There’s something disheartening about a dirty bike. You cringe at the creaks and grinds, avert your eyes from the grime, and roll out for a ride with shame that you haven’t maintained the machine that brings you so much joy. Good news: you’re just 5 steps away from breathing new life into your bike and riding with pride again!
Set the stage before you begin. Make sure your bike is stable, the hose is ready, and all your cleaning supplies are close by. You can use a clean, soft rag to wrap your seat post in if you’re putting it in a work stand – it minimizes the risk of scratching your dropper post.
Never use high pressure! A backyard water hose is best and you definitely want to steer clear of the car wash. That high pressure forces water into your seals and bearings where it will wreak havoc and cost you money later. While it may be satisfying to erase dirt with that strong blaster, it’s much better for your components to take it easy. Use your thumb to flick the bigger chunks of mud off, you don’t want that grit and gravel in your brushes where it can scratch something later.
Use a quality bike-specific degreaser to clean your drivetrain. Dedicate a brush to this part of the bike and make sure you get all that grime off your derailleur’s pulley wheels and the cassette. Don’t forget to clean around your chainring, cranks, and suspension linkage, too. I’m a big fan of the chain scrubbers – they help prolong the life of your chain and drivetrain components.
3. Cleaning Time
Before you ever touch the bike with a brush, rinse it out thoroughly. Particles can get in those bristles and really scratch things up. Use a quality soap and clean brush to scrub the bike down. I start with my suspension components and controls, then move on to my frame, saving the wheels for last. Rinse your brush out often because the dirt you’re scrubbing off the bike is going into that brush, so clean it out! Try using a smaller detailing brush to get into those hard to reach spots.
4. Rinse & Inspect
Rinse everything thoroughly and check for any missed spots or stubborn dirt. Check for frayed cables, bent pedal pins, loose bolts, and make sure everything looks to be in good working order. Inspect your bike often to make the necessary repairs – it may save your next ride from being a dud!
5. The Finishing Touches
Use a clean, soft towel to dry everything off. Water is the enemy, so take your time, dry around all the seals and bounce the bike a few times to shake out any lingering drops.
For an added bonus, try some of the great bike detailing supplies that are available. It is absolutely crucial that you keep your brake rotors covered if you use any sprays or waxes – any contamination of those brake parts will cause major issues.
My favorite detailing sprays are a water dispersing lubricant that I use for the drivetrain and a silicone-based spray that really makes the bike shine. Not only does it bring out the bling, it protects the finishes of the frame and suspension helping everything operate smoothly and repels dirt or mud on future rides. Finally, lube your chain and wipe away the excess.
Congratulations, your bike looks as close to new as it ever will! A clean bike feels fantastic with everything moving freely and silently (like a ninja!). Now that your bike is looking fresh, it’s time to gear up in your favorite kit, hit the trails, and ride it with pride.
Woohoo! As good as it gets is appropriate! Richard is not only a great rider, he is a great teacher!...
Woohoo! As good as it gets is appropriate! Richard is not only a great rider, he is a great teacher! I would encourage everyone to stay away from the mind trap that buying a more expensive mountain bike is what you need to ride better. Spend the money on lessons instead, and I know you will be happier (and safer) in the long run. I can't say enough positive things about the Bike Skills clinics. ~ Chris G.
Within one hour we we clearing a 5 foot jump easily and with confidence!
Wow, a friend and I just did a one day private lesson with Richard and I can’t believe how much...
Wow, a friend and I just did a one day private lesson with Richard and I can’t believe how much we learned. I’ve been riding for over 10 years but with all self taught skills. We wanted to learn fundamentals the right way and Richard took us through all of that (along with critical bike setup) and the intermediate stuff that they teach in one day plus he spent an extra hour at the end to teach us jumping which I had always been nervous about. Within one hour we we clearing a 5 foot jump easily and with confidence, we even learned to move the bike in the air on a crossed take off and landing. I think my favorite part though was riding fast on the very gnarly technical descent. We will be booking up more private lessons during the summer at Big Bear. Thanks Richard you are a very good teacher! ~John U.
I took a Fundamental Skill clinic last weekend and learned so much! I've been riding for a few years and...
I took a Fundamental Skill clinic last weekend and learned so much! I've been riding for a few years and felt stuck and was not improving at all. Aaron was a great instructor! Very patient and broke down everything step by step and we repeated the skills until we felt comfortable. I look forward to mastering the skills I learned and taking another clinic in the spring. ~Jody Hachenberger-Amend
Special thanks to Santa Fe Fat Tire Society for bringing you in!
My wife and I had the privilege of attending the skills 2 day camp in Santa Fe New Mexico August...
My wife and I had the privilege of attending the skills 2 day camp in Santa Fe New Mexico August 20th and 21st. Richard and Aaron and Catherine where fantastic trainers and teachers they brought new light into basic skills of riding each person in the group was able to excel in what we were doing before we moved on to some other awesome skill or task individual attention was felt by all in the group and visible Improvement was seen in all Riders when we have you back next year you should plan on doubling or tripling the number of riders thanks for a super fun weekend and special thanks to Santa Fe Fat Tire Society for bringing you in and of course thanks to Richard and Aaron and Kathryn. ~Bruce Hamby
This past fall I finally broke down and upgrade my mountain bike. I was riding a hard tail bike mostly...
This past fall I finally broke down and upgrade my mountain bike. I was riding a hard tail bike mostly for the workout. After racing in an Xterra, I realized that a new bike was in my future. ( I could tell a huge story about the process of purchasing a new MB and the massive amount of miss information you can obtain from bike shops. Especially when you know nothing about bikes. ) Not long after I purchased the new MB, I had my first over the handle bars wreck. I still cannot remember the actual crash. I can see the rut that I am about to hit on the downhill, and then I remember waking up on the trail barely able to breath. The crash gave me some time to catch up on email. One of those emails was a beginners MB clinic hosted by Richard and the Ride Like a Ninja crew. I swallowed my pride and signed up. To date I have done everything I was taught. I made every adjustment to my bike that was recommended. I then had the bike fitted. The skills taught that day are priceless to me. For the first time I understand what position my body needs to be in for each type of terrain. I am not perfect by any means, but in my mind I am shouting the word NINJA to remind myself. I practice the techniques ever time I ride. ~ Hal N.
We are a group of passionate, dirt-loving, community oriented, world class mountain bike skills instructors committed to helping you reach your personal riding goals through clinics and camps. We are excited to work with riders of all ability levels and share the joy (STOKE) of mountain biking.