How to Clean a Mountain Bike: A Beginner’s Guide

Last updated on March 10th, 2022 at 01:17 pm

Cleaning your mountain bike is as important as riding your bike. You don’t just ride your mountain bike and leave it in your basement with dirt and grime all over. Not only will that lower the lifespan of your bike. But this can also slow down your skill progression.

Having a clean bike isn’t all about getting rid of dirt and mud. But it also makes the components function properly. You can even become a better and faster mountain biker if you’ve got a clean bike!

So, how to clean a mountain bike?

In this article, we’ll show you the right way on how to clean a mountain bike. We’ll also discuss the things you need and some tips on how to save time and effort when cleaning.

Things You Need

  • Hose with flowing water
  • Chamois towel
  • Brush for tires
  • Thin brush for drivetrain
  • Soap
  • Degreaser
  • Chain lubricant
  • WD-40 silicone spray

Step-by-step Guide on How to Clean a Mountain Bike

Step 1: Setup your wash area

The first thing to do is to have a space that is fully dedicated to washing your bike. We recommend you choose a place where there is good drainage. It’s also better if you have a bike stand workstation so your bike won’t move.

Make sure that your wash area is well lit and has enough room for you to move around. Note that pressure washers aren’t recommended!

They can strip off grease from bearings. They can also damage your suspension. Then prepare all the things you need. These include a hose with flowing water, two brushes, a chamois towel, and soap.

Step 2: Rinse your bike

Extend your hose and direct its gentle flow of water to your bike. Spray it from top to bottom then apply soap throughout your body.

Use your soft brush to get rid of the grime stuck on your frame. Start from your grips and handlebars, then work your way to the dropper stanchions and fork. Apply soap to the frame and gently brush it.

Step 3: Clean your tires

Brush your tires once you’re done washing the cockpit, suspension, and frame. Use your hard brush to remove the dirt stuck on your tire treads, rims, and sidewall.

Step 4: Clean your drivetrain

Foam your drivetrain with soap. Use another brush to remove the dirt on your cogs. The brush’s bristles should be softer than the other brushes you’ve used previously. Scrub your jockey wheels using the brush to get rid of stuck leaves and twigs.

But be careful as this can dis-align the jockey wheels. You can also apply a degreaser on your cogs, crankset, and chainring. Also, just be sure you rinse them off properly as they can dry up your bearings.

Step 5: Rinse

Rinse your bike with gently flowing water using your hose. Use the chamois towel to get rid of the soap and degreaser. You can also use your bare hands while rinsing if you didn’t use any degreaser.

Rotate the pedals backward so you can properly rinse off the chain. Check for any scratches, dents, or cracks on your frame. There’s a good chance there’s none. But these are common if you’re riding downhill and enduro trails.

Step 6: Deep clean

Repeat the process above if you’ve got a very dirty bike. We recommend you remove the front and rear wheel so you can deep clean its internals.

Check your chainring and jockey wheels because they usually hold compressed grime and dirt. Make sure your drivetrain is deep cleaned because the slightest dirt can lead to premature wear and tear.

Step 8: Dry your bike

Dry your bike by using a chamois towel. Start on your fork stanchions, then to your dropper, and onto your shock. Wipe your frame, fork lowers, cockpit, and wheels. Use another cloth towel to get rid of the moisture on your bike.

Get your WD-40 silicone spray and spray a small amount to another clean and dry cloth. Then wipe this cloth to your fork, dropper, and shock stanchions.

This serves as a light lube that ensures a smoother movement. Use another towel to dry your cogs, crankset, chain ring, and jockey wheels. We recommend you use a towel with a harder cloth.


How to Clean a Mountain Bike - conclusion

Learning how to clean a mountain bike is an important skill to know if you’re a mountain biker. This is where the longevity and performance of your bike depend on. A clean bike is a fast bike. This will then make you a better mountain biker.

Also, remember to store your bike inside your house as much as possible. Don’t leave it out in the garage as this exposes it to the elements such as rain and too much heat. Put your bike in an upright position so that the brake fluid won’t mess up.

It’s also best if you have a dedicated bike stand like Scorpion so your bike won’t fall down or get scratched.


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