​How to Properly Lube a Bike Chain

by up.bike

Lubing your bike chain improves efficiency, reduces wear on your drivetrain, and helps ensure you don’t annoy people on a group ride with a loud, dry chain. Lubing a bike chain isn’t rocket science, but there are a few ways to lube your bike chain more effectively.

The Best Way to Clean and Lube Your Bike Chain

A clean chain is the best place to start. Here’s how to do it.

Degrease Your Bike Chain.

  1. Remove old, dirty lube with a bike-specific degreaser. Simply spray or drip a small amount of degreaser on the chain and make sure it’s evenly distributed.
  2. Use a rag to backpedal the bike and remove as much of the old dirt and degreaser as possible.

You might also consider using an old brush or toothbrush to reach in between links.

Use Soapy Water To Remove the Rest of The Degreaser

Use a clean rag and soapy water to remove any remaining degreaser. In most cases, rinsing the chain with a hose will also get the worst of the degreaser off.

How to Lube a Bike Chain

Now that you have a clean chain, use your chain lube of choice.

  1. Start by placing a drop of lube on each roller in the chain. The roller is the cylindrical metal piece in the middle of the bike chain. This is where nearly all of the pressure and friction takes place. You do not need to lubricate the plates on the side of the chain; excess lubricant here will only collect more dirt.
  2. Lightly wipe off excess lube.

How Often Do You Need to Lube a Bike Chain?

Depending on how often you ride and in what sort of conditions you ride in, you may need to lube your chain before every ride. Listen for the sound of a dry chain; creaking, rattling, or more noise than usual when pedaling. We recommend cleaning your chain whenever you clean your bike and ending every ride by lightly wiping down your chain if it is wet or dirty.

What is the Best Lube for a Bike Chain?

Bike lubes come in both wet and dry. Dry lubes are typically wax-based, while wet lubes are made from synthetics. Both perform well in normal conditions, though most bike mechanics recommend dry lubes for dry riding conditions (think dry, hot summer) and wet lubes for wet conditions (like rainy or muddy spring and fall bikes rides). Wet lubes tend to be the better option if you only want to invest in one kind of bike chain lube.

Bicycle Maintenance Tips with up.bike

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