Cleaning your bike without falling for the cycle specific ruse

Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m generally sceptical about anything ‘cycling specific’. And this goes for cleaning the bike too. Read the mainstream cycling websites and magazines and you’d be forgiven for thinking that you require a whole cupboard full of cycling specific cleaners, brushes and lubes to keep your bike in good shape. Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t.

I’ve just cleaned my bike with Flash All Purpose spray cleaner and an old paint brush. A big three or four inch brush is ideal. I sprayed the bike with cleaner and loosened the major grease and grime.

I took another brush and did the same with the drive train. I figured that if Flash is good enough to clean the oven back to the squeak, then it’ll be good enough to get the gunk off my chain and block. And so it proved.

The next step was to fill the chain cleaner with flash and give it a good clean. After about five minutes the chain emerged cleaner than it ever did with bike specific and expensive bike degreaser.

Next I hosed the bike down thoroughly to remove any corrosive elements from the flash and cracked open the WD40 to drive out remaining moisture from the chain and gears. With it came the rest of the dirt.

I dried the WD40 residue thoroughly before applying a little three in one oil to the chain, gears and freewheel.

Lastly I dried the frame and polished with regular furniture polish.

The result? A gleaming and smooth running bike, using products that you’ll find in any kitchen cupboard or garden shed.

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6 thoughts on “Cleaning your bike without falling for the cycle specific ruse

    1. Stephen

      A quick look at flash and a degreaser shows that they both contain limonene which is a naturally occurring degreasing agent (occurs in orange peel amongst others). There may well be other common ingredients.

  1. I’m in total agreement, though I must admit I’ve never got on with 3-in-1 for drivetrain lube. It always seems to spin off all over the rider. In this case I always use Finish Line Dry, which is as cycle-specific as I get.

  2. George Krpan

    The other day I tried a new method of cleaning my bike.
    I got a little bucket of plain water, no soap or cleaner, then wiped the bike with a rag.
    This gets it nearly clean.
    Then I used car wax to finish the job, the kind that cleans and waxes.
    It only takes a tiny bit and it really does clean well.
    And, of course, it leaves a nicely waxed finish.
    To clean my chain I use bathroom wipes, it gets it clean enough.

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