QUESTION: I’ve been told by a local shop that my bike’s chain should be replaced every 1,000 miles. Does this sound right? Also, how often should I clean and lube the chain? — Bill S.
COACH FRED: A thousand miles seems conservative. It might be necessary to replace a chain that often if the bike is frequently ridden on wet or gritty roads. But chains can usually go 2,000 to 3,000 miles or even longer before there’s enough wear to relegate them to the trash bin, if they are well maintained. Read our comprehensive guide to chains here.
But there’s a catch. You need to clean and lube the chain anywhere from once a week to once a month in order to get maximum life. It depends on how often you ride and the conditions you ride in.
I live in a dry climate (Colorado), so my chain doesn’t pick up much gunk that accelerates wear. Ed lives in a wetter, more humid climate (North Carolina), where he needs to keep a closer eye on lubrication and sludgy buildup.
We both like Boeshield T-9 lube. It’s a solvent/paraffin wax formula that comes in a spray can or drip bottle. We apply it after a ride, spin the crank for a minute to help it work in, then wipe the chain down to clean it and remove excess lube. This gives the chain plenty of time to dry before the next ride, so nothing will stick to it.
Using this method with T-9 or another good lube, a chain will stay clean, shiny and in service for the maximum number of miles.
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