Chains are an essential part of our bike, but they also play an important role in keeping our bike running smoothly in the winter. The problem with bike chains is that they can get clogged up and dirty quickly, resulting in decreased efficiency and performance in cycling. Here are some tips on how to clean a bike chain in the winter, so you can keep your ride running like new all year round.

Why Need To Clean Bicycle Chain In Winter Season?

In the winter, you should keep your machine clean and well-maintained due to rain, mud, grime, and corrosive road salt.

  • Chains should be taken care of with special attention.
  • As well as improving your ride’s efficiency, a clean chain will extend the life of your components.
  • And ensure your club run is not marred by grinding crunching noises.

Are Bicycle Chain Cleaning Important In Winter?

A smooth-running chain makes a significant difference in the performance of your bicycle despite the wheels rolling. When the lubricant is crushed between the pins and plates as the cranks are turned, it must maintain its molecular structure.

  • We can extend the life of our bicycle components and improve their efficiency by cleaning and maintaining them regularly.
  • As the bicycle can only be pedaled from point A to point B with the help of the chain and drivetrain. So we need to have it to have the most efficient means of transportation ever developed.

How To Clean A Bike Chain In The Winter: 5 Easy Things To Do

When you don’t want to take the time to deep clean your bike chain, you can certainly clean it fairly quickly on the bike. And the following 5 steps will help you to clean, lubricate, and degrease your bike’s chain.

What You’ll Need:

There are several things you should need to clean your bicycle chain-

  • Specific chain cleaning degreaser
  • Chain cleaning machine
  • Soapy water
  • Brush
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Chain lubricant

1. Using Cleaning Machines, And Clean The Chain

In the middle of the chain’s lower jockey wheel and chainrings, place the chain-cleaning device and use the recommended amount of degreaser. So the chain can be run through the device by holding it in place and rotating the cranks backward.

  • After using bicycle chain cleaning tools, you should be able to count about thirty to forty pedal revolutions.
  • And, make sure the chain looks good.
  • If it is grimy, the chain may need more cleaning (shame on you).
  • If the grime is stubborn, add a fresh degreaser to the chain cleaner.

2. Keep Teeth And Jockey Wheels Clean

  • Make sure you clean all the cassette sprockets, the rear mech, the jockey wheels, and chainring teeth with a degreaser and a stiff brush.
  • And remember that, you need to clean your bike with a generic bike cleaner, not a degreaser.
  • Because degreasers remove oil from chains. But general bike cleaners break down road dirt/grime in addition to cleaning the chain (which will not be effective.
  • You can also clean the exterior parts of chains or chainrings.

3. Repeat The Rinsing Process

After everything has been scrubbed thoroughly, the area will appear a complete mess. There’s no need to worry. To disperse the grime, use the sponge and hot soapy water to flush it away. And it’s really important to take this step.

  • The chain and all other components should be thoroughly wiped and washed with hot soapy water.
  • The water pressure should be kept low at this point so as not to force water past your bearing seals.
  • If you have one, you can use a hosepipe, but it is unnecessary.

After rinsing with a degreaser, rinsing with clean water is the best way to end this process. Because-

  • If any new chain lube is left behind, it will start reacting with the degreaser and will cause it to turn into a messy black goo (a mistake many people make).

4. Apply Lubricant After Drying

In order to ensure that the chain is completely dry, spin the cranks fast so the water can be flung from the links.

  • The best cloth to use here is a good microfiber cloth.
  • An old t-shirt can be used, but the results will be less good than with a new one.

The bike can also be left in the sun to dry naturally if it’s a warm, sunny day. You should only apply new chain lube once everything is clean and dry. It’s best to apply little and often rather than overapplying – a common mistake.

  • Chains kept clean and lubricated are more likely to last longer, saving you money.
  • Simply cleaning your chain after several rides (and a wet/dirty ride) will require relatively little effort.
  • Leaving it to build up grime and mess will make cleaning it much harder and it may never be completely clean.

5. Keep The Cables Lubricated

Wet weather is bad for cables. To lubricate the chainring and sprocket, place the chain into the largest chainring and sprocket.

  • Without pedaling, shift into the smallest while the chain is still in place.
  • Doing this can create slack between the housing and the inner cables, allowing you to squirt some oil onto them.

Problems You May Face When Cleaning Chain

Linking Tightly

The links are no longer bending smoothly. If you want to spot them, pedal your chain slowly backward while watching your rear derailleur’s tight turns.

  • The most common cause of these problems is dirt or corrosion between link plates. But these can be fixed with lubrication, cleaning, and a little flexing back and forth.
  • There is also the possibility of the pin not being fully inserted through the links and rollers or the chain being severely damaged.

A chain tool or your hands can sometimes be used to shift poorly installed link pins back and forth within their chain plates. But after trying everything and if the chain is really old, then the best course of action is to replace the damaged chains completely. Because everything has its lifetime.

Stretching Of Chains

A chain becomes longer as it wears. Nothing stretches, so this is called stretch.

  • Link pins and rollers wear out as chains lengthen.
  • In some cases, this causes gears to “skip” due to slop or free play.
  • Chain rings and rear cog teeth also wear out more quickly as a result.

It also leads to rapid wear on chainrings and rear cog teeth. But you know a chain can be replaced much cheaper than a cog set.

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Bike Chain Regularly And Properly?

The sliding surfaces of each chain link become more frictional when a chain needs to be properly cleaned and lubricated. As the chain snakes through the drivetrain at 95 rpm with a 53t front ring, there are 40,280 articulations [when links bend into or out of rings, cogs, or pulleys].

So you can assume by yourself now how important it is to clean your bicycle chain properly after a certain period.

Should You Clean Bicycle Chain After Every Ride?

Yes, you should. And it is a must if you take a long ride, or do rough cycling.

  • Make sure your chain is lubricated and cleaned after every ride if it has been wet, snowy, salty, or when there is more dirt and sand.
  • Oil-based lubes tend to attract dirt and sand more than dry or Teflon-based lubes do in dusty, sandy conditions.

Final Words Regarding Cleaning Bike Chain In Winter

With proper cleaning and care, you can keep your bike chain in tip-top shape this winter. Keep these steps in mind, which I provide in this article when you want to clean your bike chain.

Remember that regular maintenance is important if you want your bike to last a long time. If you still notice any issues with how often you clean yours or how deep it gets dirty throughout the year, call or take advice from a trusted pro cyclist who can help with everything at hand.

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