Clean your chain, lubricate your chain

The most important single piece of bike maintenance you can do is to clean and oil your chain and/or drivetrain. It’s easily done at home, with minimal tools and helps prolong the life of your drivetrain (chain & gears) and help you get the most out of your bike.

A dirty or rusty chain will wear out the drivetrain in much less time, leaving you with expensive service and repair bills.

When your chain gets dirty, the dirt mixes with the oil to form a grinding paste, accelerating the wear of the chain and gears. Of course, the gears that will wear first are your favourites, the ones you use all of the time.

If you ride in the rain, you’re more likely to pick up dirt and muck, so it’s especially important in the wet season.

Three simple steps

It’s easy to keep your chain clean and lubricated.  Once you’re setup up with a space and the right cleaners and lubricants, it can become a simple part of your ride preparation, along with checking tyre pressures and putting your gear on.

  1. Clean your chain.  There’s no point in adding oil to a dirty or rusty chain.
  2. Oil your chain.  Turn the pedals backwards and drizzle a liberal coating of lubricant along the length of the chain.
  3. Wipe off the excess oil.  Run the chain through a clean rag to wipe off any excess.  Only the thinnest coating on the inside of the chain mechanism is needed.   Wiping off the excess helps reduce any dirt pickup.

 Cleaning your chain

As a minimum, use soapy water and a scrubbing brush (it’s okay, I guess), or you can use a degreaser, preferably a biodegradable cleaner.

Types of Chain Lube

There’s three types of Chain Lubricant.

  1. General purpose. The all-rounder of the lubricants. This will do fine for the majority of riders.
  2. Dry lubricant. A non-oily, wax based lubricant, this is best for use in dry conditions. It’s not so sticky so it doesn’t pick up dust and loose particles. This makes it a good dry-season lubricant for dusty trail rides. The downside is that it washes straight off in water, so if you do get it wet, you need to replace it straight away. It also wears of a bit quicker than oil.  For longer rides, it may pay to carry a small bottle of dry lube with you
  3. Wet Lubricant. Lubricant for wet conditions. This is usually a heavier oil, designed to be used in wet conditions. The heavier oil will not wash off as easily in wet conditions. The downside of wet lubricant is that it tends to pick up more dirt and dust, and is a little harder to clean.

Don’t use WD-40 or similar products.

Whilst these products contain oil, it’s an extremely light weight oil.  It has the effect of cleaning off any residual lubricant on your chain and then evaporating away.  It can be worse than not using anything.

Want more info?

Come in to the shop and have a chat with the friendly guys.  We’ll show you the best way to keep your bike going well.

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