Ask a Mechanic: Cleaning Your Di2 Bike

Allison asks, “What’s the best way to clean my Di2 bike?”

While it’s true that pro mechanics use plenty of water to wash their pro rider’s bikes, in this case you should not follow their lead. The pro’s bikes are torn down and rebuilt almost daily, so long-term water damage is not a concern for them. For the rest of us, though, the best way to clean a Di2 system—or any electrical drivetrain system for that matter—is with a waterless bike wash.

First, put the bike in a stand and remove the wheels. If you have disc brakes, put plastic bags over the calipers and use rubber bands to hold the bags in place. This will keep your brake pads from getting contaminated during the cleaning process. Grab your bike wash of choice and spray it liberally across your entire bike, avoiding your handlebar tape or grips, as well as bearing seals. Although Di2 is waterproof, you should avoid cleaning the components with a pressure washer or pointing any high-pressure stream at them. Just give them a good dousing with your bike cleaner.

Next, spray the cleaner on a smooth, clean rag, and wipe the bike down, making sure to get the underside of the downtube and bottom bracket—two commonly missed places that accumulate lots of gunk. Be sure to wipe off any accumulated debris on external cables and cable guides. Once they’re clean, lightly lubricate them with a thin chain lube.

If any junction box or e-tube is covered with dirt or in dire need of cleaning, unplug the e-tubes from the box and remove the unit or box from the bike frame. Spray your bike cleaner onto the cleaning rag and not the electrical unit, then wipe down the component, being delicate around any charge ports or battery stations. This situation is a perfect time to use Finish Line’s E-Shift Electronic Drivetrain Cleaner. It’s aerosol based and dries rapidly, with no rinsing necessary afterwards.

Even though modern electronic drivetrains are fully waterproof, robust systems, able to withstand lots of abuse, the use of high-pressure water sprays to clean your bike should always be a last resort. With this waterless method, you can clean your bike as often as you like, without worrying about damaging your electronics or anything else on the bike. For all your Di2 needs, get to