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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there, I am relatively new to mountain biking have been a road cyclist/tourer for the past 3 years. Recently went on my first bikepacking trip and the remote snowmobiling trails far away from civilization were completely covered in water for stretches 1km at a time in some cases. The thought hadn't even occurred to me to think about my bearings, I just rode through. Most of the time it was below my hubs, but on more than a few occasions i was riding through muddy water that was deeper than my bottom bracket and both hubs. I had a new wheel build going on to this bike anyways so i am not worried about those old hubs, but should i disassemble the bottom bracket, pedals, re grease the jockey wheels etc? When i threw my bike into my car after the weekend a surprising amount of water drained out of the drain holes on the chain stays. I will now avoid and cary my bike through these sections in the future. But was looking for advice from people who have made mistakes like this before as i am heading out on a much longer trip in the near future. Thanks in advance!

Bike is a 2018 Fargo GX 29er

-Glen.
 

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Hi there, I am relatively new to mountain biking have been a road cyclist/tourer for the past 3 years. Recently went on my first bikepacking trip and the remote snowmobiling trails far away from civilization were completely covered in water for stretches 1km at a time in some cases. The thought hadn't even occurred to me to think about my bearings, I just rode through. Most of the time it was below my hubs, but on more than a few occasions i was riding through muddy water that was deeper than my bottom bracket and both hubs. I had a new wheel build going on to this bike anyways so i am not worried about those old hubs, but should i disassemble the bottom bracket, pedals, re grease the jockey wheels etc?
Highly recommended. Riding through that much muddy water will infiltrate bearings and the frame. Since that appears to be a steel frame is I'd also think about spraying the inside of it with frame saver (or equivalent) after it's dried out.
 

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EAT MORE GRIME
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1km or more?, do all your bearings

framesaver good idea

triflow cables
 

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Interesting subject.

On one hand, people will say it is totally fine to power wash a bike as the water won't get past the seals. On the other hand, it's advisable to inspect/clean the bearings when only submerged in water with no pressure behind it.

I'd probably get to the seal bearing to at least determine how much mud/gunk is in the proximity of the bearing and proceed accordingly, all clean then I'd move on but if there is grime I'd start cleaning bearings, I suppose.
 

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I'd say it depends on what everything is and how old it is.

Older bearing seals will probably be a bit looser and more likely to allow water in so I'd lean towards tearing that stuff down for cleaning/servicing. Newer bearings with high quality seals? Probably not too bad off.

I did a ride yesterday with a LOT of deep river crossings. Water well over my knees in spots. Definitely had water over my hubs and bb a few times. I'm not too concerned about it yet. Just make sure everything dries off well, lube the chain again, and make sure everything is in decent shape later. If not, do a little disassembly and greasing. I also have a steel frame, and I know the interior was well-coated with frame saver just a couple months ago before I assembled it. The newness of everything is part of why I'm less concerned.

My wife's bike has a lot more miles on it, and will probably need a bit more attention to the hubs, especially. I noticed before the ride that I probably ought to buy a pedal service kit, too, so those aren't really even related to the water. Her bike is much farther along in its service intervals, so it needs a bit more attention.

I've certainly done a single nasty ride in the past and had to do lots of bearing work because those jobs were overdue, anyway. But after the nasty ride, they were REALLY bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Interesting subject.

On one hand, people will say it is totally fine to power wash a bike as the water won't get past the seals. On the other hand, it's advisable to inspect/clean the bearings when only submerged in water with no pressure behind it.

I'd probably get to the seal bearing to at least determine how much mud/gunk is in the proximity of the bearing and proceed accordingly, all clean then I'd move on but if there is grime I'd start cleaning bearings, I suppose.
Yeah im not keen on a ton of maintenance, but i am also not keen on destroying my bike. I think i will be taking my bb out to check how bad it is down there and then make the call from what i find. I don't think i am going to go as far as disassembling the pedals....

Thanks for the tips.
 

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Interesting subject.

On one hand, people will say it is totally fine to power wash a bike as the water won't get past the seals. On the other hand, it's advisable to inspect/clean the bearings when only submerged in water with no pressure behind it.

I'd probably get to the seal bearing to at least determine how much mud/gunk is in the proximity of the bearing and proceed accordingly, all clean then I'd move on but if there is grime I'd start cleaning bearings, I suppose.
One difference is that mud is abrasive, a grinding compound. If water is pouring out of your frame grit will remain after it dries.

I wouldn't overhaul any bearings that didn't need it but I would clean and inspect them. Pulling the bb to clean it out and add some fresh grease is a good idea too.

You don't have to do any of this but if you do you won't be the guy on the ride with the creaky squeaky bike.
 

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On one hand, people will say it is totally fine to power wash a bike as the water won't get past the seals...
I would not listen to those people. The seals flex and a power washer will easily push past the seals. Think about it, if hydrostatic pressure 1' of water (.43psi) can get past the seals, what do you think 2,000 psi would do? Seals on bicycle bearings are more designed to keep dirt out than fluid.

My Raceface bottom bracket got trashed after failing to clean it out after last years Chequamegon Fat Tire mud fest.
 

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My fatbike has been through a lot of mud, silt-y water (submerged), salt, ice, snow, sand...

I anticipated this level of [ab]use, and packed grease in around all the bearings - even the cartridge bearings. That was enough to keep contaminants at bay for about a year. Then I had to do it all over: hubs, headset, bottom bracket, pulleys - including pulling the seals off the cartridge bearings and cleaning and re-greasing. The only thing that continued to function normally were my shift cables. They had been lubed with silicone grease, AND they have full-length housings.

I made sure to empty the water out of the frame whenever I got off the bike - just by standing it vertically on the rear tire.

One mistake I did make was not checking all the frame bolts, like cage mounts and rack mounts and cable stops. Some of those bolts did not have enough thread prep (grease/anit-seize) and had to be drilled out, and holes re-tapped. :blush:

If you have alloy nips on your wheels, you might run into seizing/corrosion problems there, too, unless they had a liberal dose of spoke prep.

-F
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update. I took apart the bb and sure enough there was some dirt and a bit of water. Not enough to make me panic. i cleaned it up and the cartridge bearing, it rolls smooth and doesnt sound gritty. I just covered the bearing seals in waterproof bike specific grease and then put it all back together. I could have tried to use frame saver but i didn't have any on hand. I thought about using linseed oil or wd40 and just figured i'd do a proper job later when i have more time with some frame saver. The jockeywheels were fine and i didin't mess with the mech brake or shifting cables. The pedals looked kind of rough so i threw some grease over their bearing entrance location. All in all i do not think too much damage was done. I am sure I will be replacing the bb bearing sooner because of this, but i guess i will just think of my fargo like someone who gave up smoking and is healthier from that day forward.
 
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