Okay, so either you are a regular reader or have found this article because you want to clean your bike well. This specific guide is for road bikes only. There are many things that need to be done differently with a road bike as compared to a mountain bike that I may need to do a MTB guide later.
First, get your bike and your stand ready.
This bike stand is a custom-made piece that I use for repair and cleaning. It is made out of a foldable saw horse and other items. Works very well to keep the bike stable and off the ground.
Next, get your cleaning bucket and supplies ready. These supplies should consist of:
- Scrub Brushes
- Large (Mainly meant for large areas)
- Medium – Overall areas, and crankset
- Toothbrush – Small areas
- Gear Brush
- Anti Seize
- Standard Grease
- Carbon Paste
- Polishing Rag
- Grease Rag
- Scrub Rag
- Any Tools Needed to Complete the Cleaning Job
- Water Bucket + Soap (I use hand soap or Dawn)
The baby powder shown above is for use in tires when installing a new one, and the spray bottle is to get dirt out of tough-to-reach areas if need be. I also suggest getting a small box or container to place bolts, parts or accessories you may need to remove from the bike.
Don’t forget your most important item which will keep your clothes protected while dealing with your bike, the apron:
Go ahead and place all rags and scrubbing tools in your bucket of hot water and place below the stand so it will be accessible to both sides of the stand.
Go ahead and start washing down the bicycle with your primary cleaning cloth.
Difficult places like by the headset, downtube shifter bosses, bottom bracket, areas around the brakes and whatnot may need special attention with the toothbrush or maybe even a sponge to reach get the crud out.
Don’t forget to take your chain off. If it needs cleaned and lubricated, do that also. My means of cleaning and lubricating is a single-step method that completes both tasks at the same time. (Using Homebrew 2:1) Odorless Mineral Spirits and Motor Lubricant.
If you want to be able to completely clean your downtube and seat tube, remove your water bottle cages. This is also a great opportunity to make sure that sweat, Gatorade, or the environment is not galvanizing or corroding the bolts holding them together.
I use titanium bolts to hold my bottle cages in place, so I placed some anti-seize compound on them to prevent the titanium and aluminum from galling together.
Park Tool says:
Park Tool Anti-Seize Compound reduces friction in threaded and press fit connections for easy assembly and disassembly. Ideal for bottom bracket and pedal threads, pressed headset cups, seat posts, quill stems, etc. ASC-1 also seals and protects parts from corrosion and rust under the most extreme conditions. For use on steel, aluminum, and titanium.
I find it great to use for pedal spindles, Ti-on-anything bolts, pedal cranks, and brake bolts.
Your derailleurs are typically full of gunk, so make sure you get those too:
I just use my cleaning rag as a pretend chain and attempt to run it through the places where there is gunk.
Use a scrub brush on your crankset:
You would be amazed at how much dirt can be pushed down into the seat tube also; the seatpost and clamp do not protect anything at all. Stick a piece of tape around your seatpost at its lowest visible point so you know how far to re-insert it after cleaning it.
See? Look how dirty it was!
After cleaning the inside of the seat tube and the seatpost itself, go ahead and place some carbon anti-seize paste on it. I have a hard enough time inserting and removing my seatpost, so I hope this helps. carbon anti-seize companies also state that the silica balls in the paste increases tactile holding by 10-20% since it allows it to grip easier.
Bigger image of the little pods of silica in the paste here: http://i46.tinypic.com/oumm9k.jpg
You will also want to lubricate several specific pivot points, such as your clipless pedal springs, brake springs and pivots, and other spots on your derailleurs to prevent corrosion or even rust.
Next, the wheels. Wheels are going to have road grime, salt, grease, and dirt on them. It takes very little time to remove this stuff.
I used a scrub brush on the tires to remove the dirt so when I clean the rims, there would not be a big mix of dirt and water all over the place. Take any of your cleaning cloths, and scrub the machined wall of your rims. this will remove rubber gunk and everything else from the textured area. The last thing to clean is the cassette. While I didn’t take off the cassette and clean each spacer and cog… I do actually do this maybe every once every three months or so.
Just take your cleaning cloth and run it in-between each void area between each cog.
After all of this, just place your chain back on, both wheels, and all of your accessories.