How to Clean Bike Gears

How to Clean Bike Gears
Bike gears are an important part of your bike. They consist of the cogs at the rear of the bike and the chainrings at the front. Working together, cogs and chainrings offer a cyclist a wide range of gear choices, allowing him to tackle a variety of terrain. In racing, proper choice of gear ratios can be the difference between winning and losing. By cleaning your bike gears every so often, you'll help keep your bike shifting smoothly and effectively.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need:
  • Rag
  • Cassette lockring tool
  • Chain whip
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Chain cleaner
Step 1
Remove the rear wheel from your bike. Rear wheel removal is made easier by first shifting your bike into its smallest rear cog.
Step 2
Remove the cassette from the wheel. Cassettes will require a lockring removal tool and at least one chainwhip. If you've never done this before, check the specs for your cassette to learn the exact tools you'll need.
Step 3
Wipe the cassette clean with a rag and rubbing alcohol. Depending on your cassette's make, the individual cogs which make up the cassette may be joined to one another, or they may be independent pieces. Wherever cogs don't disassemble, wet the edge of your rage with rubbing alcohol and work it between the cogs to remove grit and grime.
Step 4
Reassemble your cleaned cogs, replace the cassette back on the wheel and return the wheel to the bike.

Chainrings and Chain

Step 1
Wipe your inner chainring with the rag and rubbing alcohol. Inner chainrings are not easily accessible, so work the rag between any grooves and crevices.
Step 2
Shift from the large chainring into the smallest, or inner, chainring. Some bikes will feature as many as three chainrings. Repeat the cleaning process for your large chainring.
Step 3
Wipe down the chain with chain cleaner and a rag. Wipe free any excess. A clean chain will keep your cogs and chainrings from collecting any further grime for the time being.

Tips & Warnings

Once you've cleaned your chain, oil it. Wipe any excess oil free of the chain.

Article Written By Matthew Ferguson

Matthew Ferguson is a writer living in Savannah, Ga. He has been writing for over 10 years and his work has appeared on various online publications. A collection of his short stories was published in spring 2010. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University.

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