When you ride your ebike, it picks up dirt from the trails and grime from the road. Therefore, knowing how to clean your ebike is an essential skill to have. Making sure your ebike is clean isn’t just about keeping it nice and shiny; cleaning extends its lifespan and keeps it running as it should. It’s also nicer knowing you’re riding a clean bike than a dirty one.
Why You Need To Clean Your Ebike
The dirt and grime your electric bike collects during a ride are detrimental to its frame and components. It acts like a grinding paste that gradually erodes the moving parts of your bike as they move. Also, the salt from the road and mud from the trails will eventually corrode your ebike’s frame.
With this in mind, an electric bike that isn’t cleaned regularly has a good chance of failing when your least expect it. It can also lead to the premature replacement of expensive parts.
When you learn how to clean your ebike, you can prevent expensive repair bills and enjoy it more as it will work properly. Also, when you clean your electric bike, you have the perfect opportunity to check it over for any issue that may arise.
How Often Do I Need To Clean My Ebike?
How often you need to clean your ebike depends on how often you ride and where you ride. If you ride to work and back through town, you may want to clean your ebike once a week. But if the weather is bad and you’re riding through the rain, you may want to clean your ebike more regularly. People who only ride their ebikes occasionally may only need to clean them once a month.
If you have an electric mountain bike, you should clean it to some degree after every ride. By doing this, you can keep your ebike in good condition and give it a more thorough clean once or twice a month.
But, the real thing that will determine how often you should clean your ebike is the weather conditions. At the bare minimum, after riding in wet weather, you should wipe down your bike to soak up the water.
Bucket, Hose, Or Pressure Washer?
The first thing to consider when cleaning your ebike is where you will get your water from. You have a few options, starting with the classic bucket of water. Dipping a sponge into a bucket of water to wash a dirty ebike is pretty tedious as it can take a while to do a proper job. However, if getting water to your ebike is difficult, it may be your only option.
The next method is with a hose with a spray attachment. This is an easy and safe way to get water onto your ebike. You can get just enough pressure to squirt mud and grit off your ebike without damaging it.
You could opt for a pressure washer, but you need to be careful which one you use. Some pressure washers are far too powerful for washing electric bikes. The pressurised water can easily get into the electric motor system, causing damage. Also, the force of the water can wash out essential grease from the frame bearings.
If you’re going to use a pressure washer, you can buy a low-powered one and think about how you’re using it. Don’t blast the electrical system with water. Stand a reasonable distance away from your ebike, and take it easy. It will still be quicker than sponging it down by hand.
Before you start to clean your ebike or do any maintenance work, make sure you switch the power off for safety.
To clean your ebike correctly, it needs to be secure. The best thing to do is lift it onto a bike stand. This will keep it an easy height to work on and stop it from falling over every time you touch it.
You can, of course, prop it up a wall, but a bike stand allows you to get all around your ebike easily, so you don’t miss anything.
Washing Your Ebike
1. Get Your Ebike Wet
Whatever method of getting the bike wet you choose, it’s best to start at the top of the bike and work your way down to the bottom. This will cause all the dirt to fall off the bike, and you won’t be blasting it upwards onto other parts of your ebike.
Be mindful of the electrical components using a hose or pressure washer. The motor, battery, and control unit are water-resistant to a point, but they won’t fare well if you squirt them with a direct jet for too long.
You must also be careful about squirting your headset bearings, frame bearings, and suspension components. These areas don’t like too much water.
2. Use Your Chosen Cleaning Solution
Now you need to get your ebike soapy. You can use a bike cleaning solution that comes in squirty bottles, allowing you to apply the solution easily. If you don’t have any bike cleaner, you can use any kind of soapy water in a bucket, even washing up liquid.
When your ebike is soapy, you must agitate it with a soft brush. This will get the dirt out of all the nooks and crannies of your ebike. It’s a good idea to rinse your brush off regularly, so you don’t rub the dirt all over your bike, scratching the paint.
