Washing bike with hose, where not to get wet ?

Serious Cat
Serious Cat Posts: 489
edited October 2013 in Road general
Normally I clean my bike with baby wipes as im not sure whether hosing around the bottom bracket or headset is such a good idea due to water settling in both of those areas. I was out for 75 miles today and my bike was absolutely filthy at the end of it. By the time id cleaned and removed both wheels, degreased the rear cassette, degreased the chain and oiled it again, wiped down the frame and had the bike shining like a new pin again, I thought to myself there must be a more efficient way of doing this. Is using a hose to clean the frame advisable or are there areas I should cover up with masking tape to ensure that water doesn't get in ?
This serious internet site..............I serious cat


  • declan1
    declan1 Posts: 2,470
    Most hubs/BBs now are sealed enough to stop low pressure water from getting in. I simply don't point the hose near bearings and all is good.

    Road - Dolan Preffisio
    MTB - On-One Inbred

    I have no idea what's going on here.
  • kwi
    kwi Posts: 181
    ^^^What he said, just don't blast the water at bearings and it'll be fine.
  • Good question. I like to clean bikes right after a ride, if possible and use a citrus-based spray cleaner and a brush followed by a hose-down. The only bit I worry about is the free-wheel. I wrote off two freewheels (OK, the old screw-on type) last winter as many of my local roads were under up to a metre of water. It is the grit suspended in the muddy water, I know, that does the damage. Bottom brackets seem to survive most things.
  • What about headsets though ?

    Last time I left my bike in for a headset bearings replacement, the tech said they were in a terrible state, and I wondered if me spraying around where the headtube sits atop the forks didn't do my headset bearings any favours at all ?
    This serious internet site..............I serious cat
  • meursault
    meursault Posts: 1,433
    Always show caution hosing down the bottom bracket, especially on massage/power setting.
    Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    I watched the banesto mechanics cleaning their bikes once. They power washed them but just not side on.
    If you do that with a hose you won't be too far wrong.
  • I don't wash mine with a hose or bucket of water any more.
    I now use a microfibre to wipe down the frame to remove dust and dirt. Stubborn stuff gets taken off with a wet microfibre.
    Once everything is wiped down the only other area is transmission where I use a chain cleaner every week or two.

    After I use that ice shine stuff to gloss up the frame, again using a microfibre.

    Have found this to be the best way to clean down a bike. Water and cleaning chemicals just gets into everything. Have had the rusty headsets and barrings all too often in the past. Have found soapy water inside wheelsets weeks after a clean!.

    I know wet roads and rain can have the same effect but I just dry the bike off once I get back and do the wipe clean the following day.

    Have found one area that gets bad is the brake caliper screws at the back of the front forks and seatstays .. They hold water and are rusty dirt zones. I always tape over these holes.

    Every month or so the bike gets a full strip clean which is a full afternoon job. Virtually everything is taken off and refurbish almost.
  • Old_Timer
    Old_Timer Posts: 262
    I just avoid hard sprays directly at bearings, no pressure washers only a garden hose on a low pressure opening. I have always used a mild dishwashing liquid, Simple Green is not good for use on aluminum surfaces (the US FAA issued an air-worthyness directive around 2001 and US Navy BuAir forbids its use) it pits the surfaces. A good spray with WD-40 and a wipe down to dry then lubricate the necessary components and chain with your choice of lubricants, WD-40 is not a lubricant it is a water dispersant.
    Lets just got for a ride, the heck with all this stuff...
  • Bozman
    Bozman Posts: 2,518
    I'll give the bike a light spray with a hose to loosen the dirt and I'll let it soak while I fill a bucket with hot soapy water, then clean it with a soft brush and the soapy water, brillo on the wheel rims and then hose it down all over on full boar.
    WD it and then lube.
    Yesterday I took the chainset off and cleaned and greased the BB due to the state of it plus it's a shity press fit and I want it to last more than a few months.
    If it's been a really wet ride I'll remove the seatpost and leave the bike upside down overnight.
  • When I was young and foolish I wrecked a couple of "sealed" BBs and hubs with a pressure washer. (If a little water/pressure is good then a lot must be better, right?). Now that I am older and wiser (and the seals are probably better) I use a Nomad battery powered pressure washer (which doesn't actually produce that much pressure and uses surprisingly little water) a soft brush and Muc Off, which works really well. Haven't had any problems with bearings since I put the jet wash away.

    I've seen the pro mechanics use high pressure washers but I presume that the bearings on those bikes get a lot more attention than mine do!
  • saprkzz
    saprkzz Posts: 592
    I have been power washing my bikes for years... After an off road ride on the MTB's, and after dirty wet road rides on my road bikes....... never done them any harm, have probably only replaced 2 BB's in 5 years (6 bikes). I have only ever had one bike with a "click" which was sorted with tightening bolts.

    My most used bikes get new cassettes and chains once a year.. job done!
  • davem399
    davem399 Posts: 269
    If my bike is filthy, I used my garden sprayer to loosen/remove the dirt as the pressure is low, then wipe down with soapy water using a sponge and brush. I then use the sprayer to rinse off before allowing the bike to dry and then lube up.
  • M/guards for winter?
  • Mudguards or not, at some point you still need to wash it!
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    M/guards for winter?

    I did the Wymondham 50 yesterday; torrential rain for about 40 minutes. Despite mudguards I had to empty my shoes and wring out my socks twice, and my bike needed a bit of a wash when I got home. I was a bit damp by the end of the ride but fairly clean.

    My two mudguard-less colleagues however had sprayed themselves liberally with orange sh1te, and their bikes looked like they'd just been fished out of a pond.

    One of them was asking me for mudguard recommendations this morning :D
  • I have used hoses plenty of times and never had a problem. I just go with it, although, I may end up getting mud guards at some point.
  • By the time id cleaned and removed both wheels, degreased the rear cassette, degreased the chain and oiled it again, wiped down the frame and had the bike shining like a new pin again, I thought to myself there must be a more efficient way of doing this.

    Its a bike. ride it. Degreasing the chain and cassette after a 75 mile ride is a complete waste of time. Do a hundred miles and don't bother with so much cleaning.
  • StillGoing
    StillGoing Posts: 5,211
    Soak everywhere in a friendly detergent to get those stubborn fly carcasses and road grime soft, wash down with warm water and hose off. Dry off with microfibre towel and spray frame with silicon. Only area not to get wet is the wife's washing on the line. She goes mental.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    These guys do it ten times a day half the year, follow their instructions.