Ok, now this I admit may seem boring but for anyone who has attended one of my Skills Courses they will know how passionate I am about drive chain maintenance ! (told you it was boring)
By drive chain I mean front chain rings, rear sprockets, chains, front and rear mech.
All of these components should be spotless, no gunge or black stuff but sparkly clean with a thin layer of chain lube applied drop by drop to every single chain link which will ensure smooth running and easy shifting.
Having said that even the best maintained drive trains will eventually wear...... and the first thing to go is the chain, catch the chain wear early and you will save yourself time, money and "mechanicals" out on the trail. The below link details the importance of checking the chain and how to do it, a great article that will make our MTB lives a little easier.,,,,,,,,