How To Clean A Mountain Bike with Disc Brakes

Approx Reading Time: 14 minutes

For those who love outdoor fun activities, adding a mountain bike to your inventory of rides can be the beginning of endless fun. The versatility of mountain bikes in terms of terrain makes them the perfect choice for bike lovers, especially during the warm summer weather. They are also a great way to absorb the beautiful and refreshing blossoms of spring and even autumn. Whether you plan to ride from murky waters or the steep and rugged terrains of mountains and forests, mountain bikes are your go-to choice of ride. Every part of a mountain bike is designed for fun, comfort, and agility.

However, to get the best out of your mountain bike it is imperative that you develop and follow a proper bike cleaning routine.

How To Maintain The Cleanliness Of Your Mountain Bike- The Right Tools To Use

By now, you should be aware that maintaining the cleanliness of your mountain bike is pretty challenging. But, it’s not that complicated. Your mountain bike does not have to sparkle at all times. It’s going to be dirty at some point. Of course, the bike will get dirty the next time the sun will be out. However, a regular cleaning routine is going to prevent issues from arising along the road when you’ll be traveling. Moreover, a clean mountain bike is going to last longer. It’ll also improve your performance on the road. Here are a few tips on how to maintain the cleanliness of your mountain bike including the right tools to use.

1. Get Ready For A Dirty Job 

Of course, cleaning your mountain bike is going to be messy. Remember that in this case, you can’t even wear your favorite clothes because you’re likely to be covered in grime. Therefore, you may put on rubber shoes as well as an apron in order to feel comfortable when cleaning the tires of your bike.

2. Garner Your Cleaning Supplies

Before you think of getting down to scrubbing the tires, you should garner the right supplies for the job. Ensure that you have the following materials:

  • Brush – You’ll use the brush to remove mud as well as any form of road grime. A brush with soft bristles will make it easy for you to lift stubborn dirt.  On that note, you should select a kit that has brushes that have different shapes as well as bristle stiffness. A large brush with soft bristles is perfect for cleaning your frames as well as wheels. 
  • Repair stand – The repair stand, in this case, will serve as a work station. You can mount your bike on it before the cleaning process begins. At the same time, you can use the stand as a supportive platform for your bike. You’ll realize that cleaning the mountain bike when it’s on the stand is easier than when it is on the ground.
  • Degreasing solvent – By now, you understand that a dirty chain is going to accelerate the wear of your chain in various ways. Therefore, when cleaning the chains of your mountain bike, you should use a degreasing solvent. This is a biodegradable cleaning agent that removes sticky dirt particles from the chains of your bicycle. You can also use the same product to clean the frames of your mountain bike.
  • Rags – When cleaning your bike, you’ll need rags to place your cleaning materials on. Rest assured that you’ll also need the rags when you’re still in the process of cleaning. This is solely appended to the fact that you can mount every piece of bike that you’ve cleaned on this surface.
  • Sponges – A sponge is a piece of cloth with a smooth surface. You can use it in cleaning the delicate parts of your bike. While spinning the wheels, ensure that they turn freely. You should also make sure that you use the sponge to scrub the surfaces.

3. Get To Work!

Now that you’ve garnered the right materials for the job, you should get down to work! From lumps of muddy particles embedded in the rims of the mountain bike to sand and leaves, you should be keen on cleaning all parts because these particles may destroy your drivetrains and shift. Besides, these elements are heavy such that you need to shed all parts as soon as possible.

4. Mounting Your Bike On The Repair Stand

Remember, we earlier mentioned that you would need a repair stand in the quest to clean your mountain bike.  It’s now time to use it. After removing the dirt particles from your bike, you should place mount it on the repair stand. Thereafter, you should wipe the entire rig using soapy water. Remember to add a degreaser into the drivetrain as well. Also, remove the wheels so that you’re in a position to clean various areas that may be unseen at this moment. Because the dirt may be stubborn, remember to gently scrub all surfaces of your bike. This is in order to prevent you from scrubbing off the paint.

