How to clean an electric bike

Regular cleaning of your ebike is essential to keep it in good working order. Water and electrics are not compatible so blasting it with a pressure washer or hose at close-range is not a good idea. So how do you clean an electric bike? Here are our tips

Most manufacturers recommend wiping your bike down with a damp cloth but sometimes that’s going to be hard work after a mud bath on the trails. So what about some real-world e-bike cleaning tips? This is what the people who design the motor systems say.

Bosch

Bosch Ebike Systems Logo

Bosch makes ebike systems for a lot of mainstream ebike manufacturers and is probably the most popular and robust motor on the market. For obvious reasons the company doesn’t recommend using a jet wash as this can cause water to penetrate the motor’s bearings but it does say bike shampoos and care products, that don’t attack plastics or seals, are okay. 

During cleaning, Bosch recommends always remove the battery and display, but if the latter is fixed, to cover it with clingfilm or a bag during washing. The company does recognise water can penetrate the motor so it has coated all the contacts with a special coating that protects against corrosion and wear.

Shimano

Despite Shimano’s Steps motor being fully waterproof, they too don’t recommend using a pressure washer. Instead users should employ a brush or damp cloth with the water well wrung out, especially for when cleaning around the battery and plastic cover. To stop water getting into the battery Shimano recommends refitting any caps to the charger socket, which seems like a no brainer to us.

Shimano Steps Ebike Logo

Our Take On It

We can understand why some manufacturers don’t want to recommend cleaning your bike with a ton of water. It could potentially cause warranty issues with bearings and the electrical components. However, there is nothing in the owner’s manual that says you can’t ride your e-bike through a puddle or down a wet trail. Your e-bike doesn’t know the difference between that and being lightly sprayed with a hose pipe. You just need to take a common-sense approach.

FACT: Mud and grime is going to get into the motor and battery area because in the winter your e-bike is going to get plastered with mud and the only way to break it down is with a bucket and brush.  We recommend you just don’t do it too vigorously around the electrics or use too much water. You should then dry it thoroughly. Periodically we’d say remove the battery and motor covers and clean out any ingrained mud and then apply a specific contact grease to the connectors.

**The Muc-Off Pressure Washer depicted in the video above is bicycle specific

How To Clean Your Ebike

  1. Secure your bike in a stand or against a wall or fence making sure any movement during cleaning won’t damage or scratch it.
  2. Prepare your bike. Fit disc brake rotor covers to prevent contamination, remove the battery and display. If the display is fixed, cover it in clingfilm to protect it.
  3. Gently spray the bike with a bike cleaner like Muc-Off Bike Cleaner and leave it to soak for a few minutes. Spray more where the mud is thicker to soak in and be careful around the electrics and bearings.
  4. Clean and degrease you chain, cassette and chainring
  5. Now wipe your bike down with a damp cloth or sponge. For areas with thick mud, use a brush to agitate and dislodge the excess
  6. When your bike is clean, dry it as much as you can including the transmission. Microfibre cloths work really well
  7. Lube your chain
  8. That is a basic clean done which we would recommend after every dirty ride.

Pro Tip: If you use an air compressor to inflate your tubeless tyres. Use it to disperse any water in hard to reach areas

If you don’t want to risk water there are waterless cleaning products like Muc-Off Waterless Wash available. They work well but require a bit more effort if your bike is pretty clogged up.

Further Reading

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