How often do people clean their chains?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Jim, Apr 30, 2003.

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  1. Jim

    Jim Guest

    I got a new chain this year and got the type that has a gold colored link that can be slid apart
    easily to remove the chain instead of requiring a chain tool. It's so easy I'm sure I'll be cleaning
    it more often. I just did it after 500 miles and there was a fair build up of crud (probably from
    leftover sand from the snowstorms.)

    So how often does everyone clean theirs? Not just a wipe down with the chain still on the bike but a
    thorough cleaning.
     
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  2. Kbh

    Kbh Guest

    You will hear the full range of opinions but here's my short answer - almost never.

    After following some looong discussions on this topic, I came to the conclusion that my time is too
    valuable to thoroughly clean a $15 chain more than once in a long while. Of course, this behavior
    could potentially accelerate the wear on the cassette and chainrings, but not too much if you keep
    the exterior of the chain clean by wiping it down, and replace it when it stretches beyond 1/6"
    over 12 inches. As a bonus, my expenditures on chains are somewhat offset by savings in solvent and
    hand cleaner.

    This decision of course is very individual. Some people simply like a nice clean chain, enjoying the
    process as well as the satisfcation of putting a freshly cleaned and lubed chain on a bike. Also,
    those who use more expensive chains in conjunction with riding lots of miles may indeed want to eek
    as much life as possible out of a chain for financial reasons.

    "jim" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I got a new chain this year and got the type that has a gold colored link that can be slid apart
    > easily to remove the chain instead of requiring a chain tool. It's so easy I'm sure I'll be
    > cleaning it more often. I just did it after 500 miles and there was a fair build up of crud
    > (probably from leftover sand from the snowstorms.)
    >
    > So how often does everyone clean theirs? Not just a wipe down with the chain still on the bike but
    > a thorough cleaning.
     
  3. Richard Ney

    Richard Ney Guest

    jim writes:

    > I got a new chain this year and got the type that has a gold colored link that can be slid apart
    > easily to remove the chain instead of requiring a chain tool. It's so easy I'm sure I'll be
    > cleaning it more often. I just did it after 500 miles and there was a fair build up of crud
    > (probably from leftover sand from the snowstorms.)
    >
    > So how often does everyone clean theirs? Not just a wipe down with the chain still on the bike but
    > a thorough cleaning.

    You may want to consider: http://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/8d.2.html
     
  4. S. Anderson

    S. Anderson Guest

    "KBH" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:WC%[email protected]...
    > You will hear the full range of opinions but here's my short answer -
    almost
    > never.
    >
    > After following some looong discussions on this topic, I came to the conclusion that my time is
    > too valuable to thoroughly clean a $15 chain
    more
    > than once in a long while. Of course, this behavior could potentially accelerate the wear on the
    > cassette and chainrings, but not too much if
    you
    > keep the exterior of the chain clean by wiping it down, and replace it
    when
    > it stretches beyond 1/6" over 12 inches. As a bonus, my expenditures on chains are somewhat offset
    > by savings in solvent and hand cleaner.
    >
    > This decision of course is very individual. Some people simply like a
    nice
    > clean chain, enjoying the process as well as the satisfcation of putting a freshly cleaned and
    > lubed chain on a bike. Also, those who use more expensive chains in conjunction with riding lots
    > of miles may indeed want
    to
    > eek as much life as possible out of a chain for financial reasons.
    >

    I'm with you..I use a "dry-lube" synthetic lube every 2 or 3 rides and scrape off the accumulate
    crud on the cassette and chainrings every so often. I just hate cleaning my chains. I pitch the
    chain every year and get a new one. Never had a skipping problem to date, but I don't do big
    mileage either.

    Cheers,

    Scott..
     
  5. Mike Krueger

    Mike Krueger Guest

    << So how often does everyone clean theirs? Not just a wipe down with the chain still on the bike
    but a thorough cleaning. >>

    Drop the chain into a discarded one liter plastic soda bottle. Pour in about a pint of lacquer
    thinner. Shake shake shake. Pour out the solvent and save for re-use. Cut the top off the bottle and
    remove the chain. Reinstall, run it through a clean rag, and relube.
     
