Beach riding -- how to save the bearings?

I have a chance to go to the sea and bring a muni, but I’m afraid of the salt/sand killing the bearings. I’d like to hear, from experienced beach riders only, what I should do.

I’m assuming that immediately after riding I should give everything a thorough hosing-off with fresh water.

Is this correct? Should I wash out my steel frame too? Any special methods? Anything else?


Unless you get the bearings wet or directly exposed to wet sand/salt water, there’s no real issues. I’ve been riding my 36er and other unis at the beach since 2007, and haven’t had to change my bearings a single time. This includes riding my Oregon on the sand both wet and dry. I would also not advise spraying or trying to flush your bearings with water as it could get past the bearing seals and into the bearings, causing rust and seizing the bearings. Best to keep them dry and if there’s dust or some sand it would be better to blow it off with an air compressor.

They’re sealed bearings and that’s why the seals are there. Yeah, eventually the salt and sand probably will get to them but bearings are pretty cheap (compared, say, to what golfers pay for golf balls that they promptly shank into the woods or dunk in the lake) and easy to replace.

Life’s too short to worry about it. Have a blast riding, hose it down when you’re done, replace them when the time comes.

Edit: Terry posted ahead of me. Good first hand advice.

corrosion spray on the spoke nipples

Do it before the wheel gets wet. The rims (inside, by the tube), will fester and corrode from salt water, and around the nipples.

I concur with the experts above that your bearings should be left alone.

It’s not how often you ride in salt, but temperature and time that salt stays inside the rim. Aluminum rims will rot to white powder in about 10 years or so on the inside, if allowed to sit with salt water in them.

Thanks, everyone, for your input. Full speed ahead!

It’s a bit late but -

I had a pair of bearings on my muni that were already in need of replacement so I rode it around on the beach and in the sea… Sorry everyone… But what I did find is that even once the bearings had become gritty and unpleasant after a day on the beach, is that when I slightly opened up the side of the seal and poured some engine oil in, after several rotations they were good as new - I’d already ordered new bearings before I’d gone into the sea with them and I still haven’t installed them as I simply haven’t needed to.

There was no slack or anything to speak of in the bearings; they were just as good as the new ones that arrived in the post several days later.

Second thoughts, I may not fit into the “experienced beach riders only” category but I hope the insight was useful :slight_smile: