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Old 09-16-09, 03:42 PM   #1
vredstein
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Don't clean new chain

I've tried it both ways, installing a new chain as it comes out of the package, and first cleaning a new chain and lubing it with my favorite lube. Here are the results of installing a new cheapo KMC 1/8" chain on my commuter. The bike has a Shimano Nexus Premium IGH, 21t cog, and 44t Sugino Messenger ring. This chain has 518 miles on it. Never been cleaned, never been lubed. I lube my chains once I heard the lightest hint of squeeking.
I'm convinced the factory applied thicker, sticky lube results in the best condition your chain will ever see. Ride it till it squeaks, then you're on your own to choose your personal lube.
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Old 09-16-09, 03:51 PM   #2
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If a chain squeaks, it needed lube long before that time. With 10 or 11 cogs and double chainrings, I don't want that greasy crap oozing out of my chain for the first several hundred miles. I didn't clean my last 11 speed chain befor installing it and regretted that decision. The grease attracts lots of dirt.
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Old 09-16-09, 04:08 PM   #3
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If a chain squeaks, it needed lube long before that time. With 10 or 11 cogs and double chainrings, I don't want that greasy crap oozing out of my chain for the first several hundred miles. I didn't clean my last 11 speed chain befor installing it and regretted that decision. The grease attracts lots of dirt.
+1, I definitely disagree with Sheldon on this one. Factory lube is out before it even goes on the bike.

Then, lube with Boeshield, and my chain is dead silent, and amazingly clean.
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Old 09-16-09, 04:14 PM   #4
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+1, I definitely disagree with Sheldon on this one. Factory lube is out before it even goes on the bike.

Then, lube with Boeshield, and my chain is dead silent, and amazingly clean.
John, do you have any problem with the Boeshield being real sticky? I tried some a while back but I probably didn't wipe off the chain soon enough after I lubed with it.
Thanks,
Steve
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Old 09-16-09, 04:24 PM   #5
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I've never had problems leaving the factory-lube in place. Or had problems with Boeshield T-9 attracting excessive dirt. Works for me.
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Old 09-16-09, 04:31 PM   #6
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John, do you have any problem with the Boeshield being real sticky? I tried some a while back but I probably didn't wipe off the chain soon enough after I lubed with it.
Thanks,
Steve
Only if I use more than one drop per link, or apply to frequently. I average about 200 miles in between 1-drop per roller application.

As long as I stick to my rule, I'm golden. I do however, completely degrease (removal and soak) once every 500 miles or so (2 weeks generally).

Other than that, I used tri-flow before, and likely it very much, just attracted more dirt than I liked.
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Old 09-16-09, 04:44 PM   #7
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Well, my pictures don't lie. Does it look like the factory lube has attracted less dirt on this chain than repeated coatings with aftermarket lube would have. Any factory lube that oozes out is excess. It seems like in my case if it did indeed ooze out, it disappeared along with any dirt it may have attracted. The absence of any squeaking indicates to me that there is still lube on the inside, where it's needed.

"If a chain squeaks, it needed lube long before that time."

If this is true, then you should be able to say just how long before that time.
Squeaking is a metal on metal sound. If it doesn't squeak, then there's lube between the metal. Otherwise, there's some mysterious point of constant metal on metal contact where squeaking suddenly rears its head. I've never cleaned a chain, installed it without lube, and had it NOT squeak. The squeaking disappears as soon as lube is applied.

When I do lube a chain, it's only after cleaning the chain. And then I use Dumonde Tech. Any lube that's applied will find it's way to the inside of the chain. After being ridden, centrifugal force will force excess lube to the outside. I wipe the chain down after each of the first three or four rides to clean off the excess which is only attracting and holding dirt. After that, I find the dirt no longer accumulates, and I relube again only when I hear the first hints of squeaking. I've never broken a chain.
I'm open to the possibility that this method only works for me, and this post is only a testimonial applicable to that one individual.
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Old 09-16-09, 04:54 PM   #8
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What constitutes optimal chain lubrication depends on (at least) local humidity and soil composition, your riding frequency and style, and whether you ride in the rain. Everyone has an opinion what's best, undoubtedly derived from their own perfectly valid experience, and almost certainly in direct conflict with various other peoples perfectly valid experience.

There is no single best system, but it's not rocket science:

Take a look at your chain frequently. If it is covered in sticky, gritty gunk a lot, try a different lube strategy involving less lube or less sticky lube. If it is dry and not moving freely enough, try using more or stickier lube. Once you find a system that works well for you, stick with it. Optionally, go on the internet and tell people that what works for them is wrong
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Old 09-16-09, 07:11 PM   #9
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There is no single best system, but it's not rocket science
I agree.

Waiting until imperfect human hearing can detect a chain squeak is like visiting a doctor when you're sick. Putting more lube on before you hear a squeak is like visiting the doctor for regular checkups, even when you're healthy. Neither way is right or wrong. One approach is just more cautious than the other.

Thinking about the simile that I just used shows me that I take better care of my bike than my body.
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Old 09-16-09, 08:53 PM   #10
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Well this thread hasn't been done before.
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Old 09-17-09, 05:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by johnknappcc View Post
Only if I use more than one drop per link, or apply to frequently. I average about 200 miles in between 1-drop per roller application.

