Caring for Your Drivetrain
Your bikes drivetrain is one of the most important parts of your bike but it can often get neglected, leading to poor, noisy shifting and unnecessary replacement parts. With some basic home maintenance and a bit of TLC your bike will perform perfectly for longer, resulting in a much more enjoyable ride!
Whether you have an internal hub gear or derailleur the basic care of the chain is the same. However, the derailleur may require some adjustments from time to time compared to the very minimal maintenance required for the hub gear.
The first key to bike maintenance and drivetrain care is to keep it clean! If the chain and derailleur are clogged with mud, grease, etc. they will not work correctly and wear out quickly. After wet rides or a few of weeks of use give the bike a clean using a bike specific cleaning spray and wash it off with a bucket and sponge or gentle spray. If the drivetrain is particularly greasy it may be necessary to get a strong degreaser and stiff brush to shift the grime.
Once everything is clean and dry, this is a good time to check the chain for any wear. It’s a very good idea to do this regularly to catch the chain when its worn before it leads to other components wearing down that are more expensive to replace. Get a chain checker tool and place the end with a small hook (or the end without numbers on) into the chain between two inner links so it sits against the roller. Allow the end with 0.75 written on it to drop into the chain. If it does not drop fully into the chain but sits slightly on top of a roller then the chain has stretched less than 0.75% and does not need replacing. If it does drop into the chain and your bike has a derailleur then you will need to replace the chain. If your bike has internal hub gears then the chain will only need replacing once it has reached 1% stretched which can be checked using the other side of the tool.
Now that everything is nice and clean it is important to re-apply some lubrication to the moving parts. Depending on the type of riding you do, choose the right lubricant for the chain. A thick wet lube for wet and muddy conditions or a lighter dry lube for dry and dusty environments. It’s important to choose the right one to stop excess wear, if a wet lube is used year-round it will attract dust in dry condition which will wear the chain and components, likewise if a dry lube is used in muddy winter conditions it will just wash off quickly leaving no lubrication left, also leading to excessive wear.
Slowly drip a small amount onto each roller of the chain then give it a pedal for a few seconds to work the lubricant into the chain. Then run the chain through a clean cloth to wipe of any excess lube to stop any unwanted dirt sticking to the drivetrain components.
Thats all thats needed! Just a bit of cleaning every now and then and some attention to the chain and you'll be saving yourself money in the long run on expensive replacement parts. Don't forget we have our full workshop and mechanic to help you out with and questions of fitting/servicing jobs, its easy to book on our website, just click the link here and book a time slot that suits you!
- Rob Day