So there’s already a whole slew of advice, tips, and tricks of what to do with your bikes post ride. Here I’m really just going to focus on some pretty basic, yet important, after ride care. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and is really more my personal procedure when I’ve just gotten off the trail and I’m back home in my garage with a beer in my hand. I lie, it’s a shipping container next to my chicken coop.
First and foremost wipe your suspension down. Take a cloth and some mild cleaner, spray the cloth and then wipe down your fork stanchions and rear shock body (should you be on a full suspension). You can spray those directly, but I always wet a rag with the cleaner and use that. Wipe around the dust seals, and use the cloth to floss back between the arch on the fork. Keeping all that clean helps extend the life of your fork and keeps it working better between service intervals; the more grit and grime pushed past the seals, the more chance for damage to the rest of the fork. There’s a handful of products out there that are intended to apply to your stanchions to help lubricate the seals. We sell some at the shop, and I’m of mixed feeling about whether or not the lubricating products make a big difference, but if you’re interested, come grab some, try it, and let me know what you think. Either way, do be sure to clean your suspension- it will save you money in the long run.
Next, clean and lube your chain. Honestly if you keep your equipment fairly clean, you can often. skip the cleaning part and just lube the chain and wipe all the excess lube off, with an occasional cleaning. However, if you’ve got a bunch of mud or built up oil on your drivetrain, I’d recommend pulling your chain and cassette to clean them off the bike rather than risk getting any degreaser or solvent in your freehub body bearings. Unless you want an excuse to come see us. Then feel free. Feel free to use kerosene if you’d like (DON’T DO THAT PLEASE). One thing I’ll do is floss a rag in between the cassette cogs to mostly clean everything without having to go nuts. We also sell a product called Gear Floss that works really well for that sort of thing. Wipe off your derailleur pulleys as well to help keep the drivetrain clean. Avoid solvents on the pulleys since it’ll flush all the grease out of them and your bike will sound like there’s a family of mice living in it.
So we’ve reached the end of what I do personally to my bikes when I’m done riding. Cosmetic mud, dust and dirt on the frame doesn’t make me any slower, so I’m pretty bad about cleaning the full bike. However, there’s a good reason to do it: frame inspection. It’s a good idea to check over your frame regularly to look for any cracks, or large rock chips, or anything that could cause problems down the line. Spray the bike down with a mild cleaner (obviously we sell a range of products for you) then spray a rag and wipe the frame and wheels down with that. Don’t clean your disc rotors unless you get solvent or oil or something else on them; we could talk at length about that, should you be interested— drop by the shop and we’ll talk. DON’T HOSE YOUR EFFING BIKE OFF. If it’s really muddy you can, but use light pressure and go top down rather than from the side. None of the seals in your bearing are designed for that sort of thing, and using the jet setting on your hose will push water past your seals and start to ruin your bearings. So don’t do it. Or do, and we’ll be happy to fix it for you should you have disposable income you want to burn.
So that’s it. As I mentioned, there’s a lot of other advice out there, some of which is probably at odds with some of the things I’m saying as far as hosing the bike, or degreasing the chain and cassette on the bike. This is my personal experience over the last 20 years working in bike shops and riding mountain bikes for the last 25 years. Have a different opinion? Cool, drop by the shop and I’d love to talk about it. This is the part where I now shamelessly plug the fact that we’re starting to do full factory rebuilds on your suspension. Focusing on Fox to start, but there’s nothing I won’t work on as long as we can get the parts for you. If you’re still reading this, thanks for sticking around and I hope that at least some of this advice is proves helpful for you.