Muddy rides. To wash or not to wash?

Binhill1

🍊 Tango Man 🍊
Mar 7, 2019
2,646
3,867
Scotland
I was waiting for the MucOff kit to arrive, but couldn't wait, so I went ahead and washed the bike following all the recommendations here (no strong water jets, avoid electric areas, avoid cable entrances and headset). This is all nice in theory but in practice impossible to get 100% right 😄

One thing I did this time was to remove the battery and boy oh boy, the rock guard was FULL of mud inside. Jeez! I tried to remove it by removing the battery door but even though it looks like a hinge, it would still not come out. I cleaned as well as I could and put it back. I was impressed by the amount of water and mud inside the rockguard.

I also looked inside the frame and it's bone dry as it should be. Good!
On my Levo if you take off the panel behind the cranks it's messy . Full of piddly little wires . Even blowing with compresser you have to be careful. Take TCU out frame is full of gritt coming in through the internal cable holes. Top headset bearing Always filthy. Rant over
 

Repsol

Member
Dec 25, 2021
189
77
Yorkshire
I hose it after every ride straight away to get tge mud off and spray gt85 on the chain and cassette, the following day I wash it properly with a detailing brush. Any other way and your going to scratch your paintwork.
 

freeerider

New Member
Feb 15, 2024
1
1
Seattle
I've been biking for a long time and I usually prefer not to wash my bike, if at all possible. Corrosion is annoying to say the least.

Lately, it has been raining a lot in my normally very dry neck of the woods. I avoid riding in wet trails, but at some point it's that or nothing for months. The choice is clear.

It doesn't take a lot of mud to make a mess out of the bike. In one ride I had an inch of mud (clay soil...) stuck to the bottom tube and more all around. I gave the bike a good wash with the hose (no pressure) but it was still a lot of water. I was concerned about water ingress into the frame and definitely had some water get into the rims (leaked through the spoke nipples -- no bueno.)

On the folloeing rides I softened the mud with a spray bottle and once it was mostly off, wiped off the water with a piece of cloth. Lo and behold, there's now micro scratches everywhere on the bike (black paint). Not a huge deal but the bike is not even a year old. grrrrrr.

So I'm now inclined to only clean and lube the transmission on wet rides, but I am concerned that clay mud left for a long time on paint may have a negative effect.

What are y'all doing after muddy rides?
I've been riding mountain bikes in the Washington slopsince 1985 and have never actually washed a bike. I bring it inside and let the mud dry hard as a rock. I then take a semi stiff brush and just knock all the mud off. It comes off surprisingly easy and falls straight down not into your bearings, seals, etc. No
 

Arminius

Well-known member
Subscriber
Jul 26, 2022
395
600
Rhein-Ruhr Delta, Germany
I'm in Scotland, and I'd say about 70% of the year our trails are wet and sloppy. Even when the sun is out, it takes a lot off effort to clear up the water / dry the mud out. As a result, almost every ride (apart from a few months in summer) probably ends up with the bike covered in thick gloopy mud and pine needles in the drivetrain.

My bike lives in my garage. My garage is part of my house, and as a fairly new house - they kit it out like any other room. Plasterboard / drywall walls, insulated, underfloor heating. I don't like keeping a filthy bike in there... so I almost always clean it first.

I use a mains water pressure hose - with the nozzle set to a wide spray or its basically a drizzle rather than a direct shot! I'm very careful around the motor and the TCU, but generally everything else gets the mud washed off. If the mud had dried in, I then coat the bike in MucOff and leave it for 5 mins. Whist that's working it's magic, I clean my drivetrain with Peaty's drivetrain cleaner and a Peaty's drivetrain brush... and then rinse it off. Most times I just spray the MucOff off and the bike is clean, but sometimes it's a bit more stubborn and I use a MucOff bike brush (I bought a pack of different shapes / sizes) to get the dirt off.

Bounce the bike a few times to get the excess water off, and put it up on it's rear wheel and bounce it some more. I park it outside the garage whilst I put away the hose / brushes etc, and then get some old dishtowels and dry it.
The bike is now allowed into the garage, where it sits on a 2m x 1m sheet of tarpaulin material (in my Feedback workstand).

