Oiling, greasing and cleaning your bike

 Credit: Che Sutherland

Oiling and greasing

Whenever you come to put a bolt or a cable on your bike, you should lubricate it with a touch of grease. This will help prevent if from getting seized or rusted in place. The same goes for seat posts and handle-bar stems – do not try to fit them dry. Oil or specialist lubrication should be used for the chain and can be used on cables.

It is best to use a light oil, such as 3-in-One, or you can get specialist lubes from bike shops which are designed for the different components and conditions you might ride in.

Cleaning and oiling your chain

You should clean your chain before you lubricate it; you can use a detergent, degreaser or special cleaning product from your bike shop.

There are special chain cleaners on the market, which fit over your chain, or you can run your chain through a rag coated in cleaning material, until no more dirt comes off. To get your chain really clean you should clean every link individually.

You should then clean the chain rings at the front, the sprockets at the back, jockey wheels and all other related parts.

Once these are all clean you will need to oil the chain and exposed metal parts. Oil the inside of the chain, running it around the chain wheel and sprockets a couple of times as you go, then wipe off the excess.

Excess oil or grease on the outside will attract dirt; this will wear out the chain. It is best to use a light oil like 3-in-One® or you can get specialist lubes from bike shops designed for the different conditions you may ride in.

Cleaning your bike

It is worth keeping your bike clean and checking for rust. You can cover any chips in the paint with nail varnish or enamel paint to protect the frame from rusting. Wipe down your reflectors and lights so they are visible.

You should oil all exposed metal parts and grease parts where metal meets metal. Do not oil the rims or brake blocks.


MadeGood.org have a section on lubricating your bike:


Their tutorials will teach you how to lubricate the chain, the moving parts, and the cables on your bike. MadeGood provide one of the best bicycle repair libraries on the web, and is totally free to access. You can also follow MadeGood on twitter - @MadeGoodBikes