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    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Who keeps two chains for a bike?

    I'm thinking of having a container full of some lubricant (probably the kind I use) and keep one chain in it. Then once a week, two weeks, etc. I put it on the bike and take the one that was on the bike and put it in the container for a soak.

    Thoughts? Valid? Dumb idea?

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    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    There are a number of people here who rotate through three chains per cassette.
    I'm sure one will chime in shortly.

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    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Close, but not quite how you should rotate them, IMO. Don't keep a jar of lubricant, as it won't get the chain clean. Try a jar of mineral spirits instead, and give the dirty chain jar a shake every day or so to really get the old grit out of the rollers. Give it a couple rinses in clean spirits before drying it off in front of a fan or with some spray air to quickly evaporate any remaining spirits from the rollers. Then lube it up with a drop of whatever your favourite is per link. (I use Finish Line Wet most of the year up here in the PNW.) Install, decant your settled spirits to a clean jar, and soak the dirty chain.
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    I don't want to rain on anyone's ideas, but I honestly don't think it will be as helpful as you hope. I'm assuming the goal is to extend the lifetime of the chain, but I think keeping one on the bike, and keeping it lubed would be more practical, and beneficial than swapping them. For one, it's a lot of work to do every two weeks. Second, I would say that relinking a chain that often would increase the risk of damaging it.

    Those are just my thoughts, do as you wish.

  5. #5
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    Close, but not quite how you should rotate them, IMO. Don't keep a jar of lubricant, as it won't get the chain clean. Try a jar of mineral spirits instead, and give the dirty chain jar a shake every day or so to really get the old grit out of the rollers. Give it a couple rinses in clean spirits before drying it off in front of a fan or with some spray air to quickly evaporate any remaining spirits from the rollers. Then lube it up with a drop of whatever your favourite is per link. (I use Finish Line Wet most of the year up here in the PNW.) Install, decant your settled spirits to a clean jar, and soak the dirty chain.
    Fine thoughts on the rotation. Thanks.

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    My question is: Presuming the chain in use is periodicaly lubricated, what does rotating through multiple chains on a single bike achieve that simply using a chain to the point of replacement does not? (without getting into the entire debate about the advantages vs. disadvantages of using a rotary brush cleaner)
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  7. #7
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBentley57 View Post
    I don't want to rain on anyone's ideas, but I honestly don't think it will be as helpful as you hope. I'm assuming the goal is to extend the lifetime of the chain, but I think keeping one on the bike, and keeping it lubed would be more practical, and beneficial than swapping them. For one, it's a lot of work to do every two weeks. Second, I would say that relinking a chain that often would increase the risk of damaging it.

    Those are just my thoughts, do as you wish.
    I was also considering the wear and tear on the chain by taking it off and on so often. My main goal is to make sure it is both clean and really lubed up because at times it is a struggle to get on the bike, let alone properly take care of it. I was hoping by doing this I would do the best I can with the time I have. Right now when I get off the bike I park it in the garage and go inside to run to some other activity. Before long my bike is overdue for some loving.

  8. #8
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
    My question is: Presuming the chain in use is periodicaly lubricated, what does rotating through multiple chains on a single bike achieve that simply using a chain to the point of replacement does not? (without getting into the entire debate about the advantages vs. disadvantages of using a rotary brush cleaner)
    Your assumption is the issue itself. I find myself neglecting the maintenance that I should be doing because I'm just barely finding time to be on the bike. It's not good for the bike, I know, but I'm trying to find ways to do the best I can with it.

  9. #9
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    Soaking a chain in lube is overkill, but if you don't mind the expense it should be great for the chain. When riding a bike the chain should be nearly dry to the touch on the outside. The rollers and links are what need lubrication. Too much lube attracts dirt and fouls the chain pretty quickly.

    You have a good devotion to the condition of your bike. Personally, I think that a clean chain is one of the best improvements you can make for power transfer. There is a good discussion of chain lubing in the Mountain bike thread, two of them in fact. You might check them out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WonderMonkey View Post
    Your assumption is the issue itself. I find myself neglecting the maintenance that I should be doing because I'm just barely finding time to be on the bike. It's not good for the bike, I know, but I'm trying to find ways to do the best I can with it.
    Wiping your chain with a rag on a weekly basis, applying a drop of oil per link, spinning the cranks a few times and then wiping chain again with rag takes but a few seconds. Maybe, 2-3 minutes at the most. Hardly any more than pumping the tires.

