Top-tips for tip-top care and maintenance for bikes

5th September 2015

Yes, push bikes!


This is one of the questions often asked in amazement – by those new to cycling, occasional cyclists and often even fairly serious competitors!

‘Why on earth would I clean a bicycle!?’

Well we think it’s fairly obvious really that if you keep something in good condition it will work properly and for longer and it’s a similar principal for anything mechanical. With bikes and components costing significant amounts these days it’s important to look after them to avoid premature failure or early replacement.

We have converted many cyclists from non-cleaners to avid fettlers after demonstrating the positive effects of good bike upkeep – most notably that gears work properly, chains don’t skip and there are no strange noises when you’re spinning along! Oh – and of course your bike gleams like it’s new.

And the best part – it’s very simple so anyone can do it – there’s no techy stuff here – although we have added a glossary of bike parts at the end!

The post ride clean

Generally and practically this often isn’t necessary after every ride for every bike – your commuter might only need a quick daily check and a thorough clean once a week – but if you’ve been hitting mountain bike trails in mid winter you’ll need to get the mud and grime off as soon as possible. And if you’ve just treated yourself to a few grand on a road bike – well you’ll probably want to give it the once over after every ride anyway. We hope!

So here’s the process once you do decide it’s time… and some general good practice maintenance tips…

  1. It’s a good idea to rinse the bike first with water to loosen debris that might scratch and soften dried on mud and grime – this makes it easier for the bike cleaner to work.
  2. Purple Harry’s Bike Cleaner and Degreaser is a 2 in 1 product. You can use it sparingly for a light clean and wash – or more liberally if it’s very muddy or on the drivetrain if you want to degrease and reapply lube.
  3. After spraying the Cleaner and degreaser all over leave for a few minutes and rinse off with water – agitating stubborn bits with either Purple Harry’s Wash and Polish Mitt which is particularly ‘lobster claw’ shaped to access in between frame tubes and wheel spokes – or for the drivetrain again usePurple Harry’s Bike FlossTM to get into all the nooks and crannies of the cassettes, derailleurs, chain and chainrings. Using the Bike FlossTM with cleaner and degreaser applied liberally on cassettes, derailleurs and chains will remove old oil and therefore necessitate re-lubrication in these areas.
  4. Post rinse you need to ensure the bike is as dry as possible as water is one of the biggest enemies for rust. After wiping down spray mechanical components (drivetrain, bottom  bracket for example) avoiding all brake areas with a dewatering and protecting spray such as Purple Harry’s Maintenance Spray which will displace remaining water and add a light layer of protection to deter rust and corrosion.
  5. If you have ‘degreased’ you will need to re-lube the chain. The cassette is fine having been sprayed with maintenance spray. You only need a light application of lube inside the chain – covering the pivot of each link and it is worth applying to the centre of the ‘jockey wheels’ to protect bearings. Although there are many different preferences – as a general rule use Purple Harry’s Wet Chain Lube for typical UK trail riding and in winter and Purple Harry’s Dry Chain Lube for road cycling in general conditions during spring and summer. Wet lubes last longer but are slightly dirtier and need the excess wiping away before riding when applied. Dry Lubes run cleaner as they attract dirt but then it drops off the chain and thus application is required more frequently.
  6. Last but not least – and possibly one for the perfectionists – it’s a good idea to protect a painted or lacquered frame of any material with a polish such as Purple Harry’s Bike Polish and Frame Protector. This adds a protective layer with it’s silicone and wax combination to combat corrosive effects of sweat and moisture, plus makes it much easier to clean next time round. And it will gleam as well!
  7. Look forward to your next ride knowing your bike’s in tip-top condition ready to roll!

To find out more about bike cleaning visit where you can get your hands on all the cleaning items you’ve read about here. Plus you can get a 10% discount off all orders just by entering CYCLETTA2013 at the checkout (plus it’s free delivery on orders over £35 so there are plenty of savings to be gained!).

Glossary and illustrations:

Top-tips for tip-top care and maintenance for bikes2

The ‘Drivetrain’ refers to all the mechanical parts shown above – individually comprised of:

Top-tips for tip-top care and maintenance for bikes3

Chainset – made up of the cranks (the two arms) which are attached through the ‘Bottom Bracket’ of the frame – and the ‘Chainrings’ (the toothed rings the chain sits on.

Top-tips for tip-top care and maintenance for bikes4

Cassette – or also referred to as ‘Freewheel’ or ‘Block’

Top-tips for tip-top care and maintenance for bikes5

Front Derailleur’ – or ‘Front Mech’ or ‘Front Changer’. Moves the chain to the inner ring (easier pedalling) or outer ring (harder pedalling).

Top-tips for tip-top care and maintenance for bikes6

Rear Derailleur’ – or Mech / Changer which comprises of a cage and 2 jockey wheels which the chain glides around.  Moves the chain to the largest sprocket (easiest to pedal) and lowest sprocket (hardest to pedal).