Once you have scrubbed your bike, leave the bike cleaner to do its thing for a few minutes. Once your bike cleaner has had a chance to do its job, it’s time to rinse your ebike.
Again, squirt your bike, starting at the top and working your way down, being careful where you’re directing the jet.
3. Start A Detailed Clean
Now you’ve got most of the dirt off your bike, you can go into a more detailed clean. For this part, it’s worth getting a variety of cleaning brushes for cleaning the various parts of your ebike. You can buy bike cleaning kits with all the brushes you need.
Use a two-pronged brush to scrub the spokes and hubs. You can use a detail brush for cleaning the motor, suspension linkages etc. But go steady on the paintwork, as these brushes can be pretty stiff.
One of the most useful brushes is the drivetrain brush. This brush is very stiff and shaped perfectly for getting all the dirt and grime from your cassette, chain, and derailleur.
Once you’re happy that you’ve scrubbed everything, rinse your ebike with your hose or pressure washer again. This will wash all the loose dirt off the drivetrain and everything.
4. Dry Your Ebike
The next step is to remove your ebike from the stand and bounce it on the floor a couple of times. This will get most of the excess water off the frame and components.
Electric bikes really don’t like being left wet, so you need to get all that water off. You can use a cloth or a sponge to wipe it down, but some ebike owners blow their bikes with leaf blowers and compressed air to remove all traces of water.
Whichever method you use, make sure you do a proper job. Never put an ebike away while it’s still wet.
5. Degrease The Drivetrain
Just because your ebike is nice and clean doesn’t mean you’re finished. Even after scrubbing the drivetrain, it will still have lots of old lube that you need to remove.
Using a can of degreaser will remove all the old chain lube from your drivetrain. But be careful when you use it, as it is super easy to spray it onto your brake pads/discs preventing them from working correctly.
It’s best to spray degreaser onto your drivetrain brush rather than directly onto your cassette and chain. Then scrub your drivetrain until it’s nice and clean.
Alternatively, you can use a chain bath. These are gadgets that fit onto the top of your can of degreaser. You clamp it over your chain and fill it with some degreaser. Then move the pedals around so the chain passes through the bath. The rotating brushes in the bath quickly and thoroughly clean the chain.
Now you can use your pressure washer to rinse the drivetrain down. Alternatively, you can wipe it with a cloth if you don’t want to get everything wet again.
6. Lube Your Chain
There are two main types of chain lube, wet and dry. These correspond to the weather conditions you ride in.
With your ebike off the ground, backpedal while gradually dripping chain lube onto the inside of the chain. Once you’re happy that you’ve dripped some lube onto the whole chain, let it sit for a few minutes before wiping off the excess with a cloth.
7. Care For Your Battery And Motor
After every wash, it’s a good idea to remove your battery to take care of the electrical terminals. By giving the battery and motor terminals a squirt with some contact cleaner or water displacer, you will drive out any standing water that may cause you problems in the future.
8. Clean Your Disc Brakes
If your ebike has disc brakes, you can use some disc brake cleaner to remove any oil, dirt and grime from the braking surface. This is a good way to get rid of any degreaser that you may have sprayed onto your brake discs while cleaning. Care for disk brakes is paramount. You need to ensure your electric bike is going to stop when you use the brake. Ensure your bike is safe by cleaning the discs properly and often.
9 Use Some Bike Spray
The final step of cleaning your ebike is to use some bike protection spray. This stuff removes any moisture left behind while giving your bike a nice shine.
Final Thoughts On How To Clean Your Ebike
Cleaning an ebike isn’t a difficult task, and if you do it regularly, you will go a long way to improving the longevity of your ebike.
But don’t just lock your bike away after you’ve followed the steps above. Switch it on, and go for a short ride to make sure it’s working as it should. Doing this will also let your new coating of chain lube disperse through all the chain links and cassette.
Check out our blog for more top advice regarding electric bike ownership and maintenance.