I run the pedals with a dry rag on the chain, and use some compressed air to blow any remaining water out of the cassette. I usually then go inside and have a shower and get changed. After that, I come back out and lubricate the chain with Peaty's link lube and cycle it through all the gears to spread the lube onto each sprocket.

I've been following this same routine (with different lubes / cleaners) for the 12 years I've lived in that house. My Stumpjumper needed new headset bearings after about 2 years... but since I've replaced them all with Chris King and Enduro sealed bearings, I just give them a clean / lube every year, and they're fine.

On the occasional times I get out and it's not muddy, it's probably dusty instead. The full bike doesn't get a wash, but the drivetrain does.
You do have a floor heated garage? 😯
 

ari

New Member
Mar 1, 2024
11
5
Australia
If its muddy there is usually water around [pond /puddle /creek etc] i wipe the bike with a wet rag and poke the mud off with stick or something , and thats it , no hosing no pressure washing ..
 

SteveTTT

Member
Mar 15, 2022
46
35
Hampshire, UK
I use pump-up garden sprayer on a fine fan jet as a very low pressure washer, with a long soft bristled Muk-off brush. Seems to get off most of the clayey crud that’s unavoidable here in Hampshire and the South Downs.
 

p3eps

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
Subscriber
Dec 14, 2019
1,859
2,221
Scotland
I literally use one of those to clean my bike because I live in an apartment block :D
I used to take a 8L spray bottle like that (weedkiller pump / spray) full of water to the trail with me - so I could clean the bike before putting it on the car.
The bike would go on a roof rack, so I’d end up with dirt streaming down the windows when driving if I didn’t get the worst off first!
 

p3eps

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
Subscriber
Dec 14, 2019
1,859
2,221
Scotland
IMG_7677.jpeg


Here’s my bike after a short ride round a local trail. About 12 miles in just over an hour… and this is what the bike looks like.
I’m afraid leaving it to dry and brushing it off isn’t really an option. The cassette and rear mech are full of crud!

Before I went and bought 5L of Halfords own car soap, I thought I’d test the effectivity of car soap… so put 2 caps of Autoglym in a spray bottle with 2L of water, and mixed it up.
Sprayed it all over the bike and left it for 5 mins. When hosing it off, most of the dirt remained.

I then went back over it all with MucOff spray, left it for 5 mins, then hosed it off. The bike was clean!
Genuinely don’t know what’s in MucOff, but it’s very effective!
 

Binhill1

🍊 Tango Man 🍊
Mar 7, 2019
2,646
3,867
Scotland
View attachment 136893

Here’s my bike after a short ride round a local trail. About 12 miles in just over an hour… and this is what the bike looks like.
I’m afraid leaving it to dry and brushing it off isn’t really an option. The cassette and rear mech are full of crud!

Before I went and bought 5L of Halfords own car soap, I thought I’d test the effectivity of car soap… so put 2 caps of Autoglym in a spray bottle with 2L of water, and mixed it up.
Sprayed it all over the bike and left it for 5 mins. When hosing it off, most of the dirt remained.

I then went back over it all with MucOff spray, left it for 5 mins, then hosed it off. The bike was clean!
Genuinely don’t know what’s in MucOff, but it’s very effective!
Doesn't take many miles to get filthy. Just back from fochabers rotten again. Just away to wash soon . I use halfords cheapo and a sponge 🧽 . Be yirdit again midweek I suppose. I took cranks and everything off last week headset bearing filthy again. Roll on drier days.
 

Ark

Active member
Mar 8, 2023
394
331
Newcastle Upon Tyne
I then went back over it all with MucOff spray, left it for 5 mins, then hosed it off. The bike was clean!
If you spray your clean frame with silicone shine (any brand) less crap sticks to the bike and it's easier to clean off too.
It's almost like water repellent

obviously don't spray your rotors
A soft brush is better than a sponge imo, spray and brush at the same time.

with a sponge I fear the grit/dirt that sticks to them is like sand paper
 
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DieBoy

New Member
Jul 14, 2023
57
69
EU
I'll add my voice to recommending Muc-Off's cleaning products. They may not be the cheapest but they get the job done well. I also like that they sell refills (including powdered form of their general cleaner) which reduces costs and waste. A lot of their stuff is biodegradable which is good.

