Post Ride Maintenance

crooky13 Posts: 5
edited November 2012 in Road beginners
Hi all

Have just taken the plunge and bought myself a carbon road bike. Really grateful for some advice on how to keep my new pride and joy in tip top condition. As am a total beginner to all things bike related - any advice (esp. using layman's terms) would be most appreciated. Main concern is what to do when the bike gets wet and dirty.

Thanks and hope this isn't a duplicate post!


  • The first rule of bike cleaning is this: If you can bring yourself to maintain it straight after a ride, you definitely didn't work hard enough. ;)

    Just keep it clean and lubricated; there's not a lot to it. A bike wash is the obvious product for the washing, but you can use car shampoo as well. A dedicated degreaser is best for the chain; don't use white spirit as it may remain on the inner surfaces and impair the effectiveness of the lubricant you use. After administering the degreaser, attack chain and sprockets with a stiff brush. Make sure that your brake pivots are clean too; some people use GT-85 for this. Having done all that, lubricate chain, and a drop on derailleur and brake pivots and cable ends doesn't go amiss.

    That's really all there is to it. You don't need to smother it in solvents or wrap it in cotton wool. It's not going to melt! With that said, you might have seen mechanics at pro races pressure washing bikes; this isn't a good idea. :)
  • TakeTurns
    TakeTurns Posts: 1,075
    I occasionally wipe the frame down with a wet cloth. Carbon does not react with water unlike other frames such as alloy or steel. So don't worry about riding it in the winter/wet.

    Degreaser on the drivechain to get the dirt off. Lightly relube afterwards. Too much is counter-productive. It will vary how often you do this depending on how often you use it. In the summer if the chain starts to make more noise than the wheels, that's an indication it needs lubing. In the winter it's pretty obvious because it collects a lot of dirt, so a little inspection is all you need to do.
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    Mine gets filthy with that mix of road oil + water and a lot of mud, and then I clean it every few weeks or when I can be bothered enough. I don't clean it every day as it's dirty again by the time I'm half a mile down the road and there are better things in life than obsessing about how clean the bike is.

    Give the chain a wipe with an oily rag and then relube it a day or two before you think it needs doing, and in the depths of the winter / spring / summer / autumn bad weather give the chain a whizz through one of those plastic chain cleaning tools occasionally to clear the black gunge before it starts to build up, then lube it properly again.

    Carbon doesn't rust or oxidise so as long as you haven't made a hole in the resin it won't go off. If you're keen to keep it clean - you are, it's your new toy - use a bucket of warm water with soft soap flakes in (washing-up liquid is my preference but some say it has salt it in and is the devil's own bike cleaner and your bike will dissolve in front of your eyes if you use WU liquid but I've never had any bother), an old T shirt and and a soft cloth to wipe it down afterwards. You can use Turtle wax or similar to give it a nice shine but it still gets dirty.

    Pay special attention to the rims & hubs when you wash it. Clean rims give better stopping power and clean hubs make it clear that you do actually care about the bike, a bit.

  • Thanks for all the help! Will go to my lbs and stock up on the necessary.

    One more question - when cleaning the bike, what kind of stand do you use? I'm not that sure I'll be stripping the bike down any time soon, so can I get a very simple and cheap stand?
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    Cheap stands are fine as long as they're reasonably secure. I had one that swayed all over the place and was pretty much useless as a workstand. Whichever one you get, be careful not to over-tighten the clamp and crush the top tube / down tube whatever. Wrap a cloth round the bit of the bike being clamped give it some give and to stop scratches.
  • TakeTurns
    TakeTurns Posts: 1,075
    CiB wrote:
    be careful not to over-tighten the clamp and crush the top tube / down tube whatever.

    Imagining someone doing this. :lol:
  • jonomc4
    jonomc4 Posts: 891
    mostly - I just wipe the bike down with anti bacteria wipes - little and often is easiest - I also clean the wheel rim every week and pads - so I can stop.

    Every week or so I use wax lube - this pretty much keeps the chain clean by wiping and lubing it - if I use any opther oil (like on my commuter) I just wipe it with a cloth and lube if it was in the wet. I give the chains a proper clean once a month or two (weather dependant by using a power link to take the chain off and I drop it in diesel and lube.

    Other than that nothing unless I hear a strange noise.
  • Don't really do anything after each ride, maybe a quick bounce if its been raining and quick wipe with a baby wipe. Moved to wet lube now, so gets abit more time in between lubes, doesn't look as sparkly but who cares. When it does need a proper clean i just whip off the chain and put it in a tub of degreaser and give it a shake. Might take the cassette off not often though. Relube, wipe excess and check and pump tires and that's that for a few weeks.