Cleaning an e-bike is rarely a fun process, but it has to be done, if you want to keep your two-wheeled friend in great condition. Ideally, you should wipe down your bike after every ride and deep clean it once a month or every time it gets very dirty.
To thoroughly clean your electric bicycle, you would first have to turn it off and remove all the electrical components, including the battery (if possible). After that, clean the drivetrain with a degreaser, wash the frame with a soft brush and soapy water, and apply a special e-bike cleaner. Dry off the bike with a clean towel and apply your lubricant of choice.
Below, you will find a more comprehensive guide on cleaning your e-bike, as well as a few useful tips.
Where Should You Clean Your E-Bike?
First things first, where is the right place to give your e-bike a clean? If you’re lucky to have your own driveway, then the answer is quite obvious, but what options are the riders who live in an apartment complex left with?
- You can still choose to get the job done outside. The whole process is not extremely splashy, so there is a chance that nobody is going to mind.
- If your bike is extra muddy, going to the car wash might be the best solution.
- In case, it’s freezing outside or you can’t wash the e-bike outdoors for any other reason, you might want to clean it in your shower, tub, or even kitchen.
It is highly recommended to keep your electric bicycle upright during cleaning instead of flipping it upside-down. This will help make sure that no water or cleaning agents enter the small openings in the bike’s components (the motor is designed to dispel water only when the bike is upright).
Should You Use a Bike Stand?
If you have a bike stand, make sure to use it during the cleaning. In case you don’t have one, you might want to invest in a quality stand as it will make cleaning a lot easier.
An e-bike’s chain will not move when pedaling in reverse, that’s why a bicycle work stand will come in especially handy when cleaning the drivetrain.
Alternatively, you can cover an Allen wrench with a bit of tape and stick it in one of the chainring bolts. This quick trick would allow you to turn the chain backward.
How to Prepare Your E-Bike for Cleaning
When it comes to electric bikes, there are a few extra things that you would have to do before proceeding to the actual cleaning:
- Turn off your e-bike – you would typically be able to do that by pressing and holding the power button on the handlebar control.
- Remove the battery – if your bike has a battery that can easily be removed, ideally, you would want to do that before cleaning your two-wheeled friend. In case, your battery is integrated into the frame, simply be careful when washing that part of the bicycle.
- Remove the electrical components – if you have an e-bike computer or any other additional accessories, remove those to avoid damaging them. Or you can use polyfilm to safeguard your electrical components, displays, and the power switch.
A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean an E-Bike
If you use your e-bike only a few times per week, deep clean it using a cleaner and degreaser at least once a month or once it gets extra dirty. Those who ride their bikes daily might have to deep clean their two-wheelers at least once a week.
The rest of the time, wiping the bike down after every ride with a slightly wet sponge or cloth should be enough. This will help prevent dirt from accumulating and damaging the bike’s moving components. Furthermore, when the time comes to deep clean the electric bicycle, you won’t have to spend extra time scrubbing off week-old dirt.
What Tools and Cleaning Materials Will You Need?
- A sponge or soft brush to remove surface dirt
- A bucket of soapy water (you can use an ordinary dish or hand soap)
- A towel to dry off the bike
- A bike cleaner for deep cleaning
- A specially designated degreaser for cleaning the brakes, gears, chain, and drivetrain
- Additionally, you can use lubricant and protective spray
Target the drivetrain first. Usually, this is the dirtiest part of an e-bike, and by cleaning it before anything else, you’ll make sure that the drivetrain does not dirty your frame after you have already cleaned it.
Generously spray your degreaser of choice over the chainrings, rear derailleur, chain, and cassette, and leave it for a few minutes.
Once the degreaser has had enough time to work its magic, use a soft brush or sponge and the water to remove as much dirt from the area as possible.
Tip: hold a flathead screwdriver against the sides of the jockey wheels while slowly turning the crank to scrape off any old grease.
Tip: when cleaning the chain, you can take advantage of a bike chain cleaning tool. Just remember to orient the tool with the travel direction of the chain in mind.
Now it’s time to clean the frame. Make sure to use a fresh bucket of soapy water for the job, in case you’ll be removing the dirt with a soft brush or a sponge.
If you have a hose, you can use it to clean the frame, just ensure that you’re not using a pressure washer. When hosing down the e-bike, try not to excessively expose the headset, the bottom bracket, and the front and rear wheel hubs to water. Always start from the top of the bike, and work your way down to make sure all the chemicals get washed away.
Apply your bike cleaner to the frame according to the instructions. You would usually have to wait a couple of minutes and then wipe the cleaner off with a soft brush or cloth. After that, give the bike a rinse.
Use a clean towel to dry off the e-bike. Once your two-wheeled friend is fully dry, you can apply lubricant to all the moving parts. This will help reduce friction and prolong the lifespan of several components.
There are different types of lubricants available on the market, and which one you’re going to use would mainly depend on the conditions you typically ride in. In a nutshell, go for a wet lubricant (like Synerg-E E-Bike Lube) if you ride in the rain quite often or near the coast, and opt for a dry lube (like Muc-Off eBike Dry Lube) if you ride in dry conditions most of the time.
Tip: choose a lube that is specifically designed for e-bikes. The chains of electric bicycles require a different type of lubrication as the drivetrain components can take a lot more heat and strain than those of a standard bike.
You can use wax or a special protective spray on the frame. The product would not only give your e-bike a nice finish but would also help protect the components from the elements. Also, consider using an anti-rust agent after the bike has had a chance to dry to protect the contact areas.
Reassemble any components that you have removed earlier and perform a quick test ride right outside your house. This will help you detect any possible issues before hitting the road.
Safety Tips to Bear in Mind
- Never use a jet power washer or pressure hose to clean your e-bike. The high level of pressure might cause the dirt to travel deeper into the bicycle which can lead to damage. Furthermore, these appliances can easily wash away the oils that prevent dust from reaching the bearings.
- Be extremely careful with the electrical components’ contact areas when cleaning the frame. Avoid getting too much water and any cleaning solutions on them.
- Do not use water or cleaning agents when wiping down your battery and any electrical components. Simply use a clean dry cloth to remove the dust.
- Try not to get any cleaning products on your brake pads as they can easily get contaminated and lose their initial bite. Though some types of cleaners will simply wash off the pads, you might accidentally introduce oils when rubbing them with a brush or sponge. So, always use a clean cloth or sponge and fresh soapy water to clean the brakes, if necessary.
- If you have safety glasses and gloves, make sure to take advantage of them. If you don’t, simply be extra careful when handling the cleaning agents.
Congratulations! Now you have become a real e-bike cleaning expert! But don’t forget to regularly put all these tips into practice.
Cleaning your electric bicycle is essential not only for the looks of your two-wheeled friend but also for smooth performance and a prolonged lifespan of the components.
Make bike cleaning a part of your maintenance routine, and enjoy a safe and fun ride.