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I've got a vintage Peugeot racer bicycle that's needs some restoration. It's in pretty decent condition given its age (1970-1980s), but a everything could probably do with a good clean and degrease and oil to get it looking really good again.

The frame isn't too dented or pitted which is good, it's the commonly worn parts that need some attention. Parts such as the crank, derailleur, rims, spokes etc that have the odd scuff, bit of rust or bits of metal that are looking pretty mucky and has lost their lovely metallic or mirror finish. the stain less steel or to get the chrome looking shiny and mirrored again?

What would people recommend to start cleaning these things with? Any thing that's good for getting rid of all that muck and grime?

Vintage Peugeot Racer

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  • It looks pretty clean as is, but you could probably get some of the chainstay stuff off with a damp rag and a bit of elbow grease. If that's not enough, you can try a bike wash like Pedro's or Muc-Off or WD-40 bike wash.
    – Batman
    Oct 2 '16 at 18:42
  • Speaking of restoration, the handlebar wrap, brake levers and fenders look more 2010s than 1980s.
    – ojs
    Oct 2 '16 at 19:03
  • It's a recently purchased bicycle and I'm sure the previous owner had upgrade a few bits and pieces. So I'm sure the bar tape, brake leavers, seat and back wheel mud guard are new. But the rest looks like they were there originally or at least haven't been replaced in the last 10-20 years. I've added some more detail pictures to show key components that are showing wear. Oct 2 '16 at 19:24
  • The cranks are not chromed but bare aluminum. Search for "aluminum polishing" for instructions with varying amount of work, but keep in mind that it's never going to be as shiny as chrome. For paint surface, degreasers and car wash liquids work well.
    – ojs
    Oct 2 '16 at 19:38
  • @ojs - the brakes look new too.
    – Batman
    Oct 2 '16 at 20:10
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For just wiping down the frame, dilute dishwashing detergent in water is fine.

For tougher caked on grease, I find that any citrus based cleaner that you find in your local bike shop or auto parts store tends to work well. The only caution is that it shouldn't attack rubber tires - but anything in a bike shop or auto parts store usually won't.

The usual cautions about not spraying the cleaning fluid directly into axles or bottom brackets apply. Best to spray it onto a rag first and then wipe.

If it's too powerful, it might take off some decals so you can also dilute the cleaner.

For polishing chrome and steel, I like Barkeeper's Friend after degreasing. It's not too abrasive and does the shiny.

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  • Thanks. Do you tend to apply Barkeepers friend on as a past and then wash off? I've read some advice and about not scrubbing and metal parts with it. Also would you suggest disassembling the the bicycle to help cleaning all those hard to reach places? Oct 3 '16 at 18:26
  • Yes, as a paste. It is an abrasive cleaner so it works best on steel and chrome as it's softer than those metals. With bare aluminum, it will abrade the oxidization layer off. It'll reoxidize but looks ugly.
    – RoboKaren
    Oct 3 '16 at 18:30
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    While Barkeeper's Friend is great on slightly rusty steel (especially the chromed stuff with specks of rust peeking through), it generally should not be used on anodized aluminum (eg, aluminum wheels), as the oxalic acid in it will attack the anodization. Oct 5 '16 at 21:31
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I dont have an answer for you but thought you might like this video.. check it out!

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  • Thanks for the video tip. It looks like a near identical Peugeot frame. It'd be good if the guy who made the video shared some more details of the cleaning and break down. Oct 5 '16 at 10:33
  • Normally answers like this get downvoted and/or deleted, but this is highly relevant. The bike even looks similar! +1 sir!
    – Criggie
    Oct 5 '16 at 10:37

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