Bicycle Chain Cleaner & Bike Degreaser
Bicycle chains are a little trickier to tackle because they require a bike degreaser and lubricant. These two products are essential to keep the chain running smoothly, and will prevent the links from becoming stuck. Here’s a step-by-step guide to cleaning your bicycle chain and making it work like new:
- Firstly, use a hose to gently wash off any loose dirt, mud, and dust. Use with a soft spray, rather than a pressure washer, as the powerful blast could dislodge some of the mechanism.
- Set the gears so the chain is on the largest setting to give you better access. You’ll want to set the front chain to the highest gear and the back chain to the lowest.
- Using hot water and a bike cleaning product, scrub the chain using a hard-bristled brush – even an old toothbrush will do the trick. Ensure you get between all the links. You should see a noticeable difference in the look of the chain after this.
- Apply a bike degreaser to the chain, getting it in between all the links. The bike degreaser will get rid of any oily residue that the soap and water couldn’t, and will help the chain to move smoothly.
- Finally, apply a lubricant to keep the chain running well. Ensure the chain is clean and dry (give it a wipe with a cloth to remove any remaining bike degreaser) and apply a small amount of lubricant. Too little, and the chain will be susceptible to rust; too much and the excess oils will pick up all sorts of dirt from the floor – it’s important to read the recommendations on the bottle.
Looking After Bike Cables
Bike cleaning doesn’t just include the frame and the chain; the cables are an important aspect to consider, too. Again, use some bike degreaser, wipe the cables with a cloth, and then apply a thick layer of lubricant. The best way to do this is to massage the lubricant into the cables, allowing it to soak in to each individual fibre. This is one part of bike cleaning that really benefits from a little extra time.
Should You Polish Your Bike?
So many bike owners include a polishing product as part of their bike cleaning kit, as it keeps bikes looking sparkling, shiny, and new. But should you really be polishing your bike? Professionals claim that polish is not really a good bike cleaner, and could actually cause damage. The two parts of the bike most often polished are the saddle and the wheels, but neither of these is advised. Polishing the saddle might make your bike look good, but it could cause you to slip. And polish that transfers from the wheels onto the tyre rims could reduce the effectiveness of your brakes. Stick to the above methods of bike cleaning and forget about the rest.