Maintaining your bike is an important part of owning it. Keeping your bike clean is a great start; but you have to make sure it's sufficiently lubricated and cared for too. This helps your bike work better, smoother and more efficiently.
In this Wiggle guide, we take a look at the various products that are available on the market, to make the job easier and more effective...
Cleaning your bike
There are two different types of bike cleaners out there: general/all-purpose cleaners, and degreasers. The two types of cleaners are very specific, and do different jobs. Below we explain the differences, and what you should use them for when cleaning your bike.
General bike cleaners
A general 'Bike Wash' is designed to help to shift stubborn dirt; from components, and the frame of your bike. The aim is to make the washing and cleaning process easier.
The cleaning agents in these products are not as strong as those found in degreasers, so they are ideal for areas of the bike where heavy grease and grime is not found. You can use these 'all-purpose' cleaners on the bicycle's frame, saddle, steering components, tyres and wheels.
Combine your bike cleaner with a good brush set, to ensure you get into all the hard-to-reach places, and get all the muck dislodged.
Degreasers and chain cleaners
Degreasers and chain cleaners help shift oil and grease from your drivetrain; this keeps your components clean and working efficiently (once you've re-lubed them).
Degreaser products are stronger cleaners than a general bike washing product, so care should be taken. Avoid putting degreaser directly into bearings and cables, as this can result in grease that's required being washed away. Occasionally using degreaser may be required on road bikes around the brakes, particularly after very wet weather riding to shift the brake pad residue.
A good degreaser makes the job of cleaning your bicycle chain, cassette and chainrings much easier and quicker. Using a chain and sprocket cleaning claw brush will help you to reach the between the gaps in-between cogs and chainrings; then using a dedicated chain cleaning device, such as the LifeLine Chain Cleaner, makes the chain cleaning job even easier!
The Re-lube: keeping your bike running smoothly
Grease and lubricants help your bike continue to run smoothly, after you have cleaned it. They play a vital part in the maintenance of your bike.
Grease is used for threaded components, ball bearings, cables, and parts that are in a fixed state (such as headset internals, seat post) on your bike. The main reason for applying bicycle grease, is that it helps to reduce friction, and reduce the chance of a component seizing itself in place. We recommend Muc-Off Bio Grease as a good all-round option.
Chain lubricants (lube) are split into three categories: dry, wet and all-round.
- Dry lubes: Dry lubes are based around wax or Teflon; and they 'dry' in place on the chain; leaving a lubricating layer that is less likely to attract dust. This makes dry lubes ideal for dry, dusty riding conditions.
Wet lubes: These are heavier than dry lubes, and are generally oil based. They are designed to withstand wet and muddy riding conditions; providing a lubricating 'wet' layer on moving parts, even when they are bombarded with spray.
- All-round lubes: These are general purpose oils, that as the name suggests, are good for all weather conditions. The downside of these lubes is that they are not the perfect lube for specific riding conditions. That's why dry/wet specific lubes were created.
Four 'Top Tips' for bike cleaning
- For best results, always use specific products for the job being done. Look at our Bike Cleaning range.
- Don't use washing-up liquid, as it may contain harmful chemicals that can damage components.
- Start at the top of the bike and work downwards.
- Use a soft brush or sponge for the frame and components to help loosen any dirt.