Maintenance Tips: 3. How to clean a dirty chain and cassette system

Local bike mechanic and MYMK’s Dr Bike, Dave Seaman from Dave’s Bike Shed in Aberdour, has given us a few tips on how to check your bike is safe and ready to ride after a winter in the shed.


This article is the third in a series of five to go online from 10th-14th February. To get involved in any of our maintenance classes, visit our events page for more information.


Cleaning your chain system can be quick and easy, if done frequently it can increase the lifespan of your chain, chain rings and cassette.  



1. “Best way to do that; get a piece of rope, tie that on to the bottom of the saddle, loop the rope through the joist in a shed, something that raises the back of the bike up so the rear wheel is off the ground, and then when that is in position, kneel down next to the pedals with the chain facing you, and turn the pedals.

2. “As you turn the pedals, hold a rag in at the chain wheel and that will clean all the gunk off the chain, once you’ve done that get a small screw driver or a proprietary brush with the little hooks on and scrape that up in between the spaces in the cassette on the rear wheel.

3. “Then look at the plastic jockey wheel which is part of the rear derailleur mechanism, if you look at those you can sometimes see those are encrusted with dirt, wipe off the excess dirt, mud, dust etc, then if you want, get a basic oil and you can lube up the chain and the gears and then do the run through again with the cloth, and what that will do is wipe off the excess from the chain.

“That’s a very simple thing to do, if you’re using your bike 2-3 times a week, do that for 5-10mins every week and that will keep your chain clean, keep your bike working well and also increase the longevity of the life you will get out of a chain before you have to replace it.”

See our next article for information on which types of oil are most suitable for the job.


Click here for dates and info of up coming Basic Bike Maintenance classes and Dr Bike sessions which you can access for free.

Dave's Bike Shed, 23 Morayvale, Aberdour, Fife. T:01383 860199  M:07772 948 568  E: