So you’re in the middle of a mountain bike race and it’s muddy or dusty as hell. Your chain is dirty and it’s lost all of it’s lubrication and it’s squealing like a banshee. So what do you do? How do you lubricate your bike chain to restore some efficiency and reduce that risk of gear shifting problems or a snapped chain?
Well, if your chain is squeaking like hell like mine is in the video below, use some water or whatever you’ve got in your bottle or camelbak if you can spare it, to give your drivetrain a squirt of lubrication. With a water bottle you can even do it while you’re riding along if you can’t afford to stop.
Water is (almost) a lubricant after all. The benefit it provides might only last four or five kilometers before you’ll need to do another squirt, but if you’re like me and you don’t bother carrying chain lube in a race, then what you’re drinking can be the next best thing to wash and lubricate your drivetrain.
Whatever restores some efficiency and gets you to that finish line quicker is a good thing, right?
The difference is Amazing!
It is amazing the difference a quick squirt of water can make to the efficiency of a dry and dirty drivetrain. See for yourself in the video below. And remember,
The more you can reduce the risk of something going wrong with your drivetrain, and the more self-reliant you are to fix things if something does go wrong, the better chance you’ll have of getting to that finish line with a smile on your face, and in the finish time you want.
Super Tips to help you in the dust, dirt and mud
Avoid riding through mud – in some races you’ll have no choice but to ride through mud, but try to avoid mud wherever possible.
Why? Because every little bit of mud on your bike and drivetrain is more weight to pedal, more risk of chain and gear shifting problems and brake problems, and more risk of contamination to your bike’s bearings (hub, bottom bracket, suspension pivots, pedals, headset) and your suspension seals. Nothing good comes from riding through mud, so avoid it when you can.
Ride with a good chain line and Shift gears correctly – minimize the extra stresses placed on your dirty and un-lubricated drivetrain by learning How to ride with a good chain line and How to shift gears properly on a mountain bike
Beat chain suck and snap – the risk of chain suck or even chain snap is much higher when everything is dry, dirty or muddy, because of the extra stress placed on your drivetrain from all that gunk. So it’s important to keep your chain, derailleurs, rear cassette and chainrings as clean as possible at all times
Where are the Water-stops? – If your chain is squeaking and there’s a water-stop or creek up ahead, use that water to splash your chain without wasting your own drinking fluid