Keep it clean!: Easy to do drivetrain maintenance
Tuesday 25 September 2018, Filed in: Blog
Drivetrain maintenance is essential to getting the most from your ride
Dry, squeaky chains, chainring calf tattoos, poor shifting efficiency, easily worn out components... quite frankly you shouldn't have to put up with it.
Poorly maintained drivetrain will not only make your bike slower and noisy, but it'll also wear out your components faster. You don't need a professional workstand or a multitude of tools so there's no excuse for not spending 10 minutes at the end of a ride to avoid this and, if you're anything like me, you'll also find having sparkly clean kit immensely satisfying. Below we go over some easy to do steps for bicycle drivetrain maintenance. We'll also go over some frequent bike maintenance mistakes people make.
1. What you'll need
Firstly, and this is probably the most common mistake we come across, avoid so called "chain cleaning machines" at all costs. KMC, the world's largest (and best) bicycle chain manufacturer with over 40 years of experience, explicitly state:
"Do not dip your chain in (aggressive) degreasers - they remove the remaining grease from the chain’s bearings, and may cause cracks. They are also bad for our environment... avoid a so-called ‘chain washing machine’ in combination with solvent. This will instantly ruin your chain."
What you actually should be using to clean your drivetrain is a non-aggressive & environmentally safe chain cleaner. We strongly recommend Fenwick's foaming chain cleaner. You'll also need a gear cleaning brush, cloth/rag & chain sponge.In terms of lubrication, there are various different types available for different conditions. A dry lube is suitable for dry weather, whereas a wet lube is more suitable for - you guessed it - wet weather. What's the difference, you ask? Dry lube will run quietly and efficiently, but will wear off quickly in wet conditions; whereas a wet lube will fair better in wet conditions, but will typically pick up more dirt and not run quite as silently.
If you don't mind spending a few quid more for something with more performance in all conditions, we recommend Fenwick's Professional Chain Lube. If you are using this lube - ensure it is kept at room temperature (15-20 celsius) between uses to get the desirable consistency. If you keep it in the garage in winter, it'll get too cold and solidify.
Note another common mistake: GT85 and WD-40 are not lubricants. They are water displacers. They will not lubricate your chain. Honestly.
Note: If you want to got the extra mile and get a sparkling cassette, Finish Line's Gear Floss is absolutely brilliant for cleaning between sprockets and getting rid of all the grime. Likewise, a Spiro chain brush will help you get some of the tougher muck out of your chain.
Et voila. 10 minutes at the end of a ride to ensure your components run better and last longer. All the necessary products are available in our high street store, so there's no excuse.
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