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Bike Cleaning products

Old 08-26-18, 12:43 PM
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MichalisLaz
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Bike Cleaning products

Hello community,
since the weather is turning fast and rain is about to become standard i want to start cleaning and maintenance of my new road bike. Having said that i have no equipment except a wet lube with Teflon from Decathlon.

I dived in to the cleaning process and it seems that a lot of different products can be used. I saw that Muc off has the "Ultimate cleaning kit" with lots of products and brushes, but they lack a chain cleaning machine and degreaser, coming at 65 euros.

Buying a Muc off cleaner and degreaser comes at half the price but then i have no brushes, ect.

Is this kit worth it and complete as it is, or i should just part it out and get specific cleaing products. If so, what exactly should i opt for? Degreasser / drivetrain cleaner , general cleaner and lube?

Lastly, are the spraying products going to last for several washes or is it just a 2-3 wash thing?

Thank you in advance
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Old 08-26-18, 02:59 PM
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Simple Green, $10 or less for a gallon, diluted to whatever strength the job demands,. Will clean grease off of chains or, diluted, gently remove road grime form your perfect, new-bike paint without marring the finish.
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Old 08-26-18, 03:07 PM
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Two toothbrushes and degreaser of your choice. I use the cheap stuff at the dollar store.



I use an angle head brush for the cassette and chainrings. Which costs $1 at the dollar store.

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Old 08-26-18, 03:12 PM
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Thank you both for the fast replies.

If i get right then all these "bike specific" cleaning products are not really necessary? Isn't there a risk involved when using all-purpose cleaners? ( the only simple green i can buy here is the all-purpose one)
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Old 08-26-18, 04:43 PM
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Yes. Buy the cheap stuff. it is all the same except the label.

I assume your bike is made of either metal or carbon fiber? Neither will be eroded by any cleaning product on the market .... the "bike-specific" products are for people ... well, people other than me, let's be charitable. No reason not to spend $30 bucks on the exact same product another guy buys for $5, right?

What needs cleaning? Oil and grease ... same as all oil and grease. Anything which dissolves it is fine. Dirt and mud --- which comes off with water. What else.

@Lazyass is right on with the brushes, too.

I confess ... I once used laundry detergent when I was washing my bike next to the washer/dryer and was too lazy to walk across the garage to get the Simple Green. My bike survived.
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Old 08-26-18, 06:11 PM
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I used Windex and Armor-all on both of my bikes today (along with a toothbrush and a handful of paper towels for the cassette). Ran out of Lemon Pledge a while ago ad forgot to restock for polishing.

Edit: I did use bike specific chain degreaser (the orange scent is nice) and lube (Pro-link instead of Tri-flow this time, I switch it up now and then).
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Old 08-26-18, 06:29 PM
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Simple green for the chain, chainrings, cassette. Dawn Dish soap with warm water to wash the rest of the bike.

buy the cheapest brushes you can find. Go to Auto parts stores, they have cheap brushes, that is where i got mine. I also bought those car wash mitts. Less expensive than bike specific stuff, and just as effective.

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Old 08-26-18, 06:59 PM
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People talk about water based bio cleaners like Simple Green but I've yet to hear one person say they do anything but dump the contaminated fluid down the drain.

When you dump it down the drain you dump the oil down the drain with it.

It is supposed to go to a recycle or reclamation facility.


-Tim-
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Old 08-27-18, 05:00 AM
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Ribble has a bike cleaner bundle on sale. I would buy 2. I did
https://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/ribble-bike-spray-bundle/
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Old 08-27-18, 09:13 AM
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windex & paper towels can be handy

recently brought home some paint thinner my Dad wasn't using anymore & found out it's a good cleaner when used with discretion. so far, I've used it on a rag for some general wiping of the chain, rear rollers & front chain rings
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Old 08-27-18, 11:56 AM
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Mineral spirits are good fro greasy stuff but I wouldn't get them on other parts. A lady who frequently attends group rides said when she was traveling and needed to do a quick cleanop of a CF bike, she used make-up removal pads--do it in a hotel room with no mess, and no damage to the finish.
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Old 08-27-18, 12:13 PM
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Dawn and water. Bucket and sponges that have been retired from kitchen use.
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Old 08-27-18, 12:38 PM
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Thank you all for the answers , i read a lot in the meantime and those Muc off kits seem a bit of a marketing trick. Good quality videos though, also GCN and Team Sky use them but it doesn't seem to cut it for a novice llike me.

I understand that only the degreaser should be of a good quality and bicycle-specific . Is this true?
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Old 08-27-18, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by MichalisLaz View Post
Thank you all for the answers , i read a lot in the meantime and those Muc off kits seem a bit of a marketing trick. Good quality videos though, also GCN and Team Sky use them but it doesn't seem to cut it for a novice llike me.

I understand that only the degreaser should be of a good quality and bicycle-specific . Is this true?
Kits? for the lazy or uninformed. BIke-specific lubes and cleaners are industry-standard products that are bought in bulk, repackaged and sold for 10x what you can buy them for at your big-box hardware or auto store.

