If you put a lot of miles on your bike, the parts will eventually wear out. After many miles, a bike chain will “stretch” and need to be replaced.
Technically, the chain isn't stretching, but rather the pins that join the links are wearing down, which causes the length of the chain to grow. A stretched chain expedites wear on your bike's cassette and chainrings, so it's a good idea to replace your chain when you notice significant stretch, or every 750 to 1,000 miles. It's much cheaper to replace a chain than a cassette or chainrings.
Keeping your bike chain clean and well lubricated is one of the easiest steps you can take to keep your electric bike in top shape.
You don't need tools, just the right lube, some rags, and degreaser. If you don't have degreaser, you can use rubbing alcohol. Avoid basic WD40, gun oil, or anything that might have unintended side effects on your bike.
There's no set timeline for how often you should lube your chain. It really depends on how often you ride and the weather in your area. However, you can determine if it needs lube with a simple "twist test." Just twist your chain, keeping the opposite corners between two fingers and rolling it back and forth. A chain that needs love will rattle and crunch, a happy chain will be smooth, silent, and maybe a little sticky.
Now onto cleaning: hold a rag behind the chain while you spray it with degreaser or alcohol, then run the chain through the rag. Let it dry before breaking out the lube.
Hold the nose of your lube dropper against the chain with your left hand. You can balance it against the frame of the bike for stability. Don't use a spray! You don't really want the lube anywhere but the chain and any overspray can hit the brake rotors.
While spinning the cranks backward with one hand, draw a bead or trail of lube along one side of the chain, the center, and then the other side until you've got a nice even coating. Then bring back the twist technique to work the lube into the inside of the chain, so you don't have to wait an hour before you ride. Grab your rag again, and run the chain through it to wipe off as much excess lube as you can.
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