How to Clean Mountain Bike Cassette: Clean Gears

The cassette of your mountain bike is exposed to a lot of dirt. And the MTB chain that passes the cassette on the various sprockets also brings dirt with it. It is therefore necessary to clean the cassette regularly. I will tell you on this page how you do that and what exactly you need. Discover everything about cleaning the MTB cassette.

Why cleaning the MTB cassette is important

Your mountain bike’s cassette is an incredibly important component. If something is wrong with this, you will notice this immediately while mountain biking. A cassette full of dirt can make your chain run less smoothly. This not only affects the lifespan of your chain, but can also lead to dangerous situations. A number of important reasons to regularly clean the MTB cassette:

  • Smoother shifting
  • Continue to drive comfortably
  • Less wear and tear on other mountain bike parts

The last point is particularly important. If you never clean the cassette, this will have a negative impact on the lifespan of the MTB chain.

cleaning mtb cassette
Regular cleaning of the mountain bike cassette is very important. © MTBdex.com

What can you use to clean the cassette and sprockets?

To clean the MTB cassette you need a good brush. The brush must have hard bristles and it must be able to get between the various gears. You also need a degreaser; you can also use a chain cleaner. All necessities at a glance:

  • A good chain cleaner
  • Hard brush for stubborn dirt
  • Dry cloth
  • Bucket
cleaning mtb cassette tools
You need this to clean an MTB cassette. © MTBdex.com

Step-by-step plan cleaning cassette MTB

If you have everything at hand, you can follow the steps below to clean the cassette. Note: The steps below can be followed if you choose not to disassemble the cassette.

Benodigde tijd: 8 minuten.

  1. Place the mountain bike on a stand so that the rear wheel is off the ground

    Make sure you can turn the wheel properly while cleaning. Use an MTB stand. This makes cleaning a lot easier.

  2. Place a bucket or collection container on the ground under the MTB cassette

    This prevents the soil from becoming full of dirt and degreaser. Always keep the workshop as tidy as possible when cleaning a mountain bike.

  3. Carefully apply degreaser to the gears

    Be careful not to degrease other parts. Do it with care. You can choose to soak an old cloth with degreaser and then apply it to the cassette.

  4. Brush the dirt off the cassette with the brush

    Meanwhile, turn the wheel so that you treat the entire cassette. Shift the chain to other gears to cover all sprockets.

  5. Now rinse the cassette with water so that all the dirt can run off

    Take a good look at whether everything is clean; If necessary, spray some degreaser on the cassette and clean the other areas.

  6. Dry all gears thoroughly with a dry clean cloth

    This removes the last dirt and you can store the mountain bike dry afterwards

Dry the MTB cassette
Dry the MTB cassette with a clean cloth. © MTBdex.com

When you have cleaned the cassette, chances are that you have also degreased the MTB chain. Re-lubricating an MTB chain is then recommended. Is the chain – like the cassette just now – very dirty? Then start cleaning the MTB chain first!

Safe option: remove cassette

When you have a little more time and you have the right mountain bike tools, you can also choose to disassemble the cassette. This prevents other parts from being degreased and makes it much easier to handle the cassette.

To disassemble the cassette you need a chain whip and a special cassette remover. These tools are usually sold in a set.

How often should you clean the gears?

While cleaning the gears isn’t a tedious job, it’s not an activity we want to do often. How often you have to clean the sprockets depends on how often you are on the mountain bike. In addition, it also depends on the weather conditions in which you often drive.

In general, it is advisable to rinse the cassette well after every big mountain bike ride. It is best to take a thorough cleaner with degreaser at the same time as cleaning the chain. Every few months is usually sufficient.

Frequently asked questions about cleaning the mountain bike cassette

What is the best way to clean the MTB cassette?

Use a degreaser (or a good chain cleaner) to get the dirt off the cassette. But use a good brush for stubborn dirt.

How often should I clean the cassette of a mountain bike?

This depends on how often you get on the mountain bike and the weather conditions in which you have ridden. In general, a thorough cleaning every few months is recommended. After every mountain bike ride it is important to rinse the cassette well.

Why is cleaning the cassette important?

If you don’t do this – or do it too little – the chain of your mountain bike can wear out faster. In addition, shifting can be less smooth.

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