Winter Bike Cleaning

jfrankland1991 Posts: 100
edited December 2012 in Road general
As it is now well into the winter season (or at least it feels like it), every time I go out for a ride it is inevitable that my bike will get dirty. I was just wondering what would be the best thing to do to maintain my bike after each ride without too much work?

At the moment I give my chain, derallieurs etc a scrub and wipe down to get all the rubbish out before spraying with wd40 to get all the water out. Occasionally I will put some wet lubrication on the chain to keep it running nicely. I tend not to clean the rest of the bike unless it is really filthly, I try to do it every 3 or 4 rides though.

Any suggestions would be appreciated


  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    WD40 is a water dispersant not a lubricant. Do what you're doing but lube it afterwards.

    Sits back with bag of popcorn. GT85 anyone? :)
  • Beginning of winter smother it in oil and grease. Leave until the spring with the occasional WD40 clean and relube of chain, and a clean rag scrape of the rims and brake blocks. When the weather cleans up wheel the summer bike out and clean the winter bike over the summer.
  • nferrar
    nferrar Posts: 2,511
    After a wet ride I just cover my drive train in GT85 to stop it rusting, apply a bit more lube before the next ride if needed. Every few rides I'll give it a proper clean, degrease the drive train and relube but mostly my bike looks like it's used for cyclocross (but then it is a winter bike so it's not supposed to be sparkly clean :p ).
  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    I wash the bike down with hot water and car shampoo, if its really dirty I do it twice, second time with only a drop of shampoo so almost a rinse. Then I wipe chain with a rag and relube. Sorted.
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
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  • drlodge wrote:
    I wash the bike down with hot water and car shampoo, if its really dirty I do it twice, second time with only a drop of shampoo so almost a rinse. Then I wipe chain with a rag and relube. Sorted.


    I have a cloth in the shed that I use to wipe off the wet after a wet ride and one I use to give the chain a quick scrub.
    Hills are like half life - they wait until you're 50% recovered from one before hitting you in the face with the next.
  • Velonutter
    Velonutter Posts: 2,437
    If needed use the Park Tools Chain Scrubber, I wash the bike with Car wash/wax, dry then apply GT85 to the chain to dispel any water from the chain, dry the chain until it is really clean, then lube with Teflon + dry lube.

    I always used to use GT85 on the chain then switched some months ago to Teflon + dry lube, I met up with Valentino Campagnolo at the Bike Show this year and he advised that people who use GT85 or WD40 as a lube are wrecking their BB bearings as the liquid seeps into the bearings from the cranks when the bike has been newly sprayed and ruins the lube on the bearings.
  • i try and atleast give it a rub down with baby wipes after every ride. The amount of salt on the roads up here gets all over the bike.
  • Just wiping the chain off with a rag after the ride will help. You do not need to smother the bike in solvents or attack it with all manner of products as soon as you get off the saddle either; it won't melt and if you can contemplate doing that after your ride you clearly didn't work hard enough. ;)

    But you need to get the road muck off. When you clean, give the chain and sprockets a good scrub with a stiff brush and use a degreaser (there are various products and methods of application), keep other moving parts clean (eg. brake pivots, derailleurs, exposed sections of cables), and a drop of oil now and again on pivot points doesn't go amiss. For the bike, soapy water will do. Washing up liquid is said to be salty which certainly isn't good for your paintwork but in practice probably won't do much harm; but bike wash isn't expensive and you can use car shampoo as well. Give rims and hubs a scrub, and you can clean your handlebar tape too if desired/necessary. After that you should have a pretty happy bike...

    Beyond that there are a few things that I would advise against doing but not all that many, and none of them are catastrophic. Degreasing your chain with white spirit isn't a good idea as it's likely to remain on the inner surfaces, spraying WD40 around may result in depleting grease from bearings, and despite the fact that you will see professional mechanics doing it at major competitions, pressure-washing bikes isn't a good idea either (keep in mind that the bikes that they are treating in this way not only receive replacement parts and consumables on a very regular basis, but have very short service lives!)
  • Get back from ride

    Remove computer and anything else that I don't want to soak

    Spray down bike with hose

    Spray with Muc Off (other cleaners are available)

    Leave a few minutes

    Wash everything with sponge and a bucket of hot water using left over Muc Off as soap/shampoo

    Rinse with hose again

    Dry bike as much as possible (wheels, components etc) - bounce it to get some water off, then go over with rag or paper towel

    Use some form of water dispersant all over and especially in places where water gathers easily (Muc Off bike spray at the moment as it came as part of a deal with the cleaner)

    Grease/lube groupset & pedals where they attach to cranks

    Stick it in the garage until next time

    The only problem is not wanting to ride my shiny, clean bike and get it dirty again, anyone else have this dilemma?
  • styxd
    styxd Posts: 3,234
    Get some mudguards. They keep your feet dry, keep your arse dry and stop your bike getting shit up.
  • Winter bikes are meant to be a bit mucky aren't they!? That said mine gets its chain and cassette cleaned with wd40 after every 50 miles or so. If its wet, that goes up to after every ride, but that's about it. Will regrease the bearings once over the winter, nothing too anal. Try not to ride the mountain bike when its too wet though, too much effort to hand wash it everytime!
  • styxd
    styxd Posts: 3,234
    That said mine gets its chain and cassette cleaned with wd40 after every 50 miles or so.

    A bit extreme.

    Cant say Ive ever felt the need to stop mid ride to clean my chain and cassette!
  • Lol fair enough, that's just for my commute tbh, that's only 25 miles a day
  • If it's been one of those particularly skaggy days with salt, mud, cow shoite etc, I find the best way to cut through the grime is to pish all over the bike paying particular attention to the transmission systems....