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What do I need to be concerned with when cleaning my bike after a typical muddy and sandy cyclocross race (Also probably applicable to mountain biking).

Particularly, what can be done (in the field) between races to keep the bike clean and ready to ride again. Also, what am I missing due to the quick cleaning which I should take care of at home later?

I know we are supposed to avoid using a high pressure washer around the hubs / bottom bracket to avoid pushing out the grease.

I'm concerned with

  • Grit in the chain
  • Grit in the brake cables / shift cables
  • Grit in the brakes and on the rims (typically canti-brakes)
  • Mud caked in and around every part of the drivetrain / hubs / deraileur
  • Re-lubing the drivetrain (and other parts) for another race
  • What kind of 'field kit' items will I need for this.

    Other Related Questions on bike cleaning:

  • How to wash a bike properly?

  • How can I clean sand off my bike chain?

  • What to use to clean your chain (and cogs)?

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    The material used for the frame and components might be a concern for how to approach things. IE: Carbon fiber, chromoly. –  OMG Ponies Aug 24 '12 at 0:04
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    1 Answer

    You should definitely be careful with it, but at many races we employ the use of a pressure washer to do broad stroke cleaning like getting mud, grass, etc off the bike and tires. You need to be careful and use it from a little distance and obviously not get up close on the BB, hubs, etc. but it does a good job of initially cleaning or cleaning between races.

    After the race you should do more appropriate maintenance on the bike with degreaser and proper lubes.

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    Obviously, YMMV, but...I've intentionally tried to be "bad" with a powerwasher and then taken the stripped the bike down, removing the BB, headset, etc. and I remain unconvinced that you can do any serious damage (except maybe to the paint finish) to a bike with a powerwasher. That said, TR's advice is good. I'll add that anytime you use degreaser, lube...lube a lot...afterwards. –  Ken Hiatt Aug 23 '12 at 21:04
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