Cleaning and making the bike look good



Djordje87

Member
Nov 12, 2015
151
16
18
I had a situation where my bicycle was taken from me and after six months I somehow managed to find it. It was demolished at least. The paint is almost gone on some places. I had to go to a handy man for bikes to have it fixed. Some big things were off. I had to change a whole wheel. My question here is how to get rid of the dirt. Is there a detergent for this because I have never seen this kind of dirt, grease and other stuff in my life on a bicycle. Derailleurs, casettes, chain, axis...Everything is dirty and it is so greasy that I was unable to clean it with water and regular detergent. I tried gasoline even as my neighbour told me but even though it helped it is still very dirty.

I will try with a power wash that you can find in some car washes. I was hoping there was a spray or something.

Another thing is the paint. Should I take that job myself and if so is there some how to do it tutorial thing and what paint to use. I was thinking to buy a spray can that people use for cars but even though I have experience in painting I never painted a bike.
 
Mar 28, 2016
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Yikes. Sorry to hear. How attached are you to the bike..haha. Sounds like it's going to take a lot of work to get it running again. My favorite de-greaser is dish soap such as Dawn. Not sure if you have tried that yet or not. Regarding the paint...highly unlikely that you are going to be able to fix that yourself and have it look half way decent. You will likely be disappointed by the results if you go the spray can route. Good luck.
 

dabac

Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2003
2,294
142
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DON'T power wash your bike unless:
- you need an excuse to buy another one
- actually know what you're doing

Depending on design details, the jet from a power wash can easily push past seals and into the bearings, after which they're quickly destroyed.

I've never bothered (much) with bike-specific chemicals. The parts don't know they're bike parts, and more often than not there are generic mechanical/technical products available that'll do the job just as well, and to lower cost.
I certainly wouldn't buy a bicycle-specific detergent. Dirt is dirt.

How to clean depends on WHAT the dirt is. And I can't tell from here.

Sometimes trying your way through what's available is the only option.

If it's been left outside, you might try bringing it past a car detailing guy, ask him for a few pointers.

One thing that can be real tricky to get off is tree sap. Some trees ooze small droplets, which dries up to a slightly sticky brown-tinted layer. Traditional liquid soap(the stuff with the particular smell, either green or yellow) work well on these.

As for paint:

it's really hard to do a DIY paintlob well enough to match the factory result, both in finish and durability.
They tend to chip and flake easily.

These days, I don't bother. For me, the best balance between results and effort is Hammerite, applied with a brush.
Sand/scrub away any rust or corrosion, wipe clean with something that degreases and apply.
 

Djordje87

Member
Nov 12, 2015
151
16
18
Yikes. Sorry to hear. How attached are you to the bike..haha. Sounds like it's going to take a lot of work to get it running again. My favorite de-greaser is dish soap such as Dawn. Not sure if you have tried that yet or not. Regarding the paint...highly unlikely that you are going to be able to fix that yourself and have it look half way decent. You will likely be disappointed by the results if you go the spray can route. Good luck.
I thought so. Tanks for the advice anyway. I am very attached to the bike. We are the same age. It was my first bike and it was then, very good and quite expensive for Serbian market, anyway. The thing is I have to remove things with some needle or something from the cassette. It is a mix of some fibre, hair and grease. I have no idea what happened but it is ridiculous. I am not giving up though. As for the painting, I will give it a try or find some better solution. Do you know about some stickers that can help?
 

Djordje87

Member
Nov 12, 2015
151
16
18
DON'T power wash your bike unless:
- you need an excuse to buy another one
- actually know what you're doing

Depending on design details, the jet from a power wash can easily push past seals and into the bearings, after which they're quickly destroyed.

I've never bothered (much) with bike-specific chemicals. The parts don't know they're bike parts, and more often than not there are generic mechanical/technical products available that'll do the job just as well, and to lower cost.
I certainly wouldn't buy a bicycle-specific detergent. Dirt is dirt.

How to clean depends on WHAT the dirt is. And I can't tell from here.

Sometimes trying your way through what's available is the only option.

If it's been left outside, you might try bringing it past a car detailing guy, ask him for a few pointers.

One thing that can be real tricky to get off is tree sap. Some trees ooze small droplets, which dries up to a slightly sticky brown-tinted layer. Traditional liquid soap(the stuff with the particular smell, either green or yellow) work well on these.

As for paint:

it's really hard to do a DIY paintlob well enough to match the factory result, both in finish and durability.
They tend to chip and flake easily.

