How to properly lubricate your bike chain: tips and tricks
One of the most important parts of your bike is your bike chain. Its serviceability directly affects the ease and speed of the bike, so every bike enthusiast should very carefully monitor the condition of this element and keep it clean.
The fact is that with systematic contamination of the chain, you will very quickly overtake the wear of the sprockets or the whole cassette and other serious troubles. An unkempt chain will quickly deteriorate, and its replacement. the process is quite complicated, and most importantly expensive.
Of course, if you are fond of short walks in a metropolis, then the problem of chain pollution is irrelevant for you. And it is necessary to wipe it from time to time. Quite another matter. Cyclists who prefer extreme off-road driving. After each such trip, a significant layer of dirt adheres to the chain, which must be removed.
How to properly lubricate a bicycle chain?
It is very important not only to regularly clean the chain from dirt, but also to lubricate it with a special agent. Bike chain lubricants are ideal for this. If you carry out this process systematically, you will significantly extend the life of this component.
In order to lubricate the chain, we only need three things:
- Clean dry cloth
- Chain lubricator
How often and with what means it is necessary to wash the chain?
Experts recommend carrying out this procedure after each trip through contaminated areas. The fact is that if you systematically leave particles of clay, sand or earth on the chain, very soon it will begin to rust and fail.
If we talk about what exactly to wash the chain, then there are many options. Some people use ordinary detergents and soap for this purpose, but then the chain must be thoroughly dried, otherwise it will quickly rust. You can also clean the chain with white spirit or kerosene. It is undesirable to use gasoline for these purposes. As a last resort, you can clean the dried-up dirt with a dry cloth or brush. it’s better than leaving the chain dirty anyway.
Experienced cyclists who have not lubricated the chain for the first time know many secrets that greatly simplify this process:
Bicycle Chain Lubrication Signs
There are several basic signs that an experienced cyclist can use to determine if a bike chain lubricant should be applied. The most common symptom will be stiffness during motor movements. An indirect sign may be the cyclist’s fatigue. The appearance of rust on the chain elements also indicates untimely cleaning and insufficient lubrication. Well, pay attention to the extraneous sounds when driving. A rustling and crunching sound should make you take up the service immediately.
Such features lead to premature wear of the sprockets, failure of the tensioner and destruction of the product links. In order not to get such a result, it is imperative to clean and lubricate the bicycle chain when it gets into unsightly weather conditions, after a long journey on an unpaved surface and, of course, after hibernation.
Any such lubricant is sold in a special bottle that is equipped with a nozzle for pinpoint action when lubricating bicycle chains. If you do not have individual preferences, feel free to make those choice in favor of liquid. Even a hard-to-reach place where you can’t stick a spout can be lubricated with a regular syringe. After the lubrication procedure, the excess must be removed. The only drawback is the ability to use at subzero temperatures (begins to thicken).
These lubricants are the most popular among cyclists. Depending on the basis, they have different characteristics and seasonality of use. They have one common property. durability during operation. Usually the field of heavy rain quickly dissolves, but at the same time they perform their functions very efficiently. In more detail, their classification and characteristics are reflected in the paragraph on lubricants.
Lubing A Bike Chain. Simple Method To Oil A Bicycle Chain.
Bicycle chain lubricants
Consider the features of popular types of chain lubricants.
- Teflon option. In terms of its effectiveness, it knows no equal. Its application is accompanied by the formation of a thin and absolutely non-layer, which prevents dust from sticking. It is realized in the form of an aerosol. However, with this method of application, increased consumption is possible. The best recommendation would be a similar lubricant in liquid form.
- The silicone base of such a lubricant has one important advantage. it reduces the physical friction of the bicycle elements. There is an aerosol prototype. The constituent components also serve to repel dust.
- Graphite based lubricant. Increases the wear resistance of the chain. Differs in anti-corrosion properties of a penetrating nature.
- Paraffin lubricant for bicycle chains. It becomes possible to create a thick layer over the entire area of the involved parts. It wears out rather quickly compared to the Teflon version.
In principle, the use of automotive gear oils is not prohibited. But the presence of a big minus. the attraction of dust. classifies this product as not recommended. Or clean and lubricate after every three rides.
An interesting application in modern times is becoming a two-component bicycle lubricant. It is based on two components. a liquid-based solvent and a thick lubricant mass. The most effective influence is carried out on parts that rub tightly. The exposure technology provides for the lubrication of the chain, followed by the evaporation of the solvent and the presence of thick grease in the right places. The disadvantage is associated with time. After the procedure, the bike cannot be used for about an hour. During this time, the solvent will disappear.
