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Cleaning and Maintaining your Bicycle Chain

The Chain and Drivetrain are typically the dirtiest parts of your Bicycle. This is one area you cannot not clean on a regular basis as the dirt accumulated here reduces longevity and performance. Cleaning the chain is not cumbersome task but a very essential task to ensure you get the most out of Bicycle over a period of time.


A dirty chain can lead to a number of problems mainly:

  • Increased Rate of Chain Wear
  • Reduced Shifting Performance
  • Reduced Flexibility of Chain Links
  • Added wear on derailleur assemblies and drivetrain cogs

Cleaning and Maintaining your Bicycle Chain-1
Cleaning and Maintaining your Bicycle Chain-2


Before going out for a ride, stand beside your Bicycle and look at the entire chain. Lift the back wheel off the ground, use your free hand to slowly rotate the pedal and inspect each chain link for dirt, rust or tight links(links that do not bend easily as they pass through the rear derailleur). Check if your chain is adequately lubricated by listening for a squeaking noise while riding.

If you find any issues during the tests your chain needs to be cleaned. To clean your Chain while it is still on the bicycles, follow these steps:

  1. Brush out the links with a firm brush (you can also use a toothbrush).
  2. Lubricate the links with a chain lubricant.
  3. Wipe off excess lubricant with a clean dry rag.

NOTE: Do not over lubricate your chain as it can actually attract more dirt.

For a more thorough cleaning you can use a Chain-Cleaning Tool. Attach it to your chain for a quick and thorough cleaning.


Every couple of months or so, completely remove your chain using a chain-removing tool and follow these steps:

  1. Brush the chain with a brush.
  2. Immerse the chain in water and cleaning liquid and let it soak for a while.
  3. Dry the entire chain using a clean rag.
  4. Lubricate the chain and then remove excess lubricant.
  5. Re-install the chain

Cleaning and Maintaining your Bicycle Chain-3

A clean chain helps improve your ride performance as well ensures your Cassette and Crank do not deteriorate faster. If your chain is in a really bad condition do not hesitate to buy a new one as it is much cheaper than replacing your Cassette in the near future. Chain Maintenance doesn’t take much time and can easily be done by you at the comfort of your own home.


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