    If using hardened shimano pins for your chain connection, I would recommend against frequent removal. If using quick links, I would suspect the removal cleaning, drying, lubing would actually require more time than outlined above.

    Sorry, but, no free lunch on this one. Just keep a couple rags handy, a bottle of lube and maybe a mechanical chain cleaner. That is the quick solution. Some might suggest the removal route is a "better" solution. But, I can't imagine it being a "quicker" one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daspydyr View Post
    Soaking a chain in lube is overkill, but if you don't mind the expense it should be great for the chain. When riding a bike the chain should be nearly dry to the touch on the outside. The rollers and links are what need lubrication. Too much lube attracts dirt and fouls the chain pretty quickly.

    You have a good devotion to the condition of your bike. Personally, I think that a clean chain is one of the best improvements you can make for power transfer. There is a good discussion of chain lubing in the Mountain bike thread, two of them in fact. You might check them out.
    Here in lies the rub(s). He's not dedicated to the maintenance of his bike, but, looking for a quicker path. And, I would question highly, if soaking a chain in lube wouldn't result in it having excessive lubrication, unless allowed to drain/dry quite a bit before installation and then having the exterior well wiped.

    I can understand those individuals who see soaking a chain in solvent as an effective means of loosening grime. But, even then I question if they're any more effective at getting material out of the rollers and pins than simply using a chain cleaner would have been. Either method involves the neccessity of then thoroughly drying the chain and relubing.

    To remove a chain, just to let it soak in lube?
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    I think you CAN do a better job cleaning/lubing a chain by taking it off the bike compared to doing the maintenance insitu, but for me, the hassles of breaking a link each time and re-threading the chain is more trouble than it is worth. Having said this, I do occasionally take my drivetrain apart (every year or so) for a thorough cleaning.

    As to having a 2nd chain so one can be on soak while the other is in use, I doubt a chain that soaks in solvent/lubricant overnight does that much better than one soaked for a few minutes while you're doing other bicycle maintenance. Seems simpler just to remove it, clean it, lube it, and return it to service and not worry about a 2nd chain.

    - Mark

  13. #13
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Alright, I'll chime in too, why not.

    If you really clean your chain well, you need to clean it, rinse it, let it dry and then lube it. If you left the chain on the bike, it's probably not as clean as you think. Messy, and takes a while.

    If you remove your chain (I just bought a wipperman removeable link for my SRAM 10 speed chain) and soak it in cleaning solution, then rinse it, then install it and lube it, your chain will be as clean as if you just got it out of the package.

    I like both methods, but for me and scenario #2, my EXTRA chain can be used while the first one is at the chain spa. I tend to remember to do bike maintenance right before I want to go riding, so there's that.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Personally I usually clean my chain on the bike. It is perfectly possible to get it properly clean, and the more often you wipe it down the better - it's not a long job. And many people's chains are dirtier than they need be because of too much lube. Once you have lubricated it, wipe the excess off. It's only the pins you want lubed, leaving some on the outside just means it picks up grit.

    However, my main comment regards breaking the chain. I very rarely break a chain, doing so only if there's a problem. If I have to remove a chain from a bike with derailleur gears, I remove the jockey wheel from the rear mech, and the small screw with spacer at the rear of the front mech. The chain then comes off the bike without your having to disconnect a link. This takes no longer than it does to use a chain tool, and while it is slightly - but only slightly - less convenient than a quick link, it is also cost-free and avoids the slight potential for failure.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    Senior Member Chesha Neko's Avatar
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    Given that I can get a KMC Z610HX chain with a 2500 pound tensile strength for $10 - $12, I don't see much point into spending loads of time and money on extensive cleaning, etc. Just swap in a new one every 4 months or so, periodically dripping on a little ProLink. Maximizes chainring and cog life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    If I have to remove a chain from a bike with derailleur gears, I remove the jockey wheel from the rear mech, and the small screw with spacer at the rear of the front mech. The chain then comes off the bike without your having to disconnect a link. This takes no longer than it does to use a chain tool, and while it is slightly - but only slightly - less convenient than a quick link, it is also cost-free and avoids the slight potential for failure.
    This seriously damages the creditability of anything else you might write.

    (Think about the path the chain takes through that rear triangle.)
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
    This seriously damages the creditability of anything else you might write.