5. Check Your Bike’s Drive System

The drive train system of your mountain bike is used in transmitting power on the bike. It entails some form of mechanism utilized in converting speed as well as torque through the gear ratios. For that reason, you need to check the pedals of your bike. To achieve this, spin them in order to make sure that they are turning freely. Also, make sure that there’s absolutely no grinding from the worn bearings of the bike. But, in case there is some form of noise generated from the bike, you should replace the bracket. While at it, you also need to turn the pedal and ensure that it rotates the crank. Ensure that you’re keen on the crank as you listen out for noise generated from the bike.

  • The Front Gear Needs To Get Checked

It’s important to check your front gear mechanism and ensure that it’s functioning appropriately. Perhaps to be sure that you’re on the right path regarding this step, you should turn the bike’s pedal and then move the chain up. Thereafter, you should move it down the gears. Use the gear lever in this case because you’re looking as well as listening for existing signs of snagging. In case you hear such sounds, then know that the mechanism isn’t properly aligned. Therefore, it requires some form of adjusting. Go ahead and conduct a similar check with the derailleur as well as gear cogs. 

Why Clean Your Mountain Bike with Disc Brakes?

There is more to routinely cleaning your mountain bike than just silencing those annoying squeaky and squealing disc brakes. The following are some of the primary reasons why you need to clean your mountain bike including its disc brakes more often:

1. Maintaining Efficient Performance

A mountain bike is used primarily for off-road rides. From soggy forest roads to murky waters, rugged paths, and muddy roads, mountain bikes are highly versatile. However, such terrain flexibility comes with the added need for cleaning. These terrains come with different forms of dirt which can easily clog various parts of your bike including the brake discs and pads and the chains. When left to accumulate, mud and contaminants such as oil will damage the disc brakes, rotors and other parts of the bike by increasing wear and tear.

They also lead to rusting of bike parts. Rusty and clogged brakes, rotors and chains work inefficiently. The ride along the roads and parks will be labored, turning your happy hour into a strenuous exercise shorn of the intended fun. It becomes a painful experience as you will exert yourself throughout the ride. For a professional rider, you need your mountain bike to be in top shape; all parts should be working efficiently during any competition. You can easily lose a race when your rotors and brake pads are out of shape and are constantly vibrating when you try to apply the brakes. Therefore, proper and regular cleaning helps you get the best out of your mountain bike.

2. Safety

Cleaning is a fundamental bike maintenance practice that keeps you safe while on the road. When poorly clean and maintained, brake discs and pads are more likely to fail or break off due to increased wear and tear. The last thing you need while going down a rugged terrain up the mountains is malfunctioning or nonfunctioning breaks. A chain coming out while peddling can easily through you off balance especially while at high speed. While safety gears such as helmets and shin and knee pads may give some protection, you are more likely to sustain serious injuries when you crash on any objects while at high speed. You risk other injuries from parts that break off due to rust and wear and tear. Within the home environment, a poorly maintained mountain bike is a health and safety hazard, especially to the little ones.

Moreover, you will pose serious challenges to other road or park users. You can easily knock others down or even cause other bike riders and car drivers to crash if your brakes fail because you did not clean the pads and discs properly. If you are a professional bike rider, the dangers of crashing into other competitors, and even barricades increases with a poorly maintained bike. Lack of proper bike cleaning amounts to poor maintenance and a poorly maintained mountain bike is difficult to ride and navigate. Cleaning your bike allows you to identify and repair or replace broken, damaged or worn out parts before they pose any danger to you or others.

3. Cost Reduction

Mountain bikes have parts that are relatively expensive. Cleaning them regularly especially after those road trips on muddy paths is key to ensuring that they have a longer lifespan. You will spend less on maintaining the bike instead of having to purchase replacements for parts that have worn out or rusted because you failed to clean your bike.A squeaky and malfunctioning mountain bike can force you to cancel an already planned fun day at the park.

In some cases, you may even be forced to replace the whole bike. Save that extra dollar by learning the basic structural functions of your bike parts and how to properly clean them. Be proactive in learning how to maintain your bike. Clean your bike in advance and dry it immediately. This will save you time and money. For those individuals who love spontaneous fun, having a clean bike in waiting will ensure that you maintain the adrenaline rush.  

