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Old 01-19-06, 01:12 AM   #1
cheeseflavor
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New Shimano chain - What is this gunk?

I'm in the process of upgrading my bike to Dura-Ace stuff, and the kit included a 7800 chain. It's covered with this tacky, sticky lube that I cannot get to come off. I noticed the last couple of bikes that Linda and I have purchased (one Specialized and one Trek) had this crap on the chains too. I know from experience with those two bikes that 1) it attracts dirt like honey, and 2) orange degreaser won't clean it off.

I think WD40 would probably clean it, but I'm not a big WD40 fan. I really don't want to use a volitile cleaner like gasoline, or diesel.

Anyone have any suggestions?

TIA,

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Old 01-19-06, 01:38 AM   #2
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Factory grease. You just need to take a rag (a real rag, not old shirts or socks) and wipe it down as much as possible. Leave the rest on, because it's good lube.
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Old 01-19-06, 02:53 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by bkrownd
Factory grease. You just need to take a rag (a real rag, not old shirts or socks) and wipe it down as much as possible. Leave the rest on, because it's good lube.
Lube that attracts dirt and won't let go is not a good lube.

Diesel isn't that volatile, but kerosene is probably better and won't leave as much as a residue. Laquer thinner works well and is less volatile than any of those options. Gasoline leaves a residue that stinks and will affect how well your future lube works.
Personally, I use ether, but it makes gasoline look like kool-aid in the volatility department.
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Old 01-19-06, 04:02 AM   #4
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Kerosene is probably the best drivetrain cleaner and the one reccomended by my LBS. Maybe try pouring some kerosene onto a rag, and then wipping down the outer surfaces of the chain but not letting it get into the links.

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Old 01-19-06, 05:49 AM   #5
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Any paint solvent will work perfect.
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Old 01-19-06, 06:24 AM   #6
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Before installing the chain, put it into a soda-bottle with mineral spirits (paint thinner) or simple green (a water-soluable, biodegradable degreaser) or whatever, shake it up a few times, let it sit overnight. You should get this gunk out. Then rinse the chain, wipe off any residue, and install it and lube with ProLink or whatever you use.
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Old 01-19-06, 06:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timcupery
Before installing the chain, put it into a soda-bottle with mineral spirits (paint thinner) or simple green (a water-soluable, biodegradable degreaser) or whatever, shake it up a few times, let it sit overnight. You should get this gunk out. Then rinse the chain, wipe off any residue, and install it and lube with ProLink or whatever you use.
This is too severe. The "gunk" is a very good lube that was impregnated into the chain under pressure by the factory so it really penetrated. A heavy-duty solvent soak will remove all of it and you will have trouble doing nearly as effective a re-lube job. Campy specifically cautions against this type of cleaning of their new chains.

I clean off the exterior of a new chain using a kerosene dampened rag. That eliminates the dirt magnet coating without totally degreasing the chain interior. I start using my regular lube (ProLink) after about 300 miles and continue after that as needed.
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Old 01-19-06, 11:00 AM   #8
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I used a rag dipped in mineral spirits. Wiped it right off.
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Old 01-19-06, 11:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timcupery
Before installing the chain, put it into a soda-bottle with mineral spirits (paint thinner) or simple green (a water-soluable, biodegradable degreaser) or whatever, shake it up a few times, let it sit overnight. You should get this gunk out. Then rinse the chain, wipe off any residue, and install it and lube with ProLink or whatever you use.
This is what I do with new chains. I either use Simple Green or Mr. Clean Orange, shake it up in one of those disposable Tupperware things that the sandwich meat came in (tip: take the sandwich meat out first), let it sit for an hour or so. Rinse it off, let it dry on the heater overnight. Then lube it up with Prolink. Works well for me.

