Cleaning a bicycle is not difficult, but it's important to do so regularly.
If you have a fixed-gear or single speed bicycle that you love, you should keep it in good condition to avoid any problems that may arise because of neglect.
In this article we give you the best tips on how to clean your fixed gear bike properly, so read on!
How to clean a bike properly
Cycling is a great way to stay fit and relieve stress. But the ride can get bumpy if you don't take care of your bike.
Here are some tips on how to clean a bike properly and some maintenance checks you can conduct while you're at it:
1. Keep your bike clean, dry and lubricated.
The easiest way to keep your bike clean is to keep it covered when not in use. Don't let it sit outside in the rain, snow or dust.
Before use, give it a thorough inspection for any problems that may have occurred while it was stored (such as rusting). Then wash off any dirt and grime with water and soap, rinsing thoroughly before moving on to the next step.
After washing off all the grime, wipe down the frame and other components with rubbing alcohol to remove any remaining dirt and grease before applying a light coat of chain oil or WD-40 to keep them lubricated until you're ready to ride again.
2. Check the screws and all components.
Check the screws and all components for rust or dirt buildup. Use a toothbrush or small brush to get into those hard-to-reach places, then wipe off with a rag or paper towel.
Also, in case there are any loose parts or screws, tighten them properly.
3. Learn how to adjust your gears.
Learning how to adjust your gears is an important part of bike maintenance, as it will allow you to keep your bike running smoothly.
If your gears are too loose or too tight, it can cause problems with shifting and difficulty pedalingpedalling up hills. It's a good idea to check this at least once every few weeks when riding regularly.
4. Check tyre pressure and tire condition.
Tyree pressure can make a big difference to how your bike rides, so it's important to check it regularly. The ideal pressure for any given bike is usually printed on the tyre itself, but if not you can find it in your owner's manual or online.
After checking your tyre pressure, take a look at their condition. Look for signs of wear, such as worn tread, cracks or cuts in the rubber. If you see any of these things, it's time to replace your tyres with new ones.
If you're not sure how to change your tyres or want some help, bring your bike to your local bicycle shop. If you're in and around London, we recommend our friends at Fettle, who will be happy to show you how to do it yourself and will probably have some good advice on what kind of tyres to get as well.
5. Check the brakes.
Checking the brakes is a simple but vital task. To check that your brakes are working properly, you should be able to push the brake lever and have the brake pads come into contact with the wheel rim. If the pads are worn or damaged, replace them immediately.
6. Remove the pedals.
Pedals are often overlooked when cleaning a bike but they are important to keep clean and lubed.
The best way to do this is with a chain tool. Once you've removed both pedals, use your fingers or a brush to clean off any dirt or debris from the pins, cranks and crank arms.
Then apply some lubricant to each of the moving surfaces on the pedal and in between them. You'll also want to wipe off any excess lube so that it doesn't attract more dirt during riding time.
What do you need to clean your bike?
Cleaning a bike is just like cleaning any other kind of machine. You need to make sure you have the right tools and materials, and then follow a few simple steps.
You don't want to risk damaging the paint or other components on your ride.
Here's what you need:
1. Pressure washer.
You can use plain water for cleaning your bike, but it's best to use a pressure washer. It will blast away dirt and grime much more effectively than simply spraying down the bike with a hose.
2. Specialised bike brushes.
You'll want to use a brush designed specifically for cleaning bikes. These brushes have stiff bristles that can scrub away dirt and grime without scratching any surfaces on your bike.
But, if you don't have access to a pressure washer or bike-specific brushes, you can use a soft cloth or toothbrush for mild levels of dirt.
3. Bike cleaner and degreaser.
A cleaner and degreaser will help remove the dirt and grime from your bike.
It's important to use a solvent-based cleaner, as water alone won't cut it when it comes to removing grease or oil stains. A good degreaser can be used on all of the components of your bike, including the wheels, frame and even handlebars.
4. Bike lubricant.
A lubricant is essential for keeping your bike moving smoothly. There are many different types of lubricants, from silicone-based to water-soluble, so make sure you know what type you need before purchasing one. It's important to choose a lubricant that's safe for use on your bike and won't cause any damage.
5. Chain cleaner.
The chain is an important part of your bike that needs to be maintained regularly. A chain cleaner can help you do this by removing dirt and grime from it, leaving it clean and smooth so you don't have any issues while riding.
Tips for the maintenance of your bike
Your bike is an investment and should be treated as such. It's worth taking the time to regularly maintain it. Here are some extra tips to keep your bike in top-tier shape:
1. Don't just wash your components: also wash your grips and saddle.
Don't neglect any parts of your bike, as they can become dirty and worn out over time.
If you have a leather saddle, use an appropriate cleaner to keep it clean and in good condition. You could even consider waterproofing it so that it will last longer.
If you own a Steedbike, the saddle is made out of vegan leather so a soft cloth and water should do the trick!
2. A chain keeper will help you remove stuck-on grease.
If your chain has become covered in grease, try using a chain keeper to remove it. This small piece of plastic or metal will allow you to slide the chain off without getting stuck on any of the cogs.
3. Use quality materials to clean your bike.
As a general rule of thumb, you should always use high-quality materials when cleaning your bike. Using the correct cleaner for the job is just as important as using it correctly.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What oil is used to lubricate a bicycle chain?
While it is technically possible to use any lubricant on your bicycle chain, some are better than others.
We recommend any lightweight, high-quality chain lubricant. Typically these are a synthetic blend of oils and waxes that are designed to keep your bike running smoothly whilst also repelling water.
How to degrease the bicycle chain?
Wipe down the chain with a dry rag and then use a degreaser to remove any excess oil. Next, wipe off any remaining dirt and grime from your bike with a damp cloth. Then let it dry before lubricating it again.
You should treat your bike as you would any other precious object. It's worth taking the time to regularly clean and maintain it.
This will not only ensure that your bike is running smoothly and safely, but it can also extend the life of your investment.