Cleaning and lubricating your mountain bike
Maintaining your mountain bike
Mountain bike manufacturers use modern materials and designs to ensure your bike can withstand the stresses you put it through. However, it is still essential to regularly clean and lubricate your bike's vital components.
There is an old adage: 'prevention is better than cure'. By preventing damage to your mountain bike through regular cleaning and lubrication, you will avoid the 'cure' of having to fork out for new parts. To do this, check out our following tips for maintaining your mountain bike...
Cleaning materials for your mountain bike
- Bucket of clean water.
- Bucket of hot, soapy water (use normal dishwashing liquid).
- De-greaser (paraffin or kerosene).
- An assortment of brushes — including a large, soft brush for the frame; a hard brush for the wheel rims and tires; and a long thin brush to get into all those hard-to-get-to nooks and crannies (an old toothbrush is ideal for this).
- Soft, dry cloth to dry your bike.
Cleaning your mountain bike
Lubricate your mountain bike!
- Never use a household lubricant on your chain, and instead always use a purpose-made bike chain lubricant. Regular household lubricants attract dust and sand — which will damage your chain.
- Use an appropriate bike lubricant according to what the weather is likely to be like during your next ride. ‘Dry condition’ bike lubricants are good to use in dry weather as they attract little dust, whereas ‘wet condition’ lubricants are better in wet weather as they are waterproof.
Bike seat post
- Periodically coat the seat post in a thin layer of grease in order to prevent it from becoming stuck inside the frame.
Bike suspension forks
- Most modern suspension forks do not need lubricating, but if yours do, then use a lithium-free grease — or the manufacturer’s recommended lubricant. Never use a standard lubricant on suspension forks, as this will degrade the sliding surfaces and can lead to failure of the shocking system.
Bike wheel hubs
- If your wheel axles do not turn smoothly when you clean your bike then you will need to lubricate the wheel bearings.
- Using two cone spanners, dissemble the wheel hub and inspect the bearings. If the bearings are pitted then both the bearings and the bearing cones will need to be replaced. If the bearings are okay, simply grease the bearing tracks and reassemble the hub.