Garage Files – Clean Your Bike Like a Pro
Dirty bikes need love too—clean like a pro
A clean bike is a happy bike. True, you don’t have to break out the detailing kit every time you get a mountain bike a little dusty. After all, it is a mountain bike. It should be allowed to revel in the elements and find itself covered in mud like a preschooler left to his own devices on the playground on a rainy day. We certainly have fun riding in the elements from time to time; however, we’ve found that neglecting proper cleaning leads to premature wear on parts, paint and finishes.
Maxima has been producing cleaning solutions for motorcycles, cars and bikes for many years. They’ve developed and formulated oils, lubricants and cleaners for world-class racers in many disciplines—from Supercross to NASCAR to mountain biking. Maxima’s cleaning kit is our go-to choice when it comes to cleaning our test fleet. This is the process we use to get it done.
1-Our test bike this month received a healthy dose of mud thanks to a rainstorm that hit our SoCal trails mid-ride. It’s in desperate need of a bath. Riding a bike in this condition after a tough and muddy ride can be torture on a bike’s finish.
3-We started by putting the bike in a work stand, as it’s the easiest way to access all areas that need cleaning. If your bike has a dropper post, it’s best to not clamp the slider portion of the post, as the work stand can easily scratch the precise surface. We prefer to clamp the base of the post.
3-Begin by using a medium spray to blast off the first layer of dirt. You don’t need to get the bike squeaky clean yet. Simply blow off the biggest clumps of dirt, taking care to not spray directly at any of the headset, suspension, hub or bottom bracket bearings.
5-Coat the bike with your bike-wash solution. We like Maxima’s Bio Wash because it cuts through dirt but is biodegradable and safe for use on carbon frames. Allow the bike wash to soak in to loosen the dirt while you work on cleaning other parts of the bike.
7-We like to use two different brushes for a deep bike clean. This one here is a stiff- bristled brush that we’ll use for scrubbing the drivetrain and tires. Start by applying a healthy dose of any generic dish soap to the brush as you would toothpaste to a toothbrush.
11-Now, go for the second brush in your cleaning kit. This should only be used for the frame and suspension components. By not using this brush on your drivetrain, you avoid spreading grease and grime over your frame and other critical parts.
13-Scrub behind the crank and in the suspension bearings quickly. It’s better not to spend too much time here, as you don’t want to introduce too much degreaser and water to the bearings—just knock the dirt off.
15-Use this time to also scrub the derailleurs, pulley wheels and the areas around them. Be especially careful to not spray too much from the drivetrain, as the brake pads could become contaminated if the greasy soap suds land on the disc brake rotor.
18-Use a compressor (if you have one) to blow off the water left after washing. If you don’t have a compressor, you can leave the bike in the sun to dry too. Be sure to not simply put the bike away wet, though, as it will cause critical points to oxidize and rust.
19-We like to use Maxima’s Suspension Clean formula to take the water spots off the shock body and stanchion tubes after washing. Dried water spots are incredibly abrasive and will prematurely wear your fork and shock seals if they’re not removed after washing.
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