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I just got a Dahon Mu Uno 2011. I am really happy with the bike, but it's my first folding bike and I have noticed how quick it gets dirty. This is probably due to being closer to the ground than most other bikes.

What is a good cleaning routine for a bike like this? My previous bikes (road bikes, mountain bikes, etc) I only cleaned maybe once every month or two. But I feel this one needs more attention and I want to keep it happy. However, I am also afraid of ruining the folding mechanisms with excessive cleaning. Suggestions?

picture of entire folding bike zoomed in picture showing chain with protector

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That looks like a sweet bike! I and my Dahon Curve are jealous. –  Neil Fein Jan 19 '12 at 0:01
    
Just pop it in the dishwasher! (Bikes are supposed to be cleaned????) –  Daniel R Hicks Jan 19 '12 at 1:34
    
(I'm not sure how you'd clean that chain.) –  Daniel R Hicks Jan 19 '12 at 1:37
    
@DanielRHicks - It looks like it's a regular chain with a guard. I think you probably have to remove it and take it out of the guard it to clean it, but it's a SS so cleaning the chain can happen a bit less often. –  Neil Fein Jan 19 '12 at 2:23
    
Looks to me like it's a flexible plastic guard that completely circles the chain path and moves with the chain. Taking it off is probably a bit tricky. Clever idea, though. –  Daniel R Hicks Jan 19 '12 at 12:30

2 Answers 2

Like the other poster said, cleaning it more shouldn't be a huge issue. A nice pro tip is to put some car-wax style treatment on the frame and the non-lubricated parts. I use NuFinish (wouldn't use it on a car, but it works great on bikes...I think "real" waxes might cause dust to stick) which protects all of the parts with an extra layer of wax and causes a lot of dirt to just fall right off.

If you don't have an easily accessible hose for washing, I suggest one of those garden fertilizer/pesticide sprayers that you can get for $15 at home depot. I fill mine up with hot water and a little bit of auto soap (dish soap will eat away the wax coating). When you spray that on there, it has enough pressure to clean everything off of the waxed surfaces and if you don't use too much soap, there is no need to rinse it with plain water. A soft brush can be used to get any extra stubborn areas.

For chains, I use a quick link to take them on and off, put them in a screw top plastic peanut jar with some sort of cleaner/degreaser, add water and shake. Repeat this several times until the water runs clear. Then you can dry it off, relube and put back on the bike.

If you want to keep really clean, instead of using liquid oil, get a miniature crock pot for $2 from a thrift store (or use a double boiler) and fill it with a block of paraffin (use decent candles or buy a pound of it from the canning section of the grocery store)...to go really pro, add a bit of a dry-teflon lubricant to the wax. Then just put the chain on top of the wax, plug in the crock pot, and come back when it is fully melted. You can fish out the chain,, reattach to the bike and just unplug the crock pot so the wax will harden up for use next time. Spin the pedals a few times t

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Thanks for all the tips guys! –  Nik Jan 19 '12 at 12:42

It would take a lot of cleaning to wear away the folding mechanisms on a Dahon. Unless you're cleaning your bike with steel wool and an angle grinder, you have very little to worry about. However, as you likely know, not cleaning your bike can result in excessive wear. The good news is that, since this is a single-speed bike, you have less to clean.

While folders do get dirtier than other bikes, because they're lower to the ground, cleaning one isn't all that different from cleaning a non-folding bike, with a few differences:

In general, you want to get the dirt off (including any road salt) or grit or sand, clean the drivetrain, then relube it. Make sure to rinse off any degreaser before relubing. Since a folding frame has more points of entry, you might want to take more care to avoid getting anything inside the frame - or spend a little time investigating to see if you have any dirt or grit in there.

Attacking the dirt and road grime with warm soapy water and then rinsing it off will be your best strategy. There's some controversy about whether or not citrus degreaser is bad for a bike's paint job, but I use it for stubborn bits of dirt and make sure to rinse it off thoroughly. I would avoid high-pressure water, or at the very least, keep it away from the bearings and folding parts.

I'm not sure what that plastic covering is on the chain, but it looks like it's there to protect it, which should make your job easier. You'll still want to remove the chain from time to time and clean it. On my Dahon Curve, I do it by removing the rear wheel and soaking the chain overnight in diluted degreaser, then rinsing the chain thoroughly. (The rear hub on a Curve can be a little finicky to put back on, but for reasons involving the internal hub. That's not an issue with the Uno, since it's a singlespeed.)

Cleaning smaller wheels can be a little difficult, because the spaces between the spokes and the rim are so small. However, there's less area to cover, so that evens out.

The folding parts on a Dahon include the frame hinge joint, the handlebar pillar, the seat post, and the stem hinge. They don't have any particular instructions for cleaning (soap and water will do a fine job), but you do want to make sure those are maintained.

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