28 Nov How to wash your bike like a Pro
Check out the below from Redbull Editor Ric McLaughlin on how to clean your bike like a pro…
Follow these 5 easy steps to guarantee that ‘new bike’ feel, this season.
As summer heats up in the Southern Hemisphere our trails quickly turn to summer dust, and without some proper love and attention your rig will start to look a little rough around the edges just as fast.
It can feel like a chore, but keeping your bike clean can make a huge difference – and we’re not just talking about a quick bearing-stripping blast with the petrol station power washer either! Cleaning your bike properly will not only make it feel like a brand new machine on the next ride, but will also prolong the lifespan of its components too.
Here’s how to keep things running in full-factory fettle, this summer season.
- Use a proper cleaner
Spray-on bike cleaners are dismissed by some as snake oil, but in reality they do make a big difference. Spray it on, leave for a couple of minutes, then wash off. The residue and awkward, easy to miss clumps of dirt, which just hosing alone can miss, disappear instantly.
Be warned though, chemical cleaners can be powerful stuff. Make sure to thoroughly wash them off, especially if your bike has any anodised surfaces, as cleaners can flatten or strip their colour over time. Also, although it can be tempting to coat the whole bike in bubbles, a little goes a long way so save some dollars and use sparingly.
It’s also important to dry your bike post-wash. This ensures a thoroughly clean surface, and prevents excess moisture dripping onto components that are prone to rusting.
- Really clean the drivetrain
No matter what you think of gearbox bikes, the external drivetrain is one of the real Achilles heels of mountain biking. That perfectly indexed drivetrain that propels you forward spends the vast majority of its life caked in filth – not ideal.
Again, cleaners are a great way to strip away caked-on slop, but it’s making sure that your chainring and jockey wheels are clean that will make the biggest difference.
It may sound obvious but an old toothbrush works best for cleaning out the teeth. Then clean, wash and dry the chain before applying a sparing amount of your lubricant of choice. Once it’s had a few minutes to soak in evenly, wipe it off. A common mistake is coating the chain in lube and just leaving it, but all this does is attract even more gunk to stick to it.
- Show your suspension seals some love
Even if you’re not the most confident of spanner wagglers, it’s not difficult to give your suspension the best chance at running smoothly. Invest in some fork oil, and once the fork and shock are clean and dried, wipe a generous amount around the bottom of the stanchions. Cycle the suspension through its travel a couple of times then wipe clean. Constant filth, washing and drying can dry out your seals, causing them to degrade over time, so this helps to keep things running smoothly.
- Check tyre pressures
During winter, simply riding and then putting your bike away to fester can be all too tempting. Over time, your tyre pressures can drop right off, with even a couple of psi loss being enough to make your bike feel sluggish.
Digital tyre pressure gauges are cheap and mean that you can accurately check tyre pressures in seconds. Ensuring that they’re topped up and kept constant is an easy way to keep your bike feeling brand new.
- Check bolts and bearings
This is by no means an after every ride essential, but a once-a-summer bolt check can help to avoid the scorching sunburn of being stuck kilometres from anywhere with a part hanging off your bike. Investing in a torque wrench, and a bit of web browsing to find out your bike’s torque settings, can pay dividends when it comes to a creak-free ride.