Whether you’ve cycled through driving rain and an eternal headwind (or, at least that’s what you’ll claim on Strava), or enjoyed an energy sapping five hours under glorious sunlight, often the last think you want to do when you arrive home is clean your bike.

However, doing so will mean that your bike is ready to carry you out on another ride as soon as your legs are willing. Failing to clean the bike after your ride on a regular basis can result in gradual wear and tear that will shorten the life of important components – particularly the drivetrain elements of the groupset.

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So – you know it’s important to clean your bike – but how do you go about it?

Products you need to clean your bike

Use a bucket with water to clean your bike, not a hose

Use a bucket with water to clean your bike, not a hose

  • Bucket – avoid a hose or jet wash
  • Sponge or soft bristled brush (no kitchen scourers!)
  • Gear brush: this has bristles on one end and a serrated plastic on the other, for reaching between the cogs
  • Chain cleaning tool if the chain is very dirty
  • Bike cleaner, degreaser and chain lube

How to clean your bike in ten easy steps

You don't need all the gear to clean your bike like a pro

You don’t need all the gear to clean your bike like a pro

  • Wipe the bike down with a sponge and a bucket of water. Avoid using a jet wash or hose, as this often results in water damage to the bearings
  • Spray the bike with a bike cleaning product. Start at the handlebars, and work towards the rear of the bike
  • Leave the product to work for a few minutes (check the instructions on the bottle)
  • Use a soft bristled brush to give the bike a scrub, using more water
  • Clean the derailleurs and chainset – you might find it easier to take the chain off the chainring for this
  • Clean the cassette, using a gear brush to get into the cracks between the cogs
  • Use degreaser on the chain
  • If the chain still looks grimy, use a chain cleaner – apply degreaser to the unit, then with your chain in the smallest chainring and smallest sprocket, attach the contraption and back pedal to run the chain through it
  • Rinse the soap suds off the bike with clean water
  • Dry the chain with an old rag, apply chain lube to the chain and the pivot points on the derailleurs, then wipe off any excess lube

Cleaning your bike regularly will help keep it running smoothly, and it also gives you a chance to give the frame and components a quick once over, giving you a much greater chance of spotting potential problems (such as a crack in the frame) before they develop.

Plus, as the video proves, it takes less than seven minutes (even if you stop to explain every step!)

  • that bike wasn’t even dirty!

  • Teresa Young

    Nice rag to wipe your bike with, he he he.

  • dourscot

    “Dispose of the chain cleaner in a responsible manner. Don’t just chuck it down the drain”

    Precisely how then?