I'm particularly fond of their Bike Protect spray for after cleaning as a preventative measure.

I will warn against their ebike wet lube however. It's not that's it a bad lube - it isn't - its that it's a pain in the arse to clean off.

Cleaning generally: avoid high pressure hoses!
 

Natch

New Member
Feb 10, 2024
30
17
Oregon
I'll add my voice to recommending Muc-Off's cleaning products. They may not be the cheapest but they get the job done well. I also like that they sell refills (including powdered form of their general cleaner) which reduces costs and waste. A lot of their stuff is biodegradable which is good.

I'm particularly fond of their Bike Protect spray for after cleaning as a preventative measure.

I will warn against their ebike wet lube however. It's not that's it a bad lube - it isn't - its that it's a pain in the arse to clean off.

Cleaning generally: avoid high pressure hoses!
I don't know if their e-bike specific wet lube is any different than their plain old wet lube but their plain old wet lube also leaves a gunky mess.
 

p3eps

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
Subscriber
Dec 14, 2019
1,859
2,221
Scotland
I don't know if their e-bike specific wet lube is any different than their plain old wet lube but their plain old wet lube also leaves a gunky mess.
I used to use the MucOff wet lube, and now use Peaty’s all weather. It cleans off much easier.
 
Last edited:

Mik3F

New Member
Sep 23, 2023
84
72
Middleton
Another one here for Peatys All Weather Premium

Used Muc-Off once and it left the drivetrain with a brown sticky residue, never again
 

Amber Valley Guy

New Member
Oct 15, 2023
68
44
Alfreton
I use a garden hose after every muddy ride (or a garden pressure pump if I've used the car), keeping the water away from the headset/bars/display and avoiding the motor area (especially the crankshaft seals). Then when washed and dried with a clean rag (old T shirt) I take it for a spin up the street bouncing up and down the kerbs to knock the water out of the chain and suspension and pivots, works a treat. Oh and my battery cover (front of d/tube) is removed as moisture finds it way in, so I wipe it down and leave the cover off until the next ride. I never use a cleaner, I just use water and a microfibre mit but mine is wrapped in Invisiframe, so it's cleans easily.
 

Binhill1

🍊 Tango Man 🍊
Mar 7, 2019
2,646
3,867
Scotland
I'm out three times a week normally. So a fair chance the bits I can't see without a major dismantle are never going to dry out . Corrosion is bound to get in somewhere I don't think I could prevent that . Just remove your cranks and plastic covers like I have on the Levo after a wet ride and see the mess of grit etc . Take TCU off and see the grit that comes through the internal cable holes . If you are willing to do this twice a week for a few months your a better man than me . Cosmetic clean on outside may make it look good but ?????? . Good cleaning lads.
 

robbydobs

Member
Jan 31, 2021
82
65
Sussex, UK
I never wash mine.

By the next time I ride the chain is rusty and covered in mud. I usually dump a load of new oil on there and go ride again.
Last cassette/chain lasted 2500 miles like that! (deore 12 speeed 10-51t).

I could spend ages cleaning it, but 5 minutes into the next ride it'll be dirty again. i don't see the point.
 

RoJo

Active member
Apr 24, 2019
203
174
Surrey
Don't wash it mate. I really can't see the point in throwing more water at your bike... Mud on the downtube doesn't affect the longevity of your bike.
I wipe mine down with a towel. Yes it scratches the frame, and takes more time than a hose, but I save that time by not replacing bearings. Ride wrap (better than invisiframe) does a good job at protecting your paint if you care.
 

checksum

New Member
Feb 28, 2024
4
2
Berkshire
I avoid overwashing as it does more harm than good, but most winter slop rides call for an immediate wash, particularly because I store the bike in a cold, damp shed so the wet mud will literally never dry out during the winter.

