Among all bicycle accessories and parts, the chain is probably the most important. Composed of hundreds of links, plates and rollers, the chain is the one responsible for the movement coordination of your bike’s running gear. Therefore, regular maintenance of the chain is imperative to ensure that your bike works reliably and smoothly every time.
Here are some simple pointers for basic cleaning and maintenance of your bicycle’s chain.
1. Do a quick cleaning with a rag and degreasing solvent
A simple and quick cleaning can already remove most of the grease and dirt build-up from your chain. Steady your bike in a workstand, so you can freely rotate the pedals without the bike moving in place. Take a rag, wet it by spraying a degreaser on it, and then wrap the lower section of the chain first. Hold it in place while your other hand pedals to keep the chain moving in between the rag, Hold the rag firmly enough to remove the grease, but also loosely enough to allow the chain to easily rotate.
2. Soak the chain in degreaser for deep cleaning
A quick clean may be able to remove most of the gunk in your bicycle accessories, but it cannot get rid of the dirt and grease in between the chain plates and rollers. For deep cleaning, remove the chain from the bike and let it soak for a few hours in a bucket of degreaser.
Another quick deep cleaning option is to use a chain scrubbing device. You simply attach the cleaning device onto the lower section of the chain, fill it up with degreasing solvent and then pedal backwards to allow the chain to pass through the device for deep cleaning. If you don’t have this device yet, you can easily find them in any bicycle shop in Singapore.
3. Apply lubricant and wipe off excess
After cleaning the chain, now is the time to apply the lube. Before applying, shift the bike to middle gear. Hold the lube bottle over the chain, while you pedal backwards with your other hand. Gently yet firmly, squeeze the bottle for a light but steady flow of lube onto the chain. Keep pedalling until the whole length of the chain is lubricated. Afterwards, pedal a few more times to evenly distribute the lube. Leave it for a few minutes to give some time for the solution to work its way into pins and rollers of the chain. Remove excess with a clean rag by gently wiping the external part of the chain.
4. Check the chain periodically
As the chain of your bike goes through motion over the course of time, surfaces inside the chain’s link rollers gradually wear down, stretching out the chain. As the chain stretches, the spaces in between links no longer match the spaces in between every tooth of your bike’s gears. At this point, the chain starts to wear down the gears.
To keep your bicycle accessories and gears in its best condition, start from the chain. Check it for signs of stretch before it starts wearing out other parts of your bicycle. Remember that purchasing a chain from a bicycle shop is much cheaper than buying replacement gears. However, even if you change your chains regularly, you will still eventually need to purchase new gears and chainrings from a bicycle shop to replace worn out ones.
Taking care of your bike and ensuring its excellent running condition is just a matter of regular maintenance of the chain. Check out different bicycle shops around Singapore for bike maintenance products you can use conveniently at home.