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Thread: New Chain goo

  1. #1
    Love to ride! starship's Avatar
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    New Chain goo

    My new chain is coated with what feels like grease. Should this be cleaned off before oiling and installation?
    2010 Jamis Allegra 2X
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    Sprinter linus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starship
    My new chain is coated with what feels like grease. Should this be cleaned off before oiling and installation?
    Yes with solvent.

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I think that you are about to find out why they have both chocolate and vanilla. Dofferent people have different opinions and preferences.

    Personally, I never clean a brand new chain. I install it just as it comes out of the box. My theory is that the chain is pre-lubed, possibly under pressure, at the factory. I don't want to flush the factory lubrication out of the pins.

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    Well, a new chain is impregnated with grease both to lubricate it and keep it from rusting. Wiping this off the outside will keep it from gathering dirt and grime which wears the chainring and cogs, but if you'll be riding in the wet, it will also keep it from rusting.
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    Love to ride! starship's Avatar
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    Good Point! Think I will wipe it down well, and run it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    Personally, I never clean a brand new chain. I install it just as it comes out of the box. My theory is that the chain is pre-lubed, possibly under pressure, at the factory. I don't want to flush the factory lubrication out of the pins.
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    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by starship
    Good Point! Think I will wipe it down well, and run it.
    Run it for 50kms or so then lube it, or until whenever it makes noise or after a rain ride.

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    Ride it like you stole it WheresWaldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by linus
    Yes with solvent.
    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. The lubricant that is forced into the chain by the manufacturer is probably the best lube the chain will ever see. There is no need to clean it off until the chain is really in need of a thorough cleaning.
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    I agree that wiping the excess factory lube off the outside is ok as it will reduce dirt pickup. However, don't solvent soak the chain to try to remove it all. Waldo's comment that it is the best chain lube it will ever see has a lot of merit. It is an excellent lube and there is no sense wasting it's value until you have to.

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    Ride it like you stole it WheresWaldo's Avatar
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    HillRider, this is correct. You could take a solvent wet rag and drag it around the outside links of the chain to clean off the outsides. This will prevent some of the black goo from developing on the outside of the links, but as we both agree, just don't soak the chain to try to 'waste the value' (I like the way you put that) of the factory lubrication/protection.
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    Sprinter linus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WheresWaldo
    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. The lubricant that is forced into the chain by the manufacturer is probably the best lube the chain will ever see. There is no need to clean it off until the chain is really in need of a thorough cleaning.
    WRONG. They grease them to only preventing from rust. Don't say wrong if you don't have a clue what you are talking about. Please don't argue with me about this. A couple of years ago, I asked this question to Shimano and that's what they have told me.

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    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Man, oh man. This comes up every 2-3 weeks or so.
    A brief run-down:
    * chains are factory-impregnated with cosmoline (search this to find other threads). It's a thick grease, commonly used for motorcycle chains. It does inhibit rust. It also is an effective chain grease, except that it's thick and picks up a lot of dirt.
    * some people recommend soaking a new chain in solvent to remove the cosmoline, then drying it and greasing with ProLink or whatever chain lube they typically use. Others recommend installing the chain as-is. Still others say you should use a rag with solvent to clean excess grease off the outside of the chain (so it doesn't pick up dirt) but not soak the chain, since the Cosmoline is an effective internal grease.

    I've lately been doing the third option (clean excess grease off outside of chain with solvent rag), as Cosmoline is an effective internal grease. And it is. But it's not a big deal, for a few reasons.
    a) the thick grease picks up dirt, but it's thick enough that this dirt doesn't tend to make it into the innards of the chain nearly as quickly as it would if it were carried along by thinner oil/grease
    b) re-lubing the chain with ProLink or White Lightning or whatever will partially "cut" the Cosmoline, and after enough re-lubes your chain will be similar to if you had just totally degreased it with solvent, and then lubed it with typical chain lube.

    I've found that chains with factory lube still inside them tend to run quieter.

  12. #12
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    I agree with wiping off the outside of a new chain with a rag with solvent on it (to keep the sticky factory lube from collecting grit), but not soaking the whole chain in solvent. The factory lube does do a good job where it's needed, on the internal parts of the chain. When you begin to hear the chain more, it needs to be lubed, and then it's time to simply do the one drop per link with your favorite chain lube, such as Prolink.......I gave instructions to a guy here the other day, telling him to soak his chain in solvent, but that was because he wanted to completely remove the White Lightning lube he had put on his chain, then re-lube it with Prolink, and he didn't want to buy the "White Lightning Remover" his bike shop was trying to sell him for $15. I pointed out that a solvent bath (in mineral spirits) would dissolve the White Lightning, and save him some money-

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    Quote Originally Posted by linus
    WRONG. They grease them to only preventing from rust. Don't say wrong if you don't have a clue what you are talking about. Please don't argue with me about this. A couple of years ago, I asked this question to Shimano and that's what they have told me.
    Mind pasting the text?

