How To Clean and Lube a Bicycle Chain with a Park Tool Chain Cleaner

How To Clean and Lube a Bicycle Chain with a Park Tool Chain Cleaner

Chain cleaning is an essential part of bike maintenance. It extends the life of your whole drivetrain, and can greatly improve shifting and overall drivetrain function. We’ll walk you through each step for cleaning and lubing a chain in this Repair Help video. Hi, I’m Ben with Park Tool. The first tip in getting a clean chai, is to use a degreaser. Bicycle specific degreaser is formulated to cut through the thick buildup of grime and oil usually found on most bicycle chains. Second tip, use a chain cleaner such as the CM-5.2 or the CM-25 I have here. You certainly don’t have to use a chain cleaning device, but cleaning your bike’s drivetrain can be a messy process that involves a lot of prep and a lot of work. Tools like the CM-25 and CM-5.2 significantly streamline the work, and they do the job better as well. In addition to the chain cleaner and solvent, You’ll need rags, soap & water, apron and rubber gloves. If you’re inside, protect the surface you’re working on. If you’re outside, consider spraying water on the concrete to make grease and contaminants easier to clean up later. We’ve already checked our chain to make sure it’s not worn out. See this other video for that process. Put the bike in a repair stand. Rotate the bike so the lower section of the chain is level. Shift to the smallest cog in the front and rear. If you have a dummy hub, remove the wheel and install the dummy hub. A dummy hub is recommended but not required. It will add chain slack and keep the loosened contaminants away from the wheel and components. Attach the chain cleaner to the lower section of chain. Make sure the chain fully seats into the brushes. Fill with solvent to the fill line. Slowly pedal backwards.
Pedal at least 30 revolutions. Remove the chain cleaner and empty the solvent into a container. Once the contaminants have settled, the solvent on top can be reused. Check with local authorities for disposal. Rinse out the chain cleaner and refill with soapy water. Repeat the process of installing the chain cleaner and running the chain through until the chain is thoroughly rinsed. While you’re cleaning the chain, it’s a good idea to also clean the other components of the drivetrain. Wipe of the chain, by running it through a clean, dry rag and leave the chain to air dry,
or blow it off with a compressor. Once the chain is dry,
it’s important to lubricate the chain. Use chain lube such as CL-1
and add a drop of lube to each individual rivet. Next, take a clean dry rag,
back pedal to wipe off any excess lube. This will prevent dirt from collecting on your drivetrain. Remove the dummy hub and reinstall the wheel. The chain is now clean and ready to ride. If it’s true that a clean bike is a happy bike, then this bike would be utterly despondent by how dirty its chain is so it’s a good rule to clean your bicycle’s chain thoroughly around once a month if you’re riding regularly. Thanks for watching this video on chain cleaning. If you have any other questions about how or when to replace your chain, watch these videos from Park Tool.

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  1. You said that i should shift to the smallest cog on the front and back. But won't this put stress on the chain and damage the drive chain ?

  2. He wipes the chain off way too soon. Instead, backpedal for at least 1-2 minutes. As the rollers pass over the cogs and jockey wheels, they'll rotate slightly within the chain and that will help draw the new lube into where it needs to be inside the roller. Wipe off then repeat a few hours later on a freshly cleaned chain.

  3. Very informative and helpful to a new biker like me. It thought me how to clean my bike chains. Thank you!

  4. There are e-bikes with chains that cannot been turned backwards. In that case remove the handle of the Park Tool Chain cleaner and turn the tool so that the place where the handle usually is mounted faces the frame of the bike. Now you can turn the chain forward and the tool is as useful as it is for normal bikes. I do it like that and I am very happy and my chain is easily cleaned.

  5. I take my bike out on the grass and use brake cleaner. It flushes out everything. it kills a little bit of grass, but who cares

  6. I’d say it’s better to leave the wheel on that way when lubing the chain, backpedal to get the excess lube into the cassette.

  7. I am not sure exactly what is in the Park degreaser, but it makes my eyes burn. I think I will try Purple Power next time. That is what we used to clean off truck engines in my previous career. No eye burning and $6 a gallon.

  8. Don't wash the CM 5.2 body in the dishwasher, at least not with the "sanitizer" option selected. It will warp the body.

  9. Not harsh criticism but you rinsed the chain cleaner in a sink. This is why I think it's best to go with bio "friendly" "degradable" type cleaners.

  10. Chain manufacturers (such as KMC) actually warn you not to use a tool like the one above and never to de-grease your chain completely, for it is "the only way to make sure your chain gets damaged immediately and permanently."

  11. I liked this video until I spoke with my local Bike shop that does Park training and they do not recommend this chain cleaning method because cleaner, soap and water will end up in the bottom bracket plus derailer bearings. they recommend removing the chain each time you clean it. Which seems to make sense to me. I am glad I spoke with this shop first it kept me from making a costly mistake, what a shame that these experts in this video did not bother to mention this issue and a solution. I guess if you had a third hand with a rag on the chain while using the cleaner tool you could avoid the issue and use this chain cleaning method.

  12. I'm riding a twenty year old bike with a twenty year old chain. I've never cleaned the chain. It runs as well as the day I bought it.

  13. Need to make a video for a gill hubs with free Wheels you need to do videos on three wheel trike bikes on tricycles on tricycle apparel

  14. Been getting into some 'amateur' bike repair this summer and I can't tell you how annoying it is finding a bike that someone gobbed up with a heavy weight automotive grease. You get dirtier from a single touch of the chain than anything else you repair on the bike. Found that brake cleaner works best to cut through that sort of grease buildup.

  15. What do you guys do with all the nasty rags? Seems like a waste to throw them away, but way to dirty to put in the washing machine.

  16. Ebikes I understand can't move chain back pedal. Can I use chain cleaner tool forward motion? What was the purpose of backward motion in video?

  17. Take chain off. Bowl & a 1/4 of diesel or kerosene. Put chain in bowl pour diesel or kerosene & leave to soak. Then after 1/2 hour rub chain with old paint or nail brush to remove any oil/dirt remaining. Then dip to rinse in clean diesel or kerosene. Thoroughly dry with rag or towelling. Put chain back on & lubricate. Clean up & costs are both minimal. If it is oily or greasy? Diesel or Kerosene will cleanse it off. Do not use petrol as risk of fire & personal injury is too high.

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