How I Clean My Bike
So, yesterday I cleaned my road bike. Since it has decent mudguards (aka fenders), there isn't that much dirt all over the bike, but the gears and chain had a lot of gunk on them. I'm not much into cleaning my bike, I ususally put it off way too long. Now I certainly wouldn't say I'm an expert at bike cleaning. Also there are tons of descriptions what to do around. But this is the procedure I use:
- Spray WD-40 (see below for note) on gears and chain, and on the pedals.
- Let soak in, meanwhile prepare a bucket with very hot water and soap.
- Clean bike with hot water, using car cleaning sponge. At some point I also take the wheels out and clean each in turn. Don't forget the braking surfaces. I use one sponge for the really oily parts, one (cleaner one) for the clean parts of the bike.
- Flush with clean water.
- Dry with some pieces of old cloth.
- Put lots of oil on the chain, some oil on gear derailleurs and pedals.
- After some hours (better overnight), remove as much excess oil as possible from the chain, it should be pretty dry from the outside, oil is only needed inside the chain. At the end, If there is too much oil on the outside of the chain, it will collect dirt real fast and it will spray oil on the bike, especially on the braking surfaces.
Note on use of WD-40
Keep in mind that WD-40 is considered the devil's stuff on a bike, it is meant only for cleaning, as a degreaser. It's not a good lubricant and it should not stay on. Some people say citrus cleaner is better anyway.
How to clean a bike is kind of a religious topic. It seems everybody does it a bit different (which is quite ok with me), but it also seems some people feel very strong about it. I'm open to ideas for improvement, tips, warnings about something I do wrong in the comments, but I'm glad if people keep it calm :-)