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How to visibly tell when you need to oil your chain?
#1
I really don't keep track of how often I did/should clean and oil my bike. I just got in about a month ago, Schwinn, nothing extremely expensive. But I do want to take care of it.

Are there any visible ways to tell when you need to clean your chain? I ride on bike trails so they can be dusty sometimes from the gravel they put down. Just curious, what's the worst that can happen if I fail to care for the chain?
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#2
Well, the chain will wear as you ride. Neglect might lead to faster chain wear, though that depends on what you're dealing with: winter is especially harsh due to salt + moisture. This subject is discussed almost religiously (what to use, how to do it, how often etc.). A grimy drivetrain will also be less effective than a clean one.

Most important thing: check for chain wear regularly and replace when the time comes, chains are much cheaper than chain rings.
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#3
In addition to Joe's advice , here's a video: http://bicycletutor.com/chain-wear/
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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