Maintaining your bicycle will not only make you feel better, but will also make your hard earned dollars last so much more! This comes down to replacing brake pads, washing the bike, keeping the bike tuned up, and even maintaining the bicycle chain itself. However this maintenance comes with a lot of it’s own questions, and one primary one is if you should degrease your bike chain!

So should you degrease your bike chain? Degreasing your bicycle chain before lubricating it is an important step . This will help your bike shift better, help with the lubricant to do its job, and will even help other components like gears last longer (saving you money). Finally, it will also help you enjoy your bike that much more when it is clean and running in tip top shape.

Many people like to lubricate their bike chain, without degreasing it! However here are some great reasons why you should degrease, and not just lubricate your chain.

1. Your bike will shift better

One of the main reasons why a bicycle won’t shift correctly, is because it is dirty! Your bicycle, while not as complicated as a vehicle, is till a complicated piece of machinery. Because of this, if it isn’t taken care of, especially when it comes to shifting components, you will run into all kinds of issues.

Shifting components such as the derailleur, shifting cables and more require everything to be in tip top shape, and all of this comes back to the bicycle chain. The chain is the primary component that likes to build up this grime, and is why it should be degreased regularly while cleaning.

2. Your chain won’t slip off

Grime, dirt, and grease that a bicycle chain picks up over time can actually raise the chain just ever so slightly, but enough for the chain to not grip the way it needs and slip off. This can be a pain when you are out riding your bike, and having to fix chain drops constantly!

Cleaning your bike chain with a degreaser before re-lubricating it will make all of the difference with this issue.

3. Components will last longer

When you keep things clean, especially a chain (that works with so many other components) it will inherently cause all of your components to last longer. When a chain is able to shift correctly, and not fall off constantly, other components like your chainrings, and derailleurs won’t have nearly as much strain or impacts.

Because of this, your complete drivetrain of the bicycle will last so much longer than if it wasn’t degreased.

4. Cleaner bicycle will help you enjoy it more

Finally, this is one of the biggest reasons why you should degrease your bicycle chain! You will just feel better about your investment if you keep it clean, and degreasing your bike chain before lubricating it will help with that more than anything else.

A chain likes to pick up road grime and distribute it to the rest of your bike, don’t let that build up and not allow you to fully enjoy the bicycle you spent your money one!

What is the best way to degrease your chain?

A great way to degrease your chain is by purchasing yourself some WD40 bike chain cleaner and degreaser, let it set for a bit, and then run it through this bike chain cleaner! However don’t forget to re-lubircate the chain afterwards with this chain lubricant.

Keeping your bike chain clean and degreased will help in so many ways, and honestly, it is not that much work!

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I degrease my bike chain?

Degreasing your bike chain every time your ride might be out of the question. However you should look at degreasing your bike chain at least once a month , or after any rides on dirt that is soft and dry. Taking a quick glance at your chain to check for build up will give you a great idea!

Will degreasing my chain help with rust?

Rust and grease are two different things, and degreasing it will not help remove that rust. That said, degreasing, and re-lubricating your chain ahead of time, will help rust from starting in the first place!

Is degreaser bad for bike chain?

Degreaser is not bad for your bike chain if you re-lubricate it afterwards. Degreasing will remove any greasy coatings that it had, and that lubricant needs to be re-applied to protect the chain. It is all part of the process.


Degreasing your bicycle chain is a part of this complete maintenance plan! If you don’t degrease your chain before lubricating it, you are asking for a build up of grime and dirt that will cause chain drops, lowered longevity of your bicycle drivetrain, and much less enjoyment out of your bike.

Taking this extra simple step will help you a ton in the longer un, and you should just do it.