Recently I went for a ride, and it was a very muddy one. I blatantly misjudged the depth of a puddle and submerged half of my bike (and myself) in muddy water, including the chain and front/rear disk brakes.

The brakes started squealing and the chain started "sticking" to the front gear, causing the the pedals to seize up.

I cleaned the bike as best as I could and left it in the garage for about a week, after that I took out the brake pads, cleaned them with isopropyl alcohol and did the same with the disks.

The chain seemed to have rusted a bit, so I cleaned it with a wire brush sprayed WD-40 on it (and I know that might have been an error).

Now all the noise stopped, but I feel like I can't brake with the same force as before, and I feel like I messed up something.

Should I change the brake pads & chain? Any other steps I need to take?

If that happens again, what are the correct steps to take?

The bike is a Whistle B-RACE a7.1 E-bike

Here's an illustration for the stickage problem:

enter image description here

  • 2
    Spraying with WD40 might have contaminated the rear brake.
    – Carel
    Dec 6, 2021 at 12:32
  • 2
    @WeiwenNg I added an illustration, hope that helps
    – Yeeter
    Dec 6, 2021 at 13:32
  • 3
    The phenomenon illustrated in the figure is called "chainsuck". It can be caused by a dirty chain, by an unlubricated chain or by a chainring whose teeth have worn too much.
    – juhist
    Dec 6, 2021 at 13:34
  • 1
    Very likely. If you still have chainsuck, after lubricating the chain well, the cause was probably worn chainring, so you'll need to swap that to a newer one.
    – juhist
    Dec 6, 2021 at 13:54
  • 5
    Chainsuck has a brief description in the terminology index! If any of you write an answer that refers to it, can you consider linking the terminology index? To the OP, thanks for the illustration, it helps considerably. bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/244/…
    – Weiwen Ng
    Dec 6, 2021 at 14:22

1 Answer 1


Bikes are made to be ridden through water and get wet so don't worry!

The biggest risk is that you've contaminated your rear rotor with WD40 and this has been transferred to the brake pads.

I would clean the rotors and brake pads again with isopropyl alcohol and lightly sand the brake pads. Once that is complete I would run through a bedding-in process just to make sure they're good.

Brakes often feel like that after getting wet. Personally, I would just ignore the squealing and allow any water or mud to burn off.

In terms of your chain, WD40 is not a lubricant. You need to use a good wet weather lube if you're riding in places with puddles. There are lots of products about but select one that is for both mountain bikes and wet weather like Finish-Line Green. WD40 is the 40th formula iteration of a Water Displacement spray. Great for cleaning and degreasing but it only leaves a small amount of thin lubricant which isn't thick enough for a bike chain.

  • I'll try and let you know!
    – Yeeter
    Dec 6, 2021 at 13:34
  • 2
    WD40 makes a great chain cleaner, so a good first product in this case. Needs follow up with a lube.
    – mattnz
    Dec 6, 2021 at 18:43
  • 2
    The lesson to take from this is that it's ok to clean a chain with WD40, but avoid spraying it near the disk, where brake pads will soak it up and lose traction. Hold a rag behind the chain while spraying the chain in a direction away from the wheel. Afterwards wipe it to prevent drips and apply some lube when it's dry.
    – Rich Moss
    Dec 7, 2021 at 0:09
  • I did every step and now the bike seems back to normal, so i will accept your answer
    – Yeeter
    Dec 9, 2021 at 9:00

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