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  1. #1
    Senior Member TrekmanDan's Avatar
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    How often do you clean/lube your drivetrain?

    The last time I went on a serious ride was back in September for the Tour de Cure. Since then, our bikes have pretty much been expensive "coat racks." Anyway, i've been itching to go for a ride, but was thinking that since it's a new year, i should start it off right - which includes cleaning/lubing all the important parts. With that said, how often do you guys clean/lube your chain, derailleurs, cassette, etc. Also, what do you guys use?

  2. #2
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    When it needs it. Don't mean to be sarcastic, but that's it. In summer I probably lube the chain with ProLink every 100 miles or so, but I doubt it needs it that often. Since I started using ProLink, I don't clean on a regular basis, just when things look cruddy or the shifting deteriorates. If I ride in mud or rain, I hose the bike off (it's wet anyway), bounce it a few times and lube the chain and brake & derailleur pivot points

  3. #3
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    Im no expert (in fact Im kinda a noob) but whenever I plan on going on a long ride or one that I expect to be hard I make sure to lube my chain and cassette at least. I also keep a small bottle of I think its called white lightning in my bike bag so if I need it its there.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ultimattfrisbee's Avatar
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    A lot more on my winter commuter. Pretty much like Velo Dog. When I ride in heavy grit or, worse yet, salty slush, I take the bike to the basement, stand it up on the laundry sink (now that's a trick) and hose it off, then lube the drive train. I can't remember which lube. It's 30 steps away in the basement, but I'm too lazy to check at the moment. Suffice to say that it's a little bottle of light blue chain lubricating oil I bought at my LBS. They told me it was what I needed, and it has been. In summer, again, same as Velo. As needed.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Depends...on the bike, the weather and how much it is ridden. My daily rider(s) are single speed or IGH, in all cases they have chainguards and fenders, some even have full chaincases. Those get done about once a year...maybe. My road bikes also have fenders, those might get done a couple of times a year or when I notice they are getting cruddy. My MTB...gets hosed off after every ride, drive train lube is whenever I see rust or the shifting sucks. I primarily use Finish Line products, or oil

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  6. #6
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    When there's a visible build-up of oily crud on the chain ring and on the ceramic pulleys. Ask your general dentist for an old dental tool, the kind of thing they scrape your teeth with. Use that to scrape the hard to reach areas on the drive chain.

  7. #7
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekmanDan View Post
    The last time I went on a serious ride was back in September for the Tour de Cure. Since then, our bikes have pretty much been expensive "coat racks." Anyway, i've been itching to go for a ride, but was thinking that since it's a new year, i should start it off right - which includes cleaning/lubing all the important parts. With that said, how often do you guys clean/lube your chain, derailleurs, cassette, etc. Also, what do you guys use?
    If you want to clean it up, go ahead. But if you want to go for a ride, pump up the tires and ride. It won't hurt anything.
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  8. #8
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    Lube every 100 miles, or the rear shifting gets sloppy. Purple Extreme lube on a Wipperman Teflon-coated chain, on a da Vinci tandem so longer-than-normal chain. Maybe my smooth shifting expectations are too high. Did the San Antonio MS150 last October, and rode the century option on Saturday. Team captain had a repair stand available, and lots of folks asked why I was lubing the chain.

    Last year, I'd attempt to clean the chain in chain lube, about once per month. This year, I've surrendered and I'm cleaning the chain in chain cleaner, drying thoroughly, then lubing carefully.

  9. #9
    Bike rider alexaschwanden's Avatar
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    Every 300-500 miles about is when i clean my drive train. when i ride on dirt paths then i clean it a bit more often.
    2014 Felt Z5 carbon - 234.3 miles

  10. #10
    Senior Member jputnam's Avatar
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    Internal geared hub, so I don't need to lube any shifting, but I lube the chain at least twice a year, so not more than 2,500 miles between chain oilings.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I have no idea but not very often.

    The Rock & Roll lube that I've been using for the last several years says to wait until the chain starts to get noisy before applying a tiny amount. That's what I do. If the outside of the chain gets cruddy looking, I wipe it down sometimes using a bit of WD40. I replace my chain whenever 2 rivets reach the 12 1/8" mark but usually I'm changing cranksets or making major cassette changes or something before that happens so I replace the chain anyway.

    I don't do anything based upon either time or mileage but I make a mental list of needed maintenance everytime I ride.

  12. #12
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    every ride. wipe down chain with rag (20 seconds). put on 90W oil (10 seconds). occasionally i don't do it. like on my beater bike.

