On a bike, the chain is always the part exposed to the most strain. The individual links of a bike chain are pulled with every pedal stroke. If you want to minimise wear and tear on your bike chain, it’s crucial to clean it regularly and meticulously. When you push your pedals, a strong and continuous power transmission affects your bike chain.
On top of that, when riding a mountain bike, for example, wear and tear is caused by stones, mud, grit and other dirty particles when riding on sandy and muddy paths. Add rain or wet conditions into the equation, and you’ll understand why the bike chain takes such a beating.
It’s not only the chain of your mountain bike that suffers, but the entire drivetrain including your chainrings and sprockets. And very dirty bike chains decrease efficiency by several watts, leading to power loss.
So, how should you clean your bike chain after it’s been exposed to so much dirt? And what’s the best way to remove the old chain oil or lubricant and the greasy dirt?
Benzine from the hardware store works well. It can even be re-used if you run it through a coffee filter to clean it after applying it to the bike chain. Benzine is cheap and effective for cleaning oily substances because of its strong degreasing qualities.
Can a bike chain and derailleur also be cleaned with turpentine? Turpentine can degrease almost as well as brake cleaner spray. Especially if other degreasers can’t do the job, turpentine might be a good alternative.
After using benzine or turpentine, the bike chain should be lubricated again, because both substances are very strong degreasers.