When and How Often Do I Have to Maintain My Chain?
In general, we recommend that you perform maintenance on your chain after every ride. As everyone knows: after the tour is before the tour. This gives the lubricant enough time to creep into all the gaps in the chain before the next ride and solvents can evaporate. If you don't have time right after a ride, the evening before the next ride is also a good time for chain maintenance. If you have only gone for a short after-work ride in dry but not dusty conditions, one application of grease is often sufficient for a second round. When in doubt, it helps to listen carefully to noise coming from the chain. If it runs quietly and smoothly over the chainring and sprocket, then it is well-greased. If you hear a slight metallic rattling sound or even squeaking, then it is high time to act. If your chain is really grinding after a muddy mountain bike ride, you should pay extra attention to it. Old oil and dirt can form a kind of "grinding paste" that significantly accelerates wear. In the end, the question of whether you should re-grease for every ride depends heavily on the following questions:
- What kind of conditions do you ride under?
- How much distance do you cover per day?
- What lubricant do you use and how carefully do you apply it?
With time, you will develop a feeling for how long you can go between applications of lube or grease. For particularly long rides or bikepacking tours over several days, we recommend including a small bottle of chain lubricant and a rag in your gear. This way you can re-grease in a timely manner even when you're out and about.