1. Get someone else to do it (if only!)
If you can’t afford your own personal bike wash valet then you should watch this video (and read our guide below) about how best to wash a mountain bike.
When bikes get dirty — and left dirty — they are incredibly prone to wearing out at an alarming rate. Here’s how Nino Schurter’s bike gets spotless.
First off, Nino doesn’t wash his bike. Yanick the Mechanic does. You may recall Yanick from our Geek out watching Nino’s World Champs bike being built up story.
Top tips for how to clean your bike
0. Before cleaning, ride you bike up and down the road, this will fling the worst of the mud off the tyres and frame. You can also aim for a few puddles to help it on its way.
1. Prop the bike up in a workstand. Pro’s Bottom Bracket workstand (£24.99, Madison.co.uk) is perfect for this job – it’s lightweight, folds up and works with any bike.
2. Buy a pair of thick rubber gloves to keep your hands warm, not the standard yellow Marigolds, you’ll need something thicker than that. It’s also a good idea to wear some wellies to keep your feet dry.
3. You don’t have to use a bike cleaner but it’s handy for shifting old lube and grime that’s collected on the drivetrain. One of the most tenacious but also kind to paintwork is Rhino Goo’s Fast Action Cleaner (£6.43, demon-tweeks.com).
4. If you’re using an old-school bike cleaner or have a limited water supply, first drench the whole frame to soften the mud. Some detergent in your water will help the mud slide off.
5. You’ll need a range of brushes to dislodge the worst of the mud. Halfords car specific are good value and work well or you can opt for a dedicated MTB kit such as Muc Off’s 5X Premium brush kit (£29.99, silverfish-uk.com).
6. Tackle the major areas first. Try to remove any compacted mud around the swingarm, fork brace, etc.
7. The hardest parts to clean are the tyres. There are specific brushes for this but you just need a bit of elbow grease.
8. Next work your way from the top down, using a soft brush to loosen and dislodge the rest of the mud.
9. Give the frame a final once over with a sponge and then dry off any excess water. We use Halfords Supersoft Microfibre Towel (£5, halfords.com).
10. Run a bead of lube on the chain and a little bit of suspension fluid, or oil, round the seals on the fork, shock and dropper post. After compressing them a few times, clean off any dirt/excess lube.
11. Finally, carefully apply a coating of silicone spray to the frame, such as Rhino Shine (£10.99, demon-tweeks.com) this will strop mud sticking to it and it’ll be much easier to cleaner next time you’re out on the bike.
Other top tips
A trip to your local ‘pound shop’ may result in you finding some weird and wonderfully shaped brushes, ideal for difficult to reach places.
If you do polish the bike, make sure you don’t get any on the braking surfaces, either rims or disc rotors, or you’ll have to go through the whole clean and degrease process again.
Put your soap on the brush, not the bike. Saves waste. Cleans better and safer.
For suspension, don’t spray polish/cleaner/protector directly on to the suspension unit. Spray/douse it on to a lint free rag and then apply.
Take the wheels out. Easier to clean the rest of the bike. Easier to keep disc rotors away from any nasties.