How to Maintain Your Drivetrain: Extend The Life of Your Mountain Bike’s Gears

The 4 most crucial steps to take when maintaining your mountain bike's drivetrain.

The drivetrain on your mountain bike is what makes it possible for you to pedal and move forward. It consists of the chain, cassette, chainrings, derailleurs, and pedals. Keeping your drivetrain clean and well-lubricated is essential to keeping your bike running smoothly. Here are some tips on how to maintain your drivetrain.

You may jump to the relevant topic by using one of the links below, or you may read on for all the information you’ll need to maintain your drivetrain.

#1 – How to clean your Mountain Bike drivetrain
#2 – How to lube your Mountain Bike drivetrain
#3 – How to troubleshoot common Mountain Bike drivetrain problems
#4 – Chain replacement

#1 – How to clean your Mountain Bike drivetrain

Cleaning your mountain bike drivetrain is a vital part of keeping your bike running smoothly. A build-up of dirt and grime can lead to poor shifting and decreased performance, so it’s important to clean your drivetrain regularly.

chain cleaner

There are a few different ways to clean your drivetrain, but the most effective method is to use a degreaser and a brush. Begin by applying the degreaser to your chain and gears, then use the brush to scrub away any dirt or grime. Rinse the drivetrain with water and dry it off before re-lubricating.

Cleaning your drivetrain regularly will help to prolong the life of your components and keep your bike running like new.

how to clan your chain

#2 – How to lube your Mountain Bike drivetrain

Once you’ve cleaned your mountain bike drivetrain, it’s important to re-lubricate it to protect the components from corrosion and wear. There are a few different types of lubricant available, but the most important factor is to choose one that is compatible with your chain.

Chain Lubrication: How to Maintain Your Drivetrain

Some lubricants are designed for wet conditions, while others are better suited to dry conditions. If you’re unsure which one to use, consult your bike’s owner’s manual or ask a qualified mechanic.

Apply the lubricant to your chain and gears, being careful not to get any on your brakes or tires. Wipe away any excess and you’re ready to ride.

#3 – How to troubleshoot common Mountain Bike drivetrain problems

There are a few common problems that can occur with mountain bike drivetrains. If your chain is skipping or your gears are not shifting smoothly, first check to see if the problem is with the chain or the cassette.

If the chain is the problem, it may be because it is too loose or too dirty. If the cassette is the problem, it may need to be replaced.

Another common problem is noise coming from the drivetrain. This can be caused by a number of things, but most often it is due to a dirty or damaged chain. Cleaning and lubricating your chain regularly will help to prevent this problem.

If you’re having problems with your mountain bike drivetrain, these tips should help you to troubleshoot the issue and get back on the trail.

#4 – Chain replacement

Another important aspect to keeping your gears running smoothly is checking and replacing your chain on a regular basis. Chains stretch as they wear, becoming longer in some cases. A loose chain, on the other hand, creates excessive gear wear over time. A chain checker tool may be used to determine how far a chain has worn.

Chain checking tool
Using the Park chain tool we’ll discard the chain at 1.0.

Once a chain has stretched to the point where it is no longer within the specified range, it needs to be replaced. Chains usually need to be replaced every 1,000-1,500 miles. Installing a new chain is a relatively simple process, but it’s important to get the sizing right. If the chain is too long, it will skip and cause premature wear on the gears. If the chain is too short, it may fall off while you’re riding. When installing a new chain, it’s also a good idea to inspect the cassette and chainrings for wear. It’s important to note that chain length on full suspension bikes must be cut to accommodate for the swingarm movement as the bike moves through its travel.

chain checking measurment
Using the Park chain tool we’ll discard the chain at 1.0.

Next, let’s take a look at how to shift gears on a mountain bike.

How to shift gears on a mountain bike

Let’s take a look at how to shift gears on a mountain bike. Mountain bikes typically have between 9 and 12 gears, and they’re usually controlled with triggers or levers mounted on the handlebars. We go into more detail if this next article here.

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