Bike Maintenance: Your Bike Chain

A clean chain is a happy chain ,and a faster more efficient bike. Chains should be cleaned and lubed every 100 miles or after a wet ride(dry it first). The great thing is that chain lube is a solvent so it acts as a cleaner. If you follow the 100 mile rule, you will not have to deep clean it with chain a specific chain cleaner.

  1. My preference is a chain oil that is yellow, almost clear. That way you can easily see when the chain Is dirty. Dark lubes make the chain appear dirty, and waxy lubes attract more dirt and get gunky.
  2. Put your chain in the big ring and small cog combo. Pedal backward to apply lube and to wipe clean. Most bikes will take 3 pedal rotations to go through the whole chain.
  3. Apply the lube to the where the flat pates meet the middle rollers. The lube is needed inside where the chain links pivot. Not on the outside. It is easiest to apply it right over the rear cog. Make sure spin the chain backwards  slowly for a minute or 2 after you apply the oil. This helps it work in between the plates and rollers. Let sit for a few minutes, then spin again before wiping off.
  4. You can never wipe your chain too much. Take a rag and grab the chain below the derailleur pulleys. Pedal backwards running the chain through the rag. Shift to a clean spot non the rag often, and grip the chain in several positions to get all sides wiped off.
  5. For a super clean chain, take the rag and grab the chain on the big ring where you can grab it better and wipe each section of links ,before pedaling to the next set.
  6. Finally  – floss the rear cog with a rag to clean the rings, wipe down the small ring on the crank then shift the chain to small ring, big cog so you can clean the last cogs and the big ring.

Contributor: Coach Matt Paradis

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