Wash Your Mountain Bike and e-MTB Like a Pro
We know how much mountain bikers love to ride, whatever the weather, including wet conditions with mud. Some even go so far as to prefer rain and slippery terrain to increase the adrenaline rate.
However, once you get back, you have to think about cleaning your mountain bike.
The main problems are:
- find the most efficient way to unclog the bike
- find a suitable place, especially in an apartment.
Table of Contents
Wash Your Mountain Bike and e-MTB Like a Pro Step-by-Step Guide
Why keep a bike clean?
The only thing that can destroy your mountain bike without you realizing it is the mud and dirt that comes with it. The mud accelerates the wear of all the moving parts of the bike, in particular the transmission (the chain, the cassette, the derailleur) and the suspensions.
Keeping a dirty bike is also:
- Rolling with all the weight of mud that has accumulated on top,
- Use a bike that does not necessarily want to be used.
A little elbow grease and guarantees extended longevity and a reduction in the number of potential mechanical problems, therefore, savings.
How to wash an electric mountain bike?
When washing an e-bike, special attention should be paid to the electrical components. A few recommendations are in order in addition to those concerning muscle bikes.
First, ensure you have turned off the bike, and the battery is locked. If you have an additional battery (extender), remove it and put the cap on the charging socket.
The motor and battery are designed to shed water while the ATV is in motion. Returning the bike to wash it can cause water to accumulate in the motor and battery, which can cause damage. Do not wash your e-bike upside down.
The motor, battery, handlebar-mounted control, and display are water resistant, but direct spraying of these parts should be avoided.
Always dry your electric bike entirely before storing it; start by bouncing it several times on the ground to remove excess water, then use a cloth to wipe the bike down, paying particular attention to the tightenings and electrical connections.
After washing and drying your e-bike, remove the battery and make sure all connections are dry.
Store your electric bike indoors, in a dry place (never outdoors).
Solutions for washing your mountain bike
If you have the possibility of washing your bike in the open air, go for a wash with water: simple rinsing with a garden hose and sponge bucket and product.
If you are in an apartment, and there is no possibility of washing with plenty of water, we recommend that you find a garden hose or a water point with a bucket (in a cemetery, for example) somewhere; hand and rinse your bike as well as possible.
Pre-rinsing is essential, even essential. It removes most of the dirt, but it is not enough 🙄.
Banish high pressure and opt for medium pressure
The offers of specialized car washes may tempt you, but this technique quickly deteriorates all the parts of the bikes. High-pressure washing promotes the appearance of rust by causing water to penetrate where only lubricant (grease, oil, wax) should be. It damages components, paints, and other stickers.
So you don’t wash your mountain bike with a high-pressure cleaner! Point!
We prefer cleaning with a simple garden hose or, better, thanks to a rechargeable medium-pressure cleaner that can be carried everywhere.
The medium-pressure cleaner removes all the dirt that covers the bike once the ride is over. It is adjustable, and you can adjust its jet as needed.
In addition to its adjustable pressure, which does not damage the bike, it also has another advantage: its autonomy.
To work, it must, the time has a rechargeable battery for several washes, so it does not need to be connected to the mains if charged. It also has a water tank.
Two models to recommend:
Compact (gun and spiral hose that are stored in the base).
Suitable pressure so as not to damage the seals!
Tank size, 3L only. It would be best if you had a 10l gerican, in addition, to be quiet.
Impossible to use the cleaner once plugged in for charging.
15l of water in the tank
Short 12V cable
Use cleaning wipes
If you don’t have enough to wash your bike with water, or you don’t have enough to carry a medium-pressure cleaner, there is another more straightforward and less cumbersome solution: wipes for cleaning.
The cleaning wipes complement or an alternative to washing at medium pressure. They come from the automotive world.
The most effective wipes are those from Vulcanite, which has specific products dedicated to cycling.
How do they work?
⚠️ The goal is not to use too many wipes for ecological and economic reasons.
Making the first pass without wipes is imperative to remove most dirt.
It can be achieved with the following:
- a moistened sponge,
- a specific active cleanser like Muc-off, WD-40, Unpass, or Squirt, following the directions.
Before washing with wipes, you must let your bike dry; otherwise, the wipes are less effective (the water dissolves the active products). To use them, pass them over the surfaces to be cleaned, and you’re done.
The significant advantage is that they can generally access all corners and are lint-free.
They do not contain water but relatively active chemicals and oils to avoid scratching the paint. Vegetable oils serve as anti-friction. There is no need to rub and press; dust and dirt come off independently.
Let the product contained in the wipe act before wiping with the microfiber cloth provided for squalid parts.
They protect all types of frames (whether aluminum or carbon) by covering them with a film that prevents the production of static electricity. They remove excess dirt and grease and avoid oxidation of ferrous metal parts such as chains, chainrings, derailleurs, or sprockets.
After cleaning with the wipe, the microfiber cloth (which is supplied) must be wiped because when used, it heats the wax in the wipe and deposits on the surface to provide a protective layer and shine. The guaranteed effect remains matte, and the gloss regains its shine.
Warning: The microfiber cloth must be clean for a flawless effect. It is machine washable in general without fabric softener at 40°C
You should expect to use two wipes on average for a mountain bike.
When the bike is dirty, and pre-rinsing is not an option, first use an old rag to remove most of the dirt. The wipes are only to be used for finishing.
If your wipe is nearing the end of its life, stop using it on the top of the frame and end it on a wheel or the underside of the frame. When the wipe is completely worn, take a new wipe and return to a part of the top of the bike; even if you haven’t finished your wheels, you will return to it later. If you do not follow this working method, you risk using more wipes than expected because your initial wipe could still be usable (still impregnated with the product it contains) but too dirty so that you can no longer use it. Use cleaner parts.
To sum up: always start by cleaning the cleanest parts and finish with the dirtiest parts.
The wipes are a source of controversy because of their ecological footprint. Although biodegradable, they are not recyclable. A recommendation: never throw them in the toilet bowl!
Other essential accessories for cleaning the bike
To have a clean and reusable bike, you need to have some extra material available.
The most indispensable is the tool for cleaning the chain. You can take a brush or a specific tool (the wipe or sponge may be suitable, but it does not allow you to effectively get rid of all the dirt that slips inside the links).
It is also recommended to bring a brush with soft bristles. It is used to clean the chain, the rims, and all other hard-to-reach parts.
For wheels and brakes, you need a brush that will only be used for this with nylon bristles.
Such as a workshop stand should also be taken to stabilize the bike. It is needed to secure the mountain bike in a high static position with all parts easily accessible (without breaking your back).
Finally, it is also necessary to have a lubricant to pass it on to the moving parts (the transmission in particular).
In conclusion, to be able to wash and maintain your mountain bike like a pro, even when you live in an apartment, you need to be well-equipped to guarantee the longevity of your bike.