One of the most overlooked parts of bicycle maintenance is chain lubrication. Both too much and too little lubrication can make your drivetrain work harder than it is supposed to resulting in increased wear and the dreaded chainring tattoo.

Proper lubrication of the chain actually requires very little lubricant. A drip style bottle is always recommended over an aerosol can. Not only are most aerosols harmful to the environment, but 75% of the lube is actually wasted. A proper technique is to put just one drop of lube on each chain link roller. The object is to lube inside the small roller, not outside on the parts of the chain that you see.

As the chain moves over the chain ring teeth that small roller is what needs the most lubrication. Lubricating the outer plates of the chain does nothing to make your shifting smoother or your chain quit. A trick that many pro mechanics do after they lubricate the chain is to wipe the chain down with a rag and some denatured alcohol. The pro mechanics know that excess lubrication only attracts dirt and dust making your chain wear faster and get dirty easier.

So next time you go out for a ride and need to lubricate your chain, try it: one drop of your favorite lube per roller. It actually does not take long to do and you will thank yourself for not spraying chain lube all over unnecessary parts!
How to lube a bike chain