How To Clean Your Bike Chain

Your bicycle is a collection of moving parts. When exposed to mud, dirt and debris, these parts begin to degrade.
Your bicycle is a collection of moving parts. When exposed to mud, dirt and debris, these parts begin to degrade.

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How To Clean Your bike Chain And Drivetrain In 5 Minutes

Your bicycle is a collection of moving parts. When exposed to mud, dirt and debris, these parts begin to degrade. Routine maintenance (monthly, weekly or more often depending on your driving style) is important. If you spend a lot of time cycling in wet and muddy conditions, or if you cycle hard, fast, and often, plan on cleaning your bike more often.

If you touch the chain with your finger and it turns black and greasy, that’s a sure sign that it needs cleaning and lubrication. Another sign is that the chain’s noise is too loud when pedaling.

Keeping your bike components properly cleaned and lubricated is crucial for good performance. Lubrication protects moving parts from excessive wear due to friction, prevents them from “freezing” and helps prevent rust and corrosion.

However, be careful. Excessive lubrication can cause poor performance and component damage (excess lubricant will attract dirt and other abrasive particles). As a general rule, excess lubricant should always be wiped off before using the bike.

Advice:
When lubricating multiple parts at once, remember the order in which to apply the lubricant. Wiping off excess lubricant in the same order will give the lubricant time to soak in.

Step 1: Chain cleaning device goes to work 

Start by pouring the specified amount of degreaser into the chain cleaner and attach it to the bottom part of the chain – roughly between the bottom jockey wheel and the chain.

Once attached, hold it in place and turn the cranks backwards to get the chain through the unit. Count about 30 to 40 pedals. Check out the string to see what it looks like.

Keep spinning the pedals more if the chain is really dirty and needs more cleaning. Consider adding a more degreaser to your chain cleaner if the stain is really stubborn.

Step 2: Brush your teeth (and jockey wheels)

Use a degreaser and stiff brush to scrub and stir the dirt throughout the drivetrain, paying special attention to all the cassette sprockets, rear mechanism, race wheels and chain teeth – basically is anything that moves.

Use a regular bicycle dirt/cleaning spray (not a degreaser – please note the difference here! Degreaser is intended to remove oil/grease from the chain – spray bottle) Regular bike cleaners are only meant to help remove dirt/gravel from the road. These won’t help with an effective cleaning. A chain) can also help with the exterior at this stage.

Step 3: Rinse and rinse again 

Once everything is scrubbed thoroughly, it will no doubt look a complete mess. But worry not! Now is the time to flush it all away, using hot soapy water, and the sponge, to help disperse the grime.

This is a really important step. Make sure you thoroughly wipe and flush the chain and all other components with the hot soapy water.

A hosepipe can also be used at this stage it makes life easier

Once everything is thoroughly cleaned up, it will inevitably look like a mess. But don’t worry! Now it’s time to rinse everything, using warm soapy water and a sponge to help dislodge the dirt.

This is a really important step. Be sure to thoroughly clean and wash the chain and all other components with warm soapy water.

You can also use a garden hose at this point (if you have one, but it’s not necessary), but make sure to keep the water pressure low – you don’t want to force water through the bearings’ washers. A final rinse with clean water is the best way to finish, again to ensure all degreaser is removed. Remember that if there is still some degreaser left, it will start working on any new chain lubricant you apply and shut off immediately. into a messy black paste (a mistake many people make).

But it is not a necessity) but be aware to keep the water pressure low – you don’t want to force water past your bearing seals.

One final rinse with clean water is the best way to end, again to make certain all the degreaser is flushed away – bear in mind if there is degreaser still left behind, it will start to act upon any new chain lube you apply and immediately turn it to a messy black goo (a mistake many often make).

Step 4: Dry then reapply the lube

The question of whether you should use wet or dry lube really comes down to the conditions you are riding in whether on a mountain bike or a gravel bike. A dry lube, not surprisingly is better for dry conditions, it won't attract dirt or dust but it often doesn't last as long as more durable wet lubes.
The question of whether you should use wet or dry lube really comes down to the conditions you are riding in whether on a mountain bike or a gravel bike. A dry lube, not surprisingly is better for dry conditions, it won’t attract dirt or dust but it often doesn’t last as long as more durable wet lubes.

Dry the chain thoroughly – a good starting point is to spin the cranks quickly to effectively ‘push’ the water out of the links. Here, a fine microfiber cloth is most effective. An old T-shirt is fine, but not as good.

If it’s hot outside, it’s not a bad idea to let the car sit in the sun for a while to dry naturally.

Once you are satisfied, everything will be clean and dry if you apply new chain lubricant. Don’t apply too much – a common mistake – it’s best to apply sparingly and often.

Regularly cleaning your chain and always refilling it with fresh lubricant will ensure a long service life, saving you some money.

If you clean the chain after a few rides (and after each wet/dirty ride), it will cost you relatively little effort. If you let it accumulate piles of dirt and clutter, it will be much harder to clean and may never be completely free of dirt.

Look at it like this:
If you do not clean your teeth regularly, you will soon encounter dental problems. The same goes for dirty gearboxes. They don’t last long and fixing them will cost you a lot of money.

All of this can be avoided with a simple five-minute cleaning.

Pro mechanic tips-How To Clean Your Bike Chain And Drivetrain In 5 Minutes

Don’t bother starting with soapy water: pre-wetting furniture and soap will only reduce the effectiveness of the degreaser. So always degrease first.

Never add new chain lubricant to a dirty chain. It will turn into a horrible mess and be harder to clean in the long run and cause untold damage to the seal in dirt, which will wear out your powertrain faster. much.

Do not apply too much chain lubricant. Modern lubricants are so effective that you don’t need to refill liters. To start, apply lubricant between the bottom jockey wheel and the chain (same place where you mounted the chain cleaner) and apply a steady stream for about 5 crankshaft revolutions. That is all.

Finally, avoid lubricating the chain right before you go out cycling. It is best to apply (on a clean chain) at least a day before a long trip, to give the lubricant time to penetrate the links and settle. If you spill anything, cycle immediately, most likely spilling all over your bike’s frame and wheels – not to mention the risk of disc brake contamination.

All of this can be avoided with a simple five-minute cleaning.

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