How To Properly Lube Your Bike Chain
A quick rundown on how to lube and clean your bike chain.
Simple yet sophisticated, the bicycle chain is arguably the world's most efficient and reliable propulsion device
-- when you take care of it, that is. Here's how:
Lube Up That Chain
The best way to keep links looking good is by getting a quality chain lubricant and applying it sparingly. Buy lube at a bicycle shop because shops stock and know what's best. To lube the chain, work in the garage or over a piece of cardboard and apply a drop to every other link. Do this anytime you notice that the chain is beginning to look dry. The sign that you've waited too long is a squeaking sound while pedaling. Riding on dry links wears the chain and sprockets prematurely (it's harder to pedal, too). So lube the chain immediately.
When you apply lube, let it sit a bit and then wipe off the excess. You don't want excess oil on your chain because it picks up dirt (which makes things wear faster) and increases the amount of grime that builds up on your sprockets and shifters. A messy chain marks you with hard-to-remove grease tattoos anytime you get near it, and it'll do the same to your car if you transport your bike in it.
Keeping Your Bike Chain Clean
After several applications of lubricant, wipe off any grime build-up on the links and sprockets to keep the drivetrain clean and dirt-free. Usually, this is as easy as wiping the parts with a rag. It's a good idea to put some disposable gloves on first to keep the gunk and chemicals off your skin.
If you use too much lube or heavy oil not made for bicycle chains, the drivetrain will turn into a black mess.
Depending on how dirty it is, you should still be able to wipe the links clean, but you'll have to scrub harder and longer to cut through the crud. And, there'll be more of a mess because the excess works its way into all the nooks and crannies on your drivetrain. Avoid the hassle by using the right lube and not too much of it.