Bicycle Chain Maintenance & Lubrication

Bike chain lubrication

Did you ever experience unpleasant noise coming from your chain as you push on the pedals? If you did, it was the moment when you regret not doing proper bicycle chain maintenance & lubrication.

Depending on how often you ride and in what conditions you ride – you might have to clean your chain or lubricate it a bit more often than other riders.

This is one of the easiest and yet the most important things to take care of and it will help you and your chain in the long run.

Down below, you’ll learn how to exactly clean and lubricate your bike chain so keep on reading!

Bicycle Chain Maintenance & Lubrication

To improve the performance of your bike, you have to lube it routinely. It is necessary to prevent it from early wearing out. Make sure to select the right lube for your bike according to the conditions you ride in.

After lubricating your bike’s chain, you have to clean the bike chain thoroughly. In this way, your next lubrication will be easy. Here are some tips for bicycle chain maintenance and lubrication.

Select a Wet Lube for Biking in Rainy Season


Slushy roads, snow, and rain can wash away your dry lube; therefore, choose wet lube. Remember, it has more resistance. Moreover, it is easy to find wet bike lubes from online shops.

Dry lube is suitable if you are residing in a dry climate. Wet lube is not necessary if you are riding in dry conditions. Remember, wet lube can attract extra dirt in dry weather. Make sure to use dry lube to keep the chain clean. Make sure to reapply dry lube frequently, such as after 50 to 100 miles of riding.

Wax Lube Can be Beneficial


Wax lube may create less mess as compared to other bike lubes. It will not spread on your clothes while riding a bike to a store or work. Remember, wax lubes can keep the chain of your bike clean as compared to other types of lube. Grit and dirt may shed from a wax compound.

Avoid using WD-40 for your bike chain. You can use lubricants particularly designed for bike chains. Remember, WD-40 solvent can quickly evaporate and has a small quantity of grease. This solvent may increase the buildup of grime and dirt on your chain.

Spray Degreaser On an Old Rag

Bike chain degreaser

The chain can make a rag dirty; therefore, use an old rag. There is no need to use lots of alcohol or degreaser on a rag because one quick spray is enough. If you do not have isopropyl alcohol or degreaser spray, you can wipe down the lube using a dry rub.

For a bike chain having grime and dirt, you have to buy isopropyl alcohol or degreaser spray. Hold a rag against the bike chain with a hand, and the chain must touch the rag part you sprayed using isopropyl alcohol or degreaser.

Backpedal a Chain to Run Through the Rag


Use a free hand to grab on a pedal and crank your pedals backward. The chain must move around chainrings on a bike. Continue backpedaling until the entire chain has slid through a rag in hand numerous times. Make sure to hold a rag while the chain spins. Protect your fingers while spinning from chainrings and chain.

Chain Scrubber: A Quick Solution


If you are not interested in cleaning the chain using your hand, feel free to buy two pieces of plastic chain scrubber. The device clamps around a chain and has one reservoir for rotating brushes and a degreaser to clean the chain.

Make sure to follow the instructions given on the package. You will slide two pieces around your chain and place the degreaser in the basement. Finally, pedals a chain backward for ten revolutions.

You have to give a chain loss by pushing the back derailleur arm towards two handlebars. Put your chain back on chainrings and shove the back derailleur arm to its place. Pedal a chain a few times, and you are ready to go.

Carefully Apply the Lube

Bike chain lubrication

Shake a lube container thoroughly because its ingredients may be separated while sitting on a shelf. For this reason, shake it well to mix together. Squeeze your lube bottle and backpedal a chain while applying. Hold a lube bottle in a way that the nozzle must rest inside of your chain.

Use a free hand to crank your pedals backward and move the chain around its chainrings. Run a chain around its chainrings frequently and squeeze the lube consistently on every part of the chain. You should hold this bottle steady while backpedaling the chain.

Keep the lube aside and backpedal your chain consistently. It will help you to absorb the lube in the chain. Run a chain around chainrings almost ten more times. Slowly shift over the gears for equal distribution of the lube to the chainrings and cassette gears.

Use a rag to wipe off extra lube. Make sure to hold a rag against your chain and continue backpedaling. Run a chain around your chainrings and rag a few times to remove extra lube. You should not skip this step because extra lube can attract grime and dirt buildup on a chain.

When cleaning your bike, you have to focus on some possible problems, such as tight links and chain stretch. If links are not bending smoothly, you have to fix them. To spot tight links, pedal a chain backward slowly and watch each link passes through a tight turn of the back derailleur. Corrosion and dirt between link plates are the main culprits. You have to fix them by cleaning and lubricating them.


Most cyclists forget that chain can’t be lubricated more than a couple of times before having it previously degreased and cleaned properly.

It’s the moving component that can quickly get greasy and dirty as it picks up any debris from the road. Regular cleaning and lubrication can offer a smooth ride but even prolong the chain’s life!

To make things easier – check out the chain cleaner tool that saved my life! If you need any additional help – check out an article I wrote a while ago on how to maintain your bike chain once it’s clean!

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