I am fanatical about keeping my drive trains clean and properly lubed.
I was not always like this. There was a time when a good cleaning happened only once or twice a year. But as I began spending more money on components and began to appreciate the difference a clean chain, cassette and chain rings can make to a ride, the more attention I paid to it.
These days, I clean and lube my road bikes before every long ride which is every week or two depending which of the bikes I favour at the time. And my commuter gets a thorough once over every 1-2 weeks as well. It is used more regularly and occasional frequents gravel, dusty trails as well.
For me, it is a multi-step process.
- First, I put the bike onto a stand. This is a must. This way I can easily spin the components and look carefully at each of them for unusual wear.
- Next, I hose the bike down with soap and water to remove any loose dirt being careful to scrub the chain, chain rings and cassette with wash glove and brushes.
- Then, I clean the chain using a water soluble degreaser running the chain through it many times and, depending on the state of the chain, may repeat this process more than once. I’ll use the the brushes again, this time with degreaser on them to clean the cassette.
- Once the components look clean, I wash them down with water again to remove any loosened dirt and excess degreaser.
- I dry all of the components with a dry rag and let air dry for 10-15 minutes before applying a single drop of light lube to each of the chain lugs.
- And finally, I remove any excess lube with a clean rag.
This entire process only takes 15 minutes. I have had a lot of practice and, I have all of the necessary tools ready at hand.
Now I am ready to adjust the derailleurs, if necessary and, measure the chain wear.
This may seem excessive to some but I have few on road issues and I enjoy the rides more when the bikes change gears easily, smoothly and quietly.
How often do you clean your drive train?