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Home > Bike Repair > Drivetrain

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How to Properly Clean and Lube Your Chain

by Levi Bloom

Here is a very, very important part of bike maintenance: keeping your chain properly lubricated!

You need:

1. To start, wipe off all the dirt and gunk with a rag. If you are using ProLink (the best chain lube there is,) you don't even need to use any degreaser.

2. Now, rotate the cranks backwards and drip the lube onto the chain, over the cassette. Aim for one drop of lube on each link. You can start and end at the master link so you know when every link has been lubed.

3. Rotate the cranks backwards some more, then forwards, and run through the gears. This works the fresh lube into the rollers and displaces the old lube.

4. Wipe off all the old, dark lube that has been pushed out onto the chain. I usually wrap the rag around the lower section of chain and then pedal backwards slowly.

Repeat steps 3 and 4 as necessary until you get all the gunk out. One or two drops per link should take care of most chains unless you get really dirty.

5. Then just let the bike sit for a while.

6. Before your next ride, wipe off the chain once more, and you'll be good to go.

(Don't worry about wiping off too much lube, it won't happen. The only lube that matters is the lube inside the roller, which you can't wipe off anyway. Extra lube on the outside of the chain only serves to attract extra dirt, making your next chain cleaning much harder.)


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The tools for this repair can be purchased at:

Performance Bike, REI, or eBay.

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