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After what has been a long winter, the trees are starting to blossom which means that spring has finally arrived.  Therefore, it was time to take the bike off the indoor trainer and give it a much needed deep clean.  It was whilst dismantling my bike and undertake this long overdue task, that I encountered an issue.

Why regular cleaning is important

The problem I ran into was that I was unable to remove the quick release skewer.  This was because the sweat generated from the winter spent racing and training had dripped down the forks, seeping into the bearings, corroding the components.  The skewer was effectively welded to the hub and the wheel was stuck in place.  Before I could even clean the bike, I had this problem to contend with. 

It was my own fault. I had neglected to take the bike off the trainer and undertake any form of thorough cleaning for probably 4 months and the consequence was that. 

Feeling embarrassed about my oversight, I went to my local bike shop for assistance where major surgery was required.  The ends of the quick release skewer had to be sawn off to remove the wheel and then the bearings had to be taken out and replaced.

This experience was costly both in time and money and emphasised the importance of following Muc-Off’s recommended 3-stage process for maintaining your bike which is as follows:

  1. Clean
  2. Protect
  3. Optimise

With my bike reassembled, it was time to embark on this process.

Step 1: Clean

Nano Tech Bike Cleaner

To clean my bike, I started by applying copious amounts of Muc-Off’s Nano Tech Bike Cleaner.  This is Muc-Off’s trademark product and it’s arguably one of the most powerful cleaning products available.   You can watch the grime disintegrate in front of your eyes thanks to nanotechnology, which breaks down dirt at the molecular level to make cleaning simpler. Despite its potency, the pink cleaner is alkaline based, biodegradable, and devoid of acids, CFCs, and solvents. It is safe for use on any surface and compatible with disc brake pads and rotors.

2-in-1 Microfibre Wash Mitt

To apply the Nano Tech cleaning product, I trialled the Microfibre Wash Mitt.  It has two sides, the rougher side or “waffle-design” as Muc-Off refers to it is used to remove stubborn dirt.  I used this on the cranks, to ensure I was able to scrub any oil and grease from the components. 

The other side, the microfibre mitt, is used for cleaning larger areas such as your frame, which is where I put it to use.  It is large so it didn’t take long to rub over the frame.  Its intended use is to clean large surface areas, which it does with good results. 

The mitt is machine washable so once used, if it is particularly dirty, simply put in the washing machine and it returns to its original state.

One point to note, it’s not designed to be used for the intricate cleaning of components like your front brakes, and that is too large for that, this is where Muc-Off’s specifically designed brushes are needed. 

5x Premium Brush Set

Muc-Off’s 5x Premium brush kit is an essential.  The brushes are well manufactured and looks like they will last a lifetime.  The kit consists of five different brushes, three of which I instantly used.  The five brushes are:

  1. Two Prong Brush – ideal for reaching hard-to-shift dirt on spokes, discs, shocks, cranks, linkages and pedals.
  2. Claw Brush – ideal for chain, cassette and sprocket cleaning.
  3. Detailing Brush – ideal for reaching hard-to-shift dirt on sprockets, hubs and other tight areas such as suspension mounts or fork crowns
  4. Wheel & Component Brush – is designed to clean rims and spokes with ease. 
  5. Soft Washing Brush – is designed to clean your frame and components while caring for delicate finishes.

I put the Detailing Brush to good use.  It’s small but sturdy meaning I was able to really scrub the components that I was working on, which in my case were the front brakes, the front derailleur and the inside of my pedals. 

It was evident that sweat had started to corrode the front brakes, mindful of the earlier problem with the quick release skewer, I was diligent in my cleaning. I was able to use the brush to get into the small crevices, to remove all traces of salt.  Similarly, salt had started causing the front derailleur to corrode, so that was immediately addressed.

Using the Claw Brush, I was able to clean the rear derailleur, removing the build-up of grime and once I had, I utilised the Two Prong brush to scrub the outside, before using it to scrub my cranks.  A useful feature is that the twin brush heads can be altered and repositioned, I tested this on my pedals and with the larger handle was able to apply more pressure than when I used the Detailing Brush.

The Two Prong Brush is extremely versatile and can even be used on spokes and I even tried it with the chain.  This and the Detailing Brush are essential tools and can be purchased individually.     

Bio Drivetrain Cleaner

To clean the drivechain, which includes the chain and derailleurs, I used Muc-Off’s Bio Drivetrain Cleaner.  Muc-Off state that the “Bio Drivetrain Cleaner is the complete drivetrain cleaning liquid solution.”  They are not wrong, this is a potent cleaning product and can be sprayed directly onto the drivetrain or can be used with the X-3 Dirty Chain Machine.   When sprayed on to the drivetrain it simply dissolves the grime and when combined with the Two Prong Brush, it’s not a difficult task to return your components to their former glory.  It’s important to note that despite being a powerful product, it’s fully biodegradable and safe for metal, plastic, rubber and seals.

Stage 2 – Protect

Once the bike was scrubbed clean, rinsed with water and dried using Muc-Off’s Microfibre Polishing Cloth it was time to apply their Silicon Shine spray.

The Silicon Shine prevents the build-up of dirt on treated areas, consequently reducing the amount of cleaning required.  Moreover, the product “leaves your bike looking factory fresh” as Muc-Off states. and they are correct.  The Silicone Shine does the following:

  • Protects and leaves a sparkling shine on metal, plastic & rubber parts
  • Silicon formula prevents grime build up on treated surfaces
  • Cuts down on future cleaning and maintenance

Stage 3 – Optimise

Nest, Muc-Off’s Ludicrous AF chain lubrication was applied to the chain.  I have previously outlined the positive performance of the Ludicrous AF chain lube here.   

The key highlights are:

  • Ultra-low coefficient of friction
  • Class-leading low wear on chain components
  • Continues to improve with Chain run-in
  • Super stable in all temperatures
  • Raw environmentally friendly ingredients designed for pure performance
  • Biodegradable and sustainable

When I am applying the chain lube, I feel like I am completing my masterpiece.  The broad-brush strokes are applied during the “Cleaning phase,” the painting is finessed with the “Protect process” and the finish touches are added during “Optimisation.”


To purchase these items in one go, can be costly, but there are ways to reduce the overall expense, the first option is to purchase a bundle, such as the Ultimate Bike Cleaning Kit. This is probably the most cost-effective way to get the essentials.  

Given my mishap with the front skewer, it is evident that if you don’t pay close attention to undertaking proper maintenance, you can end up with costly repairs, far more than buying the right equipment and undertraining regular maintenance.  Lesson learned.