If you ride mountain bikes, chances are you’ll be familiar with how filthy your steed can get after a ride; and even more so when you ride in the winter. In this blog, we’ll be looking at why you should clean your bike and how often to clean it. We’ll also show you exactly how to clean your mountain bike with a step-by-step guide to cleaning your mountain bike.
Why should I clean my mountain bike?
Some clean their mountain bike after every ride, some think a quick rinse now and then will suffice, and some others don’t bother looking after their bikes at all, only to regret it later down the line (when they’re having to send it in for a service 6 months too early) …
Truth is, there’s no right or wrong way to do things. However, there are a few rules of thumb that will help keep your bike running smoothly for longer and looking its best whenever you need it to. After all, grinding a dirty chain through your drivetrain is only ever going to shorten its lifespan, as will filthy brake pads or a grimy cockpit.
Here are a few reasons why you should give your bike a proper clean from time to time:
- Cleaning your bike regularly helps lengthen your components’ lifespan
- Keeping a clean and lubed-up drivetrain makes pedalling a lot easier
- A well-maintained bike won’t need to be serviced as often
- Your bike will look better and feel nicer to ride
How often should I clean my mountain bike?
How often you need to clean your mountain bike will depend on how muddy and filthy your rides are.
In the summer (i.e., dry and dusty conditions), you could get away with up to 10 or so rides before your bike will need proper attention, so long as your chain is appropriately lubed and your frame and components appropriately protected (more on this later).
In the winter (i.e., wet and muddy conditions), you may need to give your mountain bike a proper clean after every ride or two. The last thing you want is for mud and other contaminants to start creeping into your bearings, chain links and other drivetrain or suspension components.
What products should I use to clean my mountain bike?
There are many bike-cleaning brands on the market, but we can highly recommend Morgan Blue. Where it may lack in marketing pizzazz, Morgan Blue makes up for it in the quality of their formulas, ensuring an efficient and thorough clean every time.
Not only that, but their products are made in Belgium (the home of high-performance cycling), and they are tried and tested by some of the world’s best in the pro peloton.
Now that you know how often to clean your bikes and what products to use, it’s time to get into it. Following our step-by-step guide to cleaning your mountain bike will have your steed looking fresh and performing its best in no time.
STEP 1 – CLEANING YOUR MOUNTAIN BIKE
This is as simple as it sounds. Using a hose or bucket of water, simply rinse your entire bike to loosen grime and remove the chunkiest pieces off your frame and drivetrain.
1.2 Clean your drivetrain
After giving your bike a quick pre-rinse, simply spray your Morgan Blue Chain Cleaner generously onto your chain, sprockets, pulley wheel and chainring. With your Chain Brush, clean the more delicate areas of your drivetrain, such as the jockey wheel and around your chainring, then give the chain a backwards spin while brushing on your chain.
Use the Cassette Brush on your sprockets brushing the chain backwards as you move up and down the cassette. Once you’ve completed a full chain rotation, rinse your drivetrain using clean water.
1.3 Clean your frame and suspension
Next up is your frame and suspension. With your bike still wet, spray Mud-Off all over and let it activate for 2-5 minutes. Then take your Wheel Brush and agitate the formula gently until it foams up.
With your Quick & Clean Brush, go ahead and agitate those hard-to-reach areas such as suspension linkage, hub and rear triangle. The extra-long length of the brush will make light work of it!
You can give your frame another rinse now using clean water.
1.4 Clean your tyres and rims
Once your frame has been cleaned up, it’s time to give your tyres and rims some love. Spray your wheels with Mud-Off generously and let it activate for a minute or two.
The rims can be a delicate surface, especially if you have carbon rims, so we recommend using Morgan Blue’s soft bristled Wheel Brush. Your tyre tread however may need a little more strength on the brush. There we recommend Morgan Blue’s Cassette Brush, which will help remove all ingrained dirt, leaving your tyre looking box fresh.
1.5 Rinse your bike clean
The final step in your bike clean is to simply rinse it all off with clean water. Your drivetrain should be spotless and frame smear-free.
STEP 2 – PROTECTING YOUR FRAME AND COMPONENTS
2.1 Protecting your frame
You’ll need: Polish, Clean Microfibre Cloth
Whilst your bike looks great right now, the job is not over yet. It’s time to give your frame a little shine. Not only will Morgan Blue’s Polish give your frame that extra little spark, but it will also leave a thin protective film that prevents corrosion and oxidation, all the while repelling dust, dirt, and mud.
For this, spray Morgan Blue’s Polish on your frame, then wipe dry with a clean microfibre cloth. Make sure not to spray near your rims (for rim brakes) or rotors (for disc brakes) to avoid contamination.
2.2 Protecting your suspension
You’ll need: Silicone Spray, Clean Microfibre Cloth
Want your suspension to remain completely dirt and contaminant-free while riding? Then it’s a good idea to treat it to a little Silicone Spray after a clean.
Silicone Spray is Morgan Blue’s great multi-use spray that prevents wear and extends your components’ lifespan. The antistatic property of the formula will have dirt and mud slip off your stanchions for a super smooth performance.
Simply spray on and apply with a clean microfibre cloth. Again, ensure not to spray near your rims (for rim brakes) or rotos (for disc brakes).
2.3 Protecting your drivetrain
You’ll need: Mutli Spray, Clean Microfibre Cloth
Your drivetrain is made mostly of steel, which is prone to rust when left out in a damp environment (iron + water + oxygen = rust). It is important to keep your chain, cassette, and derailleur free of moisture whenever possible.
For this, we recommend spraying a light layer of Morgan Blue’s Multi Spray, which will drive moisture away from your drivetrain and keep it rust free for longer.
Once you sprayed around the entire drivetrain, we recommend wiping off the excess by placing a clean cloth under your chain and rotating your cranks backwards.
STEP 3 – LUBING YOUR CHAIN
3.1 Lubricating your chain
You’ll need: Syn Lube
Last but not least is lubrication. Using the correct lube will not only help your drivetrain shift gears super smoothly, but also add an extra layer of protection against the elements. In this instance (after a winter MTB ride), we recommend using Morgan Blue’s Syn Lube.
This lube comes in both aerosol or liquid form, which is down to preference. If using the liquid bottle, we recommend applying one drop of lube per chain link to the top side of the bottom chain. An easy way to do this is to place your lube in the right place then rotate your cranks backwards until you’ve completed a full rotation.
If spraying with the aerosol version, keep your spray nozzle close to your chain (either top or bottom) to avoid overspray and just like with the liquid version, rotate your chain backwards until you’ve completed a full rotation. Wipe off excess afterwards, ensuring your tyres are clean and lube-free.
Do not spray lube near your rims (for rim brakes) or rotors (for disc brakes).
That’s it! You’ve completed a thorough maintenance job on your bike, and your next ride will be all the better for it. If you have any questions on how to clean your mountain bike, our team are experts when it comes to Morgan Blue products and can advise you in case of need.
Why not kit your workshop out now? Check out the full Morgan Blue range here.