Keeping your bicycle's chain in great shape is an important component of maintaining a smooth ride and preventing expensive repair costs in the future. A worn chain places much greater stress on your bicycle's derailleurs and gears, making them more likely to break. Make sure you lubricate and clean your bicycle chain often to keep dirt and dust from accumulating in your drivetrain. Here's how to keep your chain in perfect working order to prevent potentially costly bicycle repairs in the future.
Inspect Your Chain After Riding to Determine Your Maintenance Schedule
The bicycle chain maintenance schedule is much different for a rider who commutes on city roads versus a rider who bikes in the mountains. To get an idea of how much wear you're putting on your chain, inspect it after every ride by slowly pedaling your bike backwards with your hand and watching the links when they go through the rear derailleur. The links should pass through smoothly, one at a time. If you see two links stick together, your chain is picking up a lot of dust during your rides and needs to be lubricated and cleaned more often.
Don't Use Too Much Lubricant on the Chain
When you're lubricating your bicycle chain, you only need a very small amount applied in a steady stream. You need to slowly pedal your bicycle backwards with your hand and apply only a drop or two per link in the chain. Let the lubricant soak into the links for a few minutes and then wipe off the excess with a clean rag. The reason you don't want to apply too much lubricant to your chain is that dirt and dust will stick to any lubricant that wasn't fully absorbed. All of those dust and dirt particles will put major wear on your derailleurs and gears, so it's important to use as little lube as possible to avoid this.
Clean Your Chain Weekly With a Degreaser
In order to keep your bicycle chain in good condition, you'll need to clean it weekly. You can do this manually with a rag and bicycle chain cleaner. Simply apply the degreaser to the rag and thoroughly scrub your bicycle chain. You can use a wire brush or toothbrush to clean out dirt in the crevices between the links. Unfortunately, you won't be able to deeply clean the chain unless you have an automatic bicycle chain cleaner or you remove the chain. An automatic cleaner is simply placed over your bicycle chain and has brushes that clean out all the crevices in the chain while you turn the pedals. You can also clean the chain by removing it and letting it soak in degreaser for a few hours. Removing your bicycle's chain can sometimes be difficult and require special tools depending on the model, and some chains are not designed to be removed until you are ready to replace them. If you are unsure, ask an expert at a bicycle repair shop for further assistance on how to remove your chain.
Replace a Worn Chain Before It Damages Your Gears
Over time, the gears in your bicycle will wear down the surface of your bicycle chain. This causes the gaps between links in the chain to widen, which also has the effect of making the bicycle chain longer. The wider gaps will no longer perfectly fit the gears on your bicycle, which causes the gears to be worn down much more quickly. You can check the wear of your chain with an inexpensive tool called a chain wear indicator to determine when it's time to replace the chain. If you don't have one of these tools, you can also stop by a bicycle repair shop, such as Sarasota Cyclery Inc, to have the staff quickly check the wear on your chain for you and replace the chain if necessary.
When was the last time you got outside and really enjoyed your time away from work? A few years ago, I realized that there were some real problems with the way I was spending my free time, and it really caused some issues. For example, I was starting to gain an inordinate amount of weight, and I could really feel things starting to slip. I decided that it would be smart to start focusing on recreational activities and sports, and that simple decision saved my life. Within a few short months, I started feeling more energetic than ever before, and it was really powerful. Check out this blog for more information about spending time in recreational settings.