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Old 01-19-06, 11:08 AM   #10
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Could be wrong but I believe that Shimano puts a wax substance on its new chains. If you ride it like that it acts just like was lube does, gathering large hunks of gunk. It does seem to lube the chain though.
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Old 01-19-06, 11:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timcupery
Before installing the chain, put it into a soda-bottle with mineral spirits (paint thinner) or simple green (a water-soluable, biodegradable degreaser) or whatever, shake it up a few times, let it sit overnight. You should get this gunk out. Then rinse the chain, wipe off any residue, and install it and lube with ProLink or whatever you use.
+1 this is exactly what I do as well...works great. On the other hand why use the new chain? Unless your other chain is worn out use it and save the DA chain for when your current chain wears out.
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Old 01-19-06, 12:27 PM   #12
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This is covered over and over and over on this forum. Here's a link to get you rolling:

New Chain Goo

I use the "degrease and relube" method myself, but you'll have to form your own opinion.
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Old 01-19-06, 05:20 PM   #13
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Barnett's Bike Mechanics book sez,
New chains (and chains on new bikes) are coated with a rust-preventive compound that is usually a less-than-ideal chain lubricant. The stickiness of this compound makes it inclined to collect dirt. To maximize chain life, clean and lubricate new chains.
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Old 01-20-06, 07:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HillRider
This is too severe. The "gunk" is a very good lube that was impregnated into the chain under pressure by the factory so it really penetrated. A heavy-duty solvent soak will remove all of it and you will have trouble doing nearly as effective a re-lube job. Campy specifically cautions against this type of cleaning of their new chains.

I clean off the exterior of a new chain using a kerosene dampened rag. That eliminates the dirt magnet coating without totally degreasing the chain interior. I start using my regular lube (ProLink) after about 300 miles and continue after that as needed.

+1 here. The lube from the factory is actually applied at high temperature as well I believe. Once it is gone, the transmission is never quite as smooth because you can never get it into all the links as effectively as the Shimano factory.
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Old 01-20-06, 12:34 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Matt Gaunt
+1 here. The lube from the factory is actually applied at high temperature as well I believe. Once it is gone, the transmission is never quite as smooth because you can never get it into all the links as effectively as the Shimano factory.
Don't believe it! Cosmoline is not lube. It is a sealant intended to prevent rusting of the chain within the packaging. It matters little how the factory applied it. The best thing you can do is soak the chain in a solvent, allow it to dry, mount it on the bike and apply a non-petroleum lube. I use white lightning.

Cheers

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Old 01-20-06, 12:38 PM   #16
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Thanks guys! Got if all cleaned off and a fresh coat of white lightening applied.

Steve
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Old 01-20-06, 04:19 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bianchiriderlon
Don't believe it! Cosmoline is not lube. It is a sealant intended to prevent rusting of the chain within the packaging. It matters little how the factory applied it. The best thing you can do is soak the chain in a solvent, allow it to dry, mount it on the bike and apply a non-petroleum lube. I use white lightning.
Lets think for a minute what happens after a chain is sold.
If it's fitted in the LBS then at most it gets the external stuff quickly wiped off. Have a mechanic spend time cleaning off the factory stuff and relubing and the profit margin is gone.
What about the average cyclist that knows how to fit their own. Are they really going to give it a good clean before fitting it? Most products are ready to go straight out of the box. How many are going to assume chains are different especially when it says it's pre lubed on the box?

I think it's quite safe to assume a large number of chains are going to end up on the bike with the factory supplied stuff. Knowing this as a chain manufactured what are you going to use on your chains, preservative or lube? With bikes that don't see a lot of maintence the factory supplied lube could well be the largest contribution to the life of the chain. Use preservative while your cometitor uses lube and your chains are at a disadvantage.
Unless you are trying to make the absolutly cheapest chain possible using preservative that needs to be removed and replaced with lube before using the chain just doesn't make sense.
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Old 01-20-06, 04:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grasschopper
+1 this is exactly what I do as well...works great. On the other hand why use the new chain? Unless your other chain is worn out use it and save the DA chain for when your current chain wears out.
It wasn't quite worn out yet. I usually replace every 1000 - 1500 miles, but this one had close to 2k on it, was a bit wider than the DA.

Besides... it's all new

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Old 01-20-06, 04:30 PM   #19
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I just ride mine. Not really a big deal. The "lube" wears off quickly. Not sure what all the fuss is about.
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Old 01-20-06, 04:33 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Ranger
I just ride mine. Not really a big deal. The "lube" wears off quickly. Not sure what all the fuss is about.
The fuss is the dirt it attracts. My wife's Trek came with so much of the crap on it that it took numerous cleanings to get everything off it. It was literally sticky to the touch and would become black after just a couple of rides. Her new Ruby was the same, but not quite as bad.

