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How to maintain a bicycle transmission

  • Posted on
  • By Mathis C Lavoie
How to maintain a bicycle transmission

A quick overview on the cleaning and lubricating process of the gear system.

The gear system is one the most important parts of a bicycle and without a doubt the most demanding. The transmission on any bike needs frequent upkeep and care to ensure the best performance, efficiency, and durability. With time, components such as the chain, cassette, and crankset can gather dirt, dust and other impurities from roads which is especially damageable in the long run. The process of cleaning and lubricating your transmission is crucial but only takes minutes. Here is a simple, three-step guide to a well-maintained transmission.  


Apply degreaser to components

Maximizing gear system performance takes lubricating. Lubricants, however, can attract and retain dirt and dust which sullies the transmission and causes it to deteriorate prematurely. To keep components clean, well need to use a degreaser like the Mint'N Dry degreaser or the Finish Line Degreaser. Apply the  degreaser on the chain, the cassette, the deraillerrs, and the front chainwheels. Be careful not to get any on your brakes, whether you have disc or rim brakes. Let the whole thing sit as is for a few minutes.  


Run the parts through a deep scrub

After leaving the degreaser sit on the components a while, scrub each of them with brushes likes these. This step demands thoroughness and meticulous brushing as dirt can accumulate in deep, hard-to-reach spots. Feel free to add a little degreaser to facilitate the cleaning process. To get into the nook and crannies of your bike’s system and ensure optimal cleaning, a brush set of different sizes is ideal. To make scrubbing the cogs of your cassette easier, remove the back wheel and clean them individually. Finally, deep cleaning your chain is easiest using a scrubber case like the Park Tool CG-2.4.


Lubricate the chain for optimal performance

After the cleaning process, it is imperative to let your transmission dry, so no degreaser is left on the components. When it is dry, adding a layer of lubricant like the Mint'N Dry all conditions lube to your chain will optimize its efficiency and allow for greater durability. As you spray the lubricant on the chain, or while you are applying it as a liquid, turn the crankset smoothly. Five continuous turns should do it. Use a rag to remove any excess lubricant. Be sure to turn your crankset and shift to all your gears when you are done for the most evenly lubricated transmission.  


In short, cleaning your transmission regularly and thoroughly is an important part of performance and longevity optimization. You should lubricate your chain every two weeks if you ride regularly but adjust according to your personal usage. Transmissions should be cleaned every month, or sooner if it is especially dirty. With only three short steps, it is an easy and quick process made even swifter with the right tools.