How to Properly Clean & Lube Your Electric Bike Chain: A Step-by-Step Guide with Video

Cleaning and Lubricating Your Electric Bicycle Chain A Step by Step Guide with Video Electric Bike Report2a0137891 2 2

By JT Lyons of Moment BicyclesnnKeeping your chain clean is essential.nnA clean chain will have a significantly longer lifespan, while a dirty chain will emit noise and hinder smooth gear shifting.nnIf your chain falls off, a clean chain will not leave your hands covered in dirty black oil.nnIf you don’t do anything else to clean your bike after a ride, simply use a cloth to wipe off any dirt and apply fresh lube.nnIdeally, you should follow the quick cleaning method below.nnAfter each ride and depending on the weather, a thorough clean is recommended every couple of weeks.nn

Quick Clean

nApplying this method to clean your chain will ensure that it runs smoothly and quietly on a day-to-day basis.nnIdeally, this method should be used to clean your chain after every ride, although it does not replace the more thorough cleaning method explained later.nnTools Required:n

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    • Cloth

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    • Degreaser spray

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    • Chain lube

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nnBefore you begin, it’s important to avoid spraying any degreaser onto the braking surface of your discs, as this can negatively impact their performance. Exercise caution when using any sprays near your bike.nn

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    2. Take a large piece of cloth or a rag and spray some degreaser onto it.

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    1. Wrap the cloth around the chain and use your other hand to pedal backwards.

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    1. Make sure to clean all external surfaces of the chain as it runs through the cloth.

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    1. Use a fresh section of the cloth with a new application of degreaser to polish the chain. Wrap the cloth around the chain and move it back and forth.
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    1. Use the cloth to remove any dirt from the chainrings and jockey wheels. Leaving dirt on these components will only transfer it back onto the chain.

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    1. Apply chain lube (see below).

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Thorough Clean

nEvery couple of weeks or after around ten rides (more frequently if you ride in wet and muddy conditions), it’s important to give your chain a thorough clean. This method removes the dirt that a quick clean may not reach.nnTools Required:n

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    • Degreaser

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    • Chain cleaning tool

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    • Cloth

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nnIt’s a good idea to protect your disk brakes before beginning. Some chain cleaning tools have a tendency to splatter drops of greasy liquid, which could contaminate your brakes.nnHere is a look at the chain cleaning tool from Park Tool:nn

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    2. Fill the cleaning tool with degreaser and attach it to the chain.

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    1. Hold the tool in place while pedaling backwards.

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    1. The movement of the chain will cause the brushes inside the tool to scrub off the dirt.

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    1. Cycle the chain through the tool several times and discard the dirty degreaser.

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Cleaning and Lubricating Your Electric Bicycle Chain A Step by Step Guide with Video Electric Bike Report2a0137891 0

How to Properly Lube a Bicycle Chain

Step-by-step Guide

  1. Rinse the chain with water (avoid leaving degreaser on it), and then thoroughly dry it using a cloth.
  2. Repeat steps 1-5 until the degreaser comes out clean and the chain appears shiny, while also cleaning any dirt from the chainrings and jockey wheels.
  3. Afterward, allow the chain to air dry for a few minutes. Be sure not to leave it for too long as it can rust.
  4. Apply a few drops of lube to each roller, ensuring that it covers every plate. The goal is to allow the lube to penetrate between each plate and reach the pin on each connection.
  5. Make sure to cover each roller carefully rather than applying lube unevenly along the length of the chain. This method ensures proper lubrication for each connection while also allowing you to inspect each link for any signs of damage.
  6. Once all the links are lubricated, pedal backwards slowly (to prevent lube from flicking off) and cycle the chain a couple of times to work in the lube.
  7. Allow the chain to sit for five minutes to ensure the lube settles properly.
  8. Remove any excess lube from the outside of the chain using a clean cloth or rag.
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Cleaning and Lubricating Your Electric Bicycle Chain A Step by Step Guide with Video Electric Bike Report2a0137891 1

Choosing the Right Lube

To properly lube your bicycle chain, it is essential to use the correct type of lube based on your riding conditions. Selecting the appropriate lube will not only make your life easier but also extend the lifespan of your chain. Consider the following recommendations:

Winter Riding

When riding in winter conditions, it is best to use a heavy-duty lube specifically designed to withstand wet weather, mud, grit, and snow. Look for a wet and thick lube that can keep your chain moving smoothly in all conditions. It is worth noting that a winter lube tends to attract dirt, requiring more frequent cleaning.

Summer Riding

For dry summer conditions, opt for a dry lube. This type of lube goes on wet but dries quickly. It provides lubrication without attracting dust, helping to keep your chain clean. Avoid using dry lube in winter as rain and mud can swiftly remove its benefits.

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In Between Conditions

For riding conditions that fall between very wet and very dry, there are several options available. Consider semi-dry lubes or lighter wet lubes suitable for your specific circumstances. Additionally, ceramic lubes offer extra smooth movement, which can enhance your overall riding experience.

Always remember to apply lube to a clean and dry chain. Applying lube over dirt will result in the mixture of lube and dirt, leaving your chain covered in dirty residue.

It is important to monitor the condition of your chain as it naturally stretches and wears over time. Neglecting to replace a worn chain can lead to the teeth on your cassette and chainrings wearing down to match the stretched chain, causing further damage.

Chain Replacement and Maintenance

Once this occurs, you will need to replace the entire chain at once since a new chain will not properly connect to the worn teeth. To determine if a chain requires replacement, there is a specialized tool available for measurement.

It is highly recommended to either purchase this tool or visit your local bike shop, where they can perform a thorough check for you.

To extend the lifespan of your chain, it is crucial to regularly clean and lubricate it. Additionally, replacing a worn chain promptly will result in long-term cost savings.