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Fixed Gear Drive Train Cleaning

By Brad Quartuccio

Pictured here are good intentions with a potentially terrible outcome. Keeping your drivetrain clean is key to long-term reliability, but the common method of pedaling the bike with one hand and running the moving chain through a rag in your other hand can prove dangerous, especially on a fixed gear drivetrain. Even on a drivetrain that can coast, a simple slip or holding the chain too tight can get the rag caught in the teeth of either cog or chainring and quickly pull your finger in with it. On a bike with a rear derailleur there is usually enough slack in the chain to prevent serious injury. Single speeds are less forgiving with no chain to spare— a finger can easily be crushed between chain and cog. Fixed gears are the most dangerous of the bunch, as the momentum of the moving wheel will continue to pull your hand into the drivetrain even if you’ve stopped applying pressure to the cranks. There is a very real risk of serious injury or finger amputation using this method to clean your fixed gear’s chain—ask around enough and you’re sure to meet someone witness to a horror story. Avoid injury by wiping the chain in sections while the wheel is not rotating or removing it altogether for cleaning





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