To have a sparkly clean bike chain that works well you need to do a little more than just clean the chain (Clean your bike chain). You also need to clean the parts of the bike that the chain comes in contact with – the sprockets (cassette), chain rings and jockey wheels. Otherwise when you ride your bike the chain will get dirty as it rotates over these unclean bike parts.

Unfamiliar with some of these words check out Know your bike chain.

I know we have introduced you to lots of different parts of the bike;  the chain, sprockets, cassettes,  jockey wheels but I also know you can take more – I want to introduce you to the term  ‘Drive Train’. The chain, the cassette (made up of sprockets), the chain rings and the jockey wheels are some of the components that make up the drive train.  The drive train is the part of the bike that is responsible for turning the power you generate when you pedal into rotating the back wheel to move the bike. It ‘drives’ the bike… like this….

  1. You pedal.
  2. That force is transmitted to the rear wheel by the components in the diagram.
  3. The rear wheel rotates and the bike moves.

Use your hand to pedal your bike and see how these parts work together to drive the bike. Like the chain these parts are exposed to dirt, grit and water because they are low to the ground and they are not enclosed.  They need to be well looked after and maintained to keep your bike in good working order and keep that bike ‘driving’ forward.

Journey of the bike chain. goRide
The bike chain and the drive train of a bicycle-Recovered

What equipment do you need. Items from your cleaning kit

  • A brush – we use a bike brush for its long durable bristles to get in between the sprockets
  • Toothbrush – for any residue dirt after using the large brush
  • Bucket of water – to soak brush in water before use
  • Cleaning agent – Try a spray on like Cleaning Detrgent. Alternatively you can pop a couple of squirts of chain clean (1:10 ratio chain clean:water) or use biodegradeable dish washing liquid in your bucket of water
  • A wet and a dry cloth
  1. Set up:  Make sure you have the equipment you need. The bike can be placed upright or upside down. You need to be able to turn the pedals to be able to get access to all of the chain ring, sprockets and jockey wheels.
  2. Clean the chain ring, sprockets and jockey wheels . Soak the brush in the bucket of water and/or spray on the clean green. Keep the nozzle close to the bike part to minimise any waste.  Scrub the chain ring sprockets and jockey wheels with the bike brush. The design of the bike brush allows the long bristles to reach between each of the different sized sprockets. For any dirt and grit that you don’t manage to move using the brush you can try any of the following methods. The method you choose may depend on your equipment, where and how much mud there is.

Note: you would generally clean these components at the same time as you clean the bike chain.

The wooden end of the bike brush.

Bike brush handle end cleaning jockey wheels goRide

Method. Use the wooden end to remove any mud left on the surface and between the teeth of the jockey wheels. Rotate the crank to rotate the jockey wheel and allow you to clean all of the jockey wheel.

The edge of your wet rag


Method: Allows you to get right down into the base between the sprockets.

The toothbrush


Method: Being smaller than your bike brush it may help you to reach any area that the bike brush has not managed to get to.

  1. After care. Wipe clean with a dry cloth (if your bike is upside down, place upright). Leave to dry. Remember to get prepared for your next bike clean so clean and dry your cloths.

Did you need a cleaning kit to help you clean your sprockets, chain rings and jockey wheels?  Head over to The goRide Shop for a look

You know you love a sparkly looking chain so get cleaning. Remember lightly and regularly is ideal. Looking after and caring for your bike will give you the confidence to goRide more places more often.

get Ready and goRide –  Cleaning the sprockets,chain ring and jockey wheels (the Drivetrain) 

Thanks for reading. Used together our stories, resources & products support you to achieve and develop as a rider.

Related Resources:

Know your bike chain

Clean your bike chain

The Bike Chain – Lubing

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