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.
Highly recommended! Essential riding skills are thoroughly broken down making them easy to understand and learn. Coach Richard and Kris...
Highly recommended! Essential riding skills are thoroughly broken down making them easy to understand and learn. Coach Richard and Kris are some of the most professional and pleasant coaches/cyclist/people I have come across. Looking forward to one of their future clinics. ~ Tom T.
This was awesome. Having someone dissect your riding into a few skills that you can focus on is a great...
This was awesome. Having someone dissect your riding into a few skills that you can focus on is a great starting point in order to make you faster. I’m sure everyone including myself experienced a positive feeling in how to improve from this point on. — Don’t expect to be a world champ after this clinic but to learn what and where and most importantly how to improve your trail riding from now on. Richard gives you the tools but you have to put in the work.” ~ Michael A.
I’ve immediately seen an improvement in my riding …
I took the skills camp at Mt Laguna last weekend – it was GREAT. Ok, so I was a bit...
I took the skills camp at Mt Laguna last weekend – it was GREAT. Ok, so I was a bit of a nervous wreck when I realized I was the least skilled in the group – but the instructors didn’t give up on me and gave me plenty of tips, positive reinforcement and new ways to think about my riding. At the end of the weekend, I felt that I had a better understanding how to ride better. I’ve immediately seen an improvement in my riding, am a lot less timid and am looking forward to taking another camp soon! ~Quan Campbell
The Ninja team (Richard & Aaron) were great instructors!
The Ninja team (Richard & Aaron) were great instructors! The training was in Soquel Demonstration Forest & being able take...
The Ninja team (Richard & Aaron) were great instructors! The training was in Soquel Demonstration Forest & being able take our time to session sections of Braille & Flow while having experts help fix any dysfunctions in our riding technique was priceless. I know I've always had to brake-check a lot before hitting the corners, but now I actually feel more planted while carrying more speed around the berms just w/ a slight change in hip position. I can't wait to actually hit Flow again at speed just to see how my time has improved. As for Braille, I know I need to session some of the jumps & drops a few more times before I hit them at speed (instead of bypassing around most of them as I have in the past) but now I should have the tools to know what I need to practice. Technical instruction aside, they also talked about efficient uphill pedaling, gearing choices as well as techniques to build up more mitochondria in your body... all stuff I'm interested in since I know I need to build up my climbing legs. ~Carlo F.
My wife started mountain biking recently and while she enjoyed it, she was lacking some confidence and needed some skills....
My wife started mountain biking recently and while she enjoyed it, she was lacking some confidence and needed some skills. I knew Richard La China from the cross country racing scene and felt confident that he and the ninja team could help out. I bought a woman's beginner clinic for my wife and she really enjoyed the challenge and experience. She is a better mountain biker now with much more confidence and new and improved skills. Mission accomplished! I highly recommend Richard LaChina and the ninja skills clinics for any level. I bought my wife a clinic gift card for Christmas which she will use to take the intermediate clinic. I plan on taking an advanced course to improve my cornering skills. ~ Mark T.
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.