How to Maintain a Bicycle Chain

Checking your bike chain

Are you paying attention to your bicycle chain? Maybe you have been keeping your cassette clean but, are you paying attention to the chain. The bicycle chain may be the most neglected, essential component on your bike. I was reminded of this recently. Doing some spring clean up and maintenance on my bike, I found that my chain is worn out. It didn't look too bad. When I took the tape measure and lined it up with the chain link pins, I found that it exceeded the recommend 1/16" to 1/8" extra length in 12 inches. A bicycle chain link is 1/2" when it is new. Every second link will line up right on an inch mark on your tape measure (sorry if you are on the metric system - then it is ever 25.4mm, but that may be hard to follow). A worn out chain (more than 12-1/16" to 12-1/8" in 24 links) is going to wear your more expensive cogs. You have to watch for grit too. A worn chain gets longer because the pins and bushings wear over time. measuring bicycle chain

Simple Cleaning Tools

There are tools made for cleaning a chain on the bicycle. You can use a rag to wipe off any accumulation of dirt when you finish a ride.

Degreasing the chain

Citrus based degreasers are readily available, environmentally friendly and effective.

Lubricating a Bicycle Chain

Use a high quality bicycle chain lubricant. Don't make the mistake of covering the entire chain. I remember when we used to use oil. Oil is a magnet for road dirt and grime. Only lubricate the links at the pins. Use a rag to wipe off the excess.

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