If you want to keep your beloved bike with you for a comparatively long time, you must keep in mind that bike maintenance is always of a vital importance. And a clean chain is the heart of a smooth-running bike, thus there is no doubt that bike chain clean and maintenance should be put in the very first place. Keeping your chain clean and lubricated makes for a better running and more effective bike, and of course prolongs the lifespan of your chain as well as your bike. However, some cyclists may say that I do know the significance of cleaning and maintaining the bicycle chain, I just have no idea what and how to do. Actually, it is a daunting question for most cyclists for lack of the common knowledge of the chain clean. Here we are, in this article, I will tell you what and how to do when it comes to your chain clean. Let’s get the start!
Check the chain for wear
Your bicycle chain may wear for many various reasons. Therefore, before you are going to clean your chain, the first thing you should do is to make sure if your chain is worn or how worn it is so as to help you get the general idea of your bike chain condition, thus you can begin your job more easily. If you are a regular cyclist and you had ridden your bike for many years or miles, the chain may have worn out. In this case, rather than clean it, you had better replace it. But how to check, in fact, it is pretty easy. To check, shift the chain onto the large chainring. Then, rest a ruler alongside the lower run of chain and see if you can measure exactly 12 inches between 12 pins. If so, your drivetrain is okay. If the 12th pin exceeds the 12-inch mark by 1/8 inch or more, which means that your chain is worn out and you should replace it without any hesitation.
Prepare relevant materials
Whatever you are going to do, enough preparation is necessary, which will you get twice the result with half the effort. Therefore, for cleaning your bicycle chain, you will need to prepare the following items:
♦ Old newspapers
♦ Rags-old-shirts work well for this
♦ Solvent of some sort, such as isopropyl alcohol
♦ An old toothbrush
♦ Quality bike lubricant
Here we go. Find an appropriate place for you to work, and then spread out newspapers on the floor below your bike. It will be better to remove the chain from your bike then start to clean, but you can also clean it on the bike. It is up to your preference.
Wash the bike, not just the chain
After checking, the second step is washing, however, it is unwise to wash your chain only, because your bike function as a whole and every component of it has a tight connection with each other. This bicycle chainstep is pretty easy too. All you need is a soft brush and sponge and hot soapy water, the hotter the better for shifting oily marks and dust. Generally speaking, the key accelerant for your bike chain worn out is grit within that grinds away the metal. Thus you must pay great attention to wash it out. When cleaning the chain, working the brush into the derailleurs and rubbing the links to dislodge a great deal of dirt and oily grime. Remember to clean both sides and the top and bottom of the chain.
Use a brush for more thorough cleaning
Compared to the full method of removing your chain and soaking it in the solvent, or by using a bike chain cleaner, using a brush to clean your chain can make sure nowhere will be omitted. A toothbrush dipped in the solvent will help you work through the links of the chain and down into areas that your first efforts with the rag simply couldn’t reach. In a word, if you are those who are endeavoring to pursue perfect, this is a way that just for you. By the way, don’t forget to pay attention to angling the brush so you can get down into those hard-to-reach places.
Clean the other parts of your drivetrain
After finishing the clean of your chain, you might as well take a few minutes to clean the other parts of the drivetrain for the dirt and grease collected on your derailleur will do great harm to the chain as well as your bicycle as a whole. Apply a little alcohol to a clean rag and simply wipe the accumulated crud from the drivetrain or use the brush to get at them. The hardest part is getting down in between the small chainrings. You may have to take about five minutes to finish the overall process, but when you see results as you wipe away most of the grime, you will find that all of your efforts are worthy.
Boil the chain
In general, the boils preferably be a modern 4-unit chain which can allow liquids easily flow through, as many prestigious cycling experts recommend. In this way, you need to take the chain out of your bicycle and first clean it with the solvent to remove all visible surface dirt. Then coil the chain into a pancake shape so it makes a single layer in the bottom of an old stainless steel or aluminum frying pan. Generally, a 6-inch pan is big enough for a typical chain. Pour in a heavy concentration of dishwashing detergent in water, and boil the chain. Boiling can help liquefy congealed lubricant and wash it out of the chain.
Now that you have made all of your cleaning work done, it is time to reapply lubricant which will help protect the chain from rust, make the pedaling more efficient and extend the lifespan of your bike chain chain. And you have known that when your chain is free of all the crud, your chain will be easy to be wear thus slow you down when riding. So reapply lubricant is a must-to-do thing in maintaining your chain. However, don’t lubricate the chain immediately before riding for it will give rise to the rapid movement of your chain when cycling, which is dangerous. You should give yourself at least a couple of hours to allow the lube to fully penetrate and then wipe away any excess.
No matter if you have the habit of cleaning your bicycle chain before, after hearing what I have said above, you probably can’t wait to clean your chain right now. Will all these seven tips, I believe you will do a perfect job in cleaning your bike chain. Remember, after you finish your job, go cycling! Enjoy the pleasure that rewards to your hard work and efforts. Have a good time with your beloved bicycle!