Cleaning mountain bike might feel like a chore, but this is a must to keep your bike in its peak condition. From your safety to the bike’s performance, regular cleaning can deliver a plethora of benefits. It will make the bike work like new and minimize wear on the components. This is also a great way to avoid costly repairs.
If you are clueless about how to clean a mountain bike, keep on reading and learn from the insights we’ll share. It might require a bit of elbow grease, but it is nothing that you can’t handle.
What You Will Need for Cleaning Mountain Bike
First, gather everything that you will need. Cleaning will be a lot easier if all the materials are ready when you need them.
- Dirty mountain bike
- All-purpose cleaner
- Brake cleaning fluid
A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean a Mountain Bike
Ready to get wet and dirty? Below, we’ll talk about some of the most important things to do when cleaning mountain bike.
1. Find the Right Area
The first thing that you need to do is to find an area where you can clean the mountain bike. You will need generous space so that you can move around easily. Ideally, it should be outdoors. Do it in a bright environment so you can see every part of the mountain bike when cleaning. It will also be good if there is a bike stand so that you can turn the bike upside down. Plus, the area should be well ventilated for you to work comfortably.
2. Rinse the Bike
Now that you found an area where you can clean the mountain bike, it is time to give it an initial rinse. Similar to how we take a bath, your bike needs to get wet first before you clean it thoroughly. In this step, you will have two options – to use a pressure washer or a hose. Which one is better? We’ll answer this question below.
Is it OK to pressure wash a mountain bike?
It is not OK to pressure wash a mountain bike. Sure, it will make your life easier. However, too much pressure from the water can also damage some of the components. It can also push water into the bearings and other parts, which can speed up wear.
Is it OK to hose down your mountain bike?
YES, it is ok to hose down your mountain bike. This is a good cleaning method because it exerts minimal pressure to get rid of the dirt and debris that could have been stuck between the bike’s components, such as the chains. This is an easier alternative to using a brush. It is better compared to using a pressure washer.
3. Wash the Frame
Cleaning a mountain bike requires doing it part by part. Start by cleaning the frame. Fill a bucket with warm and soapy water. Dip a clean cloth into the frame. Wring it out and clean the frame. You can also use a big brush. Start from the top to the bottom. Work from left to right. Do the cleaning in a single direction and make sure that you cover all parts, especially the edges or corners. Be careful to not damage the frame. Especially if it has decals, too much water can peel the sticker off the bike.
When cleaning the frame and the other parts, make sure that you have the right bike cleaning kit. This is a great investment for every rider as it comes with most of the things that you will need, especially brushes and scrubs.
4. Clean the Drivetrain
Once you are done with the frame, the next thing that you need to clean is the drivetrain. The latter is a collective term that refers to all the moving parts of the bike, including the chain and chainrings. Throughout the use of the bike, it will attract mud and dirt. If debris is stuck between the moving parts, they will not move smoothly. This will compromise the overall performance of the mountain bike.
You will need an all-purpose cleaner when cleaning the drivetrain. Spray the cleaner on the components. Grab a brush on one hand and use the other hand to spin the mountain bike pedal. While doing this, the bristles of the brush will go through the spaces of the chain and have them cleaned.
5. Clean the Brakes
The MTB brakes are crucial for your safety, so keep them clean to ensure their exceptional stopping power regardless of the terrain conditions. Over time, brakes can become squeaky. The pads may also wear out. In some instances, the brake pads can no longer be spared, and hence, they will need a replacement.
To clean your mountain bike’s disc brakes, use the appropriate tool to take them out of the mountain bike. You don’t need to do this after every ride as it can be quite a complicated task. Do this as a part of routine maintenance once or twice a year. Use a brake cleaning fluid or alcohol. Sanding the brakes might also be necessary.
6. Clean the Seat
The MTB saddle is often overlooked when cleaning a mountain bike. You don’t need to remove the seat post from the bike. You can have it cleaned while attached to the frame. Use soapy water and brush to clean the saddle and the post. Clean thoroughly to be sure that no traces of dirt or mud will be left behind. Do not forget to clean the clamp as well.
