Keeping your e-bike clean isn't just about making it look nice; it's essential for its longevity and how it performs. Here's how to clean your e-bike to keep it in top condition.
Why Do I Need To Clean My E-Bike?
The mud and grit that your e-bike picks up can prematurely reduce the lifespan of its components. Think of all the dirt acting as a grinding paste, slowly wearing out your e-bike's moving parts. In addition to this, dried mud and traffic film will corrode your frame and drivetrain over time.
All this means that your e-bike could fail at the most inopportune moment. On top of this, you could be faced with a hefty repair bill.
Cleaning your e-bike regularly will help to keep it running smoothly and make its components last longer. A quick clean will save you lots of headaches and is an excellent time to check it for any problems.
How Often Do I Need To Clean My E-Bike?
How often you clean your electric bike really depends on how much you ride. For example, if you commute on your e-bike every day, you might want to give it a clean once a week. If you ride once a week, a monthly clean should suffice.
However, if you ride an electric mountain bike, you may want to clean it after each ride. You don't need to go into too much detail after every ride. A quick once over should be fine, as long as you give it a more thorough clean once or twice a month.
Most of the time, how often you clean your bike will depend on the weather conditions. If you have been riding in wet weather, you should at least give it a wipe down to stop the build-up of dirt.
What Do I Need To Clean My E-Bike?
For a thorough e-bike clean, you would benefit from buying a bike stand. Bike stands are not too expensive and are handy for all sorts of maintenance jobs. A bike stand isn't essential, but it makes life easier. Alternatively, you can prop your e-bike up against a wall or use its kickstand if it has one. As long as it won't fall over and you have plenty of space to move around, you will be fine.
Most e-bikes have a sufficient IP rating to stop water from getting into their electrical components. Therefore, you should be able to leave the battery mounted on the bike. But it is worth checking your e-bike's user manual to make sure.
Once you have found a suitable space to clean your e-bike, you need some cleaning materials. These include a bucket of water or hose, bike cleaner or soap, a sponge, brushes, brake cleaner and degreaser. You should also get some chain lube, either wet or dry, to suit the weather conditions.
What Not To Use
Even though most electric bikes have good IP ratings, you should never use a pressure washer on them. The components are not designed to take high-pressure water. Also, the washer can force the dirt into places it should not be in, resulting in disastrous consequences for your e-bike.
Another reason to not use a pressure washer is that it can force the grease out of your e-bike's bearings. This is more for full-suspension electric mountain bikes, but when this grease is washed away, your bearings will wear out quickly. However, a low-pressure hose on a sprinkler setting would be fine for rinsing.
What Not To Clean
E-bikes are covered in sensitive components. There are a few things that you should avoid getting wet. Instead, you should wipe them down with a clean and dry rag to prevent the build-up of dirt. These areas include:
The wheel hub - This is the centre of the wheel where the spokes attach to the rim. This is especially the case if your bike has a hub-mounted motor.
The bottom bracket - This is where the cranks connect to each other through the frame. Mid-drive electric bikes have their motor at this point, and you need to keep the internal parts dry.
The seat post - The point where your saddle connects to the frame can allow water to get into the frame. Water sitting in your frame can cause it to rust from the inside.
The headset bearing - This is where your handlebars join the bike's frame; another spot where water can get in.
Steps On How To Clean Your E-Bike
The first thing you need to do is clean the dirt off your wheels and tyres with a brush or damp cloth. These are the dirtiest parts, as they are closest to the ground. Make sure you take care when you get to the brakes and hubs. This is a good point to clean your pedals too.
Use a clean wet rag or sponge to wipe your e-bike's frame. It is essential to wipe the underside of the frame, as it is an area that is often forgotten about, but it collects the most dirt. This is when you need to remember about not going too silly cleaning the bottom bracket, headset bearing and seat post.
Once you've cleaned your e-bike, you need to rinse off the soapy water. You can use a garden hose or wipe it off with a wet rag or sponge.
After getting rid of the soapy residue, it is time to dry your e-bike. You can do this with a clean and dry rag or microfibre cloth, starting at the top, working your way down. You must pay close attention to those vulnerable places we mentioned earlier.
Now your e-bike is nice and clean, it is time to lubricate your chain. This will prevent it from rusting, but it also makes it run smoothly through your drivetrain.
Make sure your chain is clean and dry. You can do this with a rag and degreaser. But, you may want to buy a chain cleaner, to do a more thorough job.
The best way to lubricate your chain is to spin the pedals with your e-bike off the ground. With the wheels in the air, you can drip the lube onto the chain's links as they rotate. Ensure that you put a drop of lube onto each link and wipe the excess with a cloth after allowing it to sink in for a couple of minutes.
The final step is to remove your e-bike's battery. This is when you can use a clean and dry rag to wipe the contacts on both the battery and frame. The contacts shouldn't be too dirty, but it is always worth giving them a clean. It also gives you the opportunity to see if they are in good condition.
Additional Top Tips On How To Clean Your E-Bike
- You can make your e-bike look great with bike spray. This stuff brings out the lustre in the paintwork, making it look brand new. However, make sure you use e-bike specific spray for best results.
- When you buy your new e-bike, buy a frame protector kit. This is made up of transparent plastic film strips. Often you can buy kits specifically designed for your e-bike. It protects it from paint chips and makes cleaning it much easier. If you have an electric mountain bike, this is a very good idea. It also helps with its resale value when you want to upgrade.
- When using a degreaser, or any other cleaning product, make sure you keep it well away from your brakes. If you get any of these substances on your brake discs or pads, they will get contaminated. This will affect their stopping power to the point when they don't stop you at all.
A Clean E-Bike Will Keep You Riding
Now you know how to clean your e-bike, you will be able to keep riding. Also, you will be able to save money by preserving your bike for longer, as its components will wear out at a much slower rate.
Keep it protected with Laka E-bike Insurance
It’s always worth adding some specialist e-bike insurance for your bike. It'll keep you in the saddle, no matter how many miles & winters you're riding through. By joining the Laka collective you'll get top-notch insurance for theft, accidental damage, full battery cover and loss.