Lubrication the bicycle is of critical importance to any cyclist, should they cycle a day or seven days a week. Lack of lubrication leads to several issues, including early wear & tear of the bicycle chain, and it must be routinely serviced. Hardcore everyday cyclists give maintenance utmost priority, inspecting lubricant levels almost every week.
One of the most popular questions that most newbie cyclists ask is ‘how to lube a bicycle properly?’ Today we discuss the importance of using the correct lubricants, how to correctly lube your bike, what components should be adequately lubed, and the right lube option for bikes.
Before we begin, always use bicycle chain lubricant specially made for bicycles. Although any unbranded lube would work just fine, there are several favorite lubricant brands you can buy online & in stores for your bike chain. Have a look at these if you are interested:
The correct technique to lube the bike involves the following steps:
Avoid spreading lube over the outer plate coating because it only creates a mess and attracts dirt. Last, clean off any excess lube on your chains with a piece of cloth. Here is a brilliant video from GCN Tech’s YouTube channel to teach you how to lube your bike chain correctly:
Do remember to always wipe off and clean your chain after a bicycle ride, especially when riding over country and mountain terrain. Cleaning grime and lubricating the chain after the ride allows the lube to settle in the chain deeply. Some people do prefer applying lube before they ride, but this can attract more dirt and dust on the chain. When using bicycle chain lubricant, always drop small amounts on the chain to avoid ‘over lubrication.’
Always buy the best chain lube for your bike, primarily because chain lube made for bicycles have ‘Teflon’. Teflon is a useful chemical that covers the bike chain with a layer of lube that doesn’t attract grime & dust. It is also recommended to get a bike chain cleaner brush to clean excess grease buildup in your chain, also get chain cleaner to get rid of such bicycle grease.
Greasing or lubrication of the bike are the same and are interchangeable words. If your bicycle chain, derailleur, or pivots are making noises, you should perform a check immediately to grasp the issue. Lubrication is not difficult once you learn how to lube, and take care of the chain. 100 ml of lube can remain and last for months if consumed when the bike is regularly maintained.
Do remember, that even with all the tools and skills sometimes you will not be able to repair or clean the bike and it will be beyond your control. Take your bike to a professional mechanic for a professional check. This goes especially for rust issues which are not easily resolved by lubes alone.
Once you know how to lube the bike chain properly, it is time to understand the three different types of bike lubricants. These include:
Sam Weinburg (blogger, cyclo-cross racer, and top notch mechanic) of Boulder Cycle Sport, mentions in his article “Drawing the Line: What Is Too Much Chain Lube?” that too much lube on the chain can:
Over lubrication can have lube spilling off the chain while you are pedaling, and can ruin your clothes. Usually, I have seen mechanics use only a drop of lube on each chain link wiping off the excess lubricant instantly.
Bicycle lubricants not only protective coat the chain, but also other components of the drive-train and helps to make them last longer plus work more efficiently. Bicycle chain lubricants also help reduce accumulation of dirt & grime, which helps increase performance of moving parts of the bicycle.
The conditions that you ride in predominantly determine which bicycle chain lubricant you need. As I mentioned above, you should consider the proper lube depending on the terrain & weather. Always prefer specialized lubes for your bicycle chain for better riding performance and chain durability.
Bicycle chain lubricants are essential for several reasons apart from enhancing bike performance. Specialized bike lubes minimize the accumulation of dirt and dust, reducing the wear & tear of your chain. Be proactive in degreasing and lubing the chain because lack of cleaning use also increases chain wear and tear.
Besides the chain always remember to lube moving parts on the derailleur, the pivot point on the brake levers, and any exposed cable wires. A properly lubricated bicycle make shifting and braking smooth resulting in an overall increase in performance.
You can also remove minor rust on the bicycle by rubbing them with steel wool. At times it is difficult to remove rust from certain components of the bicycle, leading them to be replaced. So consider routinely cleaning and lubing your bike chain, wires, pivots and derailleur.
Answering the question ‘how often to lubricate the bike chain?’ depends on several of factors including:
Daily riders who take long trips everyday should check their bike chain for contaminants and rust after finishing the ride. I have discussed the notion with daily cyclists who ride 100 KM or more. The two most popular answers I got were:
Similarly MTB, BMX, cross country, triathlon, and pro riders should also consider servicing the bike chain after the ride. Another important factor to consider is where you park the ride after use. Preferably, this should be a dry room or garage where the bike can be safe from dust, water, and damp air.
I hope you now know how to lube your bike chain, how often you should do it, and just how much lubricant you should use at a time. If I left something out, do leave a message in the comments sections below and I will try to get it updated as soon as possible. Do leave your very valuable feedback for me to improve and see the direction my blogs go in the foreseeable future.
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