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  1. #1
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Chain clean & lube: What works for you?

    My rides are about 50% pavement and 50% gravel.

    My practical chain maintenance routine is not enough to keep my chain clean. So I ask, What works for you?

    What lube do you use?
    What intervals?
    What do you use to clean a chain used for gravel paths and roads?
    How long will you keep the same chain in use?

    I'm now wiping down my drivetrain every ride, or about every 50 miles. I don't use solvents or cleaners. I'm lubing the chain about every 150 miles with a wet lube. I'm buying a new chain about every 2500 miles, long before it is worn-out.
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 10-12-13 at 07:49 AM.
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  2. #2
    AKA: Rusty Bitts pamaguahiker's Avatar
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    That's a lot of questions in a short paragraph. I will tackle first, then be critiqued and learn some about the process also when people do respond.

    I use white lightning, but my process of cleaning and applying is different. When I finish a ride, if it was wet and muddy. I use a wet spray, while spinning it backwards, I applying wet spray. let it stand a few minutes, then cycle is backwards again with rage held firmly to clean. I do this for a few minutes and inspect. if it is still VERY wet with lube cleaner, then I run it backwards again. Then I apply the white lightning while spinning around to get all the chain covered. I probably oversimplified the process but it works for me. After you do it a time or two. The whole process can be done within 10 minutes easily. I also knock off any chunky debris from cogs and rings.

    How long does a chain last? depends on how muddy, how often it is muddy, is it cleaned after muddy, are cogs clean...those may be some questions stated.

    For me, I have a bike that I have 10k at least on chain, cogs, and rings. It is my beater winter, bad weather bike and being in Pa, where there appear to be 2 season some years, winter and almost winter, or horribly humid and rainy at other times. (Where else do you put the heater and AC on in the same day, Pa), I just keep cleaning as suggested above on those rainy or dirty mud days. I don't plan on changing until I have a catastrophic failure of chain and I am well aware that I will be replacing all. But as I said. It's a beater and the items I replace it with will most likely be not top notched and mostly used. When I used to race and use high end parts. They needed replaced more often, about 5k miles maybe, and there is a old tip. When the cassette cogs started skipping, flip the chain and you can usually squeak out another 500-1000 miles. I have had only one opportunity to test this theory and advice and it did indeed get me another 600 miