When I oil my bike chain, I oil the inside and the outside like so:

     1. Oil here ▼
 /                   \ 
 | 2. And oil here ▼ |

enter image description here

Cycle on 1/4 of the length of chain, and repeat 3 times, so that the top and bottom all the way around has had it applied.

Is this overkill? Do I need to oil both sides of the chain?

  • 2
    Oil the rollers - that is where it pivots. – paparazzo Aug 24 '14 at 17:45
  • The bit that is sort of sprung? Where it goes back and forth if you push down on the chain? – Tim Aug 24 '14 at 17:51
  • 3
    You should apply enough oil that it doesn't matter. Then wipe off the excess. (There's no practical way to be precise -- you don't put a drop of oil on each link, you drizzle the oil on while turning the crank.) – Daniel R Hicks Aug 24 '14 at 18:57
  • Theres a theory (promoted by sheldon) that you should oil the inner side (1) assuming that this is the bottom line of the chain since it should have less crud on it. whether this is true or not, I haven't bothered to worry too much since I just do as DRH says. – Batman Aug 24 '14 at 19:43
  • Every time the chain goes past the chainring or cassette the top becomes the bottom. – paparazzo Aug 25 '14 at 14:07

If you think about it, the purpose of oiling is to lubricate where you have metal moving against metal.

So in the diagram below:

enter image description here

you need to oil the pin/roller area. There's no point oiling the face plates (which I think is what you're saying?).

When you oil, know how many links are in the chain (or mark your start link), and go around the whole chain once, oiling each roller. That's all you need to do. No need to do quarter turns or repeat three times.

Then, when you've done, wipe off the excess oil with something dry. A bit of rag or kitchen towel will do.

  • 1
    No, I do mean the pins, not outer plates - see my edit. – Tim Aug 24 '14 at 18:17

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