Maintaining Your Bicycle Chain
Proper bicycle chain maintenance will allow you to keep your bike in top condition for riding. Learning how to take care of your chain can save you time and energy.
A bicycle chain is known for failing at the worst time. This problem of a jumpy or jerky chain can be removed entirely, though, if you simply do some chain maintenance on it regularly. This means that you check your chain at least two times per month or after you ride it about 10 hours if you ride quite a bit. You also want to be sure to do a chain check if you have been riding in bad weather.
You should replace your chain if it is rusted, tight, worn out, or you have ridden more than 2000 kilometers on it. If you are replacing the chain rings or sprocket, then you need to go ahead and replace the chain so that you do not damage the new chain rings and sprocket. At the opposite, if you do not change a worn out chain, you risk having to changes the cassette or other parts of the transmission, which is much more costly than a chain!
The metal parts of the chain do not really stretch, but the chain does get longer because of the sleeves and pins wear and tear. Lubricating the chain regularly will help the chain to last longer. If you want to lubricate correctly, then you will want to put just a lubricant drop into each chain pin. This may take you a little time, but it will be well worth it when you increase the life of your chain, then wipe the excess off with a clean cloth. This will help to keep the chain from catching dirt and grime while riding. It will also keep your chain in top condition.
If you need to clean your bicycle chain, then you can use a degreaser or dish soap. This is a great way to remove lubricant, grime, and grease to help your chain to work better. After you clean it, remember to lubricate it again. You should put the cleaner on the center of the cleaning cloth or sponge and then place it around the chain. By backpedaling, you should clean the chain sufficiently. Make sure that you rinse the rag each turn until you do not get any more dirt on it.
Leave the chain on the bicycle when you are cleaning it to keep it from becoming weaker. While you are getting the chain clean, then you can inspect it for any links that may be too tight. A tight chain can cause the chain to jump and jerk. If you find a link that is tight, then you can loosen it by flexing it between two points that are located at about give links away from the tight link. If you cannot loosen it, then you will have to replace the chain. Keeping your bike chain lubricated and clean will help it last much longer and work much better.
If your chain seems to be making some noise and cleaning does not stop the noise, then you will have to replace it. If pedaling becomes difficult, then it will be time for a chain change as well. By paying attention to detail and maintenance, then you will have a bike chain that you can use for a long time.
About the author
Patrice Audet as ridden bicycles his entire life : mountain, roads, fatbikes, commuters, gravel bikes... He's now working at a local bike shop in Quebec City, Canada and runs a bicycle themed t-shirts store on the Internet. You can browse his t-shirt models at https://www.teeezy.com. Have a nice ride!