How to Oil a Bicycle Chain

How to Oil a Bicycle Chain
Keeping your bike chain well-lubricated is essential to maximizing your enjoyment and use of your bicycle. A poorly-oiled chain will damage your bicycle's gear teeth faster. It will also be harder to pedal since metal will be grinding on metal, and dry chains tend to get kicked off the gears more frequently. You should oil your gears every couple hundred miles to make sure they're working properly--too much oil won't hurt them the way too little will.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Chain scrubber
  • Chainsaw oil
  • Lint-free rag
  • Latex gloves
  • Towel
Step 1
Remove the chain from your bicycle. While not necessary, this will make cleaning much easier since you won't have to fuss with the gears. Flip the tension switch at the back of your gears to give the chain some slack, then carefully pull the chain off the gears and onto a towel.
Step 2
Fill your chain scrubber with chainsaw oil. This type of oil is ideal because it is too viscous to get flicked off the chain while in use, and it is a non-foaming cleaner that's ideal for your bike chain. Thread the chain into the teeth of the chain scrubber and let the machine run the chain through for one minute.
Step 3
Wipe the excess oil off the chain. If you are uncomfortable with this because you don't know how much is too much, simply lay the chain on its side on top of a dry towel and let the oil run off it for five to 10 minutes. Then pick up the chain and wipe off the side it was laying on with a lint-free rag. Whatever sticks is a healthy amount of oil.
Step 4
Replace the chain on the bicycle.

Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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