Bicycle Chain Lubrication Instructions
Every novice lover of cycling fun is worried about the problem: how to properly lubricate a bicycle chain. This procedure consists of two key stages.
- Cleaning the chain from clumps of remaining material. It is a mixture of previously applied grease and adhering dirt.
- The second step is directly applying the lubricant.
Let’s look at two cleaning methods. fast and global.
Fast cleaning is characterized by the absence of actions associated with dismantling the chain. The main condition is that such cleaning must be carried out on the street.
- We begin to wipe the chain with a dry cloth, accompanying the action with a rotational movement of the pedals. We work to get rid of all the dirt.
- Wipe off all the stars.
- We clean each link of the bicycle chain with a small rag.
- Having previously diluted the detergent in lukewarm water, use an unnecessary toothbrush to thoroughly clean the bicycle chain.
- After rinsing, wash with plain water.
- Wipe dry and leave to dry.
- It is advisable to repeat this process with asterisks.
Global cleaning involves dismantling the entire chain and placing it in a special cleaning agent. Using a rag and a brush, we rip out the product to perfect condition.
What is the best bicycle chain lube?
- The assembled chain must be in place.
- We start lubrication from the first link, marking it with some sign.
- Each roller must be greased meticulously.
- Avoid getting lubricant on the tire, rim or brake.
- After the end of the process, we rotate the pedals for two minutes to evenly apply the bike lubricant.
- Remove excess with a rag.
About mountain biking. How and what to lubricate the bike?
The bicycle is a unique mechanical invention of mankind. And he certainly needs lubrication to improve performance. Proper lubrication of all moving parts is essential to reduce friction between them and facilitate movement. Therefore, beginners ask themselves the question: when and how to do it correctly.?
Special oils, liquid in consistency, are suitable for lubrication of all types of chains, damping systems. The structure of the oil penetrates well into hard-to-reach places, ensuring in the future the trouble-free operation of bicycle assemblies and components.
When is the best time to tidy up your bike? Do not forget that it is imperative to clean the body of the part from dirt before lubricating. To do this, you will need the following necessary tools and tools: a bucket of very hot water, car shampoo or dishwashing detergent, brushes, sponges, an old toothbrush for hard-to-reach places, narrow flat screwdrivers, degreaser, rags. We wash the bike and let it dry for a few hours or wipe it with a rag. Only then we proceed to the procedure for lubricating the parts.
Fast cleaning This procedure serves as an intermediate between major cleanings. This can be the removal of dirt from the chain without directly dismantling it. To do this, you can wash the chain from dirt with a rag and brush, or use a special machine to clean the chain. It all depends on the possibilities of your budget.
Major cleaning To do this, you will have to remove the chain from the bike. Depending on whether there is a connecting link on the chain or not, squeezing may additionally be required. After dismantling the chain, place it in a container with a cleaning agent and use a brush and rags to wash it to maximum cleanliness.
It is better to change the water in the container after each remedy. In addition to the chain, other important components should be well cleaned. For convenience, it is recommended to remove the rear wheel to wash the cassette and disassemble the rear derailleur foot with rollers, then get to the tensioner roller, in the case of the tensioner itself installed on the bike.
Cleaners and Lubricants Experienced cyclists have identified several topical cleaners for excellent dirt and lubrication from your bike.
WD-40 Sprayer with fine and long tubular nozzle. A huge plus of the tool is easy access to time-consuming component connections. Will help remove rust and remove old grease from the surface.
2K Spray Ideal for cleaning and lubricating switches, threads and cables. The aerosol can is adapted to work even in a hard-to-reach place to wrap around bicycle parts. If you need to separate damaged parts, use LM40 and LM47 aerosols. Among the key ingredients is kerosene. It is this substance that will gently make this difficult procedure. The surplus can be removed with a cloth.
Liquid oil Universal agent for all types of chains, shock absorbers. The structure of the oil envelops the surface of the treated area 100%. It is characterized by a long-lasting effect for the smooth operation of parts. The disadvantage is a strong thickening of the consistency in the cold and the likely collection of dirt when riding in bad weather.
Calcium-containing greases A popular type of grease for the care of all kinds of parts and assemblies. The advantage of such a lubricant is stability on the surface of the parts (the formation of a protective layer for excellent bike performance). Unlike lithium products, they have a high level of adhesion and anti-corrosion effect. Bicycle cosmetics with m calcium do not react with aluminum, so they are more expensive in price and are used to care for expensive bikes. The tool will take care of the sealing of the joints.
Lithium Lubricants Helps keep your bike’s undercarriage in good shape. These greases are suitable for the maintenance of bearing axles and carriage. A substance called lithium gives the product a specific slip, it does not thicken at temperatures up to 50 ° C and does not liquefy when heated to 150 ° C. Negative nuance. high level of water solubility.
