Gravel bikes are flexible bikes that you can take anywhere. They can take you places where normal bikes cannot. But since you will be riding them on difficult terrain, they can get dirty very easily. And a dirty bike can deteriorate faster over time.
Therefore, you must routinely clean your bike in order to keep it in good condition. It will ensure that your bike lasts a long time and that mud and dust don’t settle permanently. Since gravel bikes are less durable than mountain bikes, it is essential to take better care of your gravel bike.
To make things easier for you, we will give you a better understanding of how to clean your gravel bike through some simple, easy-to-follow steps.
Steps for Cleaning Your Gravel Bike
Though many gravel bikes are quite premium, such as Specialized gravel bikes, you need to spend time and effort on maintaining them.
Without proper maintenance, your gravel bike will not last very long, and you will soon be spending a lot of money on repair jobs. To make sure that does not happen, here is a list of things that you can do to ensure a long-lasting bike.
1. Keep Your Distance While Watering
You are going to need a power washer. This allows you to spray water effectively and remove any upper layer of dirt from the bike. But while washing the bike with a power washer, you need to keep two things in mind.
- Keep at least a one-meter distance.
- Spray water at low pressure.
This is because, as mentioned before, gravel bikes are not as resilient as mountain bikes, and too much water could damage the surface of the bike. And you definitely do not want to do that to your gravel bike.
So keep your distance from the bike and use low pressure. This should be sufficient to begin your cleaning session.
2. Special Cleaning Soap
You cannot use normal detergent or any DIY soap to clean your gravel bikes. These detergents are very corrosive and can damage the paint and overall look of your bike. As the paint gets off, it will gradually damage the material the bike is made of.
This is why you need specific soaps to clean your bike. For example, a specialized gravel bike will require a special bike cleaning soap such as Moto Max.
These soaps and cleaners are designed to make your bike look clean and shiny. It also gets rid of any stubborn dirt that a swift power wash cannot get rid of.
3. Degrease the Chains
The chains can get greasy pretty easily as dust and water settle in these chains pretty easily. Another reason why you need to degrease the chains is that they are already greasy, so they accumulate dirt faster than any other part of the bike.
But if you completely degrease the chain, it will increase the overall friction and might get torn apart as you ride along the track. This is why you need special degreasers to clean the chain. Once done, you need to apply lube to the chain as well to make sure it is not too dry.
4. Clean the Drivetrain
Drivetrains, also known as chainrings, help connect the wheel gears with the pedal gear. So it is vital that you clean it regularly if you do not want to face difficulty riding your bicycle. Dirt can easily get in between the rings and increase overall friction. This causes more stress while pedaling.
So, what you can do to eradicate this problem is to use soap water to scrub the rings with any brush. The soap water will get in between each ring and clear out all the dirt as you scrub the ring.
Many people skip cleaning the drivetrain as they do not find it that important. But on the contrary, this part is just as crucial as any other.
5. Do Not Leave the Wheels
Many people have the misconception that they do not need to clean their bike’s tires as they get dirty almost every day. So cleaning them is a waste of time. These people are not wrong about the wheels getting dirty daily.
However, they could not be so far from the truth about not needing to clean it regularly.
Your wheels need just as much love and affection as the other parts. A clean tire means it will retain its grip for a longer period of time. If you regularly clean your wheels, you will not need to spend much money every now and then to change the wheels.
6. Dry Everything Fast
After cleaning all the essential parts, you need to dry everything up with a dry piece of cloth. With this, all your cleaning processes should be done.
It is very crucial that you dry your gravel bike properly. Otherwise, you will soon find rust settling in your bike, damaging the overall structure and eventually destroying the whole bike if left unattended.
Things Not To Do While Cleaning Your Gravel Bike
Just as there are some Do’s, there are some Don’ts as well. Let us take a look at some things you should not do while cleaning your bike.
- Do not use high water pressure as it can damage the color of the bike.
- Do not wash the bike too often, but do not leave it unwashed for a long period of time either. Stay in the middle and clean it every now and then.
- Do not use random detergents to clean stubborn dirt.
- Do not leave it in the rain so that the water can automatically clean the bike.
- Do not forget to clean the chain and drivetrain regularly, as they are some of the most important parts of your gravel bike.
Our bicycles mean a lot to us. This is why we need to put a lot of emphasis on cleaning our bikes regularly and maintaining them in mint condition.
Use the right detergent and the right water pressure and go through each and every part of the bike thoroughly. This will ultimately benefit you as your bike will support you for a very long time.
While not an exhaustive list of things to do and avoid, I hope this article has given you a basic idea of how you need to clean your bike and what you need to avoid while cleaning.