You’ve been out riding all day, and when you get home you notice your bike is wet. Is it alright to simply dry your bike off, or will the frame and chain rust? Or maybe you were out hitting the trails doing some puddle womping, and you need to figure out how to take care of your bike. Then there’s the question of all the smaller parts in your bike, like your brake lines and hubs. Do they all need to be replaced, or can you take some simple steps after your ride to get rid of the moisture?
Yes, BMX bikes can get wet, but it’s imperative that you take several steps to avoid rusting right away. Proper maintenance not only helps lengthen the lifespan of your BMX bike, but also ensures a good ride.
In this article, we’ll discuss the steps you should take based on how wet your BMX bike got. We’ll go through how to properly take apart bike components, dry them, and then grease them. We’ll also talk about the best products to use.
What to do if my BMX bike gets wet?
Start by wiping down the entire bike with a dry towel, and really get into all the tight spaces where water may have seeped in. For example, between wires and cables, around small screws, nuts, and bolts, and all over the front and rear derailleurs.
Loosen the axle nuts to make sure that all of the water gets dried up. Take apart unsealed hubs to let air dry, and grease component parts. Take off your seat and wipe down the seat post and under the seat. Disengage the brake system to get it ready for greasing the brake cables.
To be really thorough, take apart the entire bike, and pretend you’re rebuilding it.
Separate both of the wheels from the frame ensuring you dry the spokes and rim well. Separate the pedals from the crank arm and dry the entry point well. Dry well around the handlebars and surrounding parts. The goal is to dry every nook and cranny water may still be present.
Then Grease the chain, Seat Post, Brake Cable, and pedals as moisture will dry out your lubricants. Use chain oil or other mineral-based lubricants purchased from your bike shop.
Do not use WD40 as this will remove essential lubricants already on your parts. You may use olive oil as well, but you will have to lubricate more frequently due to its low viscosity. Motor oil is another option and works just as well as oils purchased from your bike shop.
If your bike only got slightly wet you definitely don’t need to go all out and grease every single metal-on-metal spot. Here are the most important spots on your BMX bike to grease after it gets wet:
- Seat Post
- Brake Cable
Greasing the Chain
This step is important because a chain will rust over time if you don’t lubricate it.
After you’ve thoroughly dried it with a towel, get another dry towel, or old t-shirt from your house. Then apply three to four blotches of chain oil, in a row, on your towel, so that the chain is able to flow through the grease.
Turn your bike over, and grab a hold of one of the pedals. Rotate the pedal as you hold the greased towel on the chain so that the chain moves through the greased spots on the towel. Do this several times until your chain looks shiny and new.
Greasing the Seat Post
First, use some electrical tape to wrap around the seat post to mark how far down to put your seat post after removal and greasing. Then, turn the seat post clamp to loosen the seat and remove it.
Using a dry towel wipe it down to ensure that the seat post is thoroughly dry. Using your finger or a towel apply grease to the seat post all along its length.
Reinsert the seat post as far as your marked tape. Tighten your seat post clamp and remove the electrical tape. Now you know that your seat post won’t rust and you’ve performed some general maintenance in the meantime.
Greasing the Brake Cables
Disengage the brake system. Compress the lever, pull on the housing, and slide it through the barrel adjuster until the wire is exposed. Squeeze out a small amount of lubricant onto the lever end of the outer break cable.
Lubricate all of the places you would when installing brakes. Slide the wire back into the cable, and wipe off any excess as the inner wire emerges. Apply a drop of lubricant at the point where the inner cable emerges from the outer cable.
Slide the outer cable back and forth. Wipe off any excess. Apply a drop of lubricant where the inner cable emerges from the outer cable, near the fork. Work the cable to drag the lube into the outer cable. Re-engage the quick release system to re-connect your brakes and you’re done.
Greasing the Pedals
It’s important to take the pedals off as they can get seized to the crank arm. Using a 15 mm wrench unscrew the pedal. Dry the pedal threads with a clean cloth or rag.
Wipe down the exterior of the pedal, and the entry point for the crank arm. Dry thoroughly. Using a rag or your finger apply a good amount of grease to the pedal threads.
Tighten the pedal back on to the crank arm turning the opposite direction that you did to remove the pedal. Repeat all steps on the other pedal.
What if my bike is muddy and wet?
You should hose the bike down to remove all the grime and mud. Focus on the frame, tires, chains, and derailleur. Do this before the mud hardens. Then proceed to thoroughly drying the bike with a towel.
Make sure that you get into all of the crevices and small spaces moisture may be hiding. Then, take as much of the bike apart as you want depending on how thorough you want to be. Grease the essential components.
How Do I Take Off and Maintain the Wheels of my BMX Bike?
Place the bike upside down so that the frame is suspended by the stand. For the front wheel disengage the brake cable. Then use either a 15 or 17mm wrench to remove the outer nut bolts on both sides. Loosen them all the way to the outside of the hub, but not so far that they come off. Lift the wheel up and out from between the fork. Now you will be able to dry in between the nut bolts, and the hub more easily. Thoroughly dry the rim and spokes.
For the rear wheel use two adjustable wrenches one on each side. Loosen until the wheel is able to move. Push it forward as much as you can so that the chain has good slack. Pop the chain off the front sprocket with your hands. Pick the bike up, pedal and then your chain is off. Now you can easily remove the chain from the rear peg. Continue drying anywhere moisture may be lingering. The rubber part of the tires will dry in time.
How do I Take Apart and Maintain the BMX hub?
Unscrew the outer jam nut and remove the washer. Continue to unscrew the next nut, and slide the final washer (just before you reach the driver) off.
Repeat on the other side of the hub. Take out the driver and axle. What you’ve got left is the hub shell. Dry inside the teeth, cassette bearings, and axle shaft thoroughly. I wouldn’t grease the hub as it is too thick and causes gunking up of dirt. Also this can cause the pawls to stick, and possibly slip.
It’s recommended to put a thin layer of hub oil on the pawl pockets, springs, pawl tips, and o-rings. This step is for those of you who are more familiar working with your BMX bike, and is not necessary if your bike got a little wet while out riding.
Is it Dangerous to Ride Your BMX Bike in the Rain?
Park riding in the rain is fun if you’ve been riding for a while. You can drift and slide more easily as long as you have good brakes. It is dangerous, however, and you most likely will fall when attempting tricks. Riding in your driveway, a parking garage, or on the street is a good option if you’re dying to get a sesh in.
It’s inevitable that you’re bike will get wet, and good maintenance is key to keeping everything fresh. Hopefully, this article helped clear up some questions you may have had about how to properly deal with a wet bike.