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How To Clean A Bicycle Chain


The bicycle chain can get dirty for various reasons, sometimes something as simple as the terrain you choose to drive on can cause dirt to build up. Knowing how to clean the chain efficiently can help reduce wear and tear.

Dirt in a bicycle chain tends to decrease the power and efficiency of the bike. Cleaning a bicycle chain will not only help restore shine, it will also prevent the accumulation of grease and dirt, which can result in a chain that works better and lasts longer. A clean chain allows you to make the smoothest changes and increases the life of other parts of the bike, which will save you time and money in the future.

Jason Smith, owner of “Friction Facts”, has conducted a study where he showed that on average, dirty chains can decrease efficiency by approximately 3-5W to 220w of power. He stated, “Let’s say that a clean and properly lubricated chain consumes 7W, a dirty chain can decrease 3W additional friction”.Clean A Bicycle Chain

What Materials Do I Need To Clean A Bicycle Chain?

It is better to use cleaning products that are specially made for bicycles.

  • A small sponge
  • A brush
  • Chain cleaner or degreaser
  • Chain lubricant
  • Cloths to dry the chain and clean excess lubricant

Remember to use specific materials to clean the bicycle, other types of degreasers can damage the structure of your chain.

Clean A Bicycle Chain

How Should I Clean A Bicycle Chain?

You should inspect the chain links to see if dirt, rust, and/or tight links are accumulating.

  • First step: With a rag and a flat-head screwdriver, try to clean the dirt that accumulates on the rider’s wheels.
  • Second step: Apply the chain degreaser freely with a brush. Remember to also apply on the cassette, plates and wheels. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Third step: Clean with soapy water and rub the chain, this is much easier if someone pedals while you hold the chain with a sponge.
  • Fourth step: Clean the teeth with a special brush. Remember to scrub both sides of the rings. After cleaning try to give the inside of the cages with a silk cleaner, rub on each of the cassette sprockets.
  • Fifth step: Rinse and thoroughly clean all the components with soapy water. before rinsing, make sure to clean all the degreaser, since any residue that has degreaser will dissolve the lubricant.
  • Sixth step: With a cloth, dry all the components and apply the previously selected lubricant to the inside of the chain, remember to turn the chain once or twice.

About the Author Steven