7. Clean the Tires and Wheels
The mountain bike tires directly get in contact with the ground, which makes it prone to dirt. especially if you are often on muddy terrains. Dirt can affect the tire’s performance, making regular cleaning important. It would be best to remove the tires before cleaning them. Use a big brush to clean the rubber of the tire. Apply enough pressure to get rid of the dirt that has already hardened.
Cleaning the MTB wheels are equally important. Use brush and soap to clean the spokes, valve, and other parts of the wheel. Doing this will make them shiny and spotless.
As a part of cleaning the mountain bike, you should also check the pressure of the tire. It will be good to have a digital tire pressure gauge for easy reading. On the sidewall, you can see the pressure that the manufacturer recommends. Even if you will not be using the mountain bike for a while, see to it that the tires are inflated.
8. Rinse and Dry
Now that you are done cleaning the different parts of the mountain bike, it’s drying time. The best way to do this is to dry the bike outdoors. Do it somewhere there is no dust. Otherwise, the bike will become dirty right after cleaning it. Before drying it out under the heat of the sun, rinse and wipe all parts using a clean and dry cloth. Do not use the same cloth that you have earlier used for cleaning the mountain bike. Place a dry cloth on top of the moving parts and pedal the bike to speed up drying time.
This is one of the most important parts of cleaning mountain bike. Using a lubricant will minimize friction in the moving parts. This will make sure that they will be as smooth as possible. More than minimizing wear on the components of the bike, it also positively impacts the mountain bike’s overall performance.
Start by lubricating the suspension. While doing this, be extra-cautious making sure that the lube does not get into the brakes. Use MTB chain lubes to clean the drivetrain. You should know the first parts that have been lubricated so that you will also know what to wipe off first. This way, you are giving the lube more than enough time to cling.
10. Replace the Worn Parts
While a lot of the parts of the mountain bike can be cleaned to restore their full functionality, there are instances wherein cleaning will no longer do. If that’s the case, then you need to invest in a replacement. For instance, the brake pads may no longer have grooves, and this can compromise its stopping power. Hence, you need to get new brake pads.
Look at the tires, chains, and other parts. If they are showing significant signs of damage, then take this as a sign that you need to buy new ones. It is better to spend on new parts than compromise safety and performance.
11. Wax and Polish
When it comes to how to clean a mountain bike, waxing and polishing are some of the most important procedures. This will help in restoring the aesthetic appeal of the mountain bike. Use a silicone polish and microfiber towel for polishing. Do this on the MTB wheels, frame, and other metal parts that you want to look shiny and clean. Aside from restoring the appearance of your bike, this cleaning procedure will also make it harder for mud to stick.
12. Store the Bike
If you won’t be using the mountain bike, pay attention to its proper storage. Keep it in a cool and dry place. If possible, use a mountain bike rack. Wall-mounted racks are good if you want to save space. A cover is also a good idea, which will help in keeping external elements out of the bike. For prolonged storage, air out the bike once in a while, and allow it to breathe, especially if it has been stuck in a cover for a long time.
Q: How Should I Clean My Mountain Bike?
To clean your mountain bike, use warm water and soap. A clean cloth and soft-bristle brush will also be necessary to get rid of the dirt and grime stuck between the parts of the bike. Rinse and dry the bike after cleaning. Use a lubricant in the moving parts. Polish the frame if needed.
Q: How often Should I Clean my Mountain Bike?
Ideally, you should clean your mountain bike right after every ride. For most people, however, they do not have the luxury of time to do this. It will be good to wash the bike at least once a month if you are a regular rider. Deep cleaning, which requires removing and cleaning most parts, should be done at least once a year.
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Knowing how to clean a mountain bike will let you save money! You don’t have to pay the pros to do the job for you! More importantly, you can prolong the functional life of the bike. Regular cleaning will minimize wear on the components and will also avoid costly repairs. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty if it means keeping your bike at its best!