  6. Paul Kopit

    Paul Kopit Guest

    On 01 May 2003 11:36:21 GMT, [email protected] (Mike Krueger) wrote:

    >Cut the top off the bottle and remove the chain. Reinstall, run it through a clean rag, and relube.

    I attach a piece of dental floss to the chain's end and leave the end dangling out when I screw on
    the cap. When I remove the chain by pulling the floss, I don't need to cut the bottle. Used ketchup
    bottles work better and have a bigger opening.
     
  7. jsherman-<< So how often does everyone clean theirs? Not just a wipe down with the chain still on
    the bike but a thorough cleaning.

    I do once per month along with pulleys and chainrings and freewheel cogs....

    Peter Chisholm Vecchio's Bicicletteria 1833 Pearl St. Boulder, CO, 80302
    (303)440-3535 http://www.vecchios.com "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
     
  8. Harris

    Harris Guest

    Mike Krueger <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Drop the chain into a discarded one liter plastic soda bottle. Pour in about a pint of lacquer
    > thinner. Shake shake shake. Pour out the solvent and save for re-use. Cut the top off the bottle
    > and remove the chain. Reinstall, run it through a clean rag, and relube.

    I would whip the chain around to get the solvent out, and then hang the chain outside to dry
    thoroughly before relubing and re-installing.

    But the question was how often do people clean their chains. I rarely ride in the rain, and rarely
    clean my chain. When it's worn I replace it (about once a year or 3000 miles). If you ride in the
    rain and get lots of grit on the chain, it would pay to clean it regularly.

    Art Harris
     
  9. Qui si parla Campagnolo wrote:
    > jsherman-<< So how often does everyone clean theirs? Not just a wipe down with the chain still on
    > the bike but a thorough cleaning.
    >
    > I do once per month along with pulleys and chainrings and freewheel cogs....
    >
    >

    This past winter it felt like I was cleaning the chain almost every week. I was getting all sorts of
    funny noices and shifts into the wrong gear if I didn't. I use one of those solvent filled boxes you
    clip on over the chain and crank the pedals around for a while. Finish it off with a toothbrush over
    the cogs and pulleys etc. Doesn't take more than a couple of minutes. My biggest problem is really
    finding a place to do it in the wintertime.

    Come spring and clean roads, well that is a whole different story.

    --
    Perre

    You have to be smarter than a robot to reply.
     
  10. John Everett

    John Everett Guest

    On Thu, 01 May 2003 02:07:30 GMT, [email protected] (jim) wrote:

    >I got a new chain this year and got the type that has a gold colored link that can be slid apart
    >easily to remove the chain instead of requiring a chain tool. It's so easy I'm sure I'll be
    >cleaning it more often. I just did it after 500 miles and there was a fair build up of crud
    >(probably from leftover sand from the snowstorms.)
    >
    >So how often does everyone clean theirs? Not just a wipe down with the chain still on the bike but
    >a thorough cleaning.

    I (as regulars here will tell you) probably represent the far end of the curve, but on my "best"
    bike I probably clean and lubricate my chain every 400 to 500 miles. This is a bike I never ride in
    the winter or in the rain. I also regularly clean my rings, cogs, and derailleur pulleys.

    I hot wax this chain and service it when it starts to squeak. By dint of regular thorough cleaning
    and lubricating I've gotten over 18,000 miles on a single chain and over 40,000 miles on cogs and
    rings. Those cogs are now on their third chain (and second bike) and still show no overt signs of
    excess wear. The rings are still on the original bike but are now turning a "nine-speed" chain,
    their fourth.

    jeverett3<AT>earthlink<DOT>net http://home.earthlink.net/~jeverett3
     
  11. "Richard Ney" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > jim writes:
    >
    > > I got a new chain this year and got the type that has a gold colored link that can be slid apart
    > > easily to remove the chain instead of requiring a chain tool. It's so easy I'm sure I'll be
    > > cleaning it more often. I just did it after 500 miles and there was a fair build up of crud
    > > (probably from leftover sand from the snowstorms.)
    > >
    > > So how often does everyone clean theirs? Not just a wipe down with the chain still on the bike
    > > but a thorough cleaning.
    >
    > You may want to consider: http://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/8d.2.html

    Simply put, I clean chains more when I ride off road or in in sandy, dusty areas (like now in the
    Boston area with left-over sand from last winter covering the pavement) less when my rides are on
    clean and dry roads. Average? Once every 2 weeks or so. Sometimes after every ride if it was in sand
    or mud. I use the bottle method of cleaning as suggested by Sheldon Brown in:
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/chains.html It works and I found the article to be an informative piece
    all about chains. Well worth the read.

