It has become apparent that some of us Aussie mountain bike riders will have a bit more time on their hands, so let's make the most of it! After a big summer of riding your bike is probably due for a bit of love. It's time to give your bike a good, thorough wash. But, this simple task done wrong can actually damage parts on your bike. Here are some tips to make sure you clean up your bike just right.
Simple but it makes a huge difference. Before you get in their spraying away with your bike cleaner make sure you give the bike a quick hose off first. This will get rid of the easy to move dirt and debris before you get in there with the cleaner. You'll also get more mileage out of your cleaner as you're spraying it onto a wet surface, money saver! A leading mountain bike cleaner we've used it the famous 'Muc-off'.
Watch Your Bearings
Your bike may like a good rinse but your bearings don't. When washing with a pressure washer avoid pointing it directly at your bearings (linkage, headset, bottom bracket and hubs). If water penetrates the bearing seal the bearing will quickly deteriorate and become rough when rotated. Be gentle on these areas and you'll extend your bearing life and save yourself some money!
Keep Your Scrubber Away From The Brakes
Whatever brush or scrubbing device you're using on your bike keep it away from the brakes! The chances are as you scrub away feverishly your scrubber will get grease / oil on it whether it be from your drivetrain, linkage or even suspension. Putting this on your brakes will quickly contaminate rotors / pads and significantly degrade braking performance. Same rules apply if you're drying your bike with a rag.
This is a slightly more delicate area but one that needs to remain clean to avoid expensive repairs. A build up of dirt and grit on the fork stanchions or rear shock shaft can actually wear away the anodised coating with replacement crown steerer unit's (stanchions) costing up to $700, so listen up! Once again you're going to have to avoid pointing the pressure washer at the suspension seals. The water and oil in your suspension don't mix well and will require a service if it gets through. You're best off rubbing these areas down with a soft brush and drying them off with a rag. Even if you don't have time to wash your bike completely after a ride we'd recommend you wipe down the seals with a rag to clear debris.
The Final Touch
Now your bike is all clean from the build up of dirt and grime it's looking good... but, it's lacking that brand new shine from when you first got it. Well we've even got an answer for that! 'Maxima SC1' is a great spray polish labelled 'new bike in a bottle' and it may as well be. Look at the photo below and you can see where it has been applied and where it hasn't, this stuff is legit! Like most things 'SC1' doesn't play well with your brakes so we recommend spraying it onto a rag away from your bike before giving the bike a polish.
There you have it, a few little things to remember when washing your bike to make sure you're using your time wisely and getting the best results possible!