I do not like cleaning my bikes. However, with so much time and money invested into this sport, it would be remiss of me not to keep my bikes clean to extend their lifespans and to make them look presentable. I try to minimise work while ensuring a thorough cleansing. I do the following once a month or whenever I get caught out in the rain.
- Mount the bike. A work stand is preferable but there are days when I am too lazy to set it up. When that occurs, I simply flip the bike upside down and get the job started.
- Degrease cassette. The wheels come off and the cassette is removed. I soak the cassette in degreaser. I have found Morgan Blue to be an effective and cheap bike specific degreaser. It costs around $20 for a litre and I usually buy it from Carousell. I have a small plastic container that is wide and deep enough to hold the entire cassette. The cassette goes in and the container is filled with just enough to cover the cassette. I leave that for five minutes. The cassette is then scrubbed down and rinsed in dishwashing soap and then water.
- Degrease chain. I use a KMC quick link which makes it easy to remove the entire chain. The chain goes into the same container which already has the degreaser albeit with some residue from the cassette. This should not be much of a problem since the cassette usually does not get as dirty as the chain. After soaking for five minutes, the chain is scrubbed and rinsed in dishwashing soap and then water.
- Degrease front and rear derailleurs. With the cassette and chain gone, what is left is the jockey wheels and the chainrings. I take a brush and paint the above using the remaining degreaser. While the degreaser would be quite murky after cleaning out the cassette and chain, I only need a little to deal with the jockey wheels and chain ring.
- Soap and rinse entire bike. If I do not use a work stand, I fit the wheels back so that my bike can be held upright. I bring the bike into the shower and hose it down. I deal with jockey wheels and chainrings first with some dishwashing liquid. I also ensure that any degreaser residue does not stain the shower floor. I then focus on getting the entire bike rinsed before giving the entire bike a light coating of soap prior to the final rinse. One important bit to highlight is to avoid hosing the saddle for the Pinarello Dogma F8 and F10. Water can seep through to the DI2 battery if it enters from the top which could short circuit the battery. (The result is that you have to replace the battery which can be costly.)
- Dry everything. Now that the bike is clean. I dry the bike and the chain (which is still unattached) with a cloth. I also use a hair dryer on the chain to push out any water caught in the rollers. I am considering getting a mini air compressor which would hasten the drying process tremendously. I pay special attention to steel parts when drying the bike. This includes the disk brake rotors and parts of the front derailleur. Steel parts are quickly and thoroughly dried to prevent rust.
- Lube chain. The chain goes back onto the bike and I lube it. Job done.
The entire process takes around 30 minutes. It is not a fast wipe down but it is considerably thorough. I default to this process because it ensures that the drivetrain is in tip top condition which makes a big difference in cycling performance.