How to Clean and Lube your Bike Chain

How to Clean and Lube your Bike Chain

How to Clean and Lube your Bike Chain

Why should I clean and lube my bike chain?

Keeping your bike chain clean and lubed is the best way to extend the life of your drivetrain, keep your bike shifting smoothly, and save money in the long run. This is also a good time to check the chain for wear—riding with a too-worn chain can erode the teeth on the gears, and replacing gears is a lot more expensive than replacing a chain. And the best part is, you can do it all at home with the right supplies and some basic knowledge.

How to clean the bike chain?

The chain and drivetrain are typically the dirtiest parts of your bike, and this dirt is bad news for bike longevity and performance.
Before you start, this is your official warning that cleaning your chain is a dirty job. So take off that tux, pull on some gloves, and let's get started!

  • Step 1:
    degrease your chain. If you have a designated chain cleaner tool, fill it with your bike-specific degreaser and wrap the tool around your chain according to directions. Then, use your free hand to backpedal. The brushes in your chain cleaner will clean all the nooks and crannies while collecting degreaser in its reservoir.
  • Step 2:
    If you don't have a special tool, use a brush to degrease your chain. A toothbrush or nail brush will do the trick. Just add some degreaser to the brush, hold it to the top of your chain, and backpedal. Repeat this step with the bottom of your chain, always brushing the section of chain below your drivetrain.
  • Step 3:
    Rub down your chain with soapy water and a rinse to clean off excess degreaser.

How often should you clean and lube your chain?

A good rule of thumb is once a week if you ride daily, and it's a must after you ride in the rain or anywhere that's very muddy. And if you hear what sounds like your bike chirping at you as you ride, that's your chain crying out for attention!

How to choose a lube for your bike chain?

There are many different types of bicycle-specific lubes, including wet lubes, dry lubes, ceramic lubes and wax lubes. Each has its own pros and cons, and intended use, which we'll come on to.

  • Dry Lube:
    Dry lubes, so-called because they're designed for riding in dry conditions, are often made up of around 10 per cent lubricant - synthetic oils and additives - and 90 per cent carrier fluid. Some companies also make wax-based lubes that are dry. As a lower viscosity lubricant, dry lubes promise greater efficiency through lower friction and by attracting fewer contaminants. The only disadvantage of this type is that it can get washed easily when you are riding in the rain or through puddles.
  • Wet lube:
    This Bike chain lube is the best for riding in wet weather. The product has a higher proportion of PTFE and synthetic oils. You will get more lube on each milliliter, and this increases and does not get washed off by water or puddle. The downside of this chain oil is, it attracts grime and dirt more than anything. You'll need to clean your drivetrain regularly, possibly even after every ride if you want the maximum benefit and to maintain peak performance and optimise drivetrain life. Once a wet lube becomes contaminated it can begin to cause drivetrain wear.
  • Ceramic lube
    This lube has earned its popularity in the past years, as the manufacturers claimed that it will increase the performance. However, it wasn't clear what ingredients it had or the type of extra benefits people could get using it over the other types. Though, a company which makes wet and dry lube both, they also produce ceramic chain oil claimed that this product has the particles of ceramic. They also claimed that this reduces friction and it's more effective than synthetic lubes generally sold in the market. It increases the longevity of the drivetrain and you will be able to save your money.
  • Wax lube
    Lubricants based on paraffin wax (yes, the stuff they make candles with) have grown massively in popularity in recent years, as independent testing has shown them to score extremely well on efficiency, longevity and in resistance to contaminants. The one downside of this lube is that you need to clean the chain before you apply the product on it otherwise, the oil will not stick to the metal and will not dry properly. This suggests that you have to clean the new chains too.
  • What is the ideal lube for Windgoo B20 bike?
    For commuting bikes such as windgoo B20, the best option is wet lube. You can also invest in good mudguards which will protect the chain from dirt and grimes. Also, you must clean the bike, if you want the long life of the vehicle.

How to oil your chain?

  • Step 1:
    Choose your lube. Use wet lube if you ride in wet, muddy conditions, and dry lube if you ride in dry conditions.
  • Step 2:
    Lube your chain. Carefully place a small drop of lube on top of each roller in your chain. Make sure to aim the lube right into your rollers. Getting lube on the outside of the chain will just pick up more dirt.
  • Step 3:
    Wipe off any excess lube, and you're ready to ride!

Get started!

Now that you're trained in the art of chain maintenance, be sure to keep an eye out for creaks and squeaks. These could be signs that your chain needs a little love. And if you ride regularly, remember to clean and lube your chain at least once a month. If you like exploring off-road and getting your bike muddy, you should clean it even more than that. Happy trails!