Washing your bike
For best results use hot soapy water, a sponge & brushes. The easiest way to clean a mountain bike would seem to be a jet wash, and jet washing is OK up to a point. It is excellent at getting rid of excess mud and grime from your wheels and frame. You should however be very careful not to point the hose at the bearings surfaces - hubs, bottom bracket, headset, pedal bearings as these are packed with grease. Even if they are sealed units the jet wash will usually blast the grease out!
Some dirt will not come off with a jet wash, like the oily gunk that builds up around the transmission. For this you need a bit of elbow grease and specialist cleaners & degreasers such as Clean Streak (water less) or Fenwicks FS-1 (needs water to rinse off).
The degreaser will remove the build up on the chain, chain set and sprockets, use Clean Streak as it does not need to be rinsed off with water. Fenwicks can be used as a degreaser or watered down 10 mt10:1 & used as a bike cleaner. To make life easier when cleaning buy a Park Bike brush set £19.99, not cheap but get into those akward places your fingers won't. Always lube the chain & moving parts after cleaning.
Mountain bikes should be cleaned every time you take them out and get them muddy! The components on your will last longer if you look after them. They'll also more likely to work when you go for your next ride.
Road bikes don't need cleaning as often, but hey -this is your pride & joy - why not polish it every ride
Oil or a suitable lubricant for a bicycle, should be applied to moving parts on the gears, transmission, brakes and occasionally inside the cable housings. Take care, especially if using a spray, to keep oil off the rims.
Looking after your bikes chain will prolong it's life & dramatically improve the bikes performance. Inspect it regularly, it should not be completely polished and dry but neither should it be dripping with oil. If it is the former then it's time for some lube! If your chain is covered in black gunk then adding lubrication to this will not improve things. Thoroughly clean the transmission first, as mentioned earlier. You can then apply lubricant once it is clean.
Grease should be used in bearing surfaces in hubs, bottom brackets and headsets. Under no circumstances should these be oiled. Newer bottom brackets are of the cartridge type and so require no maintenance. once worn out the whole unit is replaced in one go. Hubs, headsets and bottom brackets may be best left to a competent mechanic, the servicing page will tell you more about the services we offer. Other areas to grease less frequently but nor forget are the handlebar stem and seat post*. If left without grease for too long they may never move again!
*carbon products should not be greased as it can cause the carbon to swell!
Do It Yourself Check out the website for really good tips on DIY bike maintenance.