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    Mmmm, Blue Salsa.... BubbaDog's Avatar
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    When I purchased a Connex chain, it was also impregnated with the 'goo'. Old school guy that I am, I also thought it would be a good idea to soak it out and relube it. I sent an email to Connex tech support asking what the best solvent would be to cut it. They said "petrol will be fine, but why do you want to remove it?" They also mentioned wiping off the outside and running it as-is until it needed its first cleaning, as the goo was an effective lubricant....

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    Heh. So why on earth would a manufacturer provide a chain in a state wholly inappropriate for immediate use anyway? Maybe if they wanted to go out of business within a year or two as J. Average. User would immediately post on bikeforums 'Acme chains suxors! I put one on and it was all jacked up in just one week!' Bike shops would be cranky because they'd have to go through this whole PROCESS for every such chain they had to install.

    Thems that sez otherwise, that chains are somehow packed in preservative, like cod in salt, needs to go and not grease their tapers.

    I'm in agreement with Mr. Cupery on this one, and not just because I'm also an ex-Michigander, even down to his normal practice. Wipe it if you want, lube it as you need to, when it needs it, with whatever you like best, but not WD-40.

  16. #16
    Ride it like you stole it WheresWaldo's Avatar
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    Subject: Chain care, wear and skipping
    From: Jobst Brandt
    Date: January 10, 2002, revised November 23, 2004

    A myth that is difficult to dispell is the story that grease on a new chain, fresh out of the package, is not a lubricant but rather a preservative that must be removed. This piece of bicycling myth and lore thrives despite its illogic.
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    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by linus
    WRONG. They grease them to only preventing from rust. Don't say wrong if you don't have a clue what you are talking about. Please don't argue with me about this. A couple of years ago, I asked this question to Shimano and that's what they have told me.
    I've been using BMX chains straight out of the box for my fixed gear Cross-Check for the past 6000 miles. I usually run them for about 1000 miles without additional treatment, remove them and set aside for one of my single speeds or rain bikes. I ride rural country roads which in early spring are virtually covered with sand and have no problems with the chain gritting up. Chain stretch is nil.

    Does my actual experience trump your lack of knowledge?
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

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    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobber
    Does my actual experience trump your lack of knowledge?
    Plus the experience and knowledge of others.

    In defense of linus, lots of people propogate the story about "chain preservative" being a bad lubricant. I doubt that Shimano does, though.

  19. #19
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    I've called Shimano for technical help before (although it has been at least a couple of years since the last time I did it), and my impression is that the individuals on these phone lines aren't exactly experienced mechanics. Some may be, I don't know, and they definitely have quick access to things that help answer compatibility questions, but for something like "is it best to remove the factory lube on a chain or not?", I think the best bet is your own common sense. And in this particular case, I don't think it's terribly critical either way, although as most have said on this thread, the factory "goo" does seem to lube the internals of the chain very well. I usually judge my chain's need for lube on the sound (or lack thereof) it makes, and a new chain, with the factory lube still inside the links, seems to be about as quiet as it gets-

  20. #20
    Senior Member shoerhino's Avatar
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    SRAM calls it GLEITMO lube. From excelsports.com:

    The PC-951 replaces the PC-950 chain and features step riveted grey links, pre-lubed with Gleitmo lube and provide long lasting durability and dependability with increased corrosion resistance. The PC-951 is slightly narrower than the PC-950 for improved shifting.

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    My bikes became Vintage OLDYELLR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjkeen
    Heh. So why on earth would a manufacturer provide a chain in a state wholly inappropriate for immediate use anyway?
    Exactly! If they go to the trouble of impregnating it with a greasy rust inhibitor, it may as well also be a lubricant. To do otherwise would invite early chain failure, which is not something the manufacturer would want to be known for.
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked
    I've called Shimano for technical help before (although it has been at least a couple of years since the last time I did it), and my impression is that the individuals on these phone lines aren't exactly experienced mechanics.
    Going by where most help lines are based, this is probably the type of bike they'd be most familiar with.

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  23. #23
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by WheresWaldo
    Subject: Chain care, wear and skipping
    From: Jobst Brandt
    Date: January 10, 2002, revised November 23, 2004

    A myth that is difficult to dispell is the story that grease on a new chain, fresh out of the package, is not a lubricant but rather a preservative that must be removed. This piece of bicycling myth and lore thrives despite its illogic.
    Well I was going to paste it, but without any facts to backup that claim, it's on the same footing as Linus' post.

  24. #24
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timcupery
    Plus the experience and knowledge of others.

    In defense of linus, lots of people propogate the story about "chain preservative" being a bad lubricant. I doubt that Shimano does, though.

    Everybody seems to be under the impression that thier source of information or experience is the definitive answer. Most of us don't know our asses from our elbows, those that do preface thier comments with IMHO. But thats just my opinion...........
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

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