Even Chains Need Affection!

The chain, a product that only seems simple, consists of around 650 individual pieces and is one of the most important parts of your bike. We don‘t notice a well-functioning chain, if the chain works badly we are annoyed by poor shifting performance, running noise and in the worst case by a breakage. Take our proven maintenance and care tips to heart and you will enjoy smooth running, a long service life and an untroubled riding experience. Even chains need affection!

New Chains

A new chain usually feels sticky at first. These are residues of the high-performance grease used during assembly. Remove this grease with a thin-bodied oil or cleaner (no aggressive grease solvents!), lightly oil the rollers and remove excess oil with a cloth.

We recommend never to degrease the chain completely. Also when changing to wax, we recommend to degrease the chain only on the outside. If you degrease the chain completely, we recommend to soak the chain in wax for 12–24 hours, so that this can penetrate into the inside of the chain.


When must the chain be maintained?
That depends very much on the use and the external conditions. Off-road use in wet conditions naturally requires much shorter maintenance intervals than road use in dry conditions. Optimal: Clean your chain after every ride, especially after riding in wet conditions.

Recommended care intervals:
Road bike: Ideally after every ride, at the latest after 250 km or at least once a month. 
MTB, cross and frequent riders in all weather conditions: After 100 km at the latest.

When is maintenance urgently necessary?

  • clear running noises
  • poor switching function
  • chain clamps on the small or medium blade
  • noise generation in the entire drive train


  • Clean the chain with a dry cloth.
  • Important: also clean the sprockets, chainrings and shifting rollers.
  • To remove dirt or sand, use a brush.
  • If the chain is very dirty, lukewarm water with detergent or a cloth soaked in thin oil will help.

When you remove the chain for cleaning: Also clean the ends of the chain and the „MissingLink“ locking link.


  • Never use acidic or alkaline cleaners (rust remover). These will damage the chain and in extreme cases can lead to breakage.
  • Never use aggressive degreasers – these will loosen the factory applied grease from the pins. This allows dirt to penetrate and drastically reduces the service life of your chain! Furthermore, these agents are harmful to the environment.
  • Chain cleaners also often contain solvents that can damage your chain.

Also use the cleaning interval for inspection and check the chain.


Lubricate the chain regularly and after each cleaning.

  • Before lubrication, the chain must be dry.
  • Always lubricate only the moving parts of the chain. In dry conditions, remove excess lubricant with a cloth.
  • Use lubricants with high creep and pressure resistance. This will ensure that the area between pins, inner plates and rollers is always lubricated.
  • If you use a chain spray, test its consistency. The lubricant should be thin at first, but later on it should be adhesive or dry.
  • It is essential to lubricate the pins of the Missing Link before closing.
  • Always test the chain for proper function after cleaning and assembly. 

Technical inspection

Check your chain regularly, because a worn chain has a negative effect on the entire drive. The shifting function is limited and the chain can break if it is extremely worn. Replace the chain in time and thereby significantly reduce wear on chainrings and sprockets. In this way, you avoid high costs that can result from damage to the other drive components.

We are often asked, "How long does a chain last?". Even we cannot make a generally valid statement here. According to our experience there is a range of 700 km in extreme e-MTB use up to 17.000 km on the road.

The chain wear depends especially on the following parameters:

  • Individual shifting behaviour (frequency, chain line, shifting under load)
  • External conditions (wetness, dirt, sand, salt)
  • Maintenance and care
  • Interaction of all drive components
  • Intensity of motor support for e-bikes with mid-motor

We recommend to check the chain at the following intervals:

  • Road use in predominantly dry conditions: 500 km
  • Off-road use and frequent drivers in everyday use in even poor conditions: 150 km

Check the chain for:

  • Damages
  • Corrosion
  • Elongation
  • Hard to move chain links

Elongation test without tool:
Place the chain on the large chainring and try to lift the chain in the middle of the blade. If you can lift it more than half a chain link, you should measure with a chain gauge or visit your dealer.

Elongation test with tool:
KMC offers two different wear gauges: The manual one, which tells you quickly and easily whether the chain is still in good condition. With the Digital Chain Checker you can measure precisely the elongation of the chain (hundredth of a millimetre). Check out our tools >

For the best possible function and service life of your entire drive, you should pay attention to the following points:

  • Follow the maintenance and care tips.
  • Make sure the chainline is good – the smallest sprocket should never be combined with the smallest chainring (and vice versa).
    This diagonal chain line will lead to high wear on all drive components.
  • Ride with foresight and shift gears in time. Shifting under extreme load can damage the chain.
  • Shift to a low gear before stopping..