How often do people clean their chains?



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J

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.
 
K

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.
 
R

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
 
S

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..
 
M

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.
 
P

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.
 
Q

Qui Si Parla Ca

Guest
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"
 
H

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
 
P

Per ElmsäTer

Guest
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.
 
J

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
 
S

Steve Shapiro

Guest
"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
 
P

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
 
B

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
 
B

Benjamin Lewis

Guest
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.
 
M

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.
 
M

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.
 
D

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.
 
B

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
 
A

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
 
B

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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Not open for further replies.