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How to clean road salt off your bike

Protect your ride from damage during the winter

Road salt is a part of winter life for many Canadians. Fortunately for bike traction, salt is liberally applied to roads to help break up the ice. Unfortunately for you, this same salt is very corrosive and can cause severe damage to your bike. Here’s how avoid a salty seized bottom bracket and rusty frame this winter.


Wipe it down immediately after riding

Wiping your bike is the first thing you should do after riding outside in damp winter conditions. It’s much easier to clean off liquid and muck while you bike is still wet. Make this a habit after every ride by leaving a dedicated cloth by your bike storage to remind yourself to give your steed a wipe down. Try to make sure your bike is as dry as possible to avoid damage.


Wash your bike regularly

Dish soap and water are your best friend when dealing with a dirt bike. A large sponge, a kitchen sponge and a toothbrush should be enough to thoroughly clean the biggest to smallest components of your bike. The drive train will be hit the hardest by road salt so be sure to really get in there with the toothbrush. If its too cold out to clean your bike outside, most showers should (probably) fit your bike. Keep other shower users happy by employing degreaser to scrub off any unintentional bike gunk left behind. If your bike doesn’t fit in the shower and you don’t have access to a hose, a local car wash may be a last-ditch solution.  Be sure to use a lower setting on the pressure washer as to not damage the bottom bracket.


Photo by Gabe Rogel / Aurora Photos

Keep your chain lubed

A well lubed chain is much easier to clean than a dry crusty one. Clean your chain regularly to make sure its not collecting road debris and lube it regularly. If you know conditions will be damp during your ride, a heavier wet lube will keep your chain more protected from the elements.

Grease your threaded components

Check in on your bottom bracket a few times over the course of the season to make sure no liquid has gotten trapped inside. After its checkup be sure to re-grease the bottom bracket to prevent it from seizing. You also want to make sure there’s a solid amount of grease (we recommend an anti-seize compound) when you screw in the pedals, fender mounts and most components that can be removed from the frame.