Everything You Need to Know About Basic Cleaning and Maintenance
A clean bike is most definitely a happy bike! Keeping your bike clean not only makes the ride much more smooth, but it also helps prolong the life of wear-and-tear parts, such as the chain, cassette, and more. The following breaks down the cleaning basics of bike maintenance to help your steed running smoothly for many miles to come!
"How often should I clean my bike?"
While the answer to this question is broad, as it depends on where the bike is ridden and through what conditions. A clean bike is truly a happy bike. As a general rule of thumb, if you get back from a ride and your bike is muddy and is gritty are good grounds to clean it. By removing the mud and grit from the bike, especially from the drivetrain, prevents pre-mature excessive wear-and-tear. Similar to how you may find smooth pieces of ocean glass along a beach, grit does the same thing to your drivetrain and wears down at the outer surface of parts (this can typically result in a noisy drivetrain, your chain dropping, and skipping of gears).
"How should I clean my bike and with what products?"
"How can I tell that my drivetrain is wearing down?"
This can be quickly determined by using a "chain wear indicator". Over time, your chain "stretches" which can lead to the premature wearing down of your cassette and chain ring teeth. There will typically be two measurements provided when using a wear indicator which will tell you if your chain is around half worn or if it is well over 3/4 worn down. Around the halfway mark, it useful to swap out your chain to prevent excessive wear on the remainder of the drivetrain. However, by the time the chain is worn to the 3/4 mark can indicate potential drivetrain wear beyond the chain that could possibly require the replacement of your cassette and chainrings.
Links to Products Mentioned Above and Additional Resources:
Products Mentioned Above and Other Handy Items:
- Feedback Sports' "Recreational Repair Stand"
- Park Tool's "CG-2.4 Chain Gang Chain Cleaning System"
- Super B's "Cassette Tool"
- Muc Off's "Nano Tech Biodegradable Cleaner"
- Muc Off's "Dry Lube"
- Finish Line's "Wet Lubricant"
- Park Tool's "CC-4 Chain Checker"