Clean bikes are fast bikes; that’s a fact. Not only do clean bikes look better, they ride faster and cost you less money in the long term.
Riding a bike with a dirty drivetrain will wear down expensive components such as the cassette, chain and chain rings. Keeping these areas well cleaned and lubricated will prevent muck from grinding into them and slowly wearing them down. And of course, a nicely lubricated chain will move easier and help you ride faster!
However, we all know that washing your bike can feel like a chore. And that’s why we’ve created our ultimate 10-point, 10-minute cleaning guide to help you get it done fast and thoroughly!
Try to do this immediately after your ride, before you go inside putting fresh clothes on. Getting it done straight away makes it feel less of a hassle!
The 10-minute, 10-point bike wash
Prepare the following items before you go out for a ride so it’s ready as soon as you’re home later.
2. First Rinse
When you get back after your ride, if you have a hose or jet washer, use it to spray the worst of the muck off your bike. If not, use a bucket of water and the ‘dirty’ sponge to rinse down the bike and remove the first layer of dirt.
If you do have a high-powered jet washer, do not spray water directly at any bearings (wheel hubs, bottom bracket etc) as it can strip the grease from them – and that will wear them out.
3. Frame, Bars, Wheels
If you used a bucket for your first rinse, re-fill it with warm soapy water. Use the water and ‘clean’ sponge to scrub down the frame, bars and wheels of the bike.
Start at the top of the bike and work downwards. Starting at the top means you don’t need to worry about dirty water dripping onto areas you just cleaned.
Don’t forget to clean off the tires!
4. Second Rinse
Use your hose / washer, or re-fill your bucket with warm, clean water and wash off any remaining dirty residue. Make sure you use your ‘clean’ sponge for this!
5. Tire Check
When the tires are clean, inspect them for flints or cuts.
Use the tip of your old kitchen knife to dig out any flints and debris stuck in the tire. Keeping your tires clear reduces puncture risk!
Now maybe the most important bit – the drivetrain.
Start with the chain. Soak your rag in hot soapy water and wrap it around the chain, near the jockey wheels. Pedal backwards with your other hand while holding the rag in place, allowing the chain to move through the rag. Keep re-soaking the rag with fresh water every few revolutions.
After the chain is clean, move on to the cassette and chain rings, scrubbing them down with soapy water.
It’s important to get as much muck off these areas as possible, but over time, these areas will look less ‘as-new’, so don’t worry if you’re finding it tricky.
7. Jockey Wheels
Use the blade of the knife to scrape muck off of the jockey wheels. Hold the blade against the wheel and pedal backwards to ensure you’re treating the whole wheel.
8. Dry The Chain
9. Treat The Chain
Spray GT85 / WD40 on the chain where it meets the cassette, pedalling backwards as you do so. Pedalling all the way through the chain means that no links get missed!
This spray stops the chain from rusting and helps lubricate it.
Applying the spray near the cassette means the excess will cover the cassette – which is exactly what you want!
For more information, check out our Chain Maintenance Guide
10. Finishing Touches
Spray the GT85 / WD40 on all the other areas of the bike that move (bolt heads, brake callipers, bearings, quick release skewers, pivot points etc) to ensure they keep moving freely and don’t get rusted up.
And you’re done!
Now time for your coffee and cake!