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  1. #1
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Chain Cleaning & Lube without solvants or removing the chain.

    I'm putting more effort in maintaining a clean and well lubed chain on my road bike. I use an Ultegra chain for 10 speed Shimano drivetrain.

    I don't want to remove the chain.

    Currently I keep the chain wet with oil. I use Finish Line Wet lubricant.

    I wipe the excess lube every 200 miles and clean the cassette & chainrings. This removes most of the surface dirt. The chain eventually loses its wet quality about every 400 miles. I then dab more lube on the rollers and let the oil penetrate overnight. I'll then ride the bike and wipe off the excess before putting 100 miles on the new lube. This procedure has me wiping the lube off three times before reapplying more lube.

    This seems to be keeping the chain clean and well lubricated without using any problematic cleaners or removing the chain.

    Should I be doing more?


    Michael
    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
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  2. #2
    I suck, but you're worse
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    Yeah, don't lube your chain to begin with, it comes with exactly the right lube straight out of the package, and that lube lasts a long time.

    I personally NEVER lube my chains, most chains dont need to be lubed for a long time(1000+ miles) after installation.

    Wet Oil on the outside of the chain DOES NOTHING EXCEPT COLLECT DIRT. The pins and rollers need lube on the INSIDE, not the outside. Never leave excess oil on the outside of the chain, it will collect dirt which works its way into the pins and rollers and wears out your chain faster.

    If you must relube:
    Clean the chain with a hot wet cloth until any dirt is removed.
    Use teflon based dry lube-it doesn't attract dirt.
    Spin the crank for several turns to let the lube get into the rollers and pins.
    Put more lube on
    Spin the crank for several more turns
    wipe all excess lube off.

    Then you are good to go.

  3. #3
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    This discussion ought to be interesting. Ringside seats are still available. bk

  4. #4
    I suck, but you're worse
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    haha, true that

  5. #5
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    Should I be doing more?
    I think you're doing fine. My regimen is similar though less disciplined, and I use White Lightening with an occasional addition of wet lube (probably pointless).

    I tried the "let the OEM lube ride" approach and quickly had a squeaky chain.


    Maybe sooprvylyn uses kryptonite chains...
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  6. #6
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sooprvylyn View Post
    Yeah, don't lube your chain to begin with, it comes with exactly the right lube straight out of the package, and that lube lasts a long time.

    I personally NEVER lube my chains, most chains dont need to be lubed for a long time(1000+ miles) after installation.

    Wet Oil on the outside of the chain DOES NOTHING EXCEPT COLLECT DIRT. The pins and rollers need lube on the INSIDE, not the outside. Never leave excess oil on the outside of the chain, it will collect dirt which works its way into the pins and rollers and wears out your chain faster.

    If you must relube:
    Clean the chain with a hot wet cloth until any dirt is removed.
    Use teflon based dry lube-it doesn't attract dirt.
    Spin the crank for several turns to let the lube get into the rollers and pins.
    Put more lube on
    Spin the crank for several more turns
    wipe all excess lube off.

    Then you are good to go.

    I actually used this procedure for the last 4000 miles. I live in a wetter climate and dry lubes are ineffective in the rain.

    If I lived in the desert, I would use a dry lube.

    Michael
    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
    2012 Pedal Force CG2: "Secolo Bicicletta" the modern carbon fiber road bike
    2012 Pedal Force CX2: "Carbone CX" the carbon fiber CX bike
    2010 Origin 8 CX 700: "Servizio Grave" Monstercross/29er bike
    1997 Simoncini Special Cyclocross: "Little Simon" lugged Columbus steel CX bike
    1987 Serotta Nova Special X: "Azzurri" The retro Columbus SPX steel road bike

  7. #7
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    The factory grease does a lovely job for the first 500 or so KM's or the first two to three days of rain or one mud puddle. From there it's grinding paste time. I suppose in a velodrome it would last for the entire life of the bike but where there's dust and grit the chain will appreciate cleaning sooner or later. And as Barretscv has found none of the dry lubes work for me in my wet climate either.

    So cleaning sooner or later becomes a must do. Although if you oil and wipe down often the oil itself does a superb job of cleaning. Like if you were to oil and wipe off every three or four dry rides or after every wet ride the chain would never need cleaning. The fresh oil would flush away the grit so often that it would never be worse than leaving it for 300 to 400 kms and then clean it thouroughly.

    There's no need to let it soak. Oil is amazing stuff and by the time you apply a good amount and then spin the chain backwards a half dozen times while you're reaching for the paper towel to wipe it down it's already pentrated fully and it's time to wipe away the excess to leave no more than a light film on the plates. If it was a really muddy and wet ride a shot of WD40 then a wipe down and then the right oil and a second wipedown and yer done.