Silicone Lubricants Easily apply to bike parts. Can repel dust and water, but dry faster.
Teflon based lubricants The composition uses a substance for all types of chains. The fluid has an extremely low coefficient of friction relative to the contacting solid surfaces of the chain. For better penetration into hard-to-reach areas, Teflon grease is diluted with oil or solvent. The ratio of the components depends on the operating conditions (dry asphalt road, dusty primers or wet roads). It exists in the form of an aerosol can, but its use is fraught with too fast a consumption, therefore it is better to give preference to a liquid analogue.
Wax lubricants Can last several months in dry driving conditions. Frequent mechanical cleaning of the chain is not required. But the wax itself can fall off over time in the form of scales and flakes. It is difficult to treat hard-to-reach areas with this type of lubricant.
Graphite Lubricants Good for overloaded components. An important plus is the long-term effect. Minus. the grease very much stains everything that comes into contact with it.
How to carry out the lubrication procedure correctly? Begin lubricating the bike from any node. Lubricate cassettes and chain sprockets several times and turn the crank arms counterclockwise. A small amount of lubricant is sufficient. Remember, it shouldn’t be too thick. Your cycling comfort depends on the regularity of the procedure. the chain will not buzz, you will immediately feel lightness and freedom in shifting gears. In addition to lubricating, keep an eye on the mileage of the bike chain. On average, after every two thousand kilometers, a part needs to be replaced due to sagging, fuzzy gear changes and damage to the cassette sprockets on the rear wheel.
To lubricate the brakes, clamp them and apply the agent to the cable and pivot, the point of entry of the cable into the jacket. If your bike is equipped with V-brakes, try not to get oil on the rim. otherwise, the rim must be wiped off, otherwise the braking performance will be reduced to zero. Aerosols for a more metered spray are best suited for lubrication. Apply a drop of oil to the outlet and inlet of the cables.
The carriage is one of the key components of the bicycle, which sets the working impulse to other parts of the device. The speed and ease of movement depends on its condition. You will need a thicker lubricant to lubricate the carriage than a chain or cables.
Wheel axle bearings require frequent lubrication. The care scheme for them is identical to the previous one.
All moving parts must be lubricated in the front and rear derailleurs. They are often clogged with deposits from the thickened mass of grease and dirt around the perimeter. They can be gently removed with a flat screwdriver. Move the switch in different directions to see which parts require more lubrication. Remember to machine the rear derailleur roller bearings. they directly affect pedaling.
To process the rollers, you need to apply a dotted liquid on the axis to relieve them of squeak and tight rotation. Lubricated rollers are capable of turning with minimal resistance. For the procedure, experts recommend using aerosol products. When lubricating the chain, it is important to apply lubricant to each link and preferably in a thin layer. If you are using a liquid lubricant, you can use a syringe or oiler for more accurate application.
Taking care of the front shock absorber allows you to travel more comfortably over difficult terrain. A good shock absorber can handle both small and large bumps, so keep it in good condition. Depending on weather conditions, the suspension fork is filled with oil of a certain viscosity, the same is true for the rear shock absorber.
After lubrication, it is worth scrolling the pedals, pressing the brake levers a couple of times, shifting gears. Remove excess grease so that it does not collect dust later. When using an aerosol, make sure that the jet hits all hard-to-reach places. Avoid getting oil on tires, rims, disc brake rotors and other parts.
Chain cleaner: is it necessary or not? Not all newfangled devices are actually very useful. At first glance, this device may make life easier for a novice cyclist and will be completely unnecessary for a seasoned cyclist. In any case, do not leave the chain without proper care.
There are several types of bike chain cleaning machines. They differ in configuration, price and durability. The most affordable models from Bike, Barbieri, Hand and Birzman are machines with three cleaning wheels and a convenient reservoir. A more expensive machine from Kettenmax has all the necessary additional components in its arsenal. In fact, the final choice will depend on your financial capabilities. The key advantage of the machine is the ability to maintain the chain without removing the part from the bike.
To start the procedure, you need to place the chain directly into the machine. The container is filled in advance to the middle of the rollers with flushing solution (the norm is 50 ml). After that, smooth pedaling is ensured. Hold the clipper and the bike at the same time. For the procedure in a living room, it is better to protect the floor with pieces of cloth or cover with paper. The cleaned chain must dry and only then can the lubricant be applied.
