Tuesday, 18 January 2011

A cheap and quick way of maintaining a bike chain

There comes a time when you need to clean that chain after it has got caked in mud or has got soaked along with the rest of the bike in heavy rain, If that type of riding rings a bell you may have to look into maintaining that poor chain quite regularly to avoid rust, to ensure smooth gear changing and all the other benefits you get with having a nice clean, shiny, lubricated chain

So today I am going to show you my way of cleaning my chain in hoping that if you are looking for a cheap way of cleaning the chain quite effectively you will find this post useful, but if you do not find this useful or think it needs criticizing I would love to hear feedback as it may help me and others, but I do find my method does work well at keep my chain looking clean and operating smoothly as a chain should, so I will now begin and will provide links to products you may need

Lets begin, firstly the equipment I use is a cheap washing up brush, some cloths, some good washing up liquid, I recommend W5 from Lidl, a cheap toothbrush, and finally the most important product of all, oil and degreaser which I buy from Decathlon at a price of £6.99, both spray cans include precision heads, so the head you press down has a very short straw type attachment to ensure you spray right where you want to

So firstly, take the bike into the back garden, next you want to grab a hose and soak the chain, freewheel, chainset and the front and rear derailleur to remove any loose dirt or grime, below I have included a diagram just inase you do not know what parts are what

Next, get a bucket and add the washing up liquid and hot water, once the bucket is filled, dip in the washing up brush and scrub the chain, chain rings and freewheel (while scrubing the freewheel with the brushes remember to change gears while doing so to ensure you thoroughly clean the freewheel) to remove all unwanted grease and dirt, another thing you should do after scrubbing the chain with the brush is also have a washing up sponge, dip the sponge in the water and squeeze the sponge around the chain, using both the soft and rough side of the sponge and turn the pedals so that the chain runs through the sponge, regularly dipping the sponge back in the hot water to remove any grease and dirt from the sponge (also ensure you change the water occasionally as it will get very dirty and lose its temperature). once the chain, freewheel and chain rings are cleaned you will lightly scrub the front and rear derailleur, remembering to clean the jockey wheels on the rear derailleur to remove unwanted gunk, be gentle with both the front and rear derailleur

Once you have scrubbed, brushed and cleaned everything you should end up with an almost nice, clean, shiny chain, soap bubbles will most likely remain whether you can see them or not so now you should get the hose once more to remove any unwanted soap bubbles that will remain

Once you have finished with the hose get a cloth and dry the chain, freewheel and chain rings so they are as dry as you can get them, afterwards you may want to leave the bike to dry with the wind incase it is not dry yet, alternatively you could use a hair dryer to finish off the drying process

Once the bike is dry get the degreaser, point the can towards the chain, spray quite closely to the chain ensuring you cover the entire chain in degreaser, changing gears and turning the pedals whilst you spray the chain. Next spray the freewheel whilst turning the rear wheel to ensure you spray the entire freewheel, now you want to spray the jockey wheels, and the other important parts of the rear derailleur, now you want to spray the chain rings, continue applying degreaser until components are grease free

Leave the degreaser to work for a short while, now you want to grab a dry cloth and run the cloth over the chain ensuring you dry the chain and remove any left over grease that is stuck to the chain, you will also want to do the same to the rear derailleur, freewheel and chain rings so that you can remove left over grease off of them components too

Once dry, get the spray can of oil and apply to the chain, rear derailleur and freewheel, turning the pedals and changing gears whilst doing so to ensure complete coverage, once you have finished applying the oil, turn the pedals, go through all the gears, once that is done you want to leave the bike for a short while incase you take the bike indoors and oil drips, alternatively you could take the bike indoors, but put some layers of newspaper underneath the bike

That is the end of this guide, I know this guide may have not been as helpful as you expected, if you have not found this guide of any use all I can suggest you do is to search Google for how to clean a bike chain, where hopefully you will find guides that go more in depth and are more easily explained

If you did find this guide of some use I would love to hear from you so I can provide future guides, so what I would love is for you to comment, which you do not need an account for, you can comment anonymously

1 comment:

  1. there are several inexpensive chain cleaning tools on the market that do an excellent job in seconds and cost less than 20$.clean streak is one of the tools i have used.