Cleaning and lubricating your bike chain: the ABCs of bike maintenance

Let’s begin by asking ourselves two questions:

  • Is my bike chain perfectly clean and properly lubricated right now?
  • When was the last time I checked and did some maintenance work on it?

Having answered these two questions you may decide that:
A) your conscience is clear
B) you know that you have been a bit lax,
C) you don’t know how to answer, which is the worst possible scenario.

Whatever the case may be, you have to keep in mind that the final drive is the component that requires the most frequent love and attention! The only thing that you should need to do more often than lubricate the drive chain is to top up the fuel tank.

The main reason is financial: obviously the life span of a well-maintained chain will be much longer and proper chain maintenance will also protect the transmission components, such as the pinion gear, crown wheel and pinion bearing against excessive wear and tear. Furthermore, in many cases cleaning the chain will enable you to check that the chain-tension is correct.

The second reason relates to performance: the chain is what transfers the engine power down to the rear wheel. The type of drive chain (pitch, type of o-ring and weight) significantly affect the amount of power and torque at the rear wheel and a dirty or sticky chain can cost you as much as one-half horsepower. Just think of how much money we spend on far more drastic modifications just to squeeze out an extra 1 or 2 horsepower.