Advice and tutorials


Legs and the bicycle chain: that's what has kept cyclists going mile after mile for decades! So if you look after your legs, think about looking after your chain too. When, how and why should you maintain your bicycle chain? Find out all the answers to your questions in this article on how to properly clean and lubricate your bike chain to maximize your two-wheeler's performance and extend its life!

Why maintain your bicycle chain?

Regular maintenance of your chain is relatively important to improve the lifetime and performance of your bike. Because of the role it plays in the smooth running of your bike, the chain is an indispensable component of your bike's mechanical parts. For more information, see our article on how to maintain the mechanical parts of your bike.

Regular chain cleaning reduces the risk of chain link breakage, as well as natural wear and tear, such as rust, which can quickly set in. It will also improve your bike's performances, since the chain will run smoothly over the chainrings and the cassette.

You can use your bike wash time to take care of your chain and drivetrain. Weather conditions will also have an effect on the cleaning and lubrication of your chain. Remember to clean it more regularly and thoroughly during the winter, and lubricate it more often!

How do I clean my bicycle chain?

To make sure you don't damage your chain when cleaning it, start by visually inspecting it for any debris that may be lodged between the links or between the chain and the cassette teeth. Then be sure to clean the chain so that it's clean and dry. To do this, you can use our ZB Clean and ZB Twist brushes with their double head, ideal for the chain!

Once a year, we recommend a thorough cleaning of your chain by removing it completely from your bike. There are two ways of doing this: either your chain has a quick-release link that allows you to remove it with your bare hands, or you need a chain drift to remove it from the transmission. For this, we have the AFA 8 Plus, a multi-tool integrated into the bike that includes one. After cleaning and drying your chain, it's time to degrease it. You can use a specific product like our Bike Degreaser to apply to each link to remove grease excess. After cleaning, drying and degreasing, reassemble your bike chain on your transmission using your quick link. You can also use a chain drift, but it's not advisable to overuse it, as it will create a hard spot on the chain.

How to properly lubricate your bicycle chain?

Now that your bike chain has been thoroughly cleaned and degreased, it's time to lubricate it! Lubricating the chain is essential to the smooth running of the transmission: if the chain is properly lubricated, it will make your pedaling and gear changes smoother, and your ride more enjoyable.

First of all, there are several types of lubricant for bicycle chains! You'll need to adapt according to your riding style and weather conditions. If you need a complete lubricant that's easy to apply and suitable for different weather conditions, opt for Extra Wet Lube with its ceramic-based formula that enhances chain protection. With this lubricant, you'll be able to withstand variable, even extreme conditions over long distances. Extra Dry Wax is the perfect solution for drier conditions. This wax-based lubricant repels dirt and dust. Its application can last up to 200km for mountain bikes and 500km for road bikes! For the wax, you need to anticipate its application a few hours before your outing, so that it stays on the chain. Finally, E-Bike Chain Lube is our all-conditions solution for e-bikes, since it's optimized to withstand high engine torques!

The most effective way to apply the chosen lubricant correctly to your bike chain is to turn the crankset as you apply the lubricant, so that it spreads out over the entire drivetrain without the grease collecting between the teeth or on individual links. Apply the lubricant to the inside of the chain (i.e. the lower part) and remember to wipe off any excess with a cloth. If you wish to change the lubricant, you'll need to clean the chain and transmission completely before applying a new one.

A well-maintained bicycle chain means more pleasure and comfort on the bike, so don't skip out! For more tips on bike cleaning and maintenance, here are a few articles that may be of interest to you: