Chain Maintenance

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by goingforspeed, Apr 8, 2005.

  1. goingforspeed

    goingforspeed New Member

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    I just got a new bike (my first one actually!), a Lemond Tourmalet, and I've been reading a lot about maintenance, etc. and what I should be doing after every ride / every week, and so on.

    I know that when the chain gets to be 12" and 1/16th inches long for 12 links it's time for a new chain of course, but my question is about lubing. Where I live the conditions are usually dry and temperature around 60-80 or so, so nothing too extreme.

    What should I do for lubing / cleaning the chain? How often should I take it off the bike and degrease it, etc. Also, what are your suggestions for chain lube / degreaser?

    Thanks a lot...I've looked up information on this but found a lot of conflicting opinions as to what sort of lube to use, and how often to do it, so I was hoping someone here might have a better explanation.
     
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  2. manvell

    manvell New Member

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    Unless you have a sram chain with a power link, you should not remove your chain to clean it. Personally, I clean my chains with a tooth brush and mineral spirits, and lube it with white-lightning. If you put one drop on each pin you wouln't have to much build up. This is just my opinion. you will find this is a contrversial issue, as there are many things that will work. Just play around, till you find what you like.
     
  3. Catabolic Jones

    Catabolic Jones New Member

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    Why not remove the chain?

    If you have a good chain-removal tool, and you do it properly, it seems to me you won't do it harm.

    I remove my chain once a week, place it in a bath of kero, and put it on top of my washing machine through one or two cycles.

    As for lube, I use a synthetic wet lube, Finish Line. Works for me.
     
  4. neil0502

    neil0502 New Member

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    No offense, but your post is oinly going to generate more conflicting opinions as to what lube to use. Ditto chain cleaning procedures.

    Google this one. Search cyclingforums.com, using the search function, revisit all the old days-on-end arguments about chain lube (tantamount to arguments about religion or politics), pick something, and try it.

    Then pick something else and try it, too. Follow this procedure until you find something that *you* like.

    Nice job on your new bike. Kudos!
     
  5. manvell

    manvell New Member

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  6. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    Short answer: there are no rules for chain cleaning. A clean chain is a happy chain--that can't be denied--and in a perfect world, you'd scrub, rinse, repeat, dry and lube the thing after every ride. Only the pros enjoy that sort of schedule, so play it by ear.

    One way to schedule your cleaning is to keep an eye on the thing. Look particularly grimy? Time for a cleaning. You could base your maintinence on mileage--maybe address it once every 75 to 200 miles, depending on conditions. If your usual ride involves large quantities of sludge and gravel, consider doing it even more frequently. All in all, it's a gut-sense thing. I'd venture to aproximate that your average cyclist cleans their chain once a week during the riding season.

    I'm of the belief, though, that there's little point in a 2 minute quick-clean of you chain when a really thorough job once a week takes 10 minutes. In other words, if you're going to clean and lube it, aim for completeness. Depending on your style, that could mean scrubbing it with a toothbrush and degreaser; it could mean running it through a chain-cleaning machine; it could mean removing it and dumping it in a bucket of kerosene. Either way you go, the idea is to strip off the grit-laden, dirty grease. Rinse, and dry.

    Re-lube.

    That's about it. Which lube to use? Everyone's got a favorite, and everyone hates 2 or 3 other labels. It's a heated and gruesomely subjective argument I'm not getting into. Pick one or two, use them alternately, and get a sense for what you like in a lube.

    :) have fun :)
     
  7. biker7

    biker7 New Member

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    I agree with Manvell...many different views of course depending on how anal your tendencies. I am of the school...why keep taking the chain off the bike. Clean it with mineral spirits...I use Simple Green and a toothbrush and refresh with chain lube...I use White Lightening too BTW. When the chain wears out...which it might a hint faster without all the needless work of taking it off the bike and soaking it all the time...just replace it.
    George
     
  8. TKOS

    TKOS New Member

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    And different lubes work in different ways as well. It seems to me that oil based lubes will pick up dirt and hold it but will last longer. Wax based lubes seem best at repelling the dirt (well the wax flakes off and takes the dirt with it) but needs to be applied more often. I think the wax is generally used more by mountain bikers. You should scrub the "lube" off taht came on your chain though. It is used to keep the chain from rusting and isn't really a good lube for riding.
     
  9. RC2

    RC2 New Member

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    I'm feeling thankful that you didn't post your long answer! ;)

    With regards to lube -- my thinking is that if you are riding in dry conditions (lots of dust but not any water or sludge) a dry lube is the way to go. In central NM I never ride in rain (when it does rain, it's 2" in a couple hours and probably electrical storms, ouch), and wet lube gets grimey quickly, dry lube stays clean for several rides. White Lighting is also what I'm using but there are other good choices like Pedro's extra dry.
     
  10. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    I should stop prefacing with that.
     
  11. goingforspeed

    goingforspeed New Member

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    OK, thanks ya'll. I asked the guy at the bike store as well what he does for lube and he gave me some tips too. I appreciate all the replies - all of the chain lubing information out there is just a bit overwhelming to somebody new at this, but I think I have it figured out. So thanks.

    Also took the bike out today for a nice 15km ride ... I think I'm hooked!
     
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