Cleaning your mountain bike does more than simply keep it looking good after a muddy ride. Giving your mountain bike a light cleaning after every ride and a deep cleaning each week (depending on frequency of use) is an essential practice to keep your bike in top working condition. If dirt, grease or mud accumulates in the wrong areas, it can chew into your drivetrain and other mechanical parts, accelerating corrosion and damage. That can result in costly repairs, and time away from the sport you love.
Giving your mountain bike a thorough cleaning only takes only a few minutes to accomplish. This removes any unseen dirt and grime buildup in sensitive areas and help you find any wear and tear on your bicycle components before they become a larger problem. A little bit of mud speckling here and there may not do much harm, but if your bike has been through some serious activity, or if you're pulling it out for the first time this season, you'll want to get out the brushes and give it a good, thorough cleaning.
What you'll need:
If you have a bike stand, this is helpful as you'll need to access the entirety of the bike for cleaning, including pedal motion for cleaning your bike. Otherwise, lay down a towel to protect your seat and handlebars, and turn your bicycle upside-down.
- Clean cloth or sponge: For grease, oil and wax-related tasks and for general cleaning and drying.
- Brushes: Small enough to get into hard-to-reach places where dirt & grime can collect. Old toothbrushes work great.
- Hose or bucket of water: Careless water use can cause damage to sensitive bearing systems on your bicycle. Avoid using pressure washers for this reason.
- Soap / general cleaner: Use Simple Green Bike Cleaner & Degreaser, a non-toxic, biodegradable formula free of alcohol, ammonia or other harsh chemicals.
- Chain lubricant: Properly lubricating your chain helps extend the life of your drivetrain. Always apply bicycle-specific lube oil to a clean chain.
- Container: For soaking bike chain (optional)
- Rinse down your bike with hose, sponge or wet cloth - Use a hose or bucket of water and a sponge or cloth to wet the entire surface of your bike.
- Clean the drivetrain - Spray Simple Green Bike Cleaner & Degreaser directly into your drivetrain, use a toothbrush to work into smaller areas and penetrate tough grime, dirt & grease.
- Clean the chain – You can soak your chain in Simple Green, or hand-clean it directly.
- For soaking: Remove the chain from your bike, and submerge it in a 50/50 mix of Simple Green and water in a bucket or other container. Soak the chain for 5-7 minutes before rinsing with water and thoroughly drying. Re-lubricate the chain prior to putting it back on your bike.
- For hand cleaning: Use a cloth soaked in Simple Green to loosely wrap around the chain, and run the pedal so the chain moves through the cloth. For dirtier chains, you’ll need to use a scrub brush or toothbrush to work out the grime, being careful to work out any buildup between the gears.
Bonus tip: Use Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner as a laundry pre-treat to remove grime and grease from your cleaning cloths. Dampen the cloths with water, apply full-strength Simple Green and rub in gently. Wash as usual.