Mountain Biking

Keep It Clean | Why You Should Wash Your Mountain Bike After Every Ride

If you're not keeping your mountain bike clean, you're damaging it. Here's why...

It seems crazy to say it but the biggest killer of mountain bikes is… mud. Yes, all the knobbly tyres, plush suspension and wet-weather gear may help you to battle with the slop but, if left long enough, mud will inevitably win the war.

Most downhill pros will have their bikes sneakily washed behind the pits between runs to keep them in tip top shape and, if you want your ride to stay shop fresh for longer, we reckon you should be washing it after every decent ride – the sooner the better.

“A few minutes’ of elbow grease after a ride or a couple of hundred quid’s worth of repairs, the choice is yours.”

Sure, your bike will run fine after one muddy ride but if left long enough it will really start to suffer. Here are the ways mud can mess up your ride:

Your Parts Will Wear Out

Mud on your mountain bike can seriously gunge up any moving parts. Photo: Chris Johnson

When mud and grit get into your moving parts, very bad and very expensive things start to happen. Suspension seals, bearings and drivetrain parts are all susceptible and will end up creaky or busted if you don’t get the mud off sharpish. A few minutes’ of elbow grease after a ride or a couple of hundred quid’s worth of repairs, the choice is yours.

Mud Will Add Weight

These are proper Kärcher conditions – the kind of days where you need to be packing a portable cleaner. Photo: Chris Johnson

Pro mechanics love a clean bike. Not only does it show off the the sponsor’s logos for the gamut of waiting photographers but it stops any weight mud from slowing the world’s top racers down.

Linkages, drivetrains and frame yokes suck up mud like a Dyson vac and all that grime adds up. We reckon a good covering of wet mud can add up to a kilogram of weight to your ride especially in the places you don’t want it like on the tyres or around the linkage. Leave it caked on and your next ride will be a whole lot less fun.

It Looks Really Bad

If you’re styling jumps as well as this, you don’t want a badly functioning bike to be letting you down. Photo: Chris Johnson

Come on, you’re going to drop a couple of grand on a bike and leave it looking scruffy? No chance. Sure, there’s something raw about a freshly muddy bike but when it starts to dry it just looks like you don’t care about your pride and joy. Plus, there’s nothing less cool than a creaky BB every time you winch up the fireroad.

What Can You Do?

The Kärcher OC3 is a brilliant, battery-powered portable cleaner that fits easily in your car boot and will let you wash your bike as soon as you finish riding. Photo: Chris Johnson

The most obvious thing to do is… wash your bike!

You don’t even have to risk getting your car muddy and smelly on the ride home as portable cleaners like the Kärcher OC3 allow you to do it wherever you finish your ride. There’s no need to worry about the water pressure damaging your bike either, as it’s a relatively soft five bar – in fact it’s so gentle, it can be used on dogs.

It comes with an in-built lithium battery so you’re not restricted on where you can wash. There’s enough volume to wash two bikes, and a range of accessories – including a handy brush attachment – to make the job a whole lot easier.

Best of all you can get home, wheel the bike out of the car and not worry about having to wash it before your next ride, when it’ll be fresh to go.

The battery on the Kärcher OC3 lasts for 15 minutes, and the water tank holds four litres. Photo: Chris Johnson
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