Cleaning your bike chain doesn’t need to be a chore

By Mon Garcia | Photo by Wayne Bishop/Unsplash

The chain is the most used and abused part of a bike. At over a hundred links, you can imagine each pin constantly stretching and bending to adapt to your gears as you pedal along briskly at your preferred or prescribed cadence. If there’s one thing you should constantly lube and maintain to ensure great performance, it’s your chain. And yet not all of us have the propensity to do it regularly. Here are three tools to help keep your bike chain in check.

1. A mechanical chain cleaner

Invented decades ago but still amazes new cyclists. It’s an essential tool if you want to keep your bike clean and working well. I’ve been using one since having my mountain bike as a teenager in the early ’90s. Lots of brands and models out there, just pick one and get to work.

2. Degreaser

Handy for getting all that gunk and lube off your chain as well as cleaning the rest of the bike. Its job is to dissolve oils and minerals off the parts. Use in your chain cleaner to make it squeaky clean and all over anything grimy to wash off the crud. I spray some on my frame after wet, dirty rides.

3. A gear brush

A clean chain won’t last long if you run it through a gunk-infested cassette and sticky chainrings. These brushes are shaped for easier reach and handling while you’re doing necessary maintenance work on your bike.