Bike Chain Cleaning And Maintenance

December 03, 2018
Bike Chain Cleaning And Maintenance
Bike Chain Cleaning And Maintenance

Treating your bike like your baby isn’t overkill – it can actually protect you on the road! Good bicycle care includes a lot of things, not the least of which is keeping the chain tight and clean. A well-maintained chain can help you avoid spills and make your ride more efficient. When it comes to cleaning a bike chain, advice helps riders from casual weekend warriors to serious mountain bikers.

Why It’s Necessary to Clean Bike Chains

If your bike chain is dirty, you’ll have to work harder. Assuming you put out 250 watts while you’re riding (the average for most riders), a bad chain could cost you 5w. That might not sound like much, but having to work 5% harder adds up on long rides. A bike chain that’s not maintained properly could also lead to problems with your shifting performance. Water, mud, construction dust, pollen, rocks, and other matter all contribute to the wear and tear of your bike chain. Even if you’re riding in the city and avoiding muddy off-roading, your chain still needs attention.

How Often to Clean Your Bike Chain

A cursory cleaning is warranted on a regular basis, as often as once a month. Using a soft cloth and some bike chain lube, you should wipe down your chain and other elements of the drivetrain system to get rid of surface level dirt. Some cyclists prefer to use a brush to get rid of hard to reach dirt between the links. Every few months or so, you should remove the chain and soak it completely in a solvent. Once you wipe down the links and allow all of the solvent to evaporate, the chain is ready to be re-lubricated and attached to your cycle.

What to Look for During a Cleaning

Chain links that are too tight to run smoothly while you pedal are indicative of a problem with dirt build up. If you notice an area on your bike that doesn’t run right over the rear derailleur, pay special attention to that area while cleaning. Over time, the rollers and link pins on your chain will inevitably stretch. Use a chain checker to measure areas where the links appear to be stretched out. If the links are too far apart, it’s time to invest in a new chain – you don’t want to ride on one that is primed to snap or come off while you’re on the road.

The biggest favor you can do for yourself to keep your drivetrain running is to learn how to lube a bike chain. The best lubes are designed specifically for bicycles and repel both dirt and water. If you’re not sure where to get started, check out our chains and accessories today.

If your bike lubed up and ready to set out on a new adventure? Do you want to find new and exciting places to take your bike? Sixthreezero is here to help. Join our Journey Club to uncover new and exciting ride locations around the globe!

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