How to Clean a Mountain Bike – Exclusive Guide by Experts
How to clean a mountain bike?
Mountain bikes are awesome, and if you want them to continue servicing you as well as they have been, then you need to learn on how to clean a mountain bike properly. You should know how to clean every single part of a bicycle.
The issue of how to clean and maintain a mountain bike isn’t all that complex. It’s a straightforward process that should take you twenty minutes or less.
Necessary steps at a glance on cleaning a mountain bike
- Cleaning the Drivetrain & Chain
- Cleaning the Frames and Wheels
- Keeping Your Bicycle Clean
The Cleaning Supplies Required to Wash a Bike
Cleaning a bicycle is a dirty job so make sure you put on the appropriate attire first. Collect the necessary supplies you will need for the job which will include the following:
- Repair stands.
- Rags and sponges.
- Degreasing solvent.
- A bicycle cleaning brush.
- A chain scrubber.
- A biodegradable dishwashing liquid.
As you will continue cleaning your bike over time, you will eventually decide which of the above supplies will be the most necessary and which to leave out. However, for now, try having all of them.
There are three parts on mountain bike cleaning properly.
Part 1: Cleaning the Drivetrain & Chain
The drivetrain should be the first part of your bicycle that you attend to. It consists of four components, a cassette, chain rings, a rear derailleur and the chain itself. As you can see this part of the bicycle has a lot of moving parts and thus requires thorough attention.
- The first step will be to place the bike in an elevated position, or you can also turn it upside down to start on the job. The goal here is to get in a position where you can pedal it without moving. This will help keep the chain in motion as you clean it.
- Take the biodegradable dishwashing liquid (bio degreaser) and together with a rag, use them to start scrubbing the drivetrain. A bio degreaser will clean the grime but will keep your chain safe.
- Peddle and run the chain through the rag with the bio degreaser several times, at least three. Make sure you completely remove all patches of grime.
- Use the bicycle cleaning brush to reach for the grime and dirt in between your gears. Dip the brush severally in water and the bio degreaser as you keep on scrubbing them. Use a screwdriver to remove piled up deposits from areas that are difficult to reach.
- Use the rag to wash off the grime from the derailleur and the chainrings too. Carefully go through all the nooks and crannies.
- Once all this is done, lube your bike chain immediately. Wait for it to dry and then rotate the chain as you add drops of lube through the links. Once it has a fine coating, use the rag to clean up the excess lube. It is best to do this process at the very end after cleaning the entire bike.
Part 2: Cleaning the Frames and Wheels
- To clean the frame and the wheels, place the bicycle on a rack, against a tree or turn it over. If you are turning it over ensure it rests on a mat or sheet so that the seat and handlebars don’t get dirty.
- Use a hose to spray the bicycle at a small pressure. The goal here is not to use the pressure of the water to remove the dirt but rather to get the bike wet and ready for scrubbing.
- Use a new rag or a sponge and together with some warm water and a biodegradable dishwashing liquid, start scrubbing the frames. Do not use the rag you cleaned the drivetrain with, here.
- Take out the wheels so that you quickly clean them as efficiently as possible. The wheels also make it tougher to wash the parts that are closer to the ground, and they are usually the ones with the most dirt.
- Always use a soft material to clean the frame. Rough materials will scratch the paint off, and this increases the chances of your bike developing rust.
- Caliper breaks can be cleaned with a rough material while the brake discs should be cleaned with something soft. These two parts may however not be present on your bike.
- Using the rough side of your sponge, clean the rims properly and wipe each spoke carefully until they all look shiny and new.
- A toothbrush can be used to clean the hub, nuts, and bolts.
- The tires are not necessary to clean. However, if there are large deposits of dirt on it, say mud, use a brush to scrub them off.
- Clean the rear cassette using a rag and try ‘flossing’ in between the gears to remove the dirt inside. Finally, take the bike to a clean, dry place where it can sit out in the open and dry under the sun.
Part 3: Keeping Your Bicycle Clean
- Cleaning your bike regularly is very important because it will go a long way in increasing the lifespan of your bicycle. Failure to clean it often leaves the dirt to accumulate within its parts which cause wear and tear thus reducing its durability. Plus, the ride will no longer be as smooth as it was when it was new.
- Always perform a quick clean after riding your bicycle through wet places or while it’s raining. Dry it off and ensure you check the chain for lubrication. Water can wash away the lube. Lube it if it feels dry.
- Always remember to lube all the moving parts of your bike and not just the chain. Such components include the shifters and the pivots on your breaks.
- Always maintain a close watch on your drivetrain. It is the part that needs to be kept the cleanest, and sometimes you may be required to clean it several times more than the rest of the bicycle.
- Clean our bicycle at least monthly if you cannot manage to do so once every two weeks. However, your frequency of use and where you rode it should determine how much you clean it.
Why Should You Clean Your Mountain Bike?
You may wonder why bikes should be cleaned and well, I have two vital reasons for you.
- Mountain bikes are made of parts, and these parts move and grit against each other to give you the excellent time you have with it. However, as you use it, dirt gets into these parts and clogs them. This reduces the efficiency of their performance and wears them out. Cleaning helps to remove such damaging materials.
- You may also ride your bike in pools of water which washes away the lubrication and can also cause rusting of the parts. When you clean your bike, you keep it safe from these effects and risks.
- Now, remember that the goal of having a mountain bike was not to always keep it clean. Roam the wild with it. Let it get muddy and have dirt pile on it while you ride your heart away; after all, you now know the process to clean a bike after a ride. But after the fun, I’m sure you will take a bath. In the same way, let your mountain bike be clean too.
- Never use high pressure to hose your bike. This can allow water to get inside the parts of the bicycle and cause rusting or de-lubricate some components.
- Never use a brush or any such abrasive materials to clean the frame. It corrodes the paint exposing your bike to greater risks of rusting.
- Always let your bicycle dry off completely before putting it away or riding it again. Failure to do so can lead to rusting.
- Forever remember to apply a lubricant after cleaning.
- Do not under any circumstance use non-bio degradable substances in cleaning the bike as they can damage the parts and cause them to rust.
- While cleaning the bike, some commonly forgotten places include the jockey wheels, the bike frame, the back side, the joints and the hinges close to the chain. Always remember to clean these too.
- If the rags fail to clean the chain properly, you can buy a chain cleaner to remove the stubborn grime deposits. They cost between $20-$30 and mostly come with a degreaser and a brush.
- Lube helps to keep the chain frictionless as it moves and keeps out grime. So, make sure you lube your chain after you are finished cleaning your bike.
- Warm water cleans better than cold water.
- You can soak some resistant Grimes with a little bit of soap and hot water to let them soften out so that it is easier to clean them.
- Wiping the dirty parts of your bike with a wet cloth after a muddy ride will prevent you from doing a deeper cleaning later when the mud dries within the parts of your bike.
Question: Can I use soap to clean my bike?
Answer: Soap contains a lot of salt which can cause corrosion to your bike. For the best and safest cleaner, use the bike cleaner recommended by your manufacturer.
Question: How can I clean my bike without wetting the seat?
Answer: Try covering the seat with a waterproof material or if you know how to remove the seat before cleaning the bike.
Question: How many times should I clean my bike in a week?
Answer: The frequency of cleaning should be determined by how much you use your bike. If it’s daily, once or twice a week should do it. For guys who use it weekly, cleaning the bike once every month should be enough.
After going through the article, I hope you may find all the information you need on how to clean a mountain bike properly in short time period.