    BTW, I use SRAM chains and I've found their quick-links are variable: easy to open to quite
    difficult to open. I cut an old spoke and made it into a tool that hooks the chain in 2 places about
    8 links apart. So, if I take 9 or 10 links between the hooks, a slack area is created. I arrange it
    so that the quick-link is in the slack area and it is much easier to open.

    Steve
     
  12. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Steve Shapiro" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > BTW, I use SRAM chains and I've found their quick-links are variable: easy to open to quite
    > difficult to open.

    Me too, the original Craig ones (licensed to SRAM, I believe), were much better.

    > I cut an old spoke and made it into a tool that hooks the chain in 2 places about 8 links apart.
    > So, if I take 9 or 10 links between the hooks, a slack area is created. I arrange it so that the
    > quick-link is in the slack area and it is much easier to open.

    I think it's easier to make a slack section by just dropping your chain off to the inside of your
    smallest ring. To open reluctant (usually fairly new, but dirty) quick links, I use a spoke that's
    bent into a "V", which I insert on either side of the quicklink to squeeze the pins together with
    one hand, while, with the other hand, I squeeze the sideplates together with my fingers or a pair of
    needlenose pliers.

    >
    > Steve
     
  13. Bob Denton

    Bob Denton Guest

    On Thu, 01 May 2003 02:07:30 GMT, [email protected] (jim) wrote:

    >So how often does everyone clean theirs? Not just a wipe down with the chain still on the bike but
    >a thorough cleaning.

    Every 300-500 miles I drop the chain ina bottle of solvent, clean the drive train, and relube the
    chain. I don't touch it or lube it in between. Bob Denton Gulf Stream International Delray Beach,
    Florida www.sinkthestink.com Manufacturers of Sink the Stink
     
  14. Bob Denton wrote:

    > On Thu, 01 May 2003 02:07:30 GMT, [email protected] (jim) wrote:
    >
    >> So how often does everyone clean theirs? Not just a wipe down with the chain still on the bike
    >> but a thorough cleaning.
    >
    > Every 300-500 miles I drop the chain ina bottle of solvent, clean the drive train, and relube the
    > chain. I don't touch it or lube it in between.

    About the same for me.

    --
    Benjamin Lewis

    How you look depends on where you go.
     
  15. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "jim" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > I got a new chain this year and got the type that has a
    gold colored
    > link that can be slid apart easily to remove the chain
    instead of
    > requiring a chain tool. It's so easy I'm sure I'll be
    cleaning it
    > more often. I just did it after 500 miles and there was a
    fair build
    > up of crud (probably from leftover sand from the
    snowstorms.)
    >
    > So how often does everyone clean theirs? Not just a wipe
    down with
    > the chain still on the bike but a thorough cleaning.

    I clean and relube it when it starts to feel gritty, or when it gets so dry it starts to squeak. How
    many hours/miles this takes varies immensely, depending on conditions. On those incredibly dusty
    trails in soCal, or a muddy ride anywhere, this is after every ride. On the road in nice weather,
    it's at least hundreds of miles.

    I wipe the chain down before and after every ride, to remove accumulated dirt, and excess oil
    that would cause more dirt to stick. Other than that, I just feel the links for grit, and listen
    for squeaks.

    Matt O.
     
  16. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Paul Kopit" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > On 01 May 2003 11:36:21 GMT, [email protected] (Mike
    Krueger) wrote:
    >
    > >Cut the top off the bottle and remove the chain.
    Reinstall, run it
    > >through a clean rag, and relube.
    >
    > I attach a piece of dental floss to the chain's end and
    leave the end
    > dangling out when I screw on the cap. When I remove the
    chain by
    > pulling the floss, I don't need to cut the bottle. Used
    ketchup
    > bottles work better and have a bigger opening.

