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Old 12-02-06, 09:23 AM   #1
ax0n
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Reliability of SRAM PowerLink?

I actually kinked my chain right after I got my sorrento, and the manager at the LBS replaced about 8 links where the kink was, so now I have two powerlinks...

Anyhow, I have the Park Tool Cyclone and have been using that to clean up, but I figure a periodic (monthly or so?) chain removal and complete clean would be a good idea. Product reviews over at MTBR seem to be really hit or miss with the PowerLink though.

A trend I'm seeing, is heavy people who remove and clean the chain really frequently seem to have longevity issues. I can only imagine that the powerlink is only good for X number of removal/installs.
I'm in luck because I can distribute the removal/install wear between 2 different powerlinks, but can anyone tell me if I'll have reliability issues if I remove it daily or several times weekly? I'm a commuter, and I have to ride through salty sandy slush, mud, standing water, foot-deep snow, and other crap that will play hell on pretty much my entire bike.

I'm using FinishLine wax dry lube, but I don't think that will help much in these conditions. I'm pretty sure my only defense against drivetrain carnage is a seriously rigorous cleaning schedule. You think the chain will hold up to frequent disassembly? Should I just cyclone/lube it daily, then take it apart once every week or two for a more thorough cleaning?
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Old 12-02-06, 09:33 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by ax0n
You think the chain will hold up to frequent disassembly? Should I just cyclone/lube it daily, then take it apart once every week or two for a more thorough cleaning?
The link absolutely will hold up just fine, no matter how often you take it apart. Do not put lube on a dirty chain, ever. If you do, you will have created grinding compound (grit suspended in oil) and transported it right into the rollers, where it will do maximum harm. Clean the chain, then lube. If you don't have time to do a full clean and re-lube, just wipe down the chain after each ride but *don't* re-lube until you clean it.
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Old 12-02-06, 10:29 AM   #3
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I never lube it without cleaning it.

I can't get the PL apart with my bare hands, so I just spent about the last hour:

Scrubbing and wiping all the chainrings
Scrubbing and wiping the cassette to a shine
Cyclone: Citrus Chain brite x 30 cranks
Cyclone: Water x 30 cranks
Cyclone: Simple Green x 30 cranks
Cyclone: Water x 30 cranks (FOAMY!)
Cyclone: Water x 30 cranks (CLOUDY!)
Cyclone: Water x 30 cranks (Finally clear)
Cyclone: 91% Isopopyl x 30 cranks
Air Compressor to blow out all the links
Finish line wax
Wipe chain
Wait 10 minutes
Finish line wax
Wipe
Final dry/wipe of chainrings and cassette with terrycloth between the gears in a sawing motion
Drink a Guinness
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Old 12-02-06, 12:05 PM   #4
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I heartily approve of your final step. Sometimes I insert that step earlier in the proceedings.

Two things. First, the PL becomes much easier to open with each time you do it. To help those first few times, take the chain down off the chainring so that it is slack. Also, you can open it instantly by inserting a small (as in, tiny) screwdriver blade in the gap behind the pin in the side plate, and gently encouraging the pin to move forward as you have the plates slightly compressed together. The best news is, I recently bought a new batch of SRAM chains with Powerlinks, and they have made these links MUCH easier to open now. If you got old stock, just use the method described above, and after a few times, it will be SO easy to open without tools.

Secondly, if you do opt to clean the chain and cassette on the bike, just be sure to avoid letting any solvent or dirty water run down into the hub bearings. That's one reason I don't clean my chain on the bike. It's virtually impossible to keep track of where all that fluid is going.
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Old 12-02-06, 12:53 PM   #5
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seconded, the powerlink is pretty much as strong as the rest of the links in the chain. you can reuse the link as many times as you want, since no wear or damage occurs to the link when its installed or removed.

and never go too mental when it comes to cleaning the chain, those who stick to an elaborate cleaning routine are just making extra work for themselves. a simple wipe down with a rag and a relube every few rides, or after every wet/muddy ride is all you need, if the cassette and rings are starting to look grubby rather then nice shiney silver it doesnt hurt to take off the chain and give everything a good wipe down/scrub with citrus degreaser.

you dont have to do any of this soaking in solvent stuff at all, all this does is eat away at the chain, and wash all the lube out from inside the links.
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Old 12-02-06, 12:54 PM   #6
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You know, I habitually get 1500-3000 miles out of chains that I lube without cleaning. No biggie, really. You just gotta apply the lube on the lower run (inside) of the chain so that it doesn't bring too much crud in with itself. The chain I ran the longest never actually got cleaned. It was pretty damn worn after 3000 mi, but the cassette was still good with a new chain.
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Old 12-02-06, 01:02 PM   #7
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I don't think I could bring myself to do that.
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Old 12-02-06, 02:04 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info on the PowerLink. Between comments on the MTBR review, and here, I managed to get it open. I actually cracked the chain and removed the extra powerlink so I have an emergency fix for the trail or commuting regardless of which bike I'm on (my Outlook doesn't have a powerlink) Check this out... spare links fit great in the center part of the MTB-3:

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Old 12-03-06, 02:22 AM   #9
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It took me a while to get used to the action that opens a power link. Practice a couple dozen times before you put it back on. You have to push in both sides a little bit before you push the ends together. It's like when you were a kid learning how to snap your fingers. At first the whole thing is bewildering, but when you get it... you get it. And once you figure out how to unlock them you'll see how opening and closing them won't wear them down at all. The only problem I've had with them is I dropped a link while cleaning the chain. Dam thing bounced under the radiator. It's scary what accumulates under radiators.
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Old 12-03-06, 06:36 AM   #10
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I use a rubber dishwashing glove when removing mine--doesn't slip, makes removal much easier!
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Old 12-03-06, 09:40 AM   #11
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The Park Master Link Pliers (MLP-1) work GREAT.......no sore fingers or messed up links!
http://www.parktool.com/products/det...5&item=MLP%2D1
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Old 12-03-06, 10:48 AM   #12
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I think the key is to take all tension out of the chain. Then just push in slightly and kind of snap your fingers. I always had trouble doing it until I figured out the tension thing.
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Old 12-03-06, 11:00 AM   #13
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The Park Master Link Pliers (MLP-1) work GREAT.......no sore fingers or messed up links!
http://www.parktool.com/products/det...5&item=MLP%2D1
That looks intriquing. I use SRAM chains and pretty much don't use the powerlink feature. It really is easier to just use the cahin tool. The releasing tension helps but you also have to have a VERY grit free powerlink or it is hard to get free. So by the time to clean it all out and take the chain off the chainwheels to release tension, it is really just easier to drive out one of the other pins.
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Old 12-03-06, 12:46 PM   #14
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I use SRAM chains and pretty much don't use the powerlink feature. It really is easier to just use the cahin tool.
The way these new narrow chains (like the PC58) are rivetted together, you enlarge the hole in the sideplate by pressing out the pin. (Take a look at the end of the pin when it's out under a magnifying glass; it will be upset on the two sides where it's staked.) That is the reason why you should use Powerlinks.

I too had a lot of trouble opening a new Powerlink the first time. However, when you take a good look at how it works, you'll see that applying pressure on a diagonal across the link will compress it.
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Old 12-03-06, 01:09 PM   #15
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Given the price of new chain, why not look at the chain as a seasonal thing? Ride it through the winter, wipe it down once a week or so, more if you're riding through really bad slush, and come april, buy a new one.
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