How to Clean Your Gravel Bike

If you’re out and about on your bike enough, chances are your bike may need to be cleaned from time to time. Keeping your bike clean is a regular maintenance task to keep your bike parts in good repair and reduce maintenance costs. How often you clean it will depend on how often you ride, where you ride, and the weather. If you’re a mountain biker, your rig may need a wash more often. Some parks even have wash stations to clean your bike after your ride or at least hose off the worst. Skip the power washing equipment to protect the sealed bearings in your bike from internal rust and damage.

Start with the Drivetrain

When I clean my bike, I always start with the chain. If your chain is grimy enough that a finger will turn black, it’s time to clean the chain. Dirty chains don’t operate efficiently, attracting more dirt and grime, and they also cause the chain parts and gears to wear down. A chain cleaner kit ($20-30) is a great investment, and some include a degreaser and specialty brushes. You can use it repeatedly to keep your chain, cassette, and chainrings next to the new one. Brush the grime off the drivetrain with the brushes and degreaser, then rinse thoroughly.

Wash the Frame

Washing the frame requires a bucket, a stiff brush, a mild cleanser, and a degreaser like Dawn dishwashing soap. Brush down the frame and rinse off the soap and dirt.

Dry your bike

Use old towels to dry off your bike and shine up the frame.

Re-lube your chain

Remember to lubricate the chain after you’ve cleaned it. When applying lubricant, it’s best to give it some time to dry before riding it again so it will shed dirt rather than attract it. Like the Rock “N” Roll brand, a Teflon-based lubricant works well for our hot and sandy climate because it cleans and lubricates simultaneously.

While washing your bike, you can visually inspect different parts for wear and tear. Giving your bike a thorough review can help you identify parts that may need maintenance coming up so you can plan for that, and it doesn’t surprise you. As always, our full-service bike shop can help equip you with everything you need to keep your bicycle in good working order and expertise if you need a hand or a second opinion.