 Dirty Chain Machine from Muc-off is our favourite.
- Degreaser- We recommend Muc-Off's Drivetrain Cleaner, as it melts away the grime.
- Bike wash- We like the Nano Tech Cleaner from Muc-off. Available pre-mixed or as a concentrated liquid or powder.
- Chain lube- We recommend Muc-off Ceramic Wet or Dry depending on weather conditions.
- Spray Lube/Water displacer- We like Muc- Off MO94 as its kinder to the environment.
- Microfibre cloths- Our favourites are available from Muc-Off, which can be found here, as well as other handy cleaning mitts.
- Disc Brake Cleaner- One of the most used products from Muc-Off we are sure, an absolute must for removing and preventing contamination on your braking surfaces.
- Polish/protection spray- Great for after drying the bike, we like Muc-Off Bike Protect and Silcon Shine