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How To Clean And Lube Your Bike Chain

How to Clean and Lube your Bike Chain
How To Clean And Lube Your Bike Chain


Cleaning the chain on your bike is a crucial part of general bike care and doing it will keep you riding faster, longer and save you money. Follow the steps below to keep your bicycle chain clean and running smoothly.
 

Why do I need to clean my bike chain?

 
Chains are a consumable part of a bike’s drivetrain.
This means as you ride more and more, your bike’s chain will eventually wear out.
  
One of the main culprits for making a chain wear out quicker is when dirt and grit get in-between all the moving links of the chain and gradually wear away the metal.
 
Cleaning your chain regularly will help to prevent this from happening and make your chain last longer.
 
Another benefit gained from regular chain cleaning is that your drivetrain will be more efficient.
 
The gears will change more smoothly and when you are out turning those pedals they will do so with less friction, caused by all the gunk and grime stuck to your chain.
 

How do I clean my bike chain?

 
If you've been out on a particularly muddy ride and your bike is full of crud, it’s probably best to give the whole of your bike a basic clean, to get most of the loose dirt and grit off.
 
You can then focus, specifically, on cleaning your chain and drivetrain.
 
It’s worth noting here that you should check the detergent you're going to use and make sure it is a 'bike friendly' one, that is safe to use near disc brakes and pads as well as on your carbon frame if you have one. We recommend the Jobsworth High Performance Bike Cleaner, specifically formulated to cut through and lift the most stubborn dirt and grime from your bike and its components.

It also might be worth using some heavy-duty paper towels or disc brake covers to shield your brakes and stop anything from contaminating them.
 
If this happens it will reduce the performance of your brakes and will probably make them annoyingly noisy when out riding, both of which you don’t want.
 
After you've got rid of most of the loose dirt from your bike you can direct your attention to the grime on your drivetrain.
 
One of the most efficient ways to get your chain looking and working better is to use a dedicated chain cleaning device.
 

How do I clean my chain without a chain cleaning device?

 
If you don't have a chain cleaning device there is still hope.
 
You will need:
 
 
 
1.    Start by covering your bike chain, cassette and chainring in bike detergent and giving it a good scrub with a stiff bristled brush to agitate it and start it doing its stuff.
During this cleaning process use the cold-water bucket to rinse your dirty brush and sponge and then your warm soapy water bucket to re-soap.
 
 
2.    After a couple of minutes spray your sponge with the detergent and grip your chain with the sponge.
Cycle the pedals by hand and run the chain through the sponge to help clean the grime off.
 
 
3.    Do this for one full chain cycle and then rinse your sponge in the cold-water bucket, then when clean put the sponge back into the warm soapy bucket and repeat until your chain is looking clean.
 
 
4.    Give the whole of your drivetrain a good spray and scrub with the stiff bristled brush. You can also use the unusual looking claw brush/tool to get into your jockey wheels to scrape the dirt off them and get them running smoothly.
 
 
5.    Rinse your entire drivetrain with clean water.


6.    Dry your chain and drivetrain with a lint free cloth or chamois leather, if you are continuing on to clean the rest of your bike disregard this step.
 
 

Cleaning your chain using a chain cleaning device

 
Chain cleaning devices are pieces of equipment that clip onto your chain and run it through several rollers and brushes coating with degreasing fluid, scraping away all the gunk.
 
You will need:
 
  • Bike specific detergent
  • Bucket of warm soapy water
  • Bucket of cold water
  • Stiff bristled brush
  • Claw brush
  • Chain cleaning device
  • Chain degreasing fluid
  • Lint Free Cloth or Chamois Leather
 
1.    Start as before by covering your bike chain, cassette and chainring in bike detergent and giving it a good scrub with a stiff bristled brush to agitate it and start it doing its stuff.
You will, again, be using the cold-water bucket to rinse your dirty brush and sponge and your warm soapy water bucket to re-soap.
 
 
2.    Whilst the detergent is getting to work, fill up your chain cleaning device with degreasing fluid and affix it to your chain in front of your lower jockey wheel. This is usually done by splitting the device putting the fluid in the reservoir and then closing the lid with your chain running through.
 
 
3.    Rotate the cranks with one hand whilst holding the device in your other and draw the chain through.
 
 
4.    Once clean remove the device and give your whole drivetrain another once over with the detergent and stiff brush, giving your jockey wheels some attention with the claw brush/tool.
 
 
5.    Rinse your entire drivetrain with clean water.


6.    Dry your chain and drivetrain with a lint free cloth or chamois leather, if you are continuing on to clean the rest of your bike disregard this step.
 


How to apply chain lubrication

 
When your chain is nice and clean it is really important to dry it of so it doesn’t rust before the lubrication can be applied.
 
You will need:
 
 
 
1.    Get a clean rag or towel and run your chain through it to remove all the excess water.
 
 
2.    Once dry place rotate your pedals whilst coating the entire chain in one thin layer of lube. Make sure to lube the inside of the chain as this is the surface that runs through the drivetrain. Do not get any on your rear disc as this will seriously inhibit your brake performance.
 
 
3.    Remove any excess lube with a paper towel as this will only attract grime to your chain.
 
 
Job done
 
You’re all done now. Next time you grab your bike to get out and ride, you will be able to enjoy all your hard work with a lovely, clean and freshly lubricated drivetrain.

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