How often should you oil your bike.

This is an important question for all cyclists to know the answer to. There are many opinions on how often one should oil his bike, but there are no facts. This has led some people to use their bikes until they seize up or rust away, while other riders do nothing and have lubed bikes that work just fine. Well, we are here to share with some facts, not opinions- about how often your bike really needs an oil change/overhaul.

Let begin with this statement: All moving parts in your drive train need to be regularly serviced. If you neglect them, they will seize up; this renders your bike useless (no matter what anyone tells you). You can restore seized parts with extreme measures.

No matter what you believe now, the only way to ensure your drive is rust free and well oiled is to service it regularly.

What is a regular and routine service?

First, we need to define what servicing means: Servicing consists of cleaning and oiling all parts of the bike that contain metal on metal friction points.  If your bike does not currently have any moving parts, then this article does not apply to you. Please look for an article about how often you should lube non-moving parts such as your frame or handlebars.

When someone refers to “servicing” most people think they mean taking apart every single part of their bike and giving it a complete overhaul. This is not what lubing your bike entails. One must only disassemble the parts that will need oiling, clean them with a solvent to remove any dirt or grime, all visible rust spots should be sanded off, and then finally one should apply fresh lubricant.

The following list describes all necessary cycling components that would need regular servicing:

  • Derailleur’s (the mechanism in the rear of the bike that changes gears)
  • Cables (derailleur brake cables)
  • Brake Pads Bottom Bracket (where crank arms attach to the frame)
  • Headset Lubrication points on Chainrings and Cog Tee thank Arms Pedals Chain Rims

What should one use to lubricate a bike?

Any kind of synthetic oil will do. We have never seen a mechanic recommend against using a particular brand of oil, so any kind you would find at your local bike shop or grocery store is fine. Synthetic oils tend to be cleaner and require less maintenance over time than conventional motor oils.

One can also use chain wax instead of oil as many bicycle mechanics suggest. The only reason not to use chain wax is if the chain has previously been used with an oil based lubricant without being rinsed off first. In this case the leftover residue from the oil-based lube will turn into gunk when mixed with wax and you’ll want to clean it off before applying fresh lube.

What about general bike cleaning?

The best way to keep a bicycle cleaned and rust free is to take it apart and clean all the moving parts in a solvent, gasoline or paint thinner.  Then one should use oil on all these parts.  One can soak parts overnight in an oil bath if they are badly rusted, but the key is reassembly with fresh lubricant.

We are here to explain for your convenience:

If you look inside your bottom bracket (where crank arms attach to the frame) you will see that it consists of moving metal pieces that rust together when exposed to moisture from rain or sweat.

It must be disassembled at least once a year if it is used often, or every other year if it isn’t. To clean off the rust use a solvent such as carburettor cleaner. Allow the part to soak over night if there is heavy corrosion. You can use WD-40 or liquid wrench in place of carb cleaner for cleaning less corroded parts, but these are not as good for removing encrusted layers of rust.

The goal after soaking overnight should be to have shiny metal parts with no signs of flaky rust particles around the bearing surfaces. More stubborn areas may require additional scrubbing. After you have removed any obvious flakiness allow the part to dry out completely before re-oiling thoroughly because excess moisture will ruin your oiling job later.

Make sure to use fresh lubricant on all part of your bike that will need regular cleaning, and if the old lube has turned into thick sludge which is caked onto parts, then you may want to consider swishing it around in a solvent bath again before re-lubing with fresh oil.

Unsealed Headset

Some bikes have an unsealed headset, meaning that moisture from rain or sweat can enter the bearing surfaces of the bearings which will rust them together unless they are properly maintained.

These headsets tend to look like sealed units from the outside, but you can usually spot them by looking at how many threaded holes there are on each side of the stem where handlebars attach.

If there are four in total, it is sealed. If there are six holes in total (three on each side) then the headset needs regreasing.

When do you need to service Derailleurs?

Derailleurs will wear out over time and require replacement, but if shifting performance has degraded due to misalignment problems or cable stretch then one can clean and lubricate them to restore lost function.  

Do this by taking off bolts that hold derailleur body in place, remove body from hanger (the metal piece that attaches to bike frame), pull out old cable, inspect for damage/corrosion/stretch of inner wire, apply fresh oil inside of outer casing where it goes through pulley wheels, re-attach outer casing, slide new cable through pulley wheels and attach to derailleur body.  

Note that some front derailleurs require a top pull cable, while some rear derailleurs require a bottom pull cable .

How do you know if your bike needs oil?

One who intends to ride the bike for a long time must know this information that how do you know if your bike needs oil? You may observe by the bike performance and you are required to look into the meter which indicates the bike traveling in km. So, it is easy for a rider to change the oil after every month so that the bike performance could not be affected.