How to lube a Bike Chain Correctly
The chain is one of the elementary building blocks of your bike. It is the connecting link transferring the rider’s power to the rear tyre thus generating propulsion. Yet it is continuously exposed to the elements and maltreated with poor shifting. All the more important that is gets regular care.
When should I oil my chain?
The service-intervall for chain care is dependant on the conditions you ride in. You can’t say categorically that wet or dry conditions require more care as along with moisture, sand and dust also damage the it. For this reason we recommend cleaning the chain after every ride and applying a new film of oil.
What oil is suitable for my chain?
The exact choice of chain oil is to a certain extent a personal one. One thing is for sure that thin oils e.g. WD 40 or Brunox Turbo Spray are not recommended as they wash out the grease applied by the manufacturer from between the chain plates and rollers.
The choice of optimal lube as well as the frequency that it is applied depends on the conditions. As a rule of thumb: high moisture conditions require higher viscosity oil, so it sticks to the chain for longer and displaces the water. In dry, dusty conditions choose a lower viscosity oil in order to attract less dirt.
If you maintain your chain regularly a standard chain oil is almost always a good choice.
How do I oil my chain correctly?
Step I – Cleaning
Before you apply new oil to your chain, you need to free it of dirt. Use an old cloth to thoroughly clean the chain, cassette, chainrings and jockey wheels.
Attention: never use degreaser or disc brake cleaner as these will wash out the oil/grease from between the chain links and this cannot be re-applied later. We are also sceptical about laying your chain in cleaning solutions or using special chain cleaning devices, which we see as unnecessary.
Step II – Oiling the chain
Having cleaned the drive chain now you need to give it a new layer of lube. Important: don’t oil the top of the chain just on the side that actually needs it and is in contact with the cassette and chainrings.
Step III – Remove excess oil
The saying “the more the merrier” is misguided when oiling chains. In fact too much oil attracts more dirt to stick to the chain and wear increases. Therefore after lubing excess oil needs to be removed. To do this wait for 5 minutes after oiling the chain, turn the drivetrain over a few times then use a dry rag to wipe off any excess.
Words & Pictures: Christoph Bayer