Monday, December 2, 2013

Chain Maintenance

Squeaky chain? Dirty Drive Train?

Chain Maintenance Basics:

- Lube every 80 - 120 miles of 'clean' road riding
- Lube every 2-3 rides of MTB, off-road, or dusty riding conditions
- clean and Lube after every ride in wet or muddy conditions

Complete degrease and re-lube:
Once every month (+/- depending on conditions and riding volume), completely degrease and re-lube your chain.  Easiest way is with a Chain Cleaner made specifically for bicycle chains.  It also works to remove your chain, place in a bucket with some concentrated degreaser, and agitate it with a brush for a few minutes (wear rubber gloves!).

First, clean off existing black gunk and muck from your chain.  Put in the small ring and about mid-cassette in the back.  Take an old towel or rag, hold the chain and pedal backward for a good 30 seconds.  Also, be sure to clean off the derailleur pulley wheels and the front chain rings as best you can.  If things are extremely dirty (or every 2nd or 3rd time), use a degreaser and apply directly to the chain while pedaling backward or to the rag/towel.  If you used a degreaser, now take a dry towel and wipe off all the muck and gunk that the degreaser has drawn out of the chain.  Pedal backward a good 30 - 60 seconds while gripping the chain in different orientations to clean as best as possible.  Remove as much of the degreaser as possible.

Re-lube the chain.  Pedal backward while squirting a liberal amount of high quality lubricant (We like Rock n Roll Gold……….and by the way - WD-40 is NOT a lubricant…..) directly onto the top of the bottom-section of chain.  This will ensure it enters the rollers and pins, where the lube is designed to go (you don't need lube on the outside of the chain's side-plates)

With the lube nearly dripping off the chain, pedal forward now and shift through the gears with bike on the stand, or hold it, or ride it around the block.  Allow lube to dry if it contains either PTFE or wax.  If it's a non-wax lube, now pedal backward 20 - 30 sec while holding chain with rag/towel and remove excess lube.  Remove excess lube from derailleur pulley wheels and front chain rings.

If you completely degreased the chain (used a concentrated degreaser and chain cleaner) prior to re-lubing, then repeat the lube process a second and potentially third time.


Drive-Train should run quietly and shift smoothly.  Still don't know what to do?  Bring it by and let us do it for you!