Maintaining Your Bicycle Chain

bicycle chain r

When your bicycle starts making a whole lot of noise and you find yourself having to push harder and harder on the pedals, you know it’s that time again: time to replace that tired old worn-out bicycle chain.

Having to replace the chain on your bicycle is inevitable (as every seasoned cyclist knows), but with a little effort and discipline, you can extend the longevity of your bicycle chain just by carrying out regular maintenance on it.

Remember to leave the chain on the bicycle while you’re cleaning it; this will prevent the chain from being subjected to some unnecessary wear-and-tear. At the same time, you can also inspect the chain for any links that may have become too stiff; stiff links can cause the chain to skip and slip (not something you want to experience while you’re still on the bicycle). If you do find any, simply loosen the stiff links by twisting the chain up and down the way it was meant to. If this fails to work, it would then be advisable to have the chain replaced.

After the initial inspection is completed, the next step would be to clean it with either a degreaser or even just dishwashing soap. Apply the cleaning agent of your choice onto a piece of cloth or sponge, wrap the cloth/sponge around the chain and simply backpedal (caution: make sure that your fingers on the chain are positioned away from any moving parts that can cause injury). Rinse out the cloth/sponge and repeat the cleaning process until all the dirt and grime have been sufficiently removed from the chain.

Once the chain is clean enough, it is ready to be lubricated. Make sure you lubricate the chain properly by putting a drop of lubricant into each chain pain; this may be a little time-consuming but it will be well worth the time spent. While the metal components of the chain doesn’t really “stretch”, the actual length of the chain does increase over time as the sleeves and pins are subjected to constant wear-and-tear. Lubricating the pins properly will help to alleviate this sort of wear-and-tear and extend the functional lifespan of the chain. Lastly, leave the lubricant on the chain for about 15 minutes and then wipe off the excess with a clean piece of cloth.

It is highly recommended that you perform maintenance on the bicycle chain:

  • At least twice a month;
  • For the frequent riders, after clocking about 10 hours of riding time;
  • After riding in bad weather.
Eventually, you should replace the bicycle chain when it is:
  • Rusted;
  • Overly-stiff;
  • Loose from being worn-out;
  • Or when you’ve accumulated more than 1000 miles (approximately 1600km) on it.

Ride well and ride safe everyone!