  13. #13
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    I try to clean and lubricate my chain once a week. I ride about 100 miles a week which I've heard is a good guideline for chain maintenance. Sometimes, I get busy or forgetful, though, so I have a reminder on my iPod's Calendar for every two weeks. It also tells me the last time I did it. It's probably not a must-do, but a noisy drive train bothers me a lot. I like smooth shifting, too.

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    Not often enough....

  15. #15
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    I try to wipe it off after every ride, but that usually is reduced to once a week (daily commuter, so I miss a few scheduled wipe-downs). A few years back, somebody did a test in which he wiped off half a chain, and ran the other half through a rigorous cleaning procedure. Both halves wore equally. That tells me the extra work in cleaning a chain is wasted.

    Re-lube? Is it squeaking? I don't see much salt on the roads, so that's not a problem. On the rare occasions when my chain gets muddy, I'll rinse it off, wipe down, dry, and lube; otherwise, wait until it asks for some lube (e.g., squeaks!).

    Chain lube is a religious issue. I'm currently comparing Chain-L vs. a 50/50 mix of 90w oil and mineral spirits. The mix works as well as anything else I've tried, and isn't as messy as some of the waxy lubes that build up some truly nasty deposits on inaccessible derailer pulleys.

  16. #16
    Senior Member TrekmanDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
    I try to wipe it off after every ride, but that usually is reduced to once a week (daily commuter, so I miss a few scheduled wipe-downs). A few years back, somebody did a test in which he wiped off half a chain, and ran the other half through a rigorous cleaning procedure. Both halves wore equally. That tells me the extra work in cleaning a chain is wasted.

    Re-lube? Is it squeaking? I don't see much salt on the roads, so that's not a problem. On the rare occasions when my chain gets muddy, I'll rinse it off, wipe down, dry, and lube; otherwise, wait until it asks for some lube (e.g., squeaks!).
    .
    Nothing squeaks right now. I guess i just want to do all I can to ensure everything lasts a fairly long time. With a baby girl on the way, i KNOW i won't have as much money to blow on parts, etc.

  17. #17
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Depends . . .
    Is your chain cruddy/rusty? Does it squeak/chirp?
    If it does, it's time to clean/relube or even replace.

  18. #18
    Blissketeer HokuLoa's Avatar
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    Kind of a "religious" topic... I do as needed which is not that often on the road bike (assuming dry rides). I give the drive train a wipe down every other ride or so. It gets a little lube every 2-300 miles usually. Full clean and relube every 1000-1500. I used to relube frequently like every ride and I found you get too much build up and end up wearing the hardware out faster with the attracted dirt and sand. A more dry, well maintained system lasts longer for me.

  19. #19
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    I try to lube the chain at least once a week and clean it every few weeks. I like to try to have the drivetrain "deep cleaned" every three months. That might be a bit overkill, but honestly, having the super clean cassette and chain on the bike motivates me more to get out and ride it. That alone has to be worth something!
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  20. #20
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    Weekly on average. About 120 miles or so
    Poker and riding two divergent past times that both make my day

  21. #21
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    I lube with Chain-L No.5 when my drivetrain starts to make noises/squeaks.

  22. #22
    Senior Member The Chemist's Avatar
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    After a rainy commute (constant rain both ways), or whenever the drivetrain starts making more noise and feeling less smooth than I'd like.
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  23. #23
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    I do it when ever I can just because the difference in shifting is night and day, even if it's just after 2 or 3 rides. The crank and chain move smoother together also. Sometimes I catch myself pedaling the bike (upside down) shifting through the gears for 10+ minutes; I don't know if it's just me, but it's REALLY FUN.

  24. #24
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    50/50 mixture of Phil's Tenacious & Finish Line/Tri-Flow as and whenever necessary.

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  25. #25
    Senior Member Notso_fastLane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    When it needs it. Don't mean to be sarcastic, but that's it. In summer I probably lube the chain with ProLink every 100 miles or so, but I doubt it needs it that often. Since I started using ProLink, I don't clean on a regular basis, just when things look cruddy or the shifting deteriorates. If I ride in mud or rain, I hose the bike off (it's wet anyway), bounce it a few times and lube the chain and brake & derailleur pivot points
    This is pretty much my routine. In the really rainy season (fall/winter), I at least give the chain and some components a wipe down, then spray with WD-40 (to help get the water out of the cracks), then a quick spritz with the regular lube.

    In the summer, or any long stretch of dry weather (which doesn't happen much here), I only give it a little spray every few weeks, and clean it about every other time I give it a lube. Pretty much the same as my motorcycles, actually.

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