How to Clean A Mountain Bike

Cleaning your mountain bike after a long ride can be a tedious job. If left ignored, dirt, dust, and grime can damage your bike's frame and make for a less-than-ideal ride. Worse, many forget about their bikes once it's too late! If you're tired of cleaning your bike every week or even every day after riding, you should know tips on keeping it in tip-top condition.

Here is a guide to help you with that.

Why do mountain bikes need cleaning?

Mountain bikes are built to endure different terrain and weather. From sandy, muddy tracks, cliffs, and gravel roads to slippery paved trails, your bike is exposed to various elements that can damage its parts.

The more you ride it outside, the heavier the buildup of mud and grime on its tires and frame. Over time, this can result in the following:

1) Rust Rust is one of the most common problems with mountain bikes. It usually appears on the Chainrings due to water contact and interior parts like bearings. The reason why it's so dangerous is that it can cause the failure of your bike when you attempt to ride off-road. To repair rust on your bike, you can wash it with soap to remove the dirt and then coat it with clear rust-preventative paint.

2) Chips Another problem that comes with riding is chips. They're usually caused by hitting rocks or other complex objects when riding off-road. Depending on what part of your bike is affected, these can chip off the tire, rim, chainring, or derailleur. If left unattended for too long, these parts can easily break, causing further damage to your bike. Fixing a chip depends on where you find it on your bike. You can bring it to a bike store and tell them what happened, or you can do it yourself. For simple chips, try to clean them off with soap and water and then coat them with clear nail polish to see if the chip will disappear. If not, you'll have to drill out and replace the affected part.

3) Imperfections Aside from rust and chips, dirt and grime can also scratch your bike's paint. Though this won't necessarily cause your bike parts to break down, they do take away from the overall look of your bike.
So why not clean your bike regularly? Because it prevents you from seeing cracks on its paint and metal parts.


Reasons to clean your mountain bike

Cleaning your bike comes with many benefits. For one thing, regularly cleaning your bike can prevent you from buying another one. Here are a few more benefits:

1. Improves safety Just like any other vehicle on the road, a bike that's in poor condition can be dangerous. Cleaning your bike makes you less likely to slip off on a muddy trail or fall because of loose handlebars. 

2. Makes your bike last longer Aside from keeping the bike safe and free from defects, regular cleaning can also help make your bike last longer. It is because it removes dirt and grime that can accelerate wear and tear on its parts which will eventually cause them to break down. 

3. Enhances performance A clean frame and wheels can significantly affect how well you ride your mountain bike. For one thing, a clean frame and wheels add to the overall ease of riding. But more importantly, a clean bike means a smoother ride which translates to less effort for you. 

4. Looks better Cleaning your mountain bike regularly can also keep its good looks intact. A freshly washed bike looks brand new – from its paint job to its wheels and tires. It can be significant if you're planning to sell your bike in the future since a dirty bike is less attractive than one that looks like it's been well-cared for. 

5. Prevents rust If you spray your bike with rust-preventative paint before every ride, you'll also avoid the repair costs of a rusty bike. Rust is caused by water contact; you can prevent it by keeping your bike clean. 

6. Makes for easier maintenance, Regular cleaning can also make maintaining your mountain bike more convenient. For example, if you have a damaged chain that has become rusted, the challenge will be to remove the rust before attempting to replace the links. A clean chain is easier to work with, and you can use a brush to scrub dirt and grime.

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Requirements to clean your mountain bike

To clean your bike correctly, you can save money on special equipment. Most of us already have the stuff we need in our houses. So here are the basic requirements:

Requirements to clean your mountain bike

1.Paper Towels and Oils
Most of us have a lot of paper towels in our houses. You can use them for cleaning your bike or for other household chores. But make sure to buy a brand that doesn't leave skin-irritating residue on your skin. Then use those in place of harsh cleansers that may damage the paint on your bike.

2.Bike Wash
You can clean your bike with soap and water, but if you want to do something more, then you can also pour a small amount of dish soap and water into a bucket and scrub the dirt off with a brush or sponge. But make sure to let the mixture sit for at least a few hours before rinsing. The soap will leave residue on your bike if you wash it immediately.

You can use clothespins to keep your bike parts away from dirt and grime. Put them around a part of your bike that is particularly prone to dirt and grime buildup, and then slide them to one side every time you ride your bike, so they don't get damaged by the mud or puddles.

4.Cleaning Solution
If you use a cleaning product that contains bleach, then be sure to let it sit for at least two days before rinsing. It is because bleach kills bacteria and viruses if you rinse it immediately. Soap and water are safe, though less efficiently.