Optimal lubrication intervals There are no clearly defined guidelines. it all depends on the owner of the bike. It is enough to carry out the lubrication procedure a couple of times a season to extend the durability of the bike. at the beginning and at the end. After heavy extreme loads, it is advisable to wash the bike and not be too lazy to re-lubricate parts and connections. Some cyclists lubricate the chain after every hundreds of kilometers, regardless of weather conditions.
What you can not lubricate the bicycle chain Experts strongly do not recommend the use of thick lubricants. this will prevent the proper penetration of the product into all the necessary places. Another minus is the adhesion of road dust. Do not use concentrated grease and lithol, sunflower oil.
It is advisable to avoid the use of automotive gear oils, sewing machine oil-based fluids. They attract dust. after two trips, you will have to clean the dirty chain again. Also, such oils are very afraid of moisture, which cannot be avoided in rainy weather.
Bottom Line Remember that the market today is full of bike cleaning fluids. This is all well and good, but car shampoo and hot water will have a similar effect. Hot water is the key to removing dirt, and all cleaning fluids simply speed up the process and save time.
If you love your bike, polish it with a soft cloth and paint polish. As a result, it will look shiny and become more resistant to dirt sticking.
How to lubricate a bicycle chain
It is no secret that a bicycle serves its owner much longer if at least the minimum requirements for its care are met and all its parts are periodically lubricated. One of the main structural components for the movement of a bicycle is the chain. It is very important to take a responsible approach to the selection of a suitable lubricant for the chain, since the technical condition of the entire transport depends on its quality.
As a rule, from the very beginning, every cyclist understands that the chain needs periodic lubrication, but not everyone comes to understand what exactly to lubricate this part with. And often only after much trial and error and accelerated wear of the entire transmission, the owner of the bike still comes up with the right lubrication option.
What material are lubricants for a bicycle chain made of??
- Teflon bicycle lubricant is the most common and highly effective and versatile lubricant. At the same time, her price is very reasonable. It is not difficult to guess that such a lubricant is made on the basis of Teflon, which has the ability to form a thin film on the treated surface. Thanks to this effect, dirt and other annoyances from the environment do not penetrate the chain. When choosing this lubricant, it should be borne in mind that for the chain it is better to take a bottle with a narrow neck, and not a spray.
- Wax lubricant is a more expensive lubricant option. In terms of its protective properties, it is similar to Teflon grease: it does not attract dirt and dust. However, it is less popular due to the need to clean and rinse the chain before using it, and it is also important to dose it correctly, otherwise the wax can clog the chain mechanism.
- Silicone grease, like Teflon, is easy to apply and does not allow dust to stick. However, most often it comes in aerosol cans, which is not very welcome when lubricating the chain.
- An environmentally friendly lubricant is a biologically processed vegetable oil that is inferior in its properties to the above options, but does not harm the environment.
How can a bicycle chain be lubricated??
It is important to understand that only bike-specific lubricants should be used to lubricate any part of the bike, including the chain. But it is worth noting that successful and unsuccessful options can be found both in the budget category and in the more expensive one.
The following types of lubricants are distinguished:
- Aerosol lubricants. Here, liquid oil is sprayed onto the surface to be treated by means of a special tube. It is very convenient to use aerosol to lubricate hard-to-reach places such as switch hinges, brake lever or cable jacket. However, for a chain, this option is not at all suitable. The fact is that the chain lubrication process has its own peculiarity. it is a point application of a minimum amount of lubricant on the chain roller and roller. Spraying in this case is irrational. In addition, when using an aerosol, there is a high risk of applying lubricant to the rims and brake rotor, which will significantly impair the braking process.
- Liquid lubricant. This option can be called the most suitable for the chain. Firstly, a small bottle is easy to carry with you, which will allow you to effectively lubricate the chain at any time if necessary. Second, solvents are very often added to liquid lubricants to improve the penetration of the lubricant. As a result, after complete weathering of the solvent, the grease thickens.
- Dry lubrication. This option is quite interesting. It is applied to the chain in its original liquid state, then dries, leaving no traces of liquid, but only a white coating. The advantages of dry lubrication include: there is no need to flush the chain before lubrication and the fact that the lubricated chain does not collect dirt and dust. By cons: very quickly consumed and unsuitable for use in wet weather.
We add that there are also lubricants for dry and wet weather. Lubricants for dry weather are applied in a thin layer to keep as little dust and dirt as possible. Wet-weather lubricants are usually water-repellent and apply thicker to keep the lubricant from washing out quickly.
Which lubricant to give preference?
Each lubricant has its pros and cons, so be guided by your wallet and weather conditions, and choose the best option for you.
