7 February 2023

How to clean the bicycle chain?

Do you hear disturbing screeching, squeaking noises while cycling? This probably means that the bicycle chain needs cleaning. Nowadays, cyclists can also wash it outside the home and when they are on the road. In order for the chain to be like new, it is enough to visit a bicycle washing point, which is located, for example, at a nearby gas station, shopping center, office building.

Why cleaning the bicycle chain is so important?

Cleaning a bicycle chain regularly is important because of two aspects:

  • It influence the comfortability during a ride – when the chain is clean, the bicycle drive works better, smother and riding a bike is much more pleasant
  • This is important for the proper operation of other bicycle parts – cleaning this most important element of the bicycle chain extends the service life of the chainset and bike casset.

It is assumed that the bicycle chain should be cleaned of dirt only after covering 200 to 500 km on a given vehicle. However, the issue of cleaning must be approached individually. You should wash chains more often on bicycles that ride in difficult terrain, on sandy wilderness, on muddy paths.

What is necessary to clean the bicycle chain?

What would be necessary to clean the chain, depends largely on how much dirty it is. Helpful will be among others:

  • a washing foam – it’s just enough to put it on the chain, wait the proper time recommended by the manufacturer and remove then the remain smutting dissolved by the preparation with water;
  • extraction naphtha – soak a rag in it and then wipe the chain with it. After such treatment, the chain should be thoroughly rinsed;
  • special brushes – they are constructed in such a way that the bristles can reach between all metal links.

Chain cleaners should quickly dissolve sullage, grease and greasy dirt. The brush, on the other hand, is a gadget also designed for dusting of dirty links in a flash – it is always worth reaching for it when cleaning the entire bike.

Where and how can a bicycle chain be cleaned?

Some of the cyclists prefer to clean the chain before getting it off the bike and then cleaning the dirt on the surface and between the links. However, in proper conditions, the bicycle chain can be washed on the bike.

You can take care of the chain in the garage, in front of the house or visit a special bicycle washing point. If you choose the latter option:

  • hang the bike on a special holder – thanks to this you will be able to conveniently and thoroughly wash the chain, check whether the dirt has been removed from all links;
  • reach for a brush or a special preparation – bicycle washing points are equipped with profiled brushes, with which you can dust off the chain and gears. Such maintenance will be useful to your two-wheeler after virtually every ride.

If the bicycle chain is very dirty, use a chain cleaner  destinated for washing it. Put the washing foam on the chain, wipe it with an extract naphtha and special preparation. At the end, rinse it with the water – this an also be done at the washing bike point.

  • After cleaning the chain and the gears, lubricate these elements, to protect them against the attrition during a ride.

Bicycle chain maintenance – practical tips

Even if you ride your bike only in the city, remember that dust settles on all elements of the drive system. If you are just passing by a bicycle washing point, use it – hang the vehicle on the holder and dust off the chain with a brush.

Moreover, although it is recommended to thoroughly clean the chain only after a few hundred kilometers, do it more often – e.g. always after the end of the cycling season, in late autumn. For cleaning, you will need a terry towel, a cloth that you can soak with the preparation. They have such a structure that the cleaning agent will easily reach all the nooks and crannies between the links.

The condition and cleanliness of the bicycle chain translate into driving comfort and the life-span of other parts of the vehicle. Therefore, if you encounter a bicycle washing point on the route, think about dusting the drive. Thanks to this, your bike will always be perfectly prepared for cycling.