Bike cleaning products: first off, you should never let running water anywhere near a bike. It gets inside the bearings and kills them. I use a damp rag to clean my bike, and I don't spend a lot of time doing that. The outside of the bike is not where you should focus your cleaning efforts - it is on the inside, such as the hub bearings, the bottom bracket, the headset etc.

Finally, water-based products are useless for cleaning grease or your chain; this goes for anything 'green'. Think of the chemistry of trying to clean oil-infused grime with water: it just doesn't work. Mineral spirits are far more effective. It is a perverse law of the universe that the more toxic and flammable a solvent, the better it works. Mineral spirits such as Varsol are a good compromise between toxicity/flammability and degreasing powers. You can buy a gallon-sized container of Varsol for about $5. This should last for dozens of chain cleanings, especially if you filter/strain and reuse the solvent after each cleaning.
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Old 08-27-18, 12:50 PM
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In addition to the many great suggestions, I use a variety of automotive products such as McGuires Quick Detailer and other such cleaners.
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Old 08-27-18, 02:46 PM
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My bike is never greasy because I wax my chains, but that's another topic. For general cleaning I use pledge when the bike is not that dirty. If the bike is filthy, I use dish-soap, a sponge, and my Park BCB 4.2 brush set in a bucket of water. I really like my park brushes, especially the GSC-1 for the cassette, but I'm sure cheaper brushes work fine too. I spray the soapy water off with a hose and dry everything off with these HF microfiber towels which are frequently available for free with a coupon. Maybe the running water is bad for the bearings, but I'm not too concerned about it since I service my bearings regularly it's not an issue. Rubbing alcohol to clean the brake tracks and pads. Every once in a while I may even apply some liquid auto wax so the bike is shiny and easier to clean the next time.
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Old 08-27-18, 05:18 PM
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From what i hear running water is no issue ... it is high-pressure water which will force its way through cracks and blast the grease away. So don't use the pressure nozzle on high, or a power washer.

By the way @Dave_mayer ... water-based degreasers are ... degreasers in a water solution. You say they don't work? Explain dish soap and laundry detergent. Get back to me when you and reality have some time together.

I clean my chains with Simple Green and maybe all that black crap isn't from the chain ... but it was On the chain before I started and not when I finished. Whatever.
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Old 08-28-18, 06:54 AM
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+1 for a variety of brushes. they can be used dry w/o any degreaser type product. sometimes I just need to remove the bulk of the crud, add some lube & wipe chain. after muddy rides, if a hose isn't handy I let it all dry then brush the dried dirt off. brushes are also handy for removing the bulk of caked on snow before bringing inside to drip dry
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Old 08-28-18, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
+1 for a variety of brushes. they can be used dry w/o any degreaser type product. sometimes I just need to remove the bulk of the crud, add some lube & wipe chain. after muddy rides, if a hose isn't handy I let it all dry then brush the dried dirt off. brushes are also handy for removing the bulk of caked on snow before bringing inside to drip dry
Any particular reccomendations or just the regural supermarker / hardware store stuff? I think only the gear brush is kinda specific.

Also, to reply to all of you above, i live in an appartment and i will be cleanong the bike at a balcony, so mineral spirits will not be my way to go for disposal and admittedly not so eco.

i ll se if i can find a Simple Green equivalent here for degreasing.
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Old 08-28-18, 09:42 AM
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I never throw away mineral spirits. I have two plastic wide-mouth drink bottles dedicated to OMS. When I want to clean a chain, I pour just enough to cover the chain in a plastic container with a lid, shake it around and pour the used OMS into the second bottle through a funnel with a coffee filter in it. I'll do that a few times until the 500 ml from the first bottle are now in the second bottle. After the gunk settles in the second bottle, I pour most of it back into the first bottle through a funnel with a coffee filter in it leaving the gunk and a little bit of OMS in the second bottle. I do the same thing with denatured alcohol for the final rinse. This process works infinitely better than simple green for cleaning a chain and is actually more eco-friendly since there is zero waste vs. the contaminated degreaser that you will have to dispose of somehow with the simple green method.

When I lived in an apartment I used a pump sprayer to rinse the soapy water off my bike.
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Old 08-28-18, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by MichalisLaz View Post
Any particular reccomendations or just the regural supermarker / hardware store stuff? I think only the gear brush is kinda specific.Also, to reply to all of you above, i live in an appartment and i will be cleanong the bike at a balcony, so mineral spirits will not be my way to go for disposal and admittedly not so eco.i ll se if i can find a Simple Green equivalent here for degreasing.
get that orange citrus cleaner, I think it doesn't smell as bad as simple green. for brushes you can find some at auto parts depts at Walmart etc, & even a grocery store cleaning dept, next to the mops. & yeah that gear brush (if you can call it that) is skinny to get between the cogs but you can fold a rag & slide it between the cogs. check a local bike shop too, they may something interesting on hand
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Old 08-28-18, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
I pour just enough to cover the chain in a plastic container with a lid, shake it around and pour the used OMS into the second bottle through a funnel with a coffee filter in it. I'll do that a few times until the 500 ml from the first bottle are now in the second bottle. After the gunk settles in the second bottle, I pour most of it back into the first bottle through a funnel with a coffee filter in it leaving the gunk and a little bit of OMS in the second bottle. .
I like this method. Thanks for the tip.
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