6 quick tips to keep your chain in top condition

Keep your chain clean and running smoothly with these tips

Sebastian Nittke is team mechanic with the Canyon//SRAM UCI Women’s World Tour pro team. Here, he gives his 6 tips to keep your chain clean and running smoothly.

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1. Keep it clean

Keep the chain clean to extend its life
1: Keep It Clean
David Caudery / Immediate Media

To keep your chain running smoothly it is essential to clean it regularly and lubricate it well. Use a specific chain cleaning fluid and a brush or sponge to spread it on.

2. More bits to clean

Clean more than just the chain
2: Ring The Changes
David Caudery / Immediate Media

Don’t forget that you will need to pay just as much attention to your chainrings, pulleys and the cassette as you do to the chain itself.

3. Dry it off

Relube the chain once you've cleaned and dried it
3: Dry Off
David Caudery / Immediate Media

Once dry, put a good bike lube on the chain system to avoid rust, then shift through all the gears once. After riding in wet conditions, you will need to dry and lube the chain every time.

4: Check for wear

Check your chain for wear
4: Check For Wear
David Caudery / Immediate Media

To check if your chain is in good shape you need a chain measurement gauge, which you can buy in a bike shop, although a ruler can work. A new chain should measure 12in across 12 links.

5: Look for worn out parts

Look out for sharp teeth
5: Sharp Teeth
David Caudery / Immediate Media

Other reasons why your chain may not run smoothly include if the chainrings or cassette are worn out. If the teeth have become sharp, don’t get bitten, replace the part!

6. Check your rear mech hanger

If your chain is making noises, check your rear mech hanger
6: Hang In There
David Caudery / Immediate Media
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If your chain is making noises, check your rear mech hanger — even a slight impact can take it out of alignment. Change to the smallest cog on the back and ensure the hanger hangs straight down.