The quick and safe way to wash your e-bike

With recent press reports of e-bike motors failing, we've put together this handy guide to washing your e-bike.

Don't use a pressure washer

If you're a fan of bike racing you'll have seen professional mechanics on TV using pressure washers to clean bikes at the Tour de France and other big races. So why shouldn't you use one on your electric bike? Quite simply because all that pressure pushes water past the seals that are designed to protect both the bearings and the electronic components. Tour de France teams change components long before they need to (and they aren't paying for the components like you and I). Even pressure washers marketed as being designed for use with bikes are putting out way more pressure than even the hardest rain. If you've already invested in a pressure washer, then take a couple of steps back and never point it directly at your e-bike (think heavy rain rather than power shower).

Power off

This might seem obvious but always turn off your e-bike before washing it. Some manufacturers recommend removing the battery and controller, others say you are fine to leave the battery in place. Not all controllers are removable. In this case we'd recommend you wrap a bit of cellophane around the controller as protection. If you leave the battery in place while washing your bike then it's worth removing it to make sure it's dry once you've finished washing.

Remove the loose dirt

A garden hose will remove the loose dirt. If you don't have a hose use a sponge, making sure you squeeze it first. The goal isn't to blast the dirt away like you are washing a car, just to remove the largest chunks of crud before apply your choice of bike cleaner.

Use a bike specific cleaner

There are numerous bike specific cleaning products out there. You could use a well diluted washing up liquid solution but be careful that you don't get it on the brake disks. Bike specific cleaners are designed not to contaminate your brake disks. You - and everyone around you - will know if your brake disks are contaminated because they'll howl and squeal when you apply the brakes. We'll tell you how to remedy this shortly.

Clean the drivetrain

The dirtiest part of your e-bike will be the drivetrain (the chain, cassette and chainrings). There are lots of biodegradable cleaners out there that you simply spray onto the greasy components, leave to sit for a minute or so, and then rinse off. Your cassette (the cogs on the rear wheel) may need a rub with a firm brush to dislodge the stubborn grime. Also be careful to avoid spraying degreaser on your brake disks (it can damage the brake pads). Wrapping a plastic bag around the disk is the easiest way to protect them.

Rinse and admire your handy work

Undoubtedly the most rewarding part is rinsing the soap away to reveal a showroom clean bike. Again, no blasting with a pressure washer.

Dry everything

With an e-bike it's worth drying your machine with an old towel rather than leaving it to air dry so that no water can seep into the electrics. If you left the battery on the bike, remove it and make sure the contacts are dry. Even better, give any electrical contacts a squirt of a contact cleaner to prevent corrosion.

Lube your chain

Finally, don't forget to lube your chain. There are two types of chain lubes: wet and dry. As their names suggest, wet lubes stay liquid on your chain while dry lubes dry to form a waxy residue on the chain. Wet lubes are better for riding in wet conditions but do attract dirt more than dry lubes.

Quiet those squealing brakes

If your disk brakes start squealing then it's probably due to the disks having grease or other contaminants on them. There are many brake cleaners available. These are designed to remove contaminants without harming your brake pads or the rubber seals. Make sure you apply the cleaner to both sides of the disk and wipe off with a clean cloth or paper towel.