How to clean a bike chain: A clean chain is faster, longer-lasting, and therefore less expensive

Close up of Shimano Ultegra R8100 chainset
(Image credit: Irmo Keizer / Andreas Dobslaff - Shimano)

Simply put, a dirty chain is going to slow you down, so it's important that you keep it clean, along with the rest of the best road bike groupsets. Although the best road bike wheels, best cycling jerseys or even the most supple race rubber still offer performance benefits when grubby, your chain is different, and knowing how to keep it clean is an invaluable skill that'll save youy hard-earned watts and hard-earned cash.

In this guide, we’re going to tell you how to clean a bike chain, why you need to do it at all, and what products you can buy to keep that most important part of your drivetrain in showroom condition.

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Zach is a freelance writer, the head of ZNehr Coaching, and an elite-level rider in road, track, and e-racing. He writes about everything cycling-related, from buyer's guides to product reviews and feature articles to power analyses. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science at Marian University-Indianapolis, Zach discovered a passion for writing that soon turned into a full-fledged career. In between articles, Zach spends his time working with endurance athletes of all abilities and ages at ZNehr Coaching. After entering the sport at age 17, Zach went on to have a wonderful road racing career that included winning the 2017 Collegiate National Time Trial Championships and a 9th place finish at the 2019 US Pro National Time Trial Championships. Nowadays, Zach spends most of his ride time indoors with NeXT eSport.