    I don't see how you can pull a chain out this way, after it's all folded around and over itself.

    I use a large mayonnaise jar, which has a wide mouth.

    Matt O.
     
  17. David Kerber

    David Kerber Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    >
    > "Paul Kopit" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >
    > > On 01 May 2003 11:36:21 GMT, [email protected] (Mike
    > Krueger) wrote:
    > >
    > > >Cut the top off the bottle and remove the chain.
    > Reinstall, run it
    > > >through a clean rag, and relube.
    > >
    > > I attach a piece of dental floss to the chain's end and
    > leave the end
    > > dangling out when I screw on the cap. When I remove the
    > chain by
    > > pulling the floss, I don't need to cut the bottle. Used
    > ketchup
    > > bottles work better and have a bigger opening.
    >
    > I don't see how you can pull a chain out this way, after it's all folded around and over itself.

    If you lower it in that way, it will pull out the same way, because the coils won't be tangled.

    --
    Dave Kerber Fight spam: remove the ns_ from the return address before replying!

    REAL programmers write self-modifying code.
     
  18. bball

    bball Guest

    On 01 May 2003 12:26:48 GMT, [email protected] (Qui si parla Campagnolo) wrote:

    >jsherman-<< So how often does everyone clean theirs? Not just a wipe down with the chain still on
    >the bike but a thorough cleaning.
    >
    >I do once per month along with pulleys and chainrings and freewheel cogs....
    >
    >
    >Peter Chisholm Vecchio's Bicicletteria 1833 Pearl St. Boulder, CO, 80302
    >(303)440-3535 http://www.vecchios.com "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"

    - - - - - - - - - - -

    "Once per month" gives us little information: That may be 150mi or
    1200mi. How many miles do your chains last @1/16" stretch?

    Bruce Ball
     
  19. Ant

    Ant Guest

    "Peter Cole" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >
    > I think it's easier to make a slack section by just dropping your chain off to the inside of your
    > smallest ring. To open reluctant (usually fairly new, but dirty) quick links, I use a spoke that's
    > bent into a "V", which I insert on either side of the quicklink to squeeze the pins together with
    > one hand, while, with the other hand, I squeeze the sideplates together with my fingers or a pair
    > of needlenose pliers.

    I often hear how hard these puppies can be to get open. Have I always been lucky, or do i do it
    differently?

    To get mine apart, i put the quicklink in the lower part of the chain (on a derailleured bike), and
    pull it into a "z" around teh quicklink, like i was about to loosen a tight link. this means that i
    dont need a gadget to hold slack in the chain. in this "z" setup, i can pinch the quicklink together
    with one hand, while simultaneously pressing the ends together. they pop apart, no matter how old,
    gritty (it was a snowy salty winter), etc, they are. Usually it slips apart immediately. Sometimes
    it is harder, and slips apart after a couple seconds of wiggling. I wouldn't consider that tough to
    get apart, though.

    Anthony
     
  20. Bruce

    Bruce Guest

    After it sounds dry, 3-500 miles, I spray on more lube and wipe it down with a rag. I never take a
    chain off the bike to clean it. My chains last 3 to 5,000 miles before they strech more then 3/32" (
    more than 1/16, less than
    1/8). As described in the FAQ I've never been able to completely clean it and be sure the inside
    doesn't have the grit just moved around. So I don't try. Chains are too cheap to bother. But I
    also don't keep my bike perfectly clean. I'd rather ride a dirty bike than stay at home cleaning
    it. I keep the chain lubed, and all the mechs working and quiet. Dried worms on the underside of
    the downtube remind me of my morning commute.

    -Bruce

    "jim" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I got a new chain this year and got the type that has a gold colored link that can be slid apart
    > easily to remove the chain instead of requiring a chain tool. It's so easy I'm sure I'll be
    > cleaning it more often. I just did it after 500 miles and there was a fair build up of crud
    > (probably from leftover sand from the snowstorms.)
    >
    > So how often does everyone clean theirs? Not just a wipe down with the chain still on the bike but
    > a thorough cleaning.
     
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