Your bike’s drivetrain is made of a bunch of moving parts all working in harmony to provide you with smooth gear shifts and reliable performance. All these drivetrain components, especially the chain, are made to super-high tolerances – any changes in these tolerances can cause shifting issues. Having a clean drivetrain keeps your bike in good working order. A poorly maintained drivetrain increases wear on your components leading to a poor gear shifting experience – resulting in a non-enjoyable bike ride.
It’s always satisfying to see your drivetrain gleaming and shining after you’ve put in some elbow grease cleaning and lubricating them. At the end of the 10-15 min process, it’s all worth it.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- A bucket of water/hosepipe
- Cleaning brushes (different sizes)
- Cycle specific degreaser
- Chain lubricant
- Old rags/sponge
CLEANING YOUR DRIVETRAIN
The most ideal way to start would be to prop your bike off the ground with a bike stand. Since most of you probably don’t have one you may need to work with it resting on the ground itself. Don’t worry, this isn’t a problem. Just ensure you take your wheels off before cleaning the bike. Wheel bearings are easily susceptible to water entry so its better to be safe.
STEP 1: Rinse down the entire drivetrain with some soapy water (avoid high pressure). Ensure you cover all the parts of the drivetrain.
STEP 2: Spray the cassette and chain with a bike specific degreaser. You can apply a generous amount of it – let it rest like that for around 5 minutes.
STEP 3: Now grab one of your cleaning brushes and begin scrubbing the cassette. Use a smaller, softer brush (a toothbrush is fine too) to clean the chain. Here are a few tips to get it super spick and span:
- Grip the chain beneath the chainstay with a dry rag – rotate the cranks backwards a few revolutions so that the rag takes any loose dirt/grease away from the chain.
- Using bike cleaner and a clean sponge wash away any dirty/oily residue from the frame and components.
- Use a scrubber to get the chainrings too.
- Use a cloth to clean the jockey and idler pully under your rear derailleur whilst spinning the crank. Here is where it’s ideal to have a dummy rear hub as your rear wheel is off the bike at this point.
- Dry the components with a soft cloth.
Tip: Shake the bike and rear wheel a few times first to dislodge any excess water.
LUBRICATING YOUR DRIVETRAIN
After you’ve nicely dried the drivetrain completely. You’re ready for the final step. Ensure that there’s no excess water or degreaser left on any of the components. If there still is, it’s a good idea to let your bike rest for half an hour at least.
STEP 1: Once your chain is completely dry, apply chain lube – drop by drop on every link. When you have coated each roller, rotate the chainset backwards for 10 seconds to allow the lube to penetrate the internals of the chain rollers.
Tip: A good way to keep track of how many links you’ve covered is by started and ending at the master link.
STEP 2: Now, using a dry cloth to wipe away any excess lube from the chain, chainring and jockey wheels.
STEP 3: Lastly, carefully apply a couple of drops of chain lube onto the springs and cables of the derailleur. This helps them remain working smoothly.
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WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CYCLING
I’m an avid mountain biker and I like riding fast and flowy singletrack. As I keep riding, I continuously work on honing my riding skills. I like to ride whenever possible, especially with friends. I also like to influence folk into getting to ride more often.
Working on bicycles has also been a keen interest of mine for quite some time.
DISCIPLINE: Mountain biking and Road biking
CURRENT BIKE: RockRider 5.3 & Specialized Allez Elite DSW
DREAM BIKE: Santa Cruz 5010