Ok, so you weren't the lucky winner of the cleaning kit offered in the last newsletter, however, that's no excuse for not cleaning your bike. With the weather we've been having recently, if your bike is anything like mine, no matter how lovely it looks before heading out, on arriving back it's completely filthy with the mud and general detritus currently found on our roads. Last week's club run was a great example of this when our ride leader opted to discover the most flooded and dirtiest lanes in my area on our 55 mile Sunday ride.
It's not easy to motivate yourself after a hard ride in the rain and the mud. All you want is to get some food and a hot shower. However, one of the most important things you should really try and do when you first get back is to clean the chain on your bike. Using a product such as, Muc-Off Bio Degreaser, will however, make this chore a lot quicker.
Apply to the chain and the cassette and work it in to the really dirty areas with a suitable Muc-Off brush and leave it for a few minutes to do its magic, wash it clean and hey presto, you now have a nice clean chain! Your drivetrain now not only looks good it will probably save you a bit of money in the long run as it will have less grit stuck to it wearing it out during your next ride.
In addition to cleaning as above, you can also give your chain a 'bath' using the Muc-Off 1l cleaner when used in conjunction with the Muc-Off Degreaser and Drive Train Cleaner. One thing you will notice about the Muc-Off products is that they have all been made to smell nice thus making your workspace (be it garage, kitchen, bathroom or even just outside) a more pleasant place to be! For those hard to reach places, such as in between the sprockets on the cassette, you can use the Muc-Off Individual Claw Brush – which comes in both the 5 brush set AND the 3 brush set! When you are giving the cassette a good clean, be sure to also take a close look at the jockey wheels in the rear mechanism and the chain rings on the front as general 'gunge' can build up here easily. To be honest, with careful use of a small flat headed screwdriver most of this can be removed with ease. This gives you the opportunity to check for any wear in these particular areas.
After cleaning the drivetrain you can then move on to the rest of the bike – give the bike a slight 'soak' with some water then spray on Muc-Off Cleaner, working it in to the hard to reach areas such as brake calipers etc using a soft brush (not the one you used on the chain!). Leave for a little while before washing it off. When generally cleaning your bike, don't be tempted to use a pressure washer as the bearings on your bike won't like you for it. A good old fashioned bucket and sponge is fine or a hose pipe with an attachment that allows you to control the flow of water to a light spray.
Ok, so you've finished – or have you? After the general washing it's a good idea to let the bike dry either naturally or just like a car, the gentle use of a chamois leather can sometimes help. However, refrain from re-applying lube to the chain just yet as you want this to be really dry. Once the bike is dry you can apply Muc- Off Uber Wax or Bike Spray. For those of you who have ever wondered why your bike looks nice and sparkly after Jez has serviced it, this is the product used and also gives the frame a coating to make cleaning it easier next time!
Now the debate – wet or dry lube on the chain. Looking at things simply, dry lube for dry conditions, wet lube for changeable/wet conditions. However, you can use the dry lube in wet conditions but just be prepared to re-apply it more regularly. There is also the option to use a ceramic lube which reduces metal to metal friction and contact to a ground breaking, low level and will also perform up to 10x as well as normal wet or dry lube. Ask Jez or Lisa for a low down on the differences! When using the Wet lube just keep an eye on things as it does have a habit of attracting the grit and the grime which then can turn your chain in to something resembling sandpaper which will quickly eat away at your components. Apply the lube as per the instructions but generally put the chain on the smallest sprocket at the back, turn the pedals slowly backwards applying the lube on the inside of each chain link, wipe off any excess when done and hey presto you've got a nice smooth drivetrain, until the next time!!
So, now you have finished and it's time to put your feet up and have that nice cup of tea/coffee you've earned yourself.
To check out any of the Muc-Off items mentioned in this article and the rest of the range from Muc-Off pop in to the team at Bay Cycles and be sure to keep an eye out for some great 'bundles' offered by Muc-Off as you may be able to buy all you need more cost effectively.