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5 Simple Tips For Looking After A Bike Chain

rag to clean chain

5 Tips For Looking after a bike chain

The bike chain is probably the important component on any bike, so looking after a bike chain is very important. The chain has hundreds of moving parts, so to keep the bike in a reliable roadworthy condition the chain needs to be maintained, it is advised to regularly “clean and lubricate the the chain.” But how do you do it?

1. Get a rag and some purpose degreasing solvent for bicycle chains. 

Using this method you can get the majority of the dirt and gunk from the chain. If you have a bike stand even better, as the main thing is to have a free rotating rear wheel as you clean the chain. Soak the rag in the degreasing agent and hold against the chain while pedaling backward. Repeat this process several times, while changing the rag intermittently to apply a clean surface to the chain.  You’ll need to maintain moving the chain backward until you have cleaned the whole chain.

2 Oiling the Chain

looking after a bike chainIt is important that you lubricate the chain and not the gears as this is not necessary. Place the bike on a bike stand if you have one and into middle gear. Spray the lubricant lightly onto the chain while pedaling backward. Make sure the entire chain has been sprayed and spin a few more times before using a clean rag to wipe away any excess lubricant.

3 Doing something is better than doing nothing

Many cyclists do not think to check their chains on a regular basis, due to time constraints or some other reason. However, a simple check before starting out on any journey could be the difference in completing the trip or not. We can appreciate that it can take a little time to fully service a chain. However, a quick spray of lubricant to the chain will keep it lubricated and stop it becoming dry or squeaky.

4 Check the chain for wear

looking after a chainThe chain will wear eventually there is no doubt about that, but how quickly it will wear down will depend on the riding style and terrain covered. This wear is called “chain stretch” and is caused when the link rollers wear down. It is better and cheaper to replace the chain rather than replace the gears, however, that could also be necessary for the future. You can use a tool called a chain checker that will quickly and accurately determine if the chain has stretched and needs replaced.

5 Take care on lubricants

Using specifically made bicycle chain lubricants is a must as they are far superior to non bicycle specific products. (As a note WD-40 is not a lubricant but a cleaner.)  A good quality chain lubricant will reduce the accumulation of dirt build up as this accelerates wear and tear. Specifically made bike chain products usually contain Teflon® which is designed to repel dirt and water and are the only biking lubricant products you should use to clean a bike chain.

Don’t forget to check our clearance page for end of stock items for biking gear for kids 


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