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.
Had a great class Oct 11. Kris and Richard were very helpful and knowledgeable. They made things fun and easy...
Had a great class Oct 11. Kris and Richard were very helpful and knowledgeable. They made things fun and easy going, even while rolling you off the the lunch table bench. Came away with a bit more confidence which I have already put into practice. I really appreciated the review of what was covered in the class in the follow up email. Looking forward to taking the Jan intermediate class at Balboa, hopefully it will be up for registering soon. In the mean time I have a lot to work on. ~Linda Peterson
Don’t hesitate, sign up for the next skills clinic in your area!
My adult son and I participated in the "Fundamentals" camp on Saturday at Hildebrand Ranch in Denver, Colorado. We were...
My adult son and I participated in the "Fundamentals" camp on Saturday at Hildebrand Ranch in Denver, Colorado. We were both very pleased with the clinic and would highly recommend it to anyone who has recently started riding full suspension mountain bikes. We have already been back out on the single-track trails practicing what we learned in the clinic. Aaron and Richard did a great job breaking down all the fundamentals and honestly amazed at the impact on my riding. Still have a lot to work on but if I follow the instructions I can improve my riding. We are both scheduled to attend a two day clinic in Santa Fe with Richard and looking forward to taking our riding to the next level. If you want to improve your skills, don't hesitate to sign up for the next skills clinic in your area. ~Dan Mitchell
My brain is still swelling with knowledge one month later.
I had a great time at a 3 day camp in Big Bear, CA and my brain is still swelling...
I had a great time at a 3 day camp in Big Bear, CA and my brain is still swelling with knowledge one month later. Not knowing what to expect, I was pleased with the professionalism and detail that Richard and his team brought to camp. They not only take the time to teach you great MTB skills, but when and why you should use them. They begin with the fundamentals skills and reinforce those skills throughout the camp, which I found quite helpful. The skills progress quickly and we covered a lot of ground in three days. I was able to do a few skills I had never really tried before by the end of camp. I recommend highly and plan to attend another camp in the future. ~Joey W.
I'm a road Triathlete that lucked into a XTERRA World Championship slot via the lottery last year. Being a road...
I'm a road Triathlete that lucked into a XTERRA World Championship slot via the lottery last year. Being a road triathlete, I had very little experience and no technical skills on a mountain bike. I took the Ninja beginner and then intermediate classes almost back to back. Richard is a great teacher, and taught the sequential skills that matter most. He does a great job of "breaking things down" with the what and the why, and illustrates the information well with his demonstrations, all the while, delivering it with a sense of humor and enthusiasm. Richard's instruction helped me successfully get through a very technical course in Maui without major injury! Yea, thank you Richard!!. Whether a complete beginner or an advanced rider, I promise you can take a lot away from his classes.... and, let's be honest ...Who doesn't want to be a Ninja! ~ Ray S.
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.