Cycling Chain Maintenance


Initial Cleaning

Initial Lubrication



This probably seems obsessive, but it's easy preventative maintenance that reduces wear on more expensive parts (chainrings and cassette) and increases drivetrain efficiency (so more pedaling force is transmitted to pushing you forward and less is lost to moving your chain around).

I've been using NFS for several years with good chain longevity and no issues during rides. I've used it in dry heat, long wet days, and in muddy races without issues. I settled on this lubricant after reviewing Zero Friction Cycling's guide, with the goal of low overall cost and ease of use. I don't have the equipment to ultrasonically clean my chain or wax it in a dedicated crock pot. Rumors are Silca's new lubricant might be even better - it's wax based but doesn't require the equipment needed to properly wax a chain. Zero Friction Cycling should be testing it soon.

Measurement and Replacement

I tend to replace the chain on my road bike 2-3x/year and replace the chain on my gravel bike 3x/year. I got about 5000km (over 5 months) out of my last road chain (consistent with the Zero Friction Cycling findings). You may notice degraded shifting performance (sluggish shifting, strangely timed jumps) and unusual chain noises when it's time to replace the chain.