How to Clean & Lube your Bicycle's Drivetrain


A man and his rag: In this video we give you a quick overview of how keep your bike in superb running condition by keeping your drivetrain (i.e. cassette, chain, chain rings, dearailleur) clean. with a Rag Edition.

First thing, if you don't have a handy dandy chain cleaner, like the one in the video.  Most people probably don't, but they do a great job of cleaning the bike chain. 

Today, we are going to do a regular guy with a rag situation.  Don't use a dish cleaning fluid or heavy chemical degreasers.  Use something light and fluffy, citrus based and lemony smelling.  It is nice if it smells good. 

Go ahead and spray some degreaser on the chain, yes go ahead and drip it on there, unless you are doing this on your Mom's carpet, then maybe not.  Then run the chain a little to spread the degreaser all over the chain.  Next, hold a section of the chain in your hand to help get all the sections of the chain.  It's nice to have a bike stand, but you also can lean the seat on a counter or just do it on the ground. 

You might be surprised at how much dirt and grime is on the chain.  Probably don't wear your new shirt and pants while doing this. 

Another thing you can do is floss the cassette with the edge of the rage.  This will get all the dirt out from in your cogs.  Here are some quick ideas for bike rags:

  • Socks
  • Old Jock Strap
  • Underwear
  • Superbowl T-shirt you are never going to wear again
  • Actual Rag
  • Girlfriends thong, works real good between the cogs
  • Banana Hammock, you get the idea.

Then, take a look at the small derailleur pulleys, (tension pulley and guide pulley is the proper nomenclature) and grip the open spot with the rag and get all the grease off them. 

On to the crank.  Use the part of the rag with degreaser on it and just give it a rubdown, check out the backside and give her the old reach around. 

Jim's QuickTip:  Constant cleaning is one of the most important aspects of bike maintenance and prevents things from breaking down and extends the life of your bike.  Professionals will tell you this.

Then to remove the degreaser with a clean part of the rag.  This is important because you don't want the degreaser removing the lube you put on later after the chain is thoroughly cleaned.  You never want a dry chain with no lube, sometimes a dirty chain is even better, similar to women.  Sometimes a dirty girl is better than a prude.  Pour a little water on it even, but then dry it off before you put lube on it. 

Now time to put some lube on as you spin the chain slowly.  Now spin the chain again to spread lube onto the chain, using that centripetal force.  Then make sure to cap your lube.  Now back to the rag, find a clean part and wipe off the excess lube so that it does not coagulate and collect more dirt.  You want a nice thing coating.