These days, I don't bother. For me, the best balance between results and effort is Hammerite, applied with a brush.
Sand/scrub away any rust or corrosion, wipe clean with something that degreases and apply.
Again, very helpful and thank you very much. There is a power wash on petrol stations here in Serbia that are not very strong. like those in the car wash. It is like you put a quarter or so in the machine and you take the gun if that is the name for it, it looks like a gun, and you choose on the screen if you want to add detergent or so. I did it before in summer and it was okay but my bike was never this filthy. It is, as I said earlier a mix of oil, grease, fibre, hair ... everything actually and I have to remove it physically with a stick or a needle.

As for painting, I asked around what kind of paint people use to paint their cars and they told me that paint is a bit more expensive but it is more durable and it comes in a spray can because sometimes you need to paint a small part of your car. I was thinking to dissemble the bike and to paint the parts separately hoping that I would be able to make it run again.
 

cycle93

Member
Oct 10, 2015
145
19
18
I really like to clean my bike and just go shop for accessories.
I have seen those led strings in a few places and I think the time has arrived to buy a few and be seen on the roads every night. They look fun and also really safe for you and others around you.
 

pwarbi

Well-Known Member
Mar 18, 2015
689
53
28
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UK
I know you've said that you're attached to the bike, but with the amount if work that sounds like needs doing, you maybe need to think about if you can justify spending that amount of money on doing the bike up.

While I get that it might be hard to let it go, price up a new bike and then price up how much you'll need to spend in your old one. On this occasion I think I'd have to let my head rule my heart.
 

LeonasSword

New Member
Apr 25, 2016
5
0
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Sounds like it's going to take a plethora of work to get it running again. My favorite de-greaser is dish soap such as Dawn. Not sure if you have endeavored that yet or not. Regarding the paint...highly unlikely that you are going to be able to fine-tune that yourself and have it look half way decent. You will likely be disappointed by the results if you go the spray can route. Good fortuity.
 

Damien Lee

Active Member
May 16, 2015
518
26
28
That sounds rough man, but I'm glad that you got your bike back. I only recommend painting the bike yourself If you've got decent spray-painting skills. I've had my bike painted, but I took it to a professional and I'm happy with the results. I never power wash my bikes, I just use a slightly damp cloth and it seems to do the job.
 

moneyman

Member
Oct 6, 2015
157
8
18
I usually wash my bike properly once a week depending how much I ride with it. In the summer season I wax the frame once a month to keep it spotless and to upkeep the value of the bike.
 

Saraweib

New Member
Apr 17, 2018
3
0
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Using dish wash soap is an undoing because its pH is not balanced for paint and finish. My best detailer is the Meguiar's G7164 Gold Class best soap for washing car, a premium detergent that strips off all kinds of dirt, grime, grease, and other contaminants. While it cleans, it also conditions the bike paint so that it doesn’t peel off, restoring a radiant finish and shine.

I also love the fact it is made of purely biodegradable ingredients, thus safe for humans and the environment. It is also highly concentrated such that 1oz goes for a gallon of water. Thus a 64 ounce bottle can serve your for more than 6 months.
 

DenisP

Member
Apr 13, 2018
147
9
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30
I will try with a power wash that you can find in some car washes.

I was actually just about to recommend this. I know that, personally, if I had a power washer it would be just about the only thing I'd use to clean my bike. I have a regular hose with a high pressure nozzle but it just barely does the trick at taking off regular mud. After a long time of wear and tear, I'd imagine that conventional methods would make cleaning things way more difficult.

As for painting it, definitely don't even consider using regular old spray paint. I remember when I was a kid, I got a pink bike as a hand-me-down from my female cousin, and I wanted it to be a cool color like neon green. So my dad got some neon spray paint, and...well...bless his heart for trying but it looked like absolute trash when he was done. I'd definitely go for the same method they use to paint cars and motorcycles, if you want it to look good and last long.
 

treecko142

Active Member
Feb 8, 2018
419
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Unfortunate, I hate getting my bike stolen and it is what it is, although I can imagine spending a lot just to bring back something I'm really attached to.
 

reighn

Member
Feb 12, 2018
371
19
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37
You're so lucky to find and get it back again. Most of the time in our country, those stolen bike will never recognize by the owners, because they sell it per parts and not the whole bike, but I think you have a very exciting activity right now, cleaning and make your bike pretty again.
 

Steve5

Member
Feb 3, 2018
305
16
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52
I also found that bikes are likely to be stolen. And if it looks new and expensive, you can bet it won't stay with you if you leave it alone without precautions. That's why I only leave my bike in places where no one would want to steal it.
 