I don't recall any of the SRAM chains I've purchased having this stuff on them.

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Old 01-20-06, 05:24 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d_D
Lets think for a minute what happens after a chain is sold.
If it's fitted in the LBS then at most it gets the external stuff quickly wiped off. Have a mechanic spend time cleaning off the factory stuff and relubing and the profit margin is gone.
What about the average cyclist that knows how to fit their own. Are they really going to give it a good clean before fitting it? Most products are ready to go straight out of the box. How many are going to assume chains are different especially when it says it's pre lubed on the box?

I think it's quite safe to assume a large number of chains are going to end up on the bike with the factory supplied stuff. Knowing this as a chain manufactured what are you going to use on your chains, preservative or lube? With bikes that don't see a lot of maintence the factory supplied lube could well be the largest contribution to the life of the chain. Use preservative while your cometitor uses lube and your chains are at a disadvantage.
Unless you are trying to make the absolutly cheapest chain possible using preservative that needs to be removed and replaced with lube before using the chain just doesn't make sense.
Not many shops/dealers will lube the seatpost and debur the inside of the seat tube either before selling the bike to you. That doesn't mean it's not a good idea. Manufacturers also generally ship bikes with the same length cable housing for all of their sizes of a certain model too. Does your LBS spend the time to cut the housings and cables to a more appropriate length? Not a chance. So will the chain disintegrate if you run it with cosmoline? Not likely. How 'bout motor oil? Yeah, that'll probably do a decent job for a while too. Tree sap? Maybe, who knows. So why do some cyclists prefer ProLink or White Lightning or whatever? It's just a better lubricant.
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Old 01-20-06, 05:26 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by cheeseflavor
I don't recall any of the SRAM chains I've purchased having this stuff on them.
They have some flavor of it too.
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Old 01-20-06, 05:32 PM   #23
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SRAMs are packaged with some sticky stuff too. I wipe it off before putting the chain on. Last time I bought a new bike the dealer left blobs of grease all over the moving parts of the bike, and test-riders had coated all of it with sand and dirt. The stuff is horrid if it isn't wiped off.
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Old 01-20-06, 06:26 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timcupery
Before installing the chain, put it into a soda-bottle with mineral spirits (paint thinner) or simple green (a water-soluable, biodegradable degreaser) or whatever, shake it up a few times, let it sit overnight. You should get this gunk out. Then rinse the chain, wipe off any residue, and install it and lube with ProLink or whatever you use.
+1, By now, Cheeseflavor, you've got more recommendations than you ever wanted. I agree with timcupery, but I use simple green for one reason. Kerosene or mineral spirits will strip all the lube off. When I've used these degreasers with a NEW shimano chain, tiny rust spots occurred after rinsing with water to remove the degreasers. When I use Simple Green and the soda-bottle to shake like tim said, it leaves a very thin layer of the factory lube that resists oxidation, resulting in no rust after rinsing to remove the degreaser.
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Old 01-20-06, 07:06 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeseflavor
The fuss is the dirt it attracts. My wife's Trek came with so much of the crap on it that it took numerous cleanings to get everything off it. It was literally sticky to the touch and would become black after just a couple of rides. Her new Ruby was the same, but not quite as bad.

I don't recall any of the SRAM chains I've purchased having this stuff on them.

Steve
SRAM chaings have a similar gunk, but not quite as thick. I get the fact that it attracts dirt. So does virtually every other lube to some degree. Especially if you ride mainly dirt and gravel roads like i do. So i know it gets dirty.

The original lube also only lasts about one ride. At least for me. Then i lube it with standard lube like Pro-link and then ride on. Everything gets dirty on my bike. I ride about 25 miles every day on dirt and gravel roads and have for years. Trying to clean off dirt is pretty much a waste of time for me. I just lube every few rides and ride on.

I can clean the chain at 4 PM and 15 hours later it is dirty again. ( I ride every morning at sunrise)
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