The chain is one of the most important parts of your bike, but it doesn’t have an easy life – exposed to mud, grime and the worst of the weather it needs a little care to stay at its best. Routinely lubing your bike chain will improve its performance and prevent it from wearing out early. We show you how to look after your chain to give you more performance and fewer repair bills.
How often you service your chain is dependent on the conditions you ride in. If you spend most of your time on clean tarmac you are likely to experience fewer problems than riders who ride in mud daily. However, as many factors such as dust, salt, moisture and dirt can contribute to chain wear we recommend cleaning the chain after every ride and applying a new film of oil. Also, clean and lubricate the chain on your bicycle if you notice it becoming dry, sounding noisy or if the chain links bind in any way.
Choose a lube that’s right for your bike based on the conditions you’ll be riding it in. Once you have a lubricant, you should clean your bike chain thoroughly before applying it. Then you can easily apply the lube to your bike chain. Once you get the hang of it, you can start routinely lubing your bike chain in a matter of minutes!
Choosing a Bike Lube
1. Choose a wet lube if you’ll be biking in wet weather. Rain, snow, and slushy roads can wash away dry lube on a bike chain. Wet lube will be more resistant
2. Use a dry lube if you live in an arid climate. Wet lube isn’t necessary if you’re going to be riding in dry weather conditions, and it attracts more dirt than dry lube. Dry lube will keep your chain cleaner, but you’ll need to reapply it every 100 miles of riding you do.
3. Get a wax lube if you use your bike to get around. Wax lube is less messy than other kinds of bike lubes, so it won’t get all over your clothes if you’re riding your bike into work or to the store. Wax lube also keeps your bike chain cleaner than other kinds of lubes.
4. Don’t lube your bike chain with WD-40. Only use lubricants designed specifically for use on bike chains. WD-40 is too thin of a lubricant, and it can cause dirt and grime to build up on the chain.
Cleaning the Bike Chain
1. Spray degreaser spray onto an old rag. The rag will get dirty from the chain, so use one you’re not too attached to. You don’t need a lot of degreaser on the rag; a quick spray should be enough.Don’t have degreaser spray? If the bike chain you’re lubing isn’t that dirty, you may be able to just wipe it down with a wet rag. If there’s still dirt and grime after, you should make a trip to your local hardware store to get a degreaser spray
2. Hold the wet side of the rag against part of the bike chain. Hold the rag in place with your hand. The chain should be touching the part of the rag you sprayed with degreaser.
3. Backpedal the chain so it runs through the rag. Grab onto one of the pedals of the bike with your free hand and crank the pedals backward. The chain should start to move around the chainrings on the bike. Keep backpedaling until the whole chain has slid through the rag in your hand. Hold the rag in place as the chain spins.
4. Put your bike chain back on if it slips off. Give the chain slack by pushing the rear derailleur arm (the metal arm on the back tire) toward the handlebars. Put the chain back on the chainrings and push the rear derailleur arm back into place. Pedal the chain a few times and you should be good to go!
Applying the Lube
1. Shake the container of lube thoroughly. The different ingredients in the lube may have separated as it sat on the shelf, so give it a good shake to mix them all together.
2. Squeeze the bottle of lube and backpedal the chain as you apply it. Hold the bottle of lube so the nozzle is resting on the inside of the chain. Use your free hand to crank the pedals backward so the chain moves around the chainrings on the bike. Run the chain around the chainrings several times, continuing to squeeze the lube onto each part of the chain as it passes by. Hold the bottle of lube steady as you backpedal the chain.
3. Set aside the lube and continue to backpedal the chain. This will help work the lube into the chain. Run the chain around the chainrings at least 10 more times.
4. Wipe off excess lube with a rag. Hold the rag against the chain and backpedal the chain. Run the chain around the chainrings and through the rag a few times until all the excess lube is off.Don’t skip this step! Excess lube can cause dirt and grime to build up on the chain.