A shiny and clean bike is undoubtedly nicer to look at than a muddy or greasy one, and we know how important the appearance of a bike is for cycling enthusiasts…
Not to mention that regular cleaning is the first step towards keeping a bike in good condition and working properly.
Especially after “rainy” winter rides, it is best to be patient and willing and clean your bike as soon as possible, to avoid the formation of incrustations which would afterwards be difficult to eliminate. Before any technical maintenance jobs, it is always better to clean the bike well, so as to make the mechanic’s work easier and more precise.
Cleaning and washing are therefore essential, and we must never be frightened of making a mistake in the process and of damaging something: suffice it to carry out each operation carefully, using the right products, in order to always have a bike in perfect running order.
As far as carbon frames are concerned, the most important thing to be careful of is not to dull or scratch the paint by using very aggressive detergents. In most cases, it is enough to wipe the surface with a damp microfibre cloth to remove stains and dirt and restore original lustre.
In case of grease stains, try lukewarm water and a few drops of regular dish-washing detergent or Marseille soap, always rubbing with a soft cloth. If you wish, you can also find special spray products on the market that make work easier and can be safely used. The same goes for rims and spokes.
Avoid using common kitchen degreasers or other cream or powder detergents, which may contain chemicals that can damage the surface finish by dulling it irretrievably.
To ensure smooth running, the chain and all moving mechanical parts must always be “shiny” and slightly lubricated: dust and earth have an abrasive action, therefore good regular cleaning prevents wear.
Moreover, while we are doing the job, we are practically “obliged” to examine each component closely, assessing its condition, and therefore noticing any possible problems in a timely manner.
Many bicycle components work with watertight ball bearings. To wash the mechanical parts, it is better to avoid using compressors or h.p. washers, which many use for their practicality. In fact, one thing is to “ward off” rainwater, while another is to resist pressure jets. A bit of “elbow grease” is much more preferable.
With a bucket of lukewarm water and a sponge, the coarsest dirt can be removed; then with the help of a specific degreaser spray, a brush and a lot of patience, you can thoroughly clean the transmission, removing all the dirt from the chain, sprockets, pulleys, etc. …
Finally, dry everything with a soft cloth, but before putting the bike away, it is best to leave it in the open air for a few hours, so that all traces of moisture evaporate well.
The final touch will be a spray of dry Teflon lubricant on all the components to ensure smooth operation without causing grease and dust build-up.