During the cooler Spring months, many of us are taking to our bikes. If you love riding your bike, you will know how important it is to keep it in good condition.  From washing it regularly, to making sure that the tires are inflated the right amount – keeping your bike well-maintained is not a difficult task. However, the most important thing when it comes to keeping your bike in good shape is bike chain maintenance.

The chain of your bike is perhaps the most important part. It is composed of hundreds of links, rollers and plates, so, it’s important to regularly maintain your bike chain to keep it moving reliably and smoothly. Here are some simple hints and tips for good bike chain maintenance.

1. Quick and Easy Cleaning

Your bike chain can suffer from a build up of grease and dirt which is why basic maintenance is key.

Put your bike in a work stand and lean it against a shelf or wall. This will allow you to rotate the pedals both ways easily. Now take a rag and give it a couple of folds. Spray a degreaser on it in a generous amount. Wrap this rag all around the lower part of the bike chain and hold it in place using your left hand. At the same time use your right hand to pedal the chain backwards. Holding the rag firmly will allow the dirt and grease to come off. However, it should not be so firm that the chain does not move.

Repeat the process several times until you are satisfied. However, this might leave some dirt and grit on the inside of the chain in the small holes.

So, if you want a more thorough cleaning, using a chain cleaning device is the best option. It is filled with a liquid degreaser, and the chain is placed inside the cleaner while the pedals are spun. There are several sets of brushes that work together to clean all the nooks and crannies of the chain and remove all the grease and gunk. Once the chain is cleaned, wipe it off and let it dry before riding the bike again.

2.    Lubricate the Chain Well

Keeping your chain well lubricated is at the heart of good bike chain maintenance and the key to its long life and free movement. If you do not lubricate the chain of your bike regularly, you will not have a smooth ride. To lubricate the chain, shift your bike to the middle gear and spray an ample amount of lubricant on the chain.

There are many options when it comes to a bike chain lubricant. You can use WD-40 Multi-Use-Product. It is a water based lubricant that provides the right amount of lubrication to the chain. It has been the top choice of bikers for many years. WD-40 will not only lubricate the chain well, but it will also keep it rust and corrosion free. It also minimises the accumulation of dirt, which reduces the wear and tear of the chain.

3. Something is better than nothing

There are many people who go months and even years without cleaning and lubricating their bike chains, either because they do not have the knowledge or the time to do it.

It is always better to clean the chain first before lubricating it, but if your friends are waiting outside and the chain is squeaky and dirty, it is still better to give the chain a quick spray of WD-40 rather than leaving it dry. Although it is better to do a complete cleaning, doing a quick clean and lubrication is better than no cleaning or lubrication at all.

4. Check the Chain Periodically for Rust and Wear

The rollers and other components of your bike chain are in constant motion and are therefore subject to wear and tear and also at the risk of rust and corrosion. As part of your regular bike chain maintenance, it is  important to check the bike chain for signs of wear, and also to check for chain stretch. Too much stretching of the chain can lead to damage of the gears. It is always better to replace the chain if it is beyond repair than to replace the gears as the gears are much more costly than the chain. Checking the chain for wear and tear and stretch will allow you to take proactive actions about your bike.

It is important to keep your bike well-maintained if you want to keep it running for longer. Bike chain maintenance is a critical part of this process. With the above-mentioned steps, you can maintain your bike chain well and keep the bike running reliably and smoothly.