How to clean electric bike

Don’t be afraid to clean your electric bike, you won’t get electrocuted! Many of the parts can be cleaned like a non-electric bike. The electric parts are generally well- sealed, after all, they are designed to be ridden in all weathers.  However, it is important to be mindful when cleaning them because water can be forced into the motor and battery. If you follow our instructions, you’ll know how to clean electric bike successfully.

Guide on how to clean electric bike

Your electric bike may just need a quick wipe, but if you have been cycling in wet and muddy conditions, more cleaning will be needed. Shimano and Bosch are two leading manufacturers of electric bike components. They recommend cleaning your electric bike after every ride. Let’s have a look at the reasons for this:

  • Regular cleaning stops the mud drying and becoming ingrained which makes it much harder to clean effectively in the future.
  • When you clean your electric bike, you are also drying it. This helps to reduce rust and corrosion.
  • Cleaning your electric bike regularly keeps it working efficiently because it’s not clogged up with dirt and old oil.
  • By cleaning your electric bike, you are prolonging the life of the components as ingrained dirt and oil adheres to the parts and acts as a cutting paste, grinding down the metal.
  • Last, and by no means least, it keeps your bike looking good. 

Step one- Cleaning method.  

We recommend, to clean electric bikes, that you should use an unpressurised hose, like a garden hose, or buckets of water. Do not use a steam cleaner or pressure washer.  This is how moisture can ingress and cause long-term damage to your electrical parts, your bearings and suspension pivots.

Step two- Equipment.

  • A work stand.  It makes the job so much easier with the bike away from the ground.  Also, it’s less likely to fall over.
  •  A bucket of clean water or hose. To wet the bike first so that the detergent will work
  • Plastic floor mat. Either a dedicated product or any piece of plastic. This will protect the floor if you want to clean indoors. Not an issue if you’re cleaning outside.
  • Detergent in a spray bottle. The bottle helps distribute the soap.
  • Sponge. Nice and soft so it doesn’t scratch your bike.
  • Set of cleaning brushes. You can buy cycle specific ones or assemble your own. Useful for the very dirty and greasy components
  • Cloths for drying. Any moisture left on the bike will lead to corrosion. Microfibre ones are good as they are super absorbent.
  • Chain cleaning tool. A simple way to clean your chain while it’s still on the bike.
  • Chain degreaser. This goes in your chain cleaning tool and ensures that all the old oil and dirt is dissolved.
  • Plastic bags and elastic bands. A simple yet effective way to protect your brake rotors and exposed electrical wires from contamination during cleaning and drying.

Step three- Prepare your bike. 

  • If using a mat, put it on the floor.
  • Put the bike on a stand
  • Unplug any wires that are attached between the frame and the wheels.
  • Cover any exposed electrical wires with the plastic bags and secure with the elastic bands,
  • Remove the wheels
  • Cover the calipers and the rotors with the plastic bags and secure with the elastic bands,
  • Remove the display if it is detachable.
  • Cover all the open ports on the display and the battery.

Now you’re ready to clean the electric bike.

Step four- Cleaning and degreasing.

  • Start with frames and forks. Wet the bike with clean water, be careful not to put too much water on the electric components. 
  • Spray it with the detergent and use a damp sponge to clean the frame, forks, electric and non-greasy components.
  • Degrease the chainrings on the crankset and jockey wheels on the derailleur and rinse them. You can use your dedicated cleaning brushes for this.  Remember that once they have greasy dirt on them you will have to degrease them before using them next time.
  • If you have front suspension, then use a clean rag to wipe the water and the dirt from the seals in between the stanchions and the lower legs. If you have rear suspension then wipe the whole suspension unit.
  • Now you can clean the wheels. Clean the tyres and rims with the detergent and brushes.
  • Degrease and rinse the cogs on the back wheel. 

Step five- Refitting the wheels.

Remove the plastic bags from the rotors and brake calipers and refit the wheels.

Step six- Cleaning and drying the chain.

Pour the degreaser in the cleaning tool, attach the tool to your chain and degrease it. Replace the degreaser with water and rinse the chain and the cogs.

Drying the chain is an important step in the cleaning process. Re-oiling the chain will be much more successful if it is dry.  It will also mean less surface corrosion will occur. 

There will still be some oil and dirt on the chain, so put an old towel or rag on the chain and dry it with that. When you are drying between the cogs at the back, try and use a piece of cloth or clean up roll that won’t leave strands of thread.

Step seven- Drying the bike.

Now your electric bike is clean, use a clean, dry cloth to dry it, including anything electrical. The only thing you don’t need to wash or dry are the disc rotors. Even if they got wet in the cleaning process, they can be easily contaminated, so just leave them.

Step eight-Lubricating the chain.

 Now carefully lubricate the chain.  Use a dropper bottle rather than a spray otherwise you may contaminate your brakes or make your lovely clean bike dirty again!

Step nine- Electrics. 

Reconnect any wires you unplugged when you removed your wheels and reattach the display unit if you removed it. Now make sure that everything electric is working.  Is the display showing properly? Does the pedal assist work? Now you have learned how to clean electric bike with Cycle Maintenance Academy.

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