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How to clean whitewall bicycle tires to look like new

In this article I’m going to explain how to clean whitewall bicycle tires and make them look like new.

dirty gumwall tire

Whitewall tires or gumwalls look amazing on vintage bicycles, but are also very susceptible to look very dirty. I bought this amazing pair of Schwalbe Fat Franks for my Cannondale M300. But a couple of MTB trails later and I even saw chain marks on the side of the tires. It was time to clean them up.

There is something you have to understand when it comes to cleaning tires. There are dirty tires and there are old tires. You can always remove dirt from bicycle tires, but you cannot restore old tires. So cracks and yellowing will stay cracked and yellow, no matter what you do.

Video Tutorial

Baby wipes and WD-40

A lot of the dirt on the tire is actually grease that’s come off from the chain. What you’ll find is that when you try to wipe it out you’ll actually only make one big mess of things. Grease won’t be wiped off easily. At best you can only smear it across a larger area.

wd 40 1

That’s where the WD-40 comes in. WD-40 works kind of like a sticker remover. It makes the grease more fluid so it can be soaked up rather than smeared out. If you combine the WD-40 with baby wipes or paper towels, you can relatively easily get the grease of the wheel.

It’s best to clean the rim first. If your tires are dirty, your rims are dirty as well. And since the white of the tire will border the rim, any dirt on there is bound to get on the bicycle tire if you don’t remove it.

And while you’re at it, it’s always a wise move to clean the sides of the rim if you have rim brakes. This will improve their performance.

dirty towel

You will need to use several wipes or towels, or else you simply reapply the grease taken off.

fat frank

And that’s how you clean whitewall bicycle tires to look like new! If you like this article give it a thumbs up. If you have any questions or suggestions for new articles, let me know in the comments below. Cheers.

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