Keep your bike working smoothly and efficiently with a regular cleaning and lubrication regime. Here's how.
Cleaning your bike
There are two different types of bike cleaners out there: general/all-purpose cleaners, and degreasers. The two types of cleaners are very specific and do different jobs. Below we explain the differences, and what you should use them for when cleaning your bike.
A general 'bike wash' is designed to help to shift stubborn dirt; from components, and the frame of your bike.
The cleaning agents in these products are not as strong as those found in degreasers, so they are ideal for areas of the bike that don't get too dirty like the frame, saddle, steering components, tyres and wheels.
Combine your bike cleaner with a good brush set, to ensure you get into all the hard-to-reach places and get all the muck dislodged.
If you don't have access to an outdoor tap, or you want to be able to clean your bike on-the-go, a portable pressure washer like the Mobi V-17 Portable Bike Pressure Washer or Mobi V-15 Portable Bike Pressure Washer is the perfect solution. The variable pressure lets you blast dirt off the frame and clean more delicate parts without risking damage.
Degreasers and chain cleaners help shift oil and grease from your drivetrain; this keeps your components clean and working efficiently (once you've re-lubed them).
Degreaser products are stronger than a general bike washing product, so take care. Avoid putting degreaser directly into bearings and cables so you don't remove the grease that's required for them to function properly.
A good degreaser makes the job of cleaning your bicycle chain, cassette and chainrings much easier and quicker. Using a sprocket claw brush will help you to get into the gaps in-between cogs and chainrings and a dedicated chain cleaning device, such as the LifeLine X-Tools Pro Chain Cleaner, helps to ensure you clear potentially harmful debris from between every link.
Re-lube to keep your bike running smoothly
Grease and lubricants are essential if you want to keep your bike running smoothly after you have cleaned it.
Grease is used for threaded components, ball bearings, cables, and parts that are in a fixed state (such as headset internals, seat post) on your bike.
The main reason for applying bicycle grease is that it helps to reduce friction so it's less likely that a component will seize itself in place.
Chain lubricants (lube) are split into three categories: dry, wet and all-round.
- Dry lubes: Dry lubes are based around wax or Teflon, and they 'dry' in place on the chain; leaving a lubricating layer that is less likely to attract dust. This makes dry lubes ideal for dry, dusty riding conditions.
Wet lubes: These are heavier than dry lubes, and are generally oil-based. They are designed to withstand wet and muddy riding conditions; providing a lubricating 'wet' layer on moving parts, even when they are bombarded with spray.
- All-round lubes: These are general purpose oils, that as the name suggests, are good for all weather conditions. The downside of these lubes is that they are not the perfect lube for specific riding conditions. That's why dry/wet specific lubes were created.
Four top tips for bike cleaning
- For best results, always use the specific products for the job.
- Don't use washing-up liquid, as it may contain harmful chemicals that can damage components.
- Start at the top of the bike and work downwards.
- Use a soft brush or sponge for the frame and components to help loosen any dirt.