Treat it the way it deserves
For cyclists who genuinely love this beautiful sport, a bicycle is not only a vehicle: it is something more. It’s a loyal companion for unforgettable adventures and great effort, always by your side during hard training sessions and racing competitions. In essence, it’s a fixed presence in the life of someone who cycles with passion and dedication. In order for it to always give you its best performance, a bike must be kept in optimal conditions, and that does not only mean ordinary and extraordinary maintenance at your local mechanic. In fact, a racing bike should not be taken care of when it exhibits issues but constantly, thus avoiding any sudden problems. Cleaning your racing bike is a fundamental part of this maintenance. Many overlook this detail, which is truly important for a longer lifespan of many of your bike’s components.
How and when to clean your road bike
Cleaning your racing bike is something you should do after each trip; however, the duration and intensity of the cleaning depend on a few factors. If, for example, you’ve been riding in the rain or on wet roads and your bike is now muddy and dirty, it goes without saying that it should be washed more accurately and thoroughly. If, on the other hand, you just went on a short trip on dry, clean roads, your bike won’t need deep cleaning but just a dusting off for the small amount of dirt that surely has made its way into the gears.
In addition, washing your road bike is something that should always be done by hand, avoiding the use of power-washers. Of course, it may a quick and easy way of cleaning your bike, but a powerful water jet can damage gaskets and bearings. So, gather the right tools and plenty of patience to clean your racing bike. What should you use to clean your racing bike? Here are the simple tools you can use to clean your road bike, cleaning materials that you probably already have at home:
- a bucket for water
- a sponge or non-abrasive brush
We suggest you always fill your bucket with warm water and detergent such as a degreaser. After wetting the sponge or brush, delicately clean all the visible parts of the bike. This step is to eliminate any dirt or dust that has deposited on the frame and on the bike’s superficial areas. If possible, position your bike on a tripod: you will be more comfortable, and it will be easier to reach all areas of the bike. Let’s now go into further detail: how to clean brakes, gears and chain.
How to clean your racing bike’s brakes
An important sign showing that your brakes must be cleaned is a sound or whistle produced by the brakes when they are used. There may be dirt residue on the rim or disc brakes, so they must be cleaned with extreme care. Depending on the type of brake, whether rim or disc, there are different procedures to follow for their cleaning.
- Rim brake cleaning
This is the procedure to follow:
- unfasten the brake cable
- wash the rim and the brake with warm water using a brush
- check that there isn’t any dirt left on the brake.
These simple details guarantee an adequate cleansing of your rim brakes.
- Disc brake cleaning
This is the procedure to follow:
- detach the wheel
- wash the disc with water and detergent
- dry the disc with a rag
- cleanse the disc once more with rubbing alcohol
- check that there isn’t any dirt left in the empty disc spot.
A disc brake requires more care since you risk scratching and ruining the mechanism.
How to clean your racing bike’s gears
Here, too, you will need warm water, detergent and a sponge. Remove the wheels, brush and rinse the cassette and the derailleur cage. After cleansing, it is good practice to conclude with a light lubrication of the gear components to protect them from humidity and prevent rusting.
How to clean your racing bike’s chain
As with the brakes and gears, cleaning the chain is of utmost importance since any leftover debris can alter efficiency and, with time, lead to irreversible deterioration.
Just like when cleaning your bike’s gears and brakes, use warm water, degreaser and a sponge to wash the derailleur and gear chainrings. When it comes to the chain, make sure you use a clean, dry rag to remove the dirt, carefully cleaning each link of the chain and in between them.
After that, wash it and, to finish, we suggest once again some light lubrication. It’s very important to follow this step correctly, letting the lubricant flow through the links of the chain and removing any excess with a towel at the end.
Sometimes it’s laziness, sometimes it’s lack of time; the fact of the matter is that too often people overlook the important task of cleaning their racing bike.
It is not only the thought of always having a bright and shiny bicycle that should push us to clean it regularly; we must also learn that cleaning the components is an integral part of the maintenance of a racing bike, first among all. The more we are constant in this, the less our bike will need extraordinary maintenance and will therefore last longer, guaranteeing great performance.
So, after your ride, remember to always reserve at least 15-20 minutes for a quick cleaning: your bike will thank you.