    Mind you I don't actually do it that way. I'm lazy and want to do something else once I get home so I just leave it until it's looking dirty and then I use one of those triple brushwheel chain cleaning gizmos and solvent to clean the chain on the bike, wipe away the solvent and then oil. This is not as bad as it sounds. I use mineral spirits to clean my chain and save the dirty stuff in a couple of old pickle jars. The grit settles out leaving just solvent lightly colored with the dissolved oil. You can re-use the solvent for easily 10 to 15 times or more. Just don't disturb the muck on the bottom too badly. Now and then I transfer the solvent and pour out the muck into the big jug where I keep my car's waste oil to be recycled. So no environmental issues.

    Now if the idea of regular oiling/cleaning after every couple of rides sounds good to you I'll also share my secret chain oil that works for our wet sloppy conditions up this way. I use the thick syrupy chainsaw bar oil from Home Depot mixed 50-50 with low odor paint thinner (the one used for oil based house paints. Otherwise known as mineral spirits). The solvent really lets it flow into the chain well and flush out grit which I then wipe away. Within a couple of hours the solvent has evaporated leaving a film of a thick good quality lube oil. The solvent allows me to wipe off the excess easily to leave a minimal film on the ouside so as to not attract an excess of grit. And when I'm in a hurry it also makes for a pretty decent flood on-wipe off quick cleaner that can be ridden right away.
    Last edited by BCRider; 10-19-09 at 07:56 PM.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  8. #8
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by sooprvylyn View Post
    I personally NEVER lube my chains, most chains dont need to be lubed for a long time(1000+ miles) after installation.
    You obviously don't ride anywhere where there's moisture or rain in that case.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  9. #9
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  10. #10
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I use BCRiders method exactly as I'm also in the PNW. It's an area thing. I used to use nothing but Finish Line Wet. Now I'm using Finish Line Ceramic, which I think makes the chain last a good bit longer. It's also not so ugly after a rain ride, so maybe that's part of it. The Ceramic is good in the summer, too, so that's all I use now.

    It's cold as well as wet most of the time in the PNW, and of course I don't clean and oil in the house. So I also use a heat *** with one of those shrink tube heater attachments on the end, and dry the chain after the mineral spirits, and then heat it again after the oiling to help move the cold oil into the bushings. I don't know if that's really necessary, but it makes me feel better.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Speaking of cleaning with solvents, after 3 straight half-commutes and 45 miles in the rain, I decided to clean my chain. I would normally use Simple Green but I've had these big cans of carburetor cleaner in my cabinets for a while now. I inherited them from someone cleaning out their garage and I've used a few sprays a year for the past few years to get a few lawnmowers going after the winter.

    I decided to try some on my chain and found that stuff cleans off grease very quickly. With Simple Green, I usually end up using quite a bit at full strength and still need to go back and spot clean in between links afterwards. The carb cleaner blasted all that junk away in a matter of seconds and I only had a small puddle of black cleaner in the bowl when I was done. A quick rinse with water and I had a sparkling, brand new looking chain. Of course, I did this off the bike as carb cleaner and paint do not mix nicely. I might actually have reasonably clean looking chains on my bikes from now on.

  12. #12
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    Sooprvylyn....

    That has to be the worst advice I've seen posted in a long time. With the large clearances between the rollers and sideplates, dirt enters any chain easily and the lube quickly becomes nothing but a grinding paste. No lube will do a very good job after more than a couple hundred miles.

    Dry lubes do a poor job of lubricating and need reapplication after nearly every ride. If that's not done you'll get shorter life with a dry lube than any other.

    Of course riding conditions makes a difference. Extreme wet or extreme dust are quite different situations.

    Cleaning a chain with a hot wet cloth would be of almost no value at all. The dirt that's doing damage is inside the chain.

    I wipe the exterior of my chain after every ride, but with a paper shop towel either dry or perhaps dampened with a little mineral spirits. That wiping is strictly for appearance. I use cheap homebrew and apply it every 100-150 miles. If th elube is applied to the top of the roller on the lower section of chain, dirt will not be flushed into the chain as some people contend. When it's not practical to remove a chain - like the Campy 11 speed, I will occasionally do a chain cleaning on the bike, but I mostly rely on the continual flushing that I get from frequent applications of homebrew.

  13. #13
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    IMHO, whatever REASONABLE regimen you choose, do it frequently and you will be fine.

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