How To Clean A Bike Chain Without Removing It – Step By Step Guide

The chain of your bike is like your record keeper of the places you have been to. The dusty pavements, the muddy patches, the rain-time cycling are all kept as some sort of logbook with your bike’s chain.

Needless to say, if you keep your bike’s chain like that for long, you will face trouble in paddling, and the bike will face difficulty in smooth gear transitions. To experience a smooth, fast, and a fully functional bike at its optimum, learning how to clean a bike chain without removing it becomes a top priority question.

If you wish to use a smoothly functioning bike, you will have to clean the chain regularly. Although how often you need to clean depends upon your usage and, more importantly, where you use it. You know what they say, “If you love something, take care of it.”

Make sure to do preventive check-ups before you go out for a ride across town. It’s like timely servicing your car even though you feel everything is just fine! 

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Step-By-Step Guide On How To Clean A Bike Chain Without Removing It

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1. So, the first step involved is to rest your bike in a manner that will be both safe as well as effectively helps you in cleaning your bike’s chain. You cannot use a kickstand because when you paddle your static wheels, a kickstand won’t be able to hold its position correctly. One may argue using a jostle or a bump, but you should avoid using them. Your bike may fall because a jostle or a bump is not supposed to hold your bike stable for a lengthy cleaning process. 

2. Enough about the don’ts, let’s talk about what the ideal resting position for your bike to kick start the cleaning process is. Ideally, you should simply flip your bike and set it upside down. Let the seat and the bike handles take care of the balance while you clean. You can use a bike stand or lean your bike against a wall too. Now, make sure to use a pair of gloves for a better grip and mostly for keeping yourself clean. 

3. One of the fastest and easiest ways of cleaning your bike chain is to use a clean lint-free cloth. Put your bike on the stand and back peddle it and keep sweeping with your clean piece of cloth. Keep cleaning the chainring until your cloth starts keeping clean even after a rub. You can use isopropyl alcohol to clean the chain. Simply hold the clean rag or the cloth up against the chain and paddle the chain in a clockwise direction and anti-clockwise direction. 

4. You can soak the chain with a degreaser for you to wipe away the remaining dirt or grime from the chain. Pour enough degreaser into a wide mouth container and soak your rag or cloth in it. Then simply hold the fabric on your chain and paddle the chain. In case you do not have a degreaser, you can also use paint-thinner or kerosene for grease removal. Some say you can also use hot water and soap to clean and degrease your chain. Although, using distilled vinegar amongst other household items can be used as an effective degreaser. 

5. If you are inclined to clean your derailleur pulley wheels (and so you should), swiping with a clean piece of white cloth would generally suffice. However, swiping with wet wipes is also advisable. Wet wipes would provide the right amount of moisture for smoother and effective cleaning. 

6. Once you clean your bike’s chain, you’ll notice a substantial reduction in the greasing. Usually, degreasers remove the factory wax from your chain, and you will have to grease it up again for a smooth functioning chainring. You should put in some lubricants on that chain before you use your bike next time. 

7. Hold your bottle of lubricant on top of your chain and simply paddle your bike clockwise. Keep holding the bottle of lubricant stable on the chain so that a clean stream of lube keeps falling on the chain as you turn the wheels. Once the entire chain is soaked in lubricants again, your bike is ready for a ride. 

Precautions

However, once you use an oil-based lube, you may notice more dirt is dripping because of the oiling. Well, in that scenario, just keep swiping your chainring with a white piece of clothing till all the dirt is taken care of. 

Since you are more likely to clean this way on your own, you might be inclined to clean your bike inside your apartment. Cleaning your bike’s chain may prove to be very messy and make the floor oily and dirty at the same time.

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If oily grease falls on your carpet, good luck cleaning that off. That is why you should cover your carpet flooring with a big plastic covering and then make your bike stand on that before you jump right in to clean the same. 

Cleaning frequency

A significant part of learning how to clean your bike chain without removing it is to realize and understand how many times you need to carry on the same process

First and foremost, have a closer look at your bike’s chain. Most cyclists around the world clean their bike’s chain every 200 miles (which is equivalent to 321 kilometers) at least or every alternate week. 

Even though there are other efficient ways of cleaning your bike’s chain, the process mentioned above is a light-weight cleaning process involving a series of easy to follow methods. Many consider this indoor cleaning technique to be efficient if you keep cleaning it after every ride you make across the town. 

However, it is understandable that long rides may be tiresome. It becomes even more of a difficulty if you are a regular migrant from your home to the city for work. In that case, you should keep cleaning your bike’s chain after every off-road route you take while traveling. 

Conclusion

Having a bike is fun, but taking real good care of it is the real underlying task. If you love something, you got to take care of it, isn’t it? Knowing how to clean a bike chain without removing it from the bike itself is a lifesaver for many. Not only will it save time, but it will save a lot of your money too! So what are you waiting for? Follow the above listed simple steps and keep your bike in the most delicate condition possible because no doubt, cleaning your bike chain regularly will make your rides smoother and bike faster.

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