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Old 08-22-11, 05:59 PM   #1
chefisaac
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Chain Maintnance and other questions

Hello all. I am new to working on my bike so please dont come down hard on me too much!

How do I know when I need to grease (is that the right term) the chain?

Also, I hear a noise when I pedal but it stops when I stop pedaling. Should I first try tightening everything before I go further in trying to find out what it is?
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Old 08-22-11, 06:03 PM   #2
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http://www.sheldonbrown.com/creaks.html (Hehe I finally get to be that person, but can't help but comment =P...tightening doesn't solve everything, maybe you need some lube, other times you need some grease for the bearings...)
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Old 08-22-11, 07:08 PM   #3
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This covers it. http://draco.nac.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/8d.2.html
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Old 08-22-11, 07:25 PM   #4
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There's no easy one size fits all answer to how often to lubricate a chain. It depends on the specific lube you're using, and the conditions you're riding in. It can be anywhere from once a day, to once a week to once in a blue moon. the important thing is that you keep it lubes so it runs smoothly, quietly and doesn't wear out.

As for the click, search mysterious or weird click on this forum and you'll see how wide the field is.

But let's assume for the moment that it's simple. If it's clean fairly click once per pedal revolution, and happens only on the outer or middle chainring, then it might be as simple as the chain touching the tooth after the shift gate on the chainring. This is very common on fairly new bikes, and is totally normal and benign.

If it isn't that, start by noting the frequency of clicking.

once (or twice) per crank revolution, usually as your feet come over the top, then check pedals, cleats, bottom bracket, loose chainring bolts, and the list goes on, including a loose saddle clamp.

once per wheel revolution while pedaling only, then it's probably a cassette issue (this is a rare situation)

once every 3 or 4 crank revolution, it's in the chain. Probably a damaged link, could also be a stiff link.

That's the primer, and it might not be any of these, but the first step is to note the frequency because it'll tell you where to look.

Have fun.
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Old 08-22-11, 07:31 PM   #5
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I lube every 250 miles but only because I ride almost daily, otherwise it may be a time factor. I clean my chain eveyr 500 miles. A good inexpensive lube is synthetic motor oil. Bike lubes are Prolink, BoShield T-6, Pedro's SynLube.
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Old 08-22-11, 07:42 PM   #6
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I lube every 250 miles but only because I ride almost daily, otherwise it may be a time factor. I clean my chain eveyr 500 miles. A good inexpensive lube is synthetic motor oil. Bike lubes are Prolink, BoShield T-6, Pedro's SynLube.
Synthetic motor oil a qt cost about what a small bottle of bicycle oil cost too.Thanks for the tip.
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Old 08-22-11, 08:22 PM   #7
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I do mine roughly every 2 weeks, or after a big rain. I don't really schedule it however, I just listen to the chain. A good drivetrain should be silent, and when you can start hearing the chain as you pedal, that's a good indicator that it's time to re-lube it.

Rain tends to wash the lube away, which is why after a rainy ride I can always hear the chain.
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Old 08-22-11, 08:28 PM   #8
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If you are going to use motor oil whether synthetic or not it's best to dilute it with mineral spirits. The standard formula for "home brew" is one part Mobil One synthetic with four parts mineral spirits. Your formula could vary. The mineral spirits acts as a carrier to help the oil penetrate into the smaller voids in the chain. Much of the mineral spirits evaporates leaving the oil where it's needed. The chain can be wiped down frequently to clean it. Wrap a rag around the lower interval of chain and turn the cranks backwards.

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Old 08-22-11, 08:45 PM   #9
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...The chain can be wiped down frequently to clean it. Wrap a rag around the lower interval of chain and turn the cranks backwards.
Keep a steady hand on the rag - I've walked the chain right off the last cog when I haven't been paying attention.
I've done this more times than I care to remember.
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Old 08-22-11, 09:01 PM   #10
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That's good advice but if the chain is on the smallest cog the derailleur's high limit screw should keep the chain from jumping off. And I usually have the chain near the middle of the cassette when cleaning.
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Old 08-23-11, 09:31 AM   #11
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Oil the chain when it's been in the rain, or shows rust, or when it squeaks. Be aware that younger people hear the squeaks sooner than older folks -- I drove my daughter nuts one day when she heard it as we started off, but I didn't hear it until late in the afternoon!

Do keep it clean, at least wipe-down clean. It's possible to just add oil, and never wipe off the excess, and build up greasy crud such that it never squeaks, and there's no bare metal, but the crud gets in the chain, causes a stiff link, and if you're lucky the chain breaks instead of something else. Miles from home, of course.
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Old 08-29-11, 10:49 AM   #12
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If you are going to use motor oil whether synthetic or not it's best to dilute it with mineral spirits. The standard formula for "home brew" is one part Mobil One synthetic with four parts mineral spirits. Your formula could vary. The mineral spirits acts as a carrier to help the oil penetrate into the smaller voids in the chain. Much of the mineral spirits evaporates leaving the oil where it's needed. The chain can be wiped down frequently to clean it. Wrap a rag around the lower interval of chain and turn the cranks backwards.
I use to dilute the synthetic motor oil but synthetic is so thin already, I find it unnecessary. I used synthetic for almost a year on my 9 speed road bike and it worked fine. I now only use it on MTB, kids bikes, and friction shifters.
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