Richard Nowak

New Member
Nov 27, 2018
1
0
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Hey, I think that using hand washing soap is not a good idea to wash the car or bike because of quite aggressive pH for paints. You should wipe down and clean your bike at least monthly. Your bike will serve you many years if you provide a cleaning procedure after every 15-20. Do remember to use only high-quality washing liquids and professional soap. I usually choose Meguiar's G7164 Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo & Conditioner. I do always read the reviews on different, professional resources like AutoExpertGuides to get all the info about the goods before purchasing. Traditionally, I provide a deep clean and re-lubricate everything 1-3 per year.
 

Froze

Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2004
4,707
375
83
NE Indiana
I agree with Richard Nowak on his choice of soap. Washing your bike needs to be as gentle as possible. You can start with Dawn for Dishes (NON citrus) if you have grease on your bike, or if not then start with the Dawn for Dishes on a damp sponge and scrub your gears and chain, when done lightly rinse the soap off; then wash the bike with a gentle car wash soap like Meguiar's Gold shampoo and conditioner; after you dry it off then use a NON-abrasive, non abrasive means that it shouldn't say that it removes swirls, scratches, etc, paint on bikes is not anywhere near as durable as paint on cars so extra care needs to be taken (the only time you should ever use a scratch remover wax is if the bike is scratched up and faded and you want to give it some life, but only do this once and don't use a buffing compound, beyond that and you'll damage the paint, and do not use a clay bar), Meguiar's has a couple of really good waxes but I prefer the spray on kind even though they're not as durable as paste there is a lot less buffing going on and therefore less chance of removing fine paint, so I use Meguiar's Ultimate Fast Finish (this one because there is no buffing agents like the Gold one), you simply spray on and wipe off with a microfiber cloth, again won't last as long as liquid or paste but there is no chance of weakening the paint with this product over years of use, so you may have to wax the bike two or three times a year but it's so easy to do it's no big deal, and the product does an excellent job of making paint shine plus it beads water really well, and if feels smooth to the touch.

Having owned lots of classic cars over the years all I have ever used is either Meguiar's or Mother's, the expensive stuff that can cost 10 times (and more!) the cost of those two brands really doesn't do anything significant to make it worth their extreme cost. There are a couple of new products on the market for cars that claim protection will last 5 years and give the car a wet look might be good, but to pay $1000 for a bottle of the product PLUS it has to be professionally applied which cost another $2,500 because it has to be heat treated after application, all of this is horribly extreme when you can get the same appearance and protection by simply waxing more often with a far less expensive option. When I went to car shows all I did was wax (depending on the car color) either with Meguiar's Black or White wax, or NXT if the paint is synthetic, and I used only Carnauba wax if the paint was natural because natural paint has to breath unlike synthetic paints.
 
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Vegan Geordie

New Member
Sep 24, 2021
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I had a situation where my bicycle was taken from me and after six months I somehow managed to find it. It was demolished at least. The paint is almost gone on some places. I had to go to a handy man for bikes to have it fixed. Some big things were off. I had to change a whole wheel. My question here is how to get rid of the dirt. Is there a detergent for this because I have never seen this kind of dirt, grease and other stuff in my life on a bicycle. Derailleurs, casettes, chain, axis...Everything is dirty and it is so greasy that I was unable to clean it with water and regular detergent. I tried gasoline even as my neighbour told me but even though it helped it is still very dirty.

I will try with a power wash that you can find in some car washes. I was hoping there was a spray or something.

Another thing is the paint. Should I take that job myself and if so is there some how to do it tutorial thing and what paint to use. I was thinking to buy a spray can that people use for cars but even though I have experience in painting I never painted a bike.

I'm so sorry to here this, that is awful. At least you managed to find it through rather then not at all... One thing I would say though is don't power wash the bike because you can penetrate the bearings of the bottom bracket, headset, hubs and suspension pivots. When I went and rode on a really dirty track my bike got super dirty, I used an article to help me along because what I was doing myself wasn't it. I used an article called how to wash my bike so maybe give it ago and see if there is anything on there that you haven't tried already. Good luck!!
 

Vegan Geordie

New Member
Sep 24, 2021
4
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3
35
I'm so sorry to here this, that is awful. At least you managed to find it through rather then not at all... One thing I would say though is don't power wash the bike because you can penetrate the bearings of the bottom bracket, headset, hubs and suspension pivots. When I went and rode on a really dirty track my bike got super dirty, I used an article to help me along because what I was doing myself wasn't it. I used an article called how to wash my bike so maybe give it ago and see if there is anything on there that you haven't tried already. Good luck!!

I did try and leave a link but it wasn't allowed, check out the Cycle Maintenance Academy blogs for the article I used!