I just bought a pet dryer and my god, it's a game changer. For light mud, I can just give it a quick blow dry to get the chunks off and clear out the nooks and crannies of water. I no longer need to worry about washing it too frequently either because I can get it fully dry in under 5 minutes after a deep clean.

Bruhl MD1900+ if you can afford one, otherwise the generic ~£60 pet dryers off amazon do the job just fine. Get one with a heat function for the winter.
 
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Binhill1

🍊 Tango Man 🍊
Mar 7, 2019
2,646
3,867
Scotland
I never wash mine.

By the next time I ride the chain is rusty and covered in mud. I usually dump a load of new oil on there and go ride again.
Last cassette/chain lasted 2500 miles like that! (deore 12 speeed 10-51t).

I could spend ages cleaning it, but 5 minutes into the next ride it'll be dirty again. i don't see the point.

I avoid overwashing as it does more harm than good, but most winter slop rides call require an immediate wash, particularly because I store the bike in a cold, damp shed so the wet mud will literally never dry out during the winter.

I just bought a pet dryer and my god, it's a game changer. For light mud, I can just give it a quick blow dry to get the chunks off and clear out the nooks and crannies of water. I no longer need to worry about washing it too frequently because I can get it fully dry in under 5 minutes after a deep clean.

Bruhl MD1900+ if you can afford one, otherwise the generic ~£60 pet dryers off amazon do the job just fine. Get one with a heat function for the winter.
Be good but still a lot of covered areas you can't get at . As you say it does more harm than we know. I just do the chain a lot of times.
 

Type1

Member
Sep 6, 2022
55
29
Uk
I don't understand this reoccurring question. All bikes are designed to be washed. If they weren't you wouldn't be able to ride them in the rain and the instructions and warranty would say so.

Don't spray high pressure water at vulnerable areas - seals, electrics, etc... otherwise wash away. Then dry and lube.
 

Mrj35

New Member
Sep 29, 2023
107
60
canada
I usually just let the mud dry then I brush it off later. I don't ride in clay based mud though so its easy to brush off.
 

Binhill1

🍊 Tango Man 🍊
Mar 7, 2019
2,646
3,867
Scotland
Last time i googled there was around 25,000 different kinds of mud and they all have different adhesive qualities.
 

irie

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
Subscriber
May 2, 2022
1,999
1,950
Chichester, W.Sussex, UK
Ride in clay based mud with a nice helping of South Downs chalk dust mixed in. When get home brush it off when still wet. If really thick use a garden hose but don't spray near Bosch motor cranks.
 

ari

New Member
Mar 1, 2024
11
5
Australia
With all motor fails being/resulting from water getting in , im starting to think many may be due to condensation , as the motor gets hot inside and cold air and water outside =condensation inside . May need to have oil in the motors? My motorcycle has the electrics submerged in the oil in the gearbox .
 

JP-NZ

E*POWAH Elite
Feb 17, 2022
1,028
776
Christchurch - New Zealand
I'm lucky enough to live in an area where only 2 months of the year are wet. We are struggling through a drought at the moment with less than 100mm (4 inches) of rain in the last 4 months. So it comes as no surprise I don't/won't ride when its wet.

If my Rail does get muddy its a bucket, brush and rag, never the hose.
 

Binhill1

🍊 Tango Man 🍊
Mar 7, 2019
2,646
3,867
Scotland
With all motor fails being/resulting from water getting in , im starting to think many may be due to condensation , as the motor gets hot inside and cold air and water outside =condensation inside . May need to have oil in the motors? My motorcycle has the electrics submerged in the oil in the gearbox .
Your right in you thinking. I had a dodgy cable on Levo had to plug and unplug battery to motor cable several times to get it to start. Dealer asked me to remove Tcu to motor plug and look for greenery in the holes . Sure as anything there was . He said the heat comes from inside and you get a bit of corrosion. Work plug in and out gently to try and clear it he said. I got a free cable tcu cable and I paid for a new battery cable. Been ok since probably a year ago now.
 
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