4. Aesthetics

A muddy mountain bike is an eyesore while a squealing one due to rust and tear is an annoyance. Yet these are what you are bound to get when you don’t properly and regularly clean your bike. Mountain bikes are designed not only for fun but also aesthetics. A bike with clean and shining rims is more appealing to the eye than a greasy and muddy one with rusted parts. Even when parked, a muddy bike diminishes the aesthetics of a glamorous home. 

5. Comfort

Humans are innately creatures of comfort. We constantly seek the wellbeing of our bodies and minds. A dirty mountain bike covered in grease and mud is discomforting even when parked outside the house. Moreover, ridding a dirty and rickety bike that vibrates when you apply the brakes because you failed to clean the brake pads and discs is uncomfortable. Going out on the road with a muddy bike on a warm summer afternoon and riding along others with sparkling bikes is not one of the most comforting experiences. Clean your bike and step out with confidence into the park.  Enjoy the ride!

Having a mountain bike in your garage presents you with numerous fun ideas and opportunities especially if you are an outdoor-oriented person. You can work your cardio within at the local park or along the roads in your community with a touch of fun. If you are seeking for fun opportunities at the local park or mountain, your mountain bike can be a gateway for fun movements with your loved ones. However, you need to have your bike in top shape to enjoy these activities.

Cleaning regularly and properly is one of the best practices for achieving this goal. A clean bike works efficiently and is safer to ride. All the parts will be functioning optimally while the damaged or worn out parts can be replaced or repaired and the best time to identify them is during cleaning. You will end up protecting not only yourself but also other road users and even your loved ones. Add aesthetics and comfort to your bike while also cutting maintenance costs by regularly cleaning it.    

Top Maintenance Tips For Your Mountain Bike- Mistakes To Avoid When Cleaning Your Bike

Of course, you’re now familiar with the pros of cleaning your mountain bike often. You also know the basics of maintenance. With that said, it’s vital to have a clear understanding of the mistakes you should avoid when cleaning your bicycle. It’s mostly important to wash it properly in order to maintain its quality. Since the parts that are always in motion will suffer when brushing, you also need to observe the force you’ll exert on these areas. For instance, a grimy chain is going to give you a sloppy shifting during your travel. Therefore, you should clean the chain. Also, a gunked-up chainring will slow you down progressively. You should be keen on cleaning that part. Apart from that, dirty rotors will squeal. For that reason, you should concentrate on cleaning such areas of your bike.

1. Forgetting The Wheels – These must come off

If you want to be successful in cleaning your mountain bike, you should consider getting your wheels off. This is one of the most crucial points to remember. This is the main strategy towards cleaning the rings too. To begin with, you should gain access to the bike chain and its rings.

2. Failing To Invest In A Quality Brush – This is a great determinant in the cleaning process

If you aspire to make a difference in the cleaning process of your mountain bike, you should invest in a quality brush. This will determine the end result. To make your drivetrain degreasing breezier, you can also purchase a brush made of fiber. This could be horsehair. Not only will it hold your degreaser but allow it to stay inside the surface long enough to work on dirty areas.

3. Being Too Quick At The Beginning

Before the outset of cleaning your mountain bike, there’s usually an initial rinse that should not be ignored. This phase helps you in removing debris from the hidden parts of your bike. It should also provide a glossy finish to the frames of your bike. Apart from that, you should spray your bike with sprinkling water.

4. Skipping The Shine

There are different shine products for various purposes. All products haven’t been made for your bike. Therefore, you need to be selective in choosing the right products for your tires. You can pick a product that gives your tires a shiny, glossy look.

Take-Home

Your mountain bike is one collection of different parts that are always in motion. Therefore, when riding, you’ll encounter challenges on the way such as bumping into a rugged terrain or surface. For that reason, you should ensure that you have a scheduled maintenance program to clean it regularly. It’s essential to maintain the cleanliness of your bike. You also need to lubricate its parts for excellent performance.

Additional Tip: In the process of lubricating your bike parts, you should remember how to apply the lubricant. This is because it should be done in a certain order.