But bikes are naturally prone to contamination, and as with any bike, you’ll want to keep your electric bike clean to keep it looking and performing its best, which means you’ll need to wash it regularly, especially if you’re riding in wet weather.
Electric bikes are built to handle wet conditions, and in general, the electrical and electronic parts are well sealed against the elements. So treat your electric bike with respect and there is no reason why washing it should be more difficult than cleaning a regular bike.
Here’s how to wash your electric bike and certain points to watch out for.
1. Do not use a pressure washer
Let’s start with how not to wash your electric bike. Pressure washers are generally bad for bikes unless they are used very carefully. A standard pressure washer has enough force for water to penetrate bearings and seals, leading to damage and premature wear.
This is doubly problematic when washing an electric bike, as you can also force cleaning water onto electrical and electronic components, which can lead to wear and tear.
You can purchase low pressure washers designed for bicycles, such as Muc-Off pressure washerHowever, even then, it’s a good idea to use a pressure washer from a distance and not aim it at your electric bike’s bearings or the seals of parts like a removable battery or any cables or controls.
Instead of a pressure washer, a garden hose or a plain old bucket and brush are better options.
2. Disconnect the power
Before you begin, turn off your e-bike system. It goes back to the issue of water and electricity.
Bosch recommends removing or covering their controllers with a cloth or plastic as well as removing the battery before starting, while other e-bike brands note that their e-bike systems are sealed enough to handle washing. Leif says you should clean your bike with the battery in place, then remove and dry it once the bike is clean.
If you have a working stand, this makes it easier to get to parts of your electric bike that tend to get dirtier like the underside of the down tube. Do not turn your electric bike upside down.
3. Wash off loose dirt
First, you want to wash off any loose surface dirt. The hose, again without too much pressure, should work for this, although a soft brush and water may be more effective.
It’s worth owning a set of brushes for the different parts of your bike, making sure not to use greasy brushes on the frame or brake rotors. Don’t use tire cleaning brushes on the drivetrain either, so they stay lube-free
4. Use a bicycle cleaner
Your e-bike is now ready for a deeper cleaning, so you should use a specialized bike-cleaning product. Some brands report that washer fluid is fine, although as with any bike cleaning, we advise against doing so, due to the harsher chemicals included.
We have a guide to The best bike cleaning kits and recommendations for the best bike cleaning products in our guide to How to clean your bike If you want to use some product suggestions.
The instructions for bike cleaners usually say to spray it on, let it sit for a while, and then wash it off with clean water. Your bike cleaner should remove the majority of the most stubborn dirt. Use a brush to remove dirt from hard-to-reach places, such as behind the bottom bracket.
5. Clean up your payment system
You should now clean your drivetrain with a degreaser. Again, this should be standard practice for any bike. But with an electric bike with a mid-mounted motor, it’s especially important since there’s a lot of force transmitted through the chain and gears, which can increase wear.
Removing the abrasive putty that can develop on a chain and gear is a surefire way to extend its life.
Keep degreaser away from your brakes and braking surfaces, whether your electric bike has disc brakes or rim brakes. If your brakes need cleaning, there are specialized products designed for this.
6. Dry it all off
Now wipe your electric bike with a soft towel to remove as much water as possible or even use a blower to dry it. Bumping their tires up and down can get rid of a lot of water.
Wipe the chain down, and apply a fresh coat of Specialized bicycle chain lube to keep it from rusting. Wipe off any excess lubricant, as this may attract dirt.
If you like, you can now use a bike protection spray to help keep your frame clean. This will reduce your workload the next time you need to clean your e-bike, and it helps keep water away from the electrical contacts.
Make sure the bike is completely dry before replacing the battery and controller.
7. Keep the electrical contacts clean
We have mentioned the wear of electrical parts as a special issue to avoid when riding an electric bike. Electric bike contact cleaners and water-repellent sprays are available, but a general-purpose water-displacement spray like the GT85 is also effective.
How often should I wash my electric bike?
The cliched answer is, when it’s dirty. Many brands recommend a quick rinse after every ride, which can save you money in the long run, although this may not always be practical.
You definitely need to wash it off and put everything back on after a wet ride, not least because many bike oils wash off easily and rust can quickly make its way to your chain and non-electrical components.
In winter the salt from the road is corrosive. The same is true if you are riding near or in the sea, so you need to rinse it off your e-bike as soon as possible.