Bicycle maintenance | 3 MIN READ

Bike chain cleaning guide

Bike chain cleaning guide

Have you let the muck and grime build up on your bike or did you just spend a ride hammering through some nasty wet roads or trails?

If your bike is making weird noises when you pedal it is time to give a little love to your ride and get it sounding like new again.

Clean the drive train

bike chain cleaningThe drive train is the most important part of your bike to keep clean so start with a basic hose down with a low pressure hose to clear any sticks and stones that have magically stuck to your frame. Rotate the chain and hit it with slight pressure from the hose to clear sand and grime from between the links.

Now the big stuff is gone it’s time to pay attention to give some individual attention to the drive train.

Half fill a bucket with hot water, add some dish washing liquid and let it foam up. Take a strong bristle brush and with the chain in the biggest gear apply the hot, soapy water to the chain with your bristle brush. Rotate the chain while scrubbing until a bright, shiny chain emerges from the bubbles.

how to clean bike chainWith a visually clean chain it’s now time to add degreaser to the chain links to make sure you remove all the sticky residue and grime that you can’t see. Rotate the chain backwards and apply a small amount of degreaser to each link. Allow the chain to drip dry.

Next, use a soft clean rag to clean the chain by rotating the chain backwards. You will be surprised how much dirt still comes out of a visually clean chain. Rotate the chain links to check for a gritty feeling. If you feel a slight crunch when you twist the chain repeat the degreaser step until all grit is removed.

Dry and lubricate the chain

bicycle maintenanceOnce you have a grit free chain it’s time for a light lube of the chain. Make sure there is no moisture remaining in the chain, blow compressed air on the chain to remove any remaining moisture, or just let the bike sit to dry while you go grab a well earned beverage.

With the beverage gone and a perfectly dry chain take as light a lubricant as possible and with a drip cap on the lube bottle place a layer of lubricant on the top of the chain making sure that each link joint soaks in the lube. Coat the whole chain and spin the cranks to force lubricant into the links. When you are satisfied that your lube job is completed dry the chain off with a clean rag while rotating the chain backwards.

Clean the bike frame and wheels

Now that your drive train is clean and lubed take a wet rag and wipe the bike frame and wheels clean of any dirt and then follow up with a clean dry towel to remove any residue from the frame and wheels.

Stay tuned. In our next segment on bicycle maintenance we will show you how to keep you bike’s gears shifting perfectly.

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