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tri-newbies online bicycle cleaning & maintenance 101
Cleaning the Bicycle Crankset or Crank System
The crankset of crank system is a major dirt "magnet" and keeping it clean is necessary for maintaining a smooth pedaling bicycle and is a key step in your weekly/monthly maintenance. However, it is important to note, you do not have to remove the entire crankset from the bottom bracket each time you clean. By removing the chainrings, you can access those "hard to get" areas much easier. And you do not have to remove the chainrings each time you clean. How many miles you cover on your bike will determine how specific you get in the cleaning process. Regardless, I think it is important to clean your crank system once a week to twice a month. Typically, I will keep the chain rings on for my weekly cleaning and remove them for my monthly cleaning.

1) Take the 5mm Hex wrench and remove the chain ring bolts (photo 1).  Grab a hold of the pedal for leverage. There are two parts the chain ring bolts. After unscrewing the front, you need to remove the other located at the back of the small chainring. After removing the chainring bolts, let them soak in a small container of your degreaser while you continue. When removing these bolts, TAKE YOUR TIME! Be careful of your knuckles when unscrewing these bolts. The sudden loosening of a bolt could find your knuckles/hand becoming one with the teeth of the chain ring...and believe me...the chainring teeth WILL cut you up.
2) After removing the screws, line up the right side of the crank system with the right crank arm pointing straight down (12 and 6 o'clock). (Photo 2) You will notice two numbers located on the chainrings at the 12 o'clock point. These numbers represent the number of theeth on the each chainring. These are important to remember upon putting the chainring back together. They must be facing you. Some larger rings will also have a pin on one end (Photo 2) that lines up directly behind the right crank arm at the 6 o'clock point. Once removed, you srub away on the chaingrings!
3) Remove the chainring. First remove the big ring from the front (Photo 4) the remove the smaller ring from behind the crank system.
4) You will now have access to your chain. (Photo 6) Simply take the chain and lift it around the crank arm so you can now access the bottom bracket tube.
(Photo 7 & 9).
Dip the toothbrush into the solution and begin scrubbing. And don't forget the underside as well.
(Photo 8)
This area is often neglected and is a dirt magnet.
5) And while you are at it, clean your pedals! (Photo 10)For some pedals, the build up of dirt and grime will actually comprise the fit of the cleat as well as the float.


Important: Before putting the chainrings back on the crank arm, lift the chain back over the crank so it is inside the crank arm and resting on the bottom bracket tube.

1) When putting the chain rings back on, begin with the small ring first. While facing the chain ring, fit the small ring from behind. Make sure the number on the ring (39 or 42) is facing you. Then replace the large ring from the front with the number facing you (53, 56, etc) Both should fit snug in their respective positions. Also make sure the pin or dimple on the larger ring is lined up with the crank arm.
2) Attach the screws, making sure the holes line up. They should tighten down on their own.

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