Getting to the podium during a muddy BMX race can leave you and your bike covered in a thick layer of grime. You can always take a shower, but leaving your bike dirty between uses can accelerate corrosion and wear. Cleaning a BMX bike is just like cleaning any other bike, except you usually won't have derailleurs to worry about. Take care of your ride with a thorough wash, and it'll take care of you on the next track.
Clean Bike, Clean Mind
A dirty bike can mean more than ruined aesthetics; small particles of sand and grit can wear away moving parts like your headset, bottom bracket, and drivetrain over time, reducing the lifespan of your components. Mud and dirt also accelerates corrosion, leading to stuck parts and ruined performance. BMX bikes are plenty durable for rough use, but frequent cleanings can greatly increase their longevity. Generally, you should clean and re-lubricate your bike after each use in foul conditions.
Rinse and Repeat
Before you start scrubbing your bike, you'll need to give it a thorough rinse. using a low pressure setting on your hose, gently rinse the entire bike to remove all particles of dirt. This will prevent scouring of your frame's paint by scrubbing around bits of dirt and sand. Don't point the hose directly at your hubs, bottom bracket, or headset, or you'll risk washing the lubricant out of your bearings.
Your chain, freewheel, and chainrings need a good cleaning to keep interfacing smoothly. Give each a once-over with a citrus degreaser or bike wash, paying special attention to the individual links of your chain. Then, rinse the chain with water and allow it to dry completely before applying a fresh coating of chain lubricant.
Once your drivetrain is clean, give the rest of the bike frame a shine with some dish soap or bike wash and a soft cloth or sponge. If you've been riding on a few particularly messy tracks, take your bike to a professional to have your hubs, bottom bracket, and headset repacked with fresh grease. This will keep your bearings from wearing due to grime buildup inside your moving parts.
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