    (Think about the path the chain takes through that rear triangle.)
    Yes, sorry. Actually it's not my credibility thats the problem, but my ability to express myself. Yes the chain still passes through the rear triangle. My point is that the issue most people raise with regard to chain cleaning is access. What I describe gives you ready access to the whole chain plus allows you, without breaking the chain, to remove the other bits of the drivetrain for maintenance, repair, replacement etc. There is only rarely a need to completely remove a still-serviceable chain from the bike.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    If I have to remove a chain from a bike with derailleur gears,..... . The chain then comes off the bike without your having to disconnect a link. This takes no longer than it does to use a chain tool, and while it is slightly - but only slightly - less convenient than a quick link.
    I'm sure you can understand my confussion.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

  19. #19
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WonderMonkey View Post
    I was also considering the wear and tear on the chain by taking it off and on so often. My main goal is to make sure it is both clean and really lubed up because at times it is a struggle to get on the bike, let alone properly take care of it. I was hoping by doing this I would do the best I can with the time I have. Right now when I get off the bike I park it in the garage and go inside to run to some other activity. Before long my bike is overdue for some loving.
    Use a powerlink and it's less of an issue. You can open and close a powerlink with no tools at all. I like KMC chains as they come with what they call a "missing link" (although for some reason it's always present)
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
    I'm sure you can understand my confussion.
    Yes of course I do, and what I said was foolish. But it arises from the fact that I almost never feel the need to remove the chain from the frame. For me the issue is almost invariably how best to separate it from the rest of the drivetrain.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  21. #21
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daspydyr View Post
    Soaking a chain in lube is overkill, but if you don't mind the expense it should be great for the chain. When riding a bike the chain should be nearly dry to the touch on the outside. The rollers and links are what need lubrication. Too much lube attracts dirt and fouls the chain pretty quickly.

    You have a good devotion to the condition of your bike. Personally, I think that a clean chain is one of the best improvements you can make for power transfer. There is a good discussion of chain lubing in the Mountain bike thread, two of them in fact. You might check them out.
    I'll check that thread out. You might be right, too much lube could attract the dirt. I'm new to maintenance so thanks for that thought.

  22. #22
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
    Wiping your chain with a rag on a weekly basis, applying a drop of oil per link, spinning the cranks a few times and then wiping chain again with rag takes but a few seconds. Maybe, 2-3 minutes at the most. Hardly any more than pumping the tires.

    If using hardened shimano pins for your chain connection, I would recommend against frequent removal. If using quick links, I would suspect the removal cleaning, drying, lubing would actually require more time than outlined above.

    Sorry, but, no free lunch on this one. Just keep a couple rags handy, a bottle of lube and maybe a mechanical chain cleaner. That is the quick solution. Some might suggest the removal route is a "better" solution. But, I can't imagine it being a "quicker" one.
    Thanks. I'm new to all this so maybe doing what you suggested is enough. I have been thinking that a quick <insert what you suggested> wouldn't do it. Maybe what I need to do is just get into the habit of doing that. I know for a fact I can make a few minutes for my bike, but certainly not say a half hour.

  23. #23
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
    To remove a chain, just to let it soak in lube?
    Probably sounds silly to those that are more knowledgeable but having those things pointed out is how I learn. I'm going to rethink this strategy.

  24. #24
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markjenn View Post
    I think you CAN do a better job cleaning/lubing a chain by taking it off the bike compared to doing the maintenance insitu, but for me, the hassles of breaking a link each time and re-threading the chain is more trouble than it is worth. Having said this, I do occasionally take my drivetrain apart (every year or so) for a thorough cleaning.

    As to having a 2nd chain so one can be on soak while the other is in use, I doubt a chain that soaks in solvent/lubricant overnight does that much better than one soaked for a few minutes while you're doing other bicycle maintenance. Seems simpler just to remove it, clean it, lube it, and return it to service and not worry about a 2nd chain.

    - Mark
    Fair enough. The fact that enough are questioning this tactic is enough for me to rethink it.

  25. #25
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    Alright, I'll chime in too, why not.

    If you really clean your chain well, you need to clean it, rinse it, let it dry and then lube it. If you left the chain on the bike, it's probably not as clean as you think. Messy, and takes a while.

    If you remove your chain (I just bought a wipperman removeable link for my SRAM 10 speed chain) and soak it in cleaning solution, then rinse it, then install it and lube it, your chain will be as clean as if you just got it out of the package.

    I like both methods, but for me and scenario #2, my EXTRA chain can be used while the first one is at the chain spa. I tend to remember to do bike maintenance right before I want to go riding, so there's that.
    Chain spa... I like it. I'll probably still get another chain but maybe not let it soak in the lube. Let it soak in the cleaner then lube it after I take it out and let it dry. Also I won't switch it very often, but on a much longer interval. Every few months? Half year?

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