Who needs to overthink cleaning cyclocross bikes when a power washer is blasting it at 3,000psi? We all do if we want our bikes to last a long season, performing at their peak, so we sat down with the fine folks from Finish Line to find out how to do it right. It turns out, proper cleaning after a ’cross race starts before the gun goes off.
PELOTON / Image: Yuzuru Sunada
Teflon Is Your Friend
When you hit your bike with Showroom Polish and Protectant or any Teflon based coating, prior to your race, you’ll find dirt and mud lift off the bike more easily when it comes time to clean your bike. This has the added benefits of making your bike look flash on the start line and help shed mud during the race itself. When the mud is sticky, use a second coat of dry-silicon-based Max Suspension Spray and you’ll be shouldering a bike that weighs half of what your competitors are dealing with.
The same goes for pedals—hit them hard with a dry lube that also contains Teflon and surface-binding agents. Coat the entire pedal, not just contact points, to ensure positive engagement and mud shedding. The Finish Line guys go a step further and recommend coating the entire outsole of your shoe to shed mud. Treat your bike with Teflon and silicon and you’ll spend less time at the pressure washer. There will be less mud and crud to remove and what there is will just lift off the frame.
If your local ’cross series doesn’t have pressure washers check out Super Bike Wash. It’s designed to not just breakdown dirt and smear it over the frame, but lift it off the frame itself. It doesn’t even require a water rinse; but if the mud is bad a hose will be your friend. Super Bike Wash is also non-toxic and biodegradable so don’t fear dirty looks as you spray down after a race.
A Word About Chain Care
When it’s dry, and even a bit wet, use a dry ceramic wax so grit and grime won’t stick to your chain. With ’cross races being so short, there is no concern of the wax breaking down. In really nasty mud and freezing conditions, move to a ceramic-wet-like Finish Line Ceramic Wet Lube. Post-race, hit the chain with Speed Degreaser. The Turbo Sprayer will flush out the nooks and crannies and it’s totally dry, requiring no water rinse—a nice bonus when much of this maintenance happens in the parking lot after your race.
The bottom line is: treat your bike right before the race and not only will you have easier, more effective clean up, you’ll have a better race too. For more tips from Finsih Line check out: finishlineusa.com