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How Often Should I Clean My Mountain Bike?

Mountain biker on trail

Some people hide their faces when we pose this question, but seriously guys, wash your mountain bike at least once per month. It’s based on my experience and advice from cycling professionals. The last thing you want is friction on your bike and that’s what you’ll get when dirt builds up on your precious bike.

Main Reasons to Wash Your Bikes Regularly

Washing our bikes at regular intervals, the drive train, in particular, is the best form of maintenance for it, since it ensures that the speed machine runs effortlessly. Let’s look at a few ways to keep our bikes clean and running efficiently. 

We love it when our bike shifts with ease. Therefore, we should keep it clean to ensure it continues doing so.  That smooth change could easily become frictionecause that’s what dirt causes, and will ultimately wear down your bike.  

Because of reduced mechanical friction, a well-maintained bike will last a long period.

Here are a few more reasons why washing your mountain bike regularly is essential.

  • Your bike will be weighed down by mud. The amount of muck on your bike may not seem like much, but it’s easy to accumulate 1-2 pounds from a single messy ride. There is an increased difficulty in removing the mud from aluminum surfaces after it has dries
  • It’s not a good look to have a muddy mountain bike. Having a dirty bike is not the norm; a basic wash once per month will help
  • It is easier to do a safety examination on a clean bike after the wash. Damage to the framework, damage of the wheels, leaky seals, slashes to the tires, breakage of the cabling, and wear to the brake system you should make checks to identify
  • A safe bike is free of defects, and a spotless bike helps make such defects more noticeable
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Can You Hose Down a Mountain Bike?

Without a doubt! A hose and pail of water and soap is the finest way to wash the bike if you’re following good bike cleaning procedures.

How to Properly Wash Your Mountain Bike

1. Using mild detergent or a bike-specific detergent, fill an empty pail with water and stir. Prevent premature drying by cleaning the bike in a shady location.

2. Use a low-pressure setting on your shower to thoroughly clean your bike. Dirt and debris may be pushed into sensitive areas if significant pressure is applied to areas containing bearings. Grease that is supposed to keep water and dirt out of your bearings may also be washed away by this process.

3. It is recommended that you let the bicycle-specific degreaser absorb in for at least five minutes while you cleanse the other parts of your bike. When using disc brakes, avoid using a degreaser on the brake components as this could cause squeaking.

4. You may also use your brush kit to clean the remainder of the bike even as the foaming degreaser is in action. As long as you don’t mind having a greasy bike, keep your “drivetrain brushes” and “frame brushes” separate. Everything that can be reached with a broom can be scrubbed! As you brush, proceed to dip the bristles into the soapy water.

Brush kits come with a variety of brushes in various sizes and shapes, enabling you access into all the crevices of the bicycle’s framework and trimmings. Soft-bristled brushes are best for the bike frame, while stiffer brushes are better for your transmission.

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5. Bike brush kits the whole drivetrain, along with the pulleys on the back derailleur cage, with your “drivetrain brushes.” You can remove drippy grease from the chain by putting a sponge on the back of your pedals and pedaling backward.

6. For an extra rinse, use the hose’s “shower” setting to clean the bike.

7. You can get rid of excess water by removing your bike from the stand or flipping it over and bouncing on the tires.

8. The bike can be left out in the direct sunlight if it is a clear day. You’ll want to use clean towels to dry the bike as quickly as possible if it isn’t going to dry within a few minutes. Bolts, the transmission, and any other areas prone to water accumulation should receive special attention. Rub the cage as well as chainrings and keep a cloth on the chain as you ride back to dry the drivetrain out.

9. Always add lube (after shaking well) to your drivetrain after drying it to keep the chain moving smoothly. Using one hand to cycle backward and the nozzle held at the chain, gently squeeze the nozzle to release a jet of lubricant. You require at least six pedal revolutions to lubricate the entire chain. After five minutes of soaking in the lubricant, check the chain for damage.

10. Use a rag to remove any excess lubricant. Over-lubricating your drivetrain is a recipe for disaster.

11. If you’re concerned that washing your bike may have damaged your rotors, you can use rubbing alcohol to disinfect them.

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12. Some elements of the bike might have to be re-greased frequently to avoid screeching or seizing as a result of regular washing from derailleurs to saddle rail clamps. You can utilize polish but stay away from the rims and rotors based on your brake type.

Wrapping it up

Washing your mountain bike with a carefully designed bike wash will help keep it looking good and maintain its value.

Our recommendation for road bikes is to “re-grease” the drivetrain every one hundred miles or so. In arid environments, you could also clean your mountain bike for each messy ride, but in wet conditions, you should do it every two weeks.