How to Clean Your Cargo Bike in 7 Simple Steps: A Comprehensive Guide

Owning a cargo bike can be a game-changer, providing a convenient and eco-friendly means of transportation for both goods and passengers. However, like any other mode of transportation, regular maintenance is crucial to ensure optimal performance and longevity. In this guide, we'll delve into the essential steps to effectively clean your cargo bike, focusing on cargo bikes with a standard chain and a revolutionary carbon belt drive.

Step 1: Gather Your Cleaning Supplies

Before embarking on the cleaning process for your cargo bike, it's essential to gather all the necessary supplies to ensure a thorough and effective cleaning. Here's a detailed list of items you'll need:

  • Bucket: A large bucket will be used for mixing water with detergent and for rinsing your cleaning tools.
  • Mild Detergent: Choose a gentle, bike-friendly detergent to avoid damaging the bike's components. Dilute it in water according to the product's instructions.
  • Soft Brush: Select a soft-bristled brush to scrub away dirt and grime without scratching or harming the bike's surfaces. Make sure the brush is appropriate for use on bicycles.
  • Degreaser: Use a degreaser to break down and remove stubborn grease and grime, especially in areas with chain and gears. Ensure that the degreaser is safe for use on bike components.
  • Hose or Bucket of Water: You'll need a water source for rinsing off the detergent and cleaning the bike. A hose or a filled bucket will work for this purpose.
  • Microfiber Cloths: These are ideal for drying and polishing your cargo bike without leaving lint or scratches. They are gentle on the bike's finish.
  • Bike-Specific Lubricant: After cleaning, you'll need a bike-specific lubricant to ensure smooth operation of the moving parts. Apply lubricant to the chain and other relevant components.
  • Gentle Cleaner for Carbon Belt Drive: If your cargo bike features a carbon belt drive, it's crucial to have a gentle cleaner specifically designed for carbon components. This helps maintain the integrity of the material.

By ensuring you have all these cleaning supplies ready, you'll be well-equipped to clean your cargo bike thoroughly, addressing various components and ensuring the longevity of your bicycle.

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Step 2: Pre-Rinse the Bike

Start by giving your cargo bike a thorough pre-rinse to remove loose dirt and grime. Here are the detailed steps:

  • Thorough Wetting: Begin by wetting the entire cargo bike. You may use a hose or a sponge, soaked in water to gently wet the bike's various components. Ensure that you cover the cargo area, frame, wheels, and drivetrain. This initial rinse is aimed at loosening and removing the surface dirt and grime.
  • Methodical Approach: Adopt a systematic approach to ensure all parts of the bike receive proper pre-rinsing. Start from the top and work your way down. Pay attention to areas that might accumulate more dirt, such as the chain, gears, and wheel spokes.
  • Gentle Cleaning: Use a sponge to wipe down the surfaces as you rinse. This can help dislodge dirt that may be stuck to the bike. Be gentle to avoid scratching or damaging the paint and components.
  • Inspect for Tough Stains: During the pre-rinse, take note of any particularly stubborn stains or areas with heavy grime. These spots may require more focused cleaning later in the process.

By pre-rinsing your cargo bike in this manner, you're essentially laying the foundation for a more effective and efficient cleaning process. The goal is to remove the loose dirt and grime so that subsequent cleaning steps can target deeper, more persistent stains or deposits.

Step 3: Clean the Frame and Cargo Area

For the frame and cargo area, mix a mild detergent with water in a bucket and use a soft brush or sponge to scrub away dirt and stains. Pay close attention to hard-to-reach areas and corners where dirt may accumulate. Rinse the frame thoroughly to ensure all detergent is removed.

Step 4: Check and Tighten Bolts and Nuts

Regular use of your cargo bike can lead to vibrations and jolts that  may cause the bolts and nuts to loosen over time. To ensure the structural integrity of your bicycle, inspect all bolts and nuts, especially those on the cargo rack, handlebars, and wheels. Use the appropriate tools to tighten any that have come loose. A periodic check and tightening of these components will contribute to the safety and stability of your cargo bike, providing a smooth and secure riding experience.

By incorporating this maintenance task into your routine, you'll address potential safety issues and enhance the overall performance of your cargo bike.

Step 5: Degreasing the Drivetrain and Cleaning Carbon Belt Drives

Degrease the Drivetrain (For Bikes with Standard Chains)

If your cargo bike has a standard chain like the Ferla Royce Cargo Bike, it's essential to keep the drivetrain clean. Here are the detailed steps:

  • Prepare the Bike:
      • Ensure the cargo bike is securely positioned, either on a bike stand or on a stable surface.
      • Shift the gears to the smallest chainring and the smallest rear cog for easier access to all parts of the drivetrain.
  • Apply Degreaser:
      • Spray or apply the bike-specific degreaser generously onto the chain, cassette, and chainrings.
      • Pay special attention to areas with heavy grease buildup, such as between the chain links.
  • Scrub the Drivetrain:
      • Using a dedicated brush, scrub the chain, cassette, and chainrings thoroughly.
      • Work the brush into the links of the chain and between the teeth of the cassette and chainrings to dislodge accumulated grime.
  • Rinse Thoroughly:
      • Rinse the entire drivetrain with water to remove the degreaser and loosened dirt.
      • Ensure all residues are washed away, as leftover degreasers can affect the performance of the drivetrain.
  • Let it Dry:
      • Allow the cleaned drivetrain to air dry completely before moving to the next step.
      • Patience is key to ensuring that the chain and other components are dry before applying lubricant.
  • Apply Lubricant:
      • Once the drivetrain is dry, apply an appropriate bicycle chain lubricant to the chain.
      • Ensure even coverage by rotating the pedals backward while applying the lubricant.
  • Wipe Excess Lubricant:
      • After applying the lubricant, use a clean, dry rag to wipe off any excess lubricant from the chain. This helps prevent attracting dirt and grime.

    Clean the Carbon Belt Drive (For Bikes with Carbon Belts)

    Ferla Long-Tail Cargo Bikes equipped with a carbon belt drive offer a low-maintenance alternative to traditional chains. Use a gentle cleaner suitable for carbon components to wipe down the carbon belt, ensuring all dirt and debris are removed. Avoid using harsh chemicals that may damage the carbon material.

    Step 6: Wipe Down and Dry

    After cleaning, use microfiber cloths to wipe down the entire bike, ensuring it's dry and free from water spots. Pay attention to areas around the cargo rack and in between frame tubes where water may accumulate.

    Step 7: Protect Your Cargo Bike from the Elements

    To safeguard your cargo bike from the elements and enhance its longevity, consider applying a protective coating or wax. A quality bike-specific protective spray or wax can help repel water, prevent corrosion, and keep your bike looking polished. Apply the protective coating evenly on the frame, cargo area, and other exposed metal components. This step, often overlooked, adds an extra layer of defense against wear and tear caused by weather conditions.


    Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential to keep your cargo bike in top condition. Whether you have a cargo bike with a standard chain or with a carbon belt drive, following these seven simple steps will help ensure your bike stays reliable, efficient, and ready for the next adventure on the road.