Jiffy Lube: How to clean and lube a chain, fast.
When it comes to getting the most mileage out of your drivetrain, staying lubricated is a must. A well-lubed chain will keep your gears from grinding themselves to bits with road grime and keep you spinning smoothly and silently for miles. In the Spring, when spotty showers pop up and rinse everything away, doing a quick clean and re-lube can be the key to making it to Summer issue-free. In today's post, let's walk through the process so you'll know what to do when your chain starts complaining!
Clean the Chain
The first thing we want to do is clean off all the gunk and grime that's accumulated on the drivetrain since your last cleaning. To keep things speedy and simple, we'll use our 1-Step Cleaner and Lubricant to knock out this whole project.
To clean the chain, start by generously applying the cleaner. Give the pedals a few spins to turn everything over and spread the cleaner around the chain, chainring, and cog.
Now, being super careful not to pinch a finger, use a rag to wipe off away all that newly liberated goop. If you've got the time and patience, you can always go for a deeper clean by grabbing a small brush and really scrubbing down the teeth on your cog and ring, but for a quickie-clean, the rag-down is enough.
Once your chain looks clean, it's time to lube it back up so you can hit the road!
Again, we'll take our combo cleaner/lube and apply a light coat to the chain this time. You want to make sure the lube penetrates between the plates and pins on the chain so they slide smoothly over each other. To do that, I let it drip as I turn the pedals, really spreading it around the drivetrain and working its way into the chain.
Now, too much lube will just give all that dirt a place to hitch a ride, so you don't want to overdo it. I like to give the newly lubed chain a quick wipe down with a rag to remove any excess.
If you've got it right, touching the chain should result in two light lines of lube left on your finger. If it's super dark or a big splotch, you've overdone it and just need to wipe away some of that extra. If there's no mark on your finger, add a little more to the chain, spin the pedals, and test again! Here's what you're hoping for:
And that's it! Pop that bottle back into your bag and get pedalling! A silky smooth spin around the block is the perfect reward for a job well done.
Experienced riders will know that, just like washing your car, cleaning and lubing your chain is a surefire way to tempt fate into making it rain - so get that ride in before the clouds burst. And, at least when they do, you'll be ready to re-lube and keep riding without missing a beat.