If you're anything like me, you love having a clean bike, but when it comes time to doing it yourself, you suddenly think of all these very urgent things you need to do... Like poke yourself in the eye with a rusty Allen Key. Such was my predicament until I discovered Max's Bike Wash.
As adorable as it is industrious, Max's Bike Wash is one junior's endeavor to collect enough pocket money to pay his way to the Australian national mountain bike champs. $15 to do the job I very much don't want to do? Sure! It was only a matter of hours before I had booked in everything from my cruiser with the basket on the front to my dirt caked mountain bike.
As he scrubbed what was probably several months' worth of grime from my pulley wheels, I had a bit of a chat to young Max. I learned that in between training for the past few months, Max has washed a lot of bikes. Top end road bikes, MTB, CX, and basically everything in between... so if anyone knows the tricks of the trade, tips to a shiny frame, and the best products to use, it's this little nugget. So, let's hear what he has to say and stock the cleaning products up in time for muddy season!
1. The Stand
Having a good bike stand is important because you should never turn the bike upside down when you're washing it - the water and soap should always exit from the bottom of the bike. Also, stands are handy because it's hard to get 360 degree access when it's leaning against something.
Max's Recommendation: Feedback Pro-Elite Work Stand
2. The Cloth
When you're cleaning your bike, you need something that's going to be gentle on the frame and paintwork but absorbent enough to actually get the dirt off. Microfiber cloths are the best because they let you trap the mud and dirt without swirling it around the bike.
Max's Recommendation: EnviroThings Microfiber cloth
3. The Cleaner
Using a good quality bike cleaner is important because it needs to loosen up the dirt and mud as well as leave the bike nice and shiny. Start from the top and work your way down. Oh, and always make sure the cleaner you use is environmentally friendly and safe to use on carbon fiber!
Max's Recommendation: Muc-Off Bike Cleaner
4. The Lube
No matter which lube you use (wet or dry), always make sure there is the right amount of lubrication on the parts that need it – particularly straight after you've cleaned the bike. If you use a lube that cleans and protects at the same time – even better.
Max's Recommendation: Bike Mechanic Bike Milk
5. The Chain Cleaner
Not everyone loves them, but I'm washing a lot of bikes so it's a great way to get it done properly and fast. For those who chose my Elite Bike Wash, I used a chain cleaning device to get the unwanted grime off the chain. Lots of people don't clean their chains properly, they just spray cleaner onto the frame and wheels and then rinse it off. Having a clean chain is important for a smooth ride, whether it's on the trails or the road.
Max's Recommendation: Muc-Off X-1 Chain Cleaning Machine
Max's bike wash parting tip
Don't use a high pressure hose. Use a normal garden hose on a low to medium setting. Remember that some grease should stay on your bike. You're trying to remove dirt and things that are going to impact that way your bike runs, not rid your bike of all oil and grease.
If you want to donate to Max's Nationals fund, please check it out at Help Me Get To The MTB Nationals!