How To Maintain Your Bike’s Drivetrain

Keeping your drivetrain clean and well-maintained means that gear changes will be smoother and, consequently, your bike’s components will last longer, making for a more enjoyable ride. Here’s how to clean your bike’s drivetrain to keep it in top condition.

What do you need to clean the transmission?

In addition to bike cleaner, degreaser and lubricant, you should already have most of these products. Here is an exhaustive list:

There are also “extra” products that make cleaning easier:

How to clean the transmission

The easiest way to clean the drivetrain is to have the bike off the ground. A work stand or mount is perfect, or you can use garden furniture or simply turn the bike upside down. The rear wheel must then be removed to be able to properly get at the corners and grooves of the frame.

Below is a list of actions to be taken:

  1. Use an old rag to clean the dirt accumulated on the crown gears and gears.
  2. Hold the rag and grip the chain, then turn the crank arms backwards a few times to allow the rag to wipe dirt and oil from the chain.
  3. Apply the degreaser, using a brush or spray.
  4. With a stiff bristle brush (or an old toothbrush), scrub the chain, sprockets, chainrings and derailleur. 
  5. Make everything clean.
  6. Use a brush or rag to clean the dirt between the cassette sprockets, then apply degreaser.
  7. Use a long-bristled brush to remove dirt.
  8. Wash the cassette with a bicycle cleaner and rinse it.
  9. Use a bicycle cleaner and a clean sponge to remove dirt from the frame and components.
  10. Dry the components with a lint-free cloth and replace the rear wheel.

How to lubricate the transmission

Now it is time to lubricate everything. In what way? 

  1. Always make sure the chain is clean. Lubricant mixed with road grime can create a “paste” that can cause component wear.
  2. Apply a few drops of chain lubricant to the chain links. 
  3. Rotate the chain backwards for 20 seconds to allow the lubricant to penetrate the inside of the links. 
  4. Wipe excess lubricant from the chain with a rag.
  5. Follow steps 2 and 3 again.
  6. Carefully apply a couple of drops of chain lubricant to the derailleur springs.

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