As long as I stick to my rule, I'm golden. I do however, completely degrease (removal and soak) once every 500 miles or so (2 weeks generally).

Other than that, I used tri-flow before, and likely it very much, just attracted more dirt than I liked.
Thanks John. I'll give that a shot next time.
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Old 09-17-09, 05:52 PM   #12
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I believe Sheldon.
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Old 09-17-09, 09:57 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by vredstein View Post
I've tried it both ways, installing a new chain as it comes out of the package, and first cleaning a new chain and lubing it with my favorite lube. Here are the results of installing a new cheapo KMC 1/8" chain on my commuter. The bike has a Shimano Nexus Premium IGH, 21t cog, and 44t Sugino Messenger ring. This chain has 518 miles on it. Never been cleaned, never been lubed. I lube my chains once I heard the lightest hint of squeeking.
I'm convinced the factory applied thicker, sticky lube results in the best condition your chain will ever see. Ride it till it squeaks, then you're on your own to choose your personal lube.
+1
Sheldon Brown was right on this. No lube can match what is applied as the chain is assembled. Even the best lube flushes debris down into the rollers. Having the lube pre-applied forces the debris away from the contact points as the chain moves.
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Old 09-17-09, 10:05 PM   #14
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I never remove it either. When it starts drying out, then I apply, on top of the original grease, one drop per link of Boeshield T-9. I've never had any reason to change this practice. My chains all work superbly (I use SRAM on all my bicycles), and they last a good, long time.

In fact, I just purchased a SRAM/Sachs/Sedis PC-7X on my 3-spd PUCH. Smooth as anything I've had. I wonder how long this one will last...
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Old 09-17-09, 10:19 PM   #15
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Being a cheapskate, the most attractive chain lube advice I read on bikeforums is to use ATF. So I'm using it, and it's working great for me. My bike is incredibly quiet.
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Old 09-18-09, 07:28 AM   #16
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it is just so sticky! do you wipe down the outside at least?
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Old 09-18-09, 06:48 PM   #17
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it is just so sticky! do you wipe down the outside at least?
Nope. It doesn't stay sticky for long. I'm not sure why. Here are a couple possibilities.
Whatever moisture causes the stickiness evaporates. I ride in Arizona, a very dry and dusty environment. If I rode in Seattle, maybe my experience would be different.
Dust, dirt, etc. does indeed stick, and as it dries, it simply falls away.
I do clean off the chain rings, cogs, and derailleur pulleys. I get some accumulation of crud here after the first few rides, but after cleaning it up, it no longer accumulates. I get much more accumulation when the chain is lubed with either wax-based lube, petroleum-based lube, or Dumonde Tech-a polymer-based lube.
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Old 09-19-09, 05:26 PM   #18
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The gunk on new chains seem to collect dirt faster than most any kind of lub you can buy. I didnt clean it off, and just lubed it when it seemed to need it. When it got too dirty I completely cleaned it with kerosene. I now use Mobil 1 oil applied with oiler on each link. I try to wipe and keep it as clean as possible. I have 3000 miles on my Rans Stratus, and the park CC3 indicated less than the .75 wear point.

One point I might add is that since the Stratus has a chain approx 3 times the length of a DF bike the wear is spread out.
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Old 09-19-09, 05:40 PM   #19
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Using factory rust protection for lube is a cheapskate strategy. It certainly works and saves a couple of nickels. But no finesse. I just installed tow new SRAM 991 chains on the recumbent. Soaked them for half an hour in auto parts cleaner, and then cleaned all that out with carb cleaner. Sun dry for half an hour and install. Lube with Pro Link. Deliciously smooth and quiet. I love it. bk
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Old 09-19-09, 05:40 PM   #20
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Agree with the OP. I sheepishly admitted to the mechanic at my local shop that I was running the factory lube and he said good idea.
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Old 09-19-09, 05:44 PM   #21
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Using factory rust protection for lube is a cheapskate strategy. It certainly works and saves a couple of nickels. But no finesse. I just installed tow new SRAM 991 chains on the recumbent. Soaked them for half an hour in auto parts cleaner, and then cleaned all that out with carb cleaner. Sun dry for half an hour and install. Lube with Pro Link. Deliciously smooth and quiet. I love it. bk

You can keep your toxic solvents. I would never purchase those products. No finesse.
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Old 09-19-09, 06:02 PM   #22
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Well, citrus degreasers certainly won't get that stuff off. bk
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Old 09-19-09, 08:15 PM   #23
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I always clean that thick crap off a new chain before using it. Always.
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Old 09-19-09, 08:26 PM   #24
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Well, citrus degreasers certainly won't get that stuff off. bk
Yes, easily. Use in a well ventilated area. The hot tip is to leave that stuff on, but you don't get it.
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Old 09-19-09, 08:27 PM   #25
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Using factory rust protection for lube is a cheapskate strategy. It certainly works and saves a couple of nickels. But no finesse. I just installed tow new SRAM 991 chains on the recumbent. Soaked them for half an hour in auto parts cleaner, and then cleaned all that out with carb cleaner. Sun dry for half an hour and install. Lube with Pro Link. Deliciously smooth and quiet. I love it. bk
Extremely unecessary. Not to mention soaking chains in solvents like that will weaken them.
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