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What maintenance is required for a steel chain?

The better care you take of your chain, the smoother it will ride and the longer it will last. Check out these tips on how to get the most out of a steel chain.

Lubrication: Chains must be lubricated periodically, depending on the weather, the atmospheric conditions, and the type of oil being used. In general, “wet” lube will last longer but runs the risk of attracting more dirt, while a lighter or “dry” lube will dry up faster while being less likely to attract dirt. 

Regular tune-ups: In addition, it is important to make sure that the gear-changing system is both used correctly and maintained (see tip #3 for more information on shifting). Most chain-driven bikes use a derailleur which moves the chain from one gear to the next. The sprockets vary in size, with the smallest sprocket tending to wear out the fastest.

Is your eBike having trouble shifting smoothly? Is it making a new sound that doesn’t seem right? It might be time for a tune-up! Or at the least give your mechanic a call.

Replace your chain every couple thousand miles: When it comes to replacing chains, there is no single formula to determine an exact mileage interval for replacement. A chain replacement is highly dependent on your riding style, the model of eBike and drivetrain, the type of terrain you’re riding on most often, and how well it's maintained.  If you don’t know the mileage and aren’t sure, look for an extremely dirty or weathered chain to tell you it’s time to replace it.

In addition, a good rule of thumb for chain replacement is 1,000 to 3,000 miles. By learning how to ride while putting the least amount of stress on your chain as possible, you can extend the life of your chain.

Updated on August 11, 2022

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