Bike chain maintenance


Über Member

This is my current approach and wanted to check I was on the right track.

Will use a degreaser, to get off all the rubbish on the chain.

Then will hose down to make sure all degreaser off the bike.

Then will spray on GT55 and apply wet lube.

I will back cycle the bike and use a cloth to get off the excess lube.

Everytime I ride, I usually spray on some GT55 before I head out and make sure my bikewheels are properly inflated.

Any tips appreciated. I was thinking of getting the muc off chain cleaning tool.

13 rider

I miss out the the Gt85 everything else is find . Most people don't get on with chain cleaning tool ,looks a good idea but tends not to live up to expectations 2 cheap nail brushes will do the same job


Tattooed Beat Messiah
For normal road riding bike chain cleaning. All you ever need is lube and a rag. Nothing more. Wipe the chain, lube, wipe chain again as new lube helps remove road muck. Lube again and wipe off access. Jobs done.
If you are into playing dirty on a mtb, well that's a different matter.


Legendary Member
I have trotted this out several times but as the q is asked.
I have used many different chains, lots of lube and cleaning regimes, some completely OTT for some people....and generally found it makes little difference to chain life. (I used to do 1200 to1600 miles to a 10sp chain, with very intense cleanin and lubing, not much difference with a 'lazy' I gave up bothering)
Wipe the chain after use, lube every now and then, as often as you feel necessary then wipe and wipe again.
sounds a lot like chain cleaning, not "maintenance". meaning, sounds like a lot of products too often. I'm inclined to inspect the chain, then determine what it needs. trying to think of advice for myself because I admit to be a chain abuser & neglector. may I add that whenever I've cleaned a chain, it didn't take long for debris & general muck from the front chain rings, rear cogset & rear derailleur rollers to make it's way back onto the chain. does anyone do any "maintenance" to those components?


I can't be bothered buggering about with degreasers unless I'm doing a full stripdown and overhaul of some sort of mechanical object. What's the point of repeatedly removing then replacing the lubricant? Anything with bearings in it is going to get washed out, which is not what you want for long life unless you can effectively reinstate the lubrication every time. It just sounds really OCD to me, and a pointless waste of time and effort.
All I do on bike chains is run the chain through an old rag whilst turning the cranks to get as much solid gritty crap off it as possible, then give it a quick spray with motorcycle chain lube, which penetrates right into the links before the volatile solvents evaporate off.
If a lot of muck has accumulated between the freewheel sprockets I use a thin strip of torn up rag to clean them, and a small screwdriver is good for digging out derailleur tensioner pulleys. There's only one effective way of keeping bike transmissions really clean - ride a 3-speed roadster with an enclosed chaincase. All open transmissions can only realistically be kept so clean, so being obsessive about it is futile.


If I'm using wet lube I'll degrease every 100-150 miles in the winter. It picks up dirt and grime long before it starts making any appreciable noise, and that will wear your chain faster. I don't really see how a rag is likely to remove said grime inside the chain, nor water given that wet lube is by design supposed to repel water.

That said, dry lube I tend to be a bit more fast and loose with. It doesn't pick up dirt, so I tend to think it's not that big a deal if you apply dry lube on top of dry without a clean first. I usually degrease that too however.


Rohan Man
Bugbrooke UK
Each to their own but to my mind a chain needs replacing at regular intervals and is only worth so much effort. Wipe after riding and after lubing to remove excess which might otherwise allow grit to stick. Remove annually and clean in solvent. Replace when there's too much play between links or it's no longer meshing with the sprockets.


I tried wet lube one winter, but I don't think I wiped it down often enough & it all became too much of a mess for me to use again
I use wet lube as I commute on my winter bike but don't fancy cleaning it every night in my cold garage in the dark. Invariably it gets rained on several times in the week. Degreaser is required to take it off however. If I stuck to dry lube I'd be relubing after every 5 minute+ rain shower.


Rohan Man
Bugbrooke UK
maybe when it's too dirty as well?
What is too dirty? I'm wiping it as required and cleaning annually in a solvent bath.

I guess this a a YMMV question. My cycling is mostly on road with some excursions onto paths and trails; long time since I did even easy off road stuff. The UK's practice of using salt grit in winter conditions means there's a lot of crud on roads/edges but the wipe/lube routine deals with the worst of it.
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