Probably it should be added that in no case use WD-40 and other similar agents that contain white spirit as a lubricant for the chain. Such means are just used to clean the chain from the remnants of the previous lubricant. By trying to lubricate the chain with something like this, you, on the contrary, leave it without any residual lubricant, thereby corroding. It is also better not to even try to use transformer and machine oil if you want your bike to serve you faithfully for a long time.
- Pros: good fluidity, short drying time. The viscosity of silicone greases is practically independent of the ambient temperature, which allows them to be used all year round.
Lubricants can vary in use in different weather conditions:
- Dry weather lubricants. Thinner lubricants that form a thin layer, resulting in less dust and sand adhesion.
- Wet weather lubricants. They contain water-repellent additives that are able to displace water from the surface. By themselves, these greases are thicker, applied in a thicker layer in order to slow down the washout of the grease. These lubricants are recommended for use only in wet weather conditions, as they easily attract dust and sand.
- All-weather lubricants.
- WD-40, UNISMA and analogues, since the main component in them is a solvent, not oil, which dissolves all the necessary lubricant inside the link.
- Machine oil, transformer oil, vegetable oil.
- Solid oil and other analogs of greases.
3 Things NOT To Grease On Your Bicycle! Grease vs Lube
It is necessary to store lubricants in a container with a tightly closed lid, avoiding direct sunlight. In general, chain lubricants have a long shelf life.
The main types of lubricants, their advantages and disadvantages
- Pros: Good for dry weather, dirt and dust repellent, low rolling resistance. Wax lubricants stay on the chain longer. Wax lubricants are stored for a long time, condensation does not form in them.
- Cons: Poorly suited for use in wet conditions. Requires a thorough cleaning of the chain. Wax lubricants are more expensive and less common.
- Pre-clean the chain from the remnants of old grease, dirt and sand. Let the chains dry. In cleaning, special chain cleaning machines help well, which, thanks to the brushes, wash out all the sand from the pins. Outwardly, the chain may seem completely clean, but inside there is a lot of sand in the pins, which also kills the chain itself and which must be washed out.
- Tension the chain by moving it to the middle sprocket for better penetration of the lubricant into the chain links.
- Place a rag under the chain to prevent oil droplets on the floor.
- Dip oil into the links (if using an oiler) or direct the spray from the aerosol onto the chain rollers (if using aerosol lubricant), while rotating the pedals counterclockwise at a uniform speed. Try to apply grease where the chain rollers touch the side plates. You need to apply a little lubricant so that it does not drip.
- After applying a layer of oil, spin the chain for a few minutes to evenly distribute the lubricant inside the chain.
- Wipe the outside of the chain with a dry rag or cloth to remove excess oil and prevent sand from adhering to the chain.
Avoid getting grease on the rim, tires, rotor and brake pads of your bike.
- Pros: low friction, high lubricity, high penetration, water and dirt repellent properties. They are all-weather and all-season greases. They are relatively inexpensive. Example. Weldtite TF2 Perfomance
How to lubricate a bicycle chain
Lubricating the chain not only improves the ride quality of the bike, but also helps to extend the life of the entire drivetrain. A dirty chain contributes to a faster wear of both the chain itself and the stars of the system and cassette. To care for the chain, use liquid lubricants, aerosol lubricants, two-component and thick lubricants, as well as boiling in paraffin (the chain welded in paraffin runs 1000 km).
- Liquid lubricants are available in grease bottles to facilitate precise application of the oil to the inside of the chain rollers. The disadvantage of liquid oils is that they thicken at sub-zero temperatures.
NB: Use a medical syringe to accurately apply liquid lubricant to the chain rollers.
- Aerosol lubricants, thanks to the tube supplied with them, are easy to apply pointwise, but at the same time, inaccurate use of the cylinder can lead to the ingress of lubricant on the rims, rotor, tires, etc. Aerosol lubricants wash out faster, do not adhere well to the chain.
- Two-component lubricants are a mixture of grease and solvent. It is applied in the same way as a liquid lubricant. Due to its fluidity, the lubricant gets well into the inner parts of the chain rollers. After a while, the solvent evaporates, leaving a thick grease inside the chain. The disadvantage of two-component lubricants is that the solvent takes time to dry. This means the bike can be used a few hours after applying the two-component lubricant.
- Thick lubricants are rarely used for chains due to the difficulty of applying them to the internal components of the chain. And such a lubricant absorbs more dust and sand from the road, which then gets inside the chain and also contributes to faster wear of the components. Thick lubricants are used in conditions of high humidity, in the winter season. Most often, chain greases are included in two-component lubricants.
The chain lubricant must be liquid enough to penetrate well into the inner parts of the chain, must not be washed off with water, and must not enter into chemical reactions with metal. On the other hand, the grease should not be sticky.