Bike chains tend to deteriorate quickly when they’re not properly maintained. As such, it’s crucial to clean them often to ensure they’re in good shape. If you’ve always ridden a regular bike and decided to switch to an e-bike, you’re probably wondering if cleaning an e-bike chain is any different.
Cleaning an e-bike chain isn’t too different from cleaning a regular chain. An e-bike chain is a lot sturdier and has a different structure, but the process of cleaning it is similar and involves degreasing, wiping off the degreaser, and lubricating the chain.
In the rest of this article, I will discuss how to clean an e-bike chain and a regular one. I will also highlight how both processes are similar and in what aspects they differ from each other.
How To Clean an E-Bike Chain
When you clean and lubricate your e-bike chain, you extend the life of the chain and save costs on frequent repairs and replacements. Cleaning your bike chain also prevents noise as dirty chains cause friction between the teeth of the bike, which in turn leads to noise while riding.
You will need the following items to clean your bike:
- A dry rag
- A degreasing product
- A sealable container
- A good lubricant
Here’s a breakdown of how to clean your e-bike chain thoroughly.
Follow the steps below for a thorough e-bike chain cleaning:
Step 1: Remove the Chain From Your Electric Bicycle
For a deep cleaning, start by removing the bike chain. If your chain has a master link, you can break it with your hand or use a chain-breaking tool.
The challenge with breaking a master link is that it gets weaker when it’s removed too many times. A weak master link may cause your chain to snap in the middle of a ride, so it’s always advisable to use quick links because you can use them multiple times.
Step 2: Degrease the E-Bike Chain
After removing the chain, the next step is to degrease, which removes grime and dirt from the chain. To degrease your e-bike chain, pour a high-grade degreaser into a sealable plastic container.
Next, place the bike chain in the container, ensuring it is completely submerged in the degreaser. Firmly seal the container with its lid and shake it for two to three minutes. If the bike chain is dirty, pour out the degreaser after the first round, replace it with a fresh degreaser, and repeat the shaking.
Leave the chain in the degreaser for the duration mentioned by the manufacturer before removing it.
Step 3: Wipe Off the Degreaser
Once you take the chain out, run a dry rag over the chain to wipe off the grease, paying special attention to the chain links. Do this multiple times to remove as much of the degreaser as possible. Finally, rinse the chain with lukewarm water to remove any leftover degreaser.
Step 4: Reattach the Bike Chain
After wiping off the degreaser, reattach the chain to the electric bike and place the bike in a location where the chain can air-dry. You must allow the chain to dry out fully before you lubricate it. Lubricating a wet bike chain can lead to rusting, which will eventually cause it to wear out.
Step 5: Lubricate the EBike Chain
For best results, use heavy-duty lubricants during wet seasons and light, dry lubricants during summer. Avoid using bike oil, motor oil, or petroleum jelly because they are not ideal for electric bike chains.
To lubricate your bike chain, coat both sides of the links with lubricant, ensuring you get to the pins inside the links. Avoid dripping lubricant on e-bike components other than the chain. Then make a few rotations by pedaling backward in slow motion. Leave the lube on the chain for five minutes and wipe off any excess lubricant with a dry rag.
How To Clean a Regular Bike Chain
The cleaning process for a regular bike chain is similar to that of an e-bike chain. Here’s what you need to do to clean a traditional chain:
- Degrease the bike chain to remove dirt, mud, and grime.
- Rinse off the degreaser with warm water and leave the chain to air dry.
- Lubricate the chain with the right lube.
- Clean off excess lube with a dry rag.
Find out how to properly maintain your e-bike here!
When To Clean Your Bike Chain
Maintaining a bike chain properly ensures its durability, and cleaning an e-bike or regular chain requires the same process. Irrespective of the type, it’s vital to clean your bike chain regularly and even more frequently if you ride through muddy or dusty terrains.
For quick cleaning, spray a degreaser on your bike chain, wipe it off, and rinse any residue with water. Ensure the chain is completely dry before you apply the lubricant.
A more thorough cleaning process will require you to detach the bike chain from the bike, shake and soak it in a degreaser, rinse thoroughly, and dry it completely before lubricating it.
It’s a good idea to know how to clean your entire e-bike when cleaning the chain.
A dirty e-bike bike chain impairs gear shifting, leads to squeaky rides, and causes extensive damage over time. As such, it’s essential to clean your chain regularly. You can do this in the same way you would clean a regular bike.
It’s best to do a quick clean before every ride to ensure the chain remains in good shape. And you must perform a deep clean every three months to eliminate the worst of the dust and grime.