A deceased backbone is never good for a rider, and a dirty chain is worse for the rider’s bike!
Bicycle’s chain works as a backbone for it. In the time of pedaling, the chain turns the rear wheel, and the power of the rear wheel keeps pressurizing the front wheel and the bike runs.
Many categories of bikes are available in the market. Each of them is made for a different purpose. They don’t match with one another in shape, size, and measurement, but one of the similarities between every bike has and must have to be THE CHAIN.
As bikes are not just made for riding on the clean road but muddy terrains, sandy deserts, Rocky Mountains. So, the chain is the first thing which gets dirtier as it is placed at the bottom of the bike.
Not cleaning the chain by the time turn your next ride a hazardous one. Many problems can be created only not because of cleaning the chain-like poor shifting, harsh pedaling, costly wear, and wasted efficiency.
Most of the riders don’t clean the chain because of not knowing the proper easy ways. So, this article is all about how to clean a bike chain for a smooth ride.
Why clean the bike chain?
Chain cleaning is an essential part of bike maintenance. It increases the life of the drivetrain, smoothens the shifting ability, and makes the bike run faster.
Dirty chains if not cleaned as it needs to be can get rusty, which can cause a severe breakdown during the ride. A rusty chain can also damage the cranks, sprockets, and derailleurs of the bike.
Not cleaning the bike on time to clean make the task harder and costly too. It feels very annoying to clean a chain when it gets rusty because it needs more effort and tools. Also if the chain becomes rustier, it will turn useless so have to buy a new one which can cost you extra cash.
That’s why cleaning the bike chain, and the bike is very important after every hard ride or once a week at least.
What can happen if the chain is not clean?
These drivetrains are the part of the bicycle which gets dirtier more than any parts. It is very natural and common for this drivetrains to get dirty. The problem occurs when it is left as dirty as it is.
Only because of the dirty chain more new problem arises for the bike. Many of them are just very much dangerous and can be proved fatal during the ride. Some of the serious issues a dirty chain is responsible are:
- The rate of chain wear can be increased.
- The chain can fall repeatedly.
- Shifting performance can get impaired.
Etc. Many more problems can occur only because of one cause, and that is the dirty chain.
How to Clean Bike Chain with Household Products
In the term of cleaning the bike, most of the time, the issue is time and space. And if you are having trouble with these same issues, this one will be the best solution for you.
This method of cleaning your bike is the easiest way to be found. Only some handy things that you can find almost anywhere you will be needed.This process, you can do almost after every ride. It is better to use dry lube because it observes less dirt.
So, you will have to clean less. You can use any clean rag for this process and also using baby wipes can be helpful.
How to Clean a Bike Chain without Removing It
Who doesn’t want a clean, shiny chain every time on his bike? But the problem is the roads which don’t always allow you to ride on a clean surface. Sometimes it is watery, sometimes it becomes muddy, and sometimes snowy so your bike must have to be dirty when it’s on a ride.
The portion which observes more and more dirt is the drivetrain and needs to be washed most. So, you can enjoy a healthy and hazard-free ride.
The issue is not having enough time and the proper method. Below the quickest and really useful method is given.
If You Have A Chain Cleaner Tool
If You Don’t Have A Chain Cleaner Tool
This is the most common bike cleaning method. If you follow the steps, you can make your chain a new one again.
How to Clean Bike Chain Rust
This way is the most critical and mechanical way to clean your drivetrain — everything in the detail you have to wash in this way. You have to remove almost all the parts of your drive train.
Most time, costly and professional way of chain cleaning is this one. More experience, tools, and time you will be needed to apply this method. On extremely rusty chains, you have to apply this method.
Now your bike is clean as new and ready to ride. But that’s not the end, many more problems you will face while cleaning the chain. Below here, you will find some important issues to watch during cleaning, and some important installation tips to make the process easier.
Ultrasonic Chain Cleaning
This one is the most advanced and easy way to clean your bike chain. This way is very much compact and time-saving. Applying this way you can make your bike chain more clean in just minimum time.
Your bike’s chain has become clean as new and ready to install.
Issues You Have to Keep Eyes on During Cleaning
Cleaning a chain is just not enough — some issues you always have to keep your eyes on during cleaning. Otherwise, the effort you are giving will go in vain. These issues are of those for which you have to replace the chain not just clean.
Those links which are no longer bending smoothly on the spokes are called tight links. By backpedaling slowly and keeping eyes on every link when they sit on the spokes, you can identify this problem.
Mostly this problem is caused by dirt or corrosion between link plates of your bike. This problem can be fixed by proper cleaning, lubing, and continuous back and forth pedaling. It is caused by improper installation. Sometimes it becomes impossible to fix this problem. That time it is better to replace the damaged chain for a safe ride.
Chain stretch is a kind of problem where nothing stretches. The chains wear become longer, and that’s called chain stretch.
Because of this problem, the gear skips sometimes, and it also causes extra wear and can damage the chainrings and cog teeth. Chain-indicators can help you out with this problem. If the prong of the tool fits in the chain, it is better to replace it.
Some Important Installations and Uses
There are some tools you can find in the market which can be very helpful for your bike chain cleaning. Here the installation process will be discussed to make your task easier.
How To Use A Bike Chain Remover
Knowing this one is very important because this one is the only way to remove a bike chain. Easy and simple process this one with just use of a handy tool. This one will help you so much to proceed on the way to clean your bike chain and on the replacement of the chain when it needs to be.
Your bike chain is broken and ready to do anything if it is cleaning or replacing.
How To Install A Removable Chain Link
Installing a removable chain link is the smartest and useful idea for a bike rider. Installing this device makes the chain cleaning and replacement of the chain more time saving and faster.
Now you can remove your chain any time either you have to wash it or replaced it.
How To Measure A Bike Chain To Wear
Chains are an expendable a part of the bicycle’s drivetrain. As you pile on the miles, your bike’s chain can wear out. The internal components of the chain, the rollers, and rivets begin to subsume and provides the illusion of stretching. This wear will cause the chain to mesh poorly with the cogs and chainrings, inflicting poor shifting, premature wear to the cogs, and even skipping over the cogs.
And since it’s way more costly to switch cogs than a sequence, you can truly save cash by learning once it’s time to switch the chain. There are different ways of measuring chain wear
from merely lifting the chain off the front chainrings, to measure the space between 2 rivets on a sequence however the simplest and most correct way is to verify the number of life left in your chain with a tool.
Applying these methods, you can very easily measure the chain of your bike get to know either you just have to clean it or change it.
Taylor is an outdoors & sports equipment specialist, sports author, bike traveler, bicycling and skating expert, and smoke-free ride activist. He is also a regular reviewer of outdoor sports gadgets and accessories. About safety gear and biking facts he analyzes and gives his feedback to outdoorxsports. Writes and tests to help him, you, and us.