5.Dishwashing Soap
Some dishwashing soap brands contain biodegradable surfactants, which can remove dirt more effectively than regular soap. It is good because it results in a cleaner finish without the need to scrub it with a brush afterward. Some brands also contain enzymes that can help break down dirt into smaller pieces that are easier to rinse off with water, though this is optional to clean your bike properly.

If you've got a bike that's difficult to clean, you'll need a good-quality brush. Brush your bike parts with the bristles and allow the water to run over them several times. It can help loosen dirt and grime from the surface of your bike. If you don't have one, you can also use an old toothbrush or sandpaper to scrub off the dirt on the part of your bike.

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7. Hosepipe
You can use a garden hose to clean your bike. Fill it with warm water, add some soap and then spray the dirt off your bike quickly. It is better than using a bucket and brush because it's faster and more convenient. But be cautious because the pipe can spray dirt into your face, so keep your eyes open.

8. Clean Towels
If you don't have a garden hosepipe, then use clean towels or rags in place of a hosepipe. Fill the bucket with warm water and dishwashing detergent, and soak the towel. Then scrub the dirt off your bike quickly while it's still wet.

9. Degreaser
Oils and detergents can be damaging to your bike's finish. Using a degreaser instead of regular soap and water would be best. Just twist the cap off it, squeeze out the excess water and then spray it onto your bike parts to loosen dirt before wiping them clean with a clean cloth.

10. Lubricant
If you want your bike to run smoothly, you'll need to lubricate it regularly. Assuming that the oil level has been maintained, lubricating with a quality product will help extend the life of your bike parts. Just take some into your bike's components and run the oil around them lightly in a circular motion. Or you can use a spray bottle and then work it into dust grooves, grease points, and rubberized parts of your bike to prevent them from wearing out prematurely.

11. Bike Stand
Obviously, this is optional, but if you want to set up your bike for cleaning, then a bike stand can help. Just put it in the center of your garage or the driveway, and then spray all parts of your bike with a degreaser. After that, wipe them down with a clean cloth.

12. Wheel Chocks
These are also optional, but they can help you get around to cleaning all parts of your bike quickly and more efficiently. Just place them behind the rear tires of your bike while they're on the ground and then maneuver them to get everything from wheels to drivetrain to brakes and even handlebars clean at one time.

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Steps on how to clean your mountain bike

We've listed down some steps on how you can properly clean your bike:

1. Allot Some Space
Be it your garden or your garage. Allot a space that's clean and dry. Do not use your living room or kids' play area. It'll just make your bike dirty again.

2. Remove the Seat
It is necessary to clean the frame of your bike, especially if you are using a hosepipe to clean them off with water. After removing the seat, wipe off the rails and ensure it's dry before putting it back on.

3. Clean the Tires
If your bicycle tires are caked with grime, there's nothing worse than seeing a bunch of caked dirt inside a tire. As you search for some bike cleaning products in your garage, be sure you need a degreaser for tires because it will help loosen dirt and grime, which is stuck deep inside the crevices of your tires from when they've collected too much dust.

4. Clean off the Grips
If you want your bike to run smoothly, you'll need to lubricate it regularly. Assuming that the oil level has been maintained, lubricating with a quality product will help extend the life of your bike parts. Just take some into your bike's components and run the oil around them lightly in a circular motion. Or you can use a spray bottle and then work it into dust grooves, grease points, and rubberized parts of your bike to prevent them from wearing out prematurely.

5. Attend To The Cables
If your gear is not shifting well, it can be due to a dirty cable. Cleaning off will help eliminate friction and make it move smoothly again. Just spray degreaser onto the tubes of your bike's frame and wipe it off with a clean cloth.

6. Prep The Brakes
You can remove dirt around the brake pads using a damp rag and soap powder, just like how you cleaned your handlebars before.

7. Apply Something
You must pay attention to the condition of your brakes. If it's rusted, apply something so dust and rust will not eat away the metal surface. You can use this for your wheels and gears as well.

After cleaning your bike with water and a degreaser, you might want to clean it off with a towel or rag without water to get rid of any dirt from the surfaces. Then let it dry for some time before assembling your bike again like how it was before cleaning them off properly.

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Cleaning your bike after every ride is paramount to your bike's longevity. Using these tips will surely help you clean them off quickly and efficiently. It will not only help extend the life of your bike, but it will also make sure that it functions properly as well.

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