Looking after your bike is a vital part of being a cyclist. If your bike is not functioning properly, it will be difficult to ride to your maximum potential. You can avoid a huge amount of potential mechanical issues on bikes by just simply keeping them clean.
One very common mistake many cyclists make is not properly cleaning their cassette. Not only does this make your gears work poorly, but it also wears down other components quicker, such as the chain.
In this article, we will teach you how to clean a cassette so you can properly look after this component on your drivetrain. We will be discussing the following:
- What Is A Bike Cassette?
- Why Is It Important To Keep A Bike Cassette Clean?
- Our Guide To Cleaning A Cassette
What Is A Bike Cassette?
A bike cassette is a large cog set that sits on your rear wheel. It’s a vital part of the drivetrain and, with the help of a derailleur, gives you options for lots of ratios for climbing up steep hills or descending down them.
Cassettes come in all shapes and sizes. Some will have 10 speeds and be designed for road riding, and others will have 12 speeds and be for mountain biking. Changing your cassette is a great way to customize your bike.
Why Is It Important To Keep A Bike Cassette Clean?
Keeping your bike cassette clean is really important, and there are a lot of benefits that come with it. Here’s why you need to keep your cassette clean:
A clean cassette not only can work much more smoothly with the chain, but it also shifts a lot better. You would never see a professional rider with a dirty cassette.
When you have dirt on your cassette and you start pulling the chain around the system, it wears the cassette down very quickly. You can wear out a cassette nearly twice as fast if you leave it dirty.
A clean cassette sounds amazing. It’s incredibly quiet, and the chain glides across the cassette. A dirty cassette crunches and sounds awful, definitely not recommended.
A clean cassette looks amazing! There’s no denying when your cassette is full-on clean; then it just makes the bike absolutely gleam. It really shows a rider cares when you go to the extent of properly cleaning a cassette.
Our Guide To Cleaning A Cassette
Now for the exciting bit, let’s clean a cassette. You will need to allow roughly 20 to 30 minutes to do this, and here’s what you are going to need:
- Bike Stand
- Chain Cleaning Tool
It’s a simple job. We recommend taking your time through each step. The more particular you are, the better your cassette will look at the end.
Clean The Bike
The first place to start is by giving the bike a light clean in the bike stand. A good rinse and scrub of the wheels and frame are very important.
You are aiming to get all the big clumps of dirt off. You don’t need to pay a huge amount of attention to the drivetrain until the next step.
Degrease The Drivetrain
The only way to clean your cassette and keep it clean is by doing the full drivetrain. You are going to want to take your degreaser and spray it on the drivetrain. Let it soak in for around 2 minutes, and then get your scrubbing brush.
Here you will scrub the chainrings and the cassette to break up all the dirt and grease, which wouldn’t typically come off with water. Then you will want to take the chain cleaning tool and spray some degreaser in before running the chain through for a minute.
Once you have had a good scrub of all the dirt, rinse the bike off, and you will see a lot of the dirt and grease come off the drivetrain. If any dirt and grease are still on, you will want to get the degreaser, brush it out, and remove it.
Deep Clean The Cassette
You probably think the cassette is pretty clean, and if you’re happy with how it looks now, you can go straight to lubrication. If you want to get it perfect, here’s where you can take it to the next level.
You will want to remove the wheel and then spray a little bit of degreaser on the cassette. Take a small brush if you have one, and then go between each cog. After you have done this, you will want to take a rag and pull it tight and run it between each of the cogs after.
You will find a lot more dirt hidden in that cassette than you might think. Once super clean, pop the wheel back into the bike and give it another rinse down to eliminate all the degreaser.
Add Some Lubrication
Next, you will want to let the bike dry or dry it yourself. You will need to add some lubrication to a chain. Remember not to put too much on, or the cassette will get dirty again quickly.
Remove any excess oil you don’t need with a rag by running the chain through it. Now step back and admire the beautiful clean bike and exceptionally shiny cassette.
A Final Note
A clean cassette is going to do you a lot of favors. It will perform better, look great, and last longer.
We highly recommend that you stay on top of cleaning your bike. The biggest challenge you will face as a cyclist is keeping it clean. Thanks for taking the time to read our article.
Robbie Ferri has spent years working in a bike shop, has worked with industry leading brands on product creation, has been a semi pro athlete, and is a fully qualified strength and conditioning coach. He has broken World Records, bikepacked all over the World and raced ultra distance at a top-level.