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Tips for Washing your bike?

Started by Tree, July 15, 2022, 05:57:05 AM

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I have three. I've been riding daily for 3 years. They aren't dirty, so I'm sure I've washed them, but I don't remember how.

Pump-up sprayers, one for cleaning solution and one for rinse, can clean without getting water everywhere. I once gave my niece's 4-year-old daughter Cora two sprayers, a step stool, a washcloth, and a brush. She washed my car, my motorcycle, and her mother's SUV while I stood criticizing. I even found fault with her for being unable to wash the roof of the SUV.

At a gathering of relatives a few hours later, it was time to  eat crow. I asked her mother if Cora had gotten the car clean. She said yes. I turned to the group and admitted that I'd told Cora she wasn't doing a good job, but her mother said she'd gotten the car all clean, so I was mistaken. I repeated it emphatically: "I was MISTAKEN!"

The next day Cora came to me beaming and said she loved to wash cars. By playing her adversary, I'd given her a chance to build character. She could rightly be proud of her conduct in the face of undeserved criticism. Since I was impossible to please, she had continued working to please herself, and that's a work ethic. With pump-up sprayers, she could wash to her heart's content without making a mess.


I have two Radrovers, two step-thru Radcities, and a Himiway Cobra Pro.  I figure the ebikes mechanicals and electronics are somewhat water resistant against rain, puddles, and ebike tire splash.  I use way less soap and water washing compared to riding and getting stuck in the rain storm. 

The most important tool I have for washing my ebikes (and cars) is an air blower.  So many places for water to hide and sit to cause rust or prevent lubrication from penetrating.  I wash with microfiber towel+car soap, soft bristle brush on the tires, and rinse with low water pressure with nozzle on full spray.  I use my XPower A-2 Airrow Pro 2 speed electric air 90 CFM to blow out any water from frame, brakes, spokes, chain, derailleur, etc...  I also use my air blower if I'm caught in rain storm on my ebikes to speed up the drying process.
2023 Himiway Cobra Pro, two 2018/2023 Radcity Step-Thru, & two 2016 Radrovers


I've ridden daily for three years. I have a Radrunner, a Radmission, and an Aventon Abound. I've never bothered to dry them. A Radrunner controller gets any water picked up by the front tire, and I did have trouble with an aftermarket controller until I sealed it with RTV.

The only rust I recall were spots on maybe 4 outboard rails of the Radrunner chain. I would wipe the chain after applying Finish Line dry lube, and I think I'd wiped the protection off come links. After that, I made it a point not to wipe until the vehicle had evaporated. I haven't seen any more rust.

Aventon is so confident that they say parking in the rain is fine.

John Rose

In the assembly instructions they say:
QuoteWARNING: Donot touch the brake rotor, which has sharp edges and can cause serious injury. Touching the brake rotor or brake pads with bare skin can also transfer natural oils. Oils or other lubricants can decrease braking performance. We recommend wearing protective gloves when working near the braking system.
Sharpness of edges aside, if touching them with bare hands is a no-no what about wiping off mud spatters?
I kinda' think they're being a bit overly cautious about fingerprints.

Today I just wiped down one of our bikes with a dish cloth rinsed in a bucket of warm water. I'll do the other (less muddy) bike tomorrow, then work on cleaning and lubing the chains, derailleurs, and gears.
Also wipe the brake rotors with 99% isopropyl.
RadMini ST 2 / RadExpand 5


My calipers wipe off the disks. Don't yours? If I saw dried mud, I'd start with a brush.

When I've felt uneven breaking ( changing friction as the disk rotates between the pads ), I've assumed I'd touched the disk with a finger, which could have a bit of oil or grease from working on the bike. I'd restore smooth braking by spraying a little contact cleaner on a paper towel and wiping the disk. Brake cleaner is a stronger solvent, but it's more likely to damage skin or bike parts.

The dirtiest part of my bike used to be the grimy chain drive. It has stayed clean since I began using Finish Line Dry Lube. Maybe that's why it never occurs to me to wash any of my bikes: a clean chain makes a whole bike look clean.

After 3,000 Finish Line miles on one chain, I was obsessed. I bought a breaker and a master link. I put three layers of wire mesh in a coffee can, laid the neatly coiled chain on the mesh, and covered it with a couple of ounces of gasoline. I covered the can to reduce evaporation and let it soak two hours with periodic agitation. That was how we did it in the old days. The solvent would turn black, and lots of grit would settle through the mesh to the bottom.

I hung the chain to dry and poured out the opaque gasoline carefully so as not to disturb what had settled through mesh. I picked up the mesh and found that nothing had settled except what looked like rust stains on the plastic. The next day, when it was dry, I picked up some of the stain on my fingertip. It wasn't gritty but soft. It looked and felt like cocoa powder. Is cocoa powder the miracle lube of the 21st Century?

This stuff keeps chains smooth, quiet, and rust-free, and it seems to repel grit. I've found it cheap to use. I use a 25-gauge needle to apply it drop by drop.