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The following bike cleaning procedure is used by many professional race team mechanics. It was developed over many years as a solution to the need for absolutely clean, properly adjusted bikes on the start line each morning of a stage race. Most pro team mechanics can perform the entire bike wash in under 8 minutes, with a minimum of cleaning tools. They usually work in teams of two, one washes, the other dries, reassembles and waxes.

We suggest using a citrus or oil-based degreaser for bike cleaning. Simple Green works marginally well, just a lot slower. Avoid caustic degreasers with anything like Formula 409 or Fantastic in their mixture. The caustic cleaners can destroy the finish on components very quickly.

While many consumer degreasers or cleaners may say they have a citrus component, they also can contain a compound that is totally destructive to the anodizing on cranks and many bike finishes. Test any degreaser on a section of an old or discarded bike part first. Please be careful!!!

Bike Medicine has developed a custom blended, super-efficient and ultra fast citrus type degreaser. Our Golden Degreaser is available in 8 ounce bottles, enough for about 16 bike cleanings. Only 1/2 ounce of Golden Degreaser is required to treat the average road or MTB drivetrain!

Important: We try to restrict the contact time to no more than two minutes when using citrus degreasers as they can attack the paint finish on your bike. Many degreasers are also sold as graffiti removers, and that is paint! Please be careful!

The Bike Medicine Chainholder is our favorite. There is very little to wear out and it resists most all chemicals that we have used it with. Check with your local bikeshop for availability.
Feedback Sports makes collapsable workstands that really speed up maintenence and bike cleaning. For working away from the shop, they are very handy. Our Favorite!
The right brushes are the key to efficient bike cleaning. Our SpeedBrush is designed to work quickly on all parts of the drivetrain. We like Portico bristles on the wash brush for carrying water onto the bike. Plus the soft bristles will not scratch the bike finish.
For working on locations with no running water available, you can use a bug/chemical sprayer to clean a drivetrain. This one holds three gallons of water and costs about $35. Great for washing bikes and killing things that crawl, bite and scare the ladies...
Fill the wash bucket with water, mix in the dish soap.
Mount the bike on the workstand, or lean it up against a tree or building. If you work this way, be careful not to scratch up the shifters. Put down a soft cloth or padding to protect the contact points.
Using a workstand is the best, easiest and most efficient way to support a bike when you work on it.

The Pro-Classic and Pro-Elite stands from Feedback Sports are the best models we have found to date.

Remove the computer head and put it somewhere safe.
Remove the rear wheel. Be careful of the rear wheel computer pickup, if there is one.
Support the chain with a chainholder. This will keep the chain from hitting the frame during the cleaning process. It will also allow you to scrub the chain from all 4 sides.
Apply a little degreaser onto the rear cassette. Set the wheel aside.

Remember: Allow only two minutes of contact with citrus degreasers!

Apply degreaser onto the chain and drivetrain. Saturate the chain. With Golden Degreaser 1/2 ounce will do the job for the entire drivetrain.

Remember: Allow only two minutes of contact with citrus degreasers!

With the SpeedBrush, scrub the rear cassette sprockets. Apply a bit of degreaser onto the brush also before you begin scrubbing. With Golden Degreaser and the SpeedBrush, you should be done in about 6 seconds! We usually recommend rinsing with water right after this step.
Scrub the chain on all 4 sides. Rotate the cranks so you get to all parts of the chain. Between the degreaser and the brushing, the grime should break up.
Remove the chain from the front chainrings. Shift to the inner chainring (smallest), then slide the chain off. This makes it easier to clean all of the teeth.
Scrub the front chainrings, cranks, derailleurs and pedals. Be sure to scrub between the chainrings too.
Make believe you're brushing your teeth. Cleaner feels better.
Remount the chain on the front chainrings. Scrub the rear derailleur. Be sure to scrub the pulleys too. If the chain is moving, it makes it easier to clean the pulleys.
Hose off the rear wheel, be sure to remove all of the degreaser and old lubricant. Use a fine shower, not a hard jet stream. You don't want to drive water into the bearings.
With a fine spray, thoroughly hose off the drivetrain. Make sure all of the degreaser and old lube is gone. Inspect the chain for any traces of grit or deposits.
Take the large bristle brush, dip it into the soapy water. Start at the top of the frame. the entire drivetrain, underside of the fork, handlebars and shifters.
Soap down the entire bike. Use the big brush the clean out every component.
Clean off all of the deposits from the brakes. Brush aggressively to break up mud and grime.
Use the soap brush to clean out all of the buildup inside the fork.
Clean off all of the deposits from shifters and brake hoods.
Scrub the front chainrings, pedals and cranks. You can't be too clean here.
Scrub the rear cassette where lots of grime and dirt can hide.
Wash down the bike with a fine shower from the hose. Try to get off all of the soap. Do a good thorough rinse and leave no residue.
Work the chain with your hands. If there are still traces of old lube, grit or dirt, clean it again. The more care you put in, the better the results will be.
Dry the bike thoroughly with a soft absorbent cloth or chamois. This will prevent waterspots.
Make sure the drivetrain is completely dry. Some mechanics like to use compressed air to blow out the chain.
At this point, begin your mechanical inspection and adjustments. Once the bike is clean you can really see what needs to be done.
If you are going to adjust the shifting, do it before the chain lube goes on. It will be more accurate.
You can now wax the bike, if you wish. Most auto waxes will work fine on a bike. Follow the directions for the product you select.
Remount the rear wheel. Inspect the braking surfaces on both wheels. You can clean them up with a piece of Scotchbrite.
Shift the chain onto the large chainring on the front and the small cog on the back.
While rotating the cranks backward, flow on about ¼ ounce of Purple Extreme or EP ULTRA lubricant so that it completely saturates the whole chain.
Make sure you thoroughly coat every link on the chain. Use a steady stream. This will allow Purple Extreme or EP ULTRA to really penetrate to the center of the chain where it needs to go to work. The fine control tip helps prevent wasting the lube while you flow it on.
Some mechanics like to spin the cranks for a full minute.
Next, take a disposable paper towel or cloth to wipe off the excess lubricant. The solvent carrier makes Purple Extreme or EP ULTRA thin enough to penetrate all the way inside the chain.
Set the bike aside, preferably overnight to let the solvent evaporate completely. You can ride the bike immediately, Purple Extreme or EP ULTRA will begin protecting as soon as you apply it, but we just like to make sure it will not splash around on your bike.
Again, wipe off the excess lubricant. It's what is inside that really counts!
Go out and ride your bike a lot. Enjoy the Purple Extreme or EP ULTRA protection from wear.
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