Here’s a very quick and easy way to clean and lube bicycle chain:
REMOVE STICKY BUILDUP
Apply degreaser along the length of your chain while turning your crank backward. Scrub away the loosened grime with an old toothbrush or a non-metal brush. Make sure you give your chainrings and cassette a thorough scrub, as well. If degreaser is not available, at least wipe down your chain with a clean rag.
LUBE BICYCLE CHAIN
First, let your chain dry for a few minutes (or simple wipe it down with a clean dry rag). Then lightly coat every link and sideplate of your chain using the oil of your choice. Spin your cranks backwards to make sure that the oil completely penetrates into the chain links. Don’t forget to lightly coat your cassette cogs, as well.
REMOVE EXCESS LUBE
Turn your cranks backwards again as you wipe lube from the chain and cassette using a clean rag. Now, why do you have to wipe off lube you just put on? It’s because you want every moving part to be covered by a film of lube that sticks, not a river of lube that runs off.
REMOVE REAR DERAILLEUR HOUSING
Shift into the largest cog in the rear and then shift back into high gear without turning your cranks. This will put enough slack in the cable and allow you to remove the first piece of housing from its cable guide. To do this, you’ll need split cable stops.
CLEAN AND LUBE THE CABLE AND HOUSING
Wipe down the exposed cable to get rid of old lubricant and debris. Squeeze a blob of grease on your fingers and then lightly coat along the length of the cable. Work the grease back and forth to ensure complete lube penetration. Wipe off excess lube with a clean rag, as you only want to leave a nice thin coat. Reinstall the housing.
Begin from the rear derailleur and apply lube on each sention of the cable or the housing. Then work your way up to the shifter. Repeat these steps for the housing and front derailleur cable, shifting the derailleur to the large chainring, and then going for the small ring without pedaling to create cable slack.
If you don’t have spare time or you simply don’t want to clean and lube bicycle chain, consider internal gear hub bikes. Internal gears protect chains from dust, grime, mud, and potential damage while riding, eliminating the need for regular cleaning and lubing. Visit Zize Bikes, the maker of custom bicycles for every body, including bicycles for heavy riders.
Watch this video to learn more tips on how to clean and lube bicycle chain.