How to Lubricate Bicycle Chain: Things You Need to Know

A bike’s chain is one of its most important parts. If you are using your bicycle regularly, you would know how important it is to lubricate it. However, properly lubricating it is another thing.

​You don’t just simply pour oil or lubricant on the chain. Unfortunately, doing that can only help so much. Knowing how to lubricate bicycle chain properly can help you maximize your lubricant and your bike itself.

​Why Is It Important To Lubricate Your Bicycle’s Chain?

​Again, lubricating your bike’s chain can help keep it in top shape. It keeps your chains from accumulating rust. Here are some more benefits you can get from regularly lubricating your bicycle’s chain.

1. ​Your chains will take longer to get worn.

​Keeping your chains from accumulating rust will help lengthen its lifespan. Thus your chains will take longer to get worn. As most of you would know by now, bicycle chains that accumulate rust are more prone to damage as they become brittle.

That is what we’re trying to avoid since that may cause accidents while the bike is in use.

​With rust, it will be harder for your chain links to move with ease as you ride the bike. This would explain why most bikers would feel as if every pedal is a bit heavier or harder. Or the bike is simply more difficult to maneuver.

If you don’t want to tire yourself out as well, it is best to treat your bicycle’s chain with some lube.

3. ​Other parts such as the derailleur assemblies and drive train cogs are also affected.

​It is not just your chains that you’re helping when you treat them with some oil/lube. Other parts benefit as well. Your derailleur assemblies and drivetrain cogs are kept from getting worn easily.

There are still a lot of other benefits you can get from regularly lubricating your bicycle chains. This is why we are listing for your below a step by step instruction guide on how to lubricate bicycle chain.

Things You Will Need:​

​First, here are several things you might need:

  1. Oil/lube
  2. Brush - even an old toothbrush or flat blade screwdriver would do.
  3. Dry rag/cloth
  4. Old newspaper - use old newspapers to cover the floor with if you do it inside the house.

​The Procedure

Step 1: Check which parts of the chain need lubricating the most.

​Turn the bicycle upside down first to get an overall view of what you need to work on. Check the chains one by one to see which ones need lubricating the most. Also, check if there are any damaged or broken ones so you can get them repaired before lubricating.

Young man checking his bicycle

You can also start checking other parts as well such as the derailleurs and drivetrain cogs while you’re at it.

​Step 2: Scrape off any mud or dirt on the rear derailleur.

Using the tip of a screwdriver or the brush, remove any accumulated mud, dirt or even a bit rust on the chains and most especially the rear derailleur. Remember that putting the lubricant without cleaning off the existing mud/dirt will only lessen it's effective.

Technical expertise taking care a gear bicycle Shop

If you cannot remove the rust or whatever substance, don’t force it off. This can only inflict further damage to the parts.

​Step 3: Wet/Dampen the rag before wiping the chain.

With just the right amount of water, dampen the cloth or rag. Make sure that it is not to wet since you will just be wiping off any remnants of the mud or dirt. Any excess water on the bicycle parts can only cause rust when not properly dried off.

Preparing bicycle for a new season. Hand with cloth cleaning derailleur

Hold the chain between your hands with the rag and start rotating the chain to be able to cover the whole chain. You can repeat the process twice or thrice until you feel that any dirt remnants has been removed already.

​Step 4: Lubricate the chain.

Lubricate each chain/link one by one. Make sure that you have covered all the chains. You can also drop a little lubricant on each gap where two links overlap. This is to ensure that you are missing no sides.

Bicycle Maintenance- oiling the chain

However, be careful not to use too much lube. It will only go to waste after your wipe the excess off.

Step 5: Wait for the lubricant to set before removing any excess.

After ensuring that the whole chain is lubed, wait for it to settle first. This will give the lubricant enough time to work its way through the chains. However, after letting it settle down, remember to wipe off all excess lube.

Preparing bicycle for a new season. Hand with cloth cleaning derailleur

The excess lubricant on the chains will only attract new dirt to your chain. And that is what we are trying to avoid.

​Wrapping It Up

It is okay to be very meticulous about which brush, rag or lubricant itself you will be using to do the whole process. After all, this process is essential in keeping your bike in top shape and speed.

It is crucial to not skip out on any steps as well. This will help you cover all parts of your bicycle that need care.

Heather L. Makar
 

My name is Heather Makar, and I’m from Seattle. I’m the main responsible for this little bundle of witty write-ups, a collection of tips, and guides about cycling and bikes.

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