It’s not always easy to find the energy to service your bike properly after a spin. However, cleaning it after each ride is ideal and takes less time than if you leave it for long periods of time. In addition, you will avoid the premature deterioration of your components.
We usually take more care of our bikes when riding in muddy conditions. However, it is equally important to wash it during dry weather. Mud and dust are abrasives and can speed up wear on parts.
At a minimum we should be paying special attention to the the drivetrain (chain, tray and cassette). Keep it simple!
Rinse with water. Avoid the temptation to use a pressure washer as it will push dirt into bearings, bushings, etc. If you use a hose, avoid putting the spray directly on the bearings (cranks, hub and suspension). If you use a bucket, using warm water will help remove dirt.
Clean, if necessary and time permitting, the frame and components with a spongy rag and soapy water (dish soap does the trick). Use a degreaser on the chain so that everything comes off. Spin the cranks to cover the whole chain. Take a stiff nylon bristle brush to remove stubborn dirt.
Dry your chain with a rag or let it air dry.
Lubricate to prevent rust. Use a wet lubricant if riding in wet conditions.
Remove the excess lube with a clean rag.
Add to your routine lubricating of your pedal springs to prevent wear and ensure that your foot always disengages well. You can find an aerosol lubricant in the shop.
To speed up the cleaning of the transmission, there are products that degrease and lubricate at once. You just have to apply it and let it work it’s magic.
If you ride a lot, it’s best to do an early and mid season shop tune up to prevent any issues that could arise. If you ride less frequently and unless you have a specific problem, you shouldn’t need to bring your bike to the shop for a tune-up. A tune-up before storing your bike for the winter is recommended. It will help to keep your bike in good condition when next spring rolls around.
by Valérie Goyette