The right way to care for your bike chain – here’s how!

Follow these tips to get your bike running smoothly again

Whether a racing bike, e-bike, mountain bike, city bike or trekking bike: once the chain crunches and no longer runs smoothly, it’s time for some care. How often this is necessary depends on various factors, such as the frequency and type of use, and the weather. One thing is certain though: the better the chain is maintained, the more durable it is and the more cycling pleasure is guaranteed!

By the way: Read our tips how to replace the inner tube.

Step 1: Preparation

In order to optimally clean and lubricate the chain, you should first turn the bike upside down and place it on the handlebar and saddle. The gears should be switched to the lowest gear. Then you can begin!

  • Tip: To protect against damage, place an old blanket or cardboard box underneath.

Step 2: Clean

First of all, the chain should be clear of old grease, dirt, sand and dust. That’s because foreign objects cause long-term and unnecessary grinding of the chain, causing premature wear.

Put some chain cleaner in a bucket of water. Then clean the chain with a sponge or rag and a small (chain) brush. Anyone who likes to be more precise could use compressed air to blow dirt from the individual links and pinions. Once the chain links are clean, the chain should be rinsed with clear water and dried.

  • Tip: If you don’t have chain cleaner, dish soap can also be used. However, it’s cleaning effect can’t quite match that of a specialised chain cleaner or benzene…

Step 3: Check

Before oiling the chain, you should check that all parts are intact and that the chain still has the correct extension. If you want to measure it, it is best to take a so-called chain wear indicator. If the distance between the chain rollers are too long, the chain must be renewed.

  • Tip: Do not use a ruler or the like to measure the chain extension! This will result in an inaccurate measurement. If the chain is replaced too late, the sprockets may be damaged.

Step 4: Lubrication

If no defects have been uncovered on the chain, it can be oiled. Use a special chain oil for this. Other oils can either be too runny and not protect the chain sufficiently, or be too viscous and sticky, which attracts unnecessary dirt.

Gently sprinkle oil on the joints between the chain links. It is advisable to slowly turn the crank steadily backwards. It’s best to let the chain turn a little when you’re done. As a result, the oil spreads evenly and seeps into the small joints. If enough oil is applied, cover the chain loosely with a dry cloth and let it run through. This will remove excess oil easily.

  • Tip: Be sure that no oil gets on the breaks, break discs or rims! Otherwise, breaking is over. By the way, that happens particularly easily if you use a spraying oil – so be careful!

So you can see: with a few tips, chain care is performed quickly and easily, and your bike is ready for the next tour with a sparkling and well lubricated chain. Cycling is certainly twice as fun!

PS: You want to prepare your bike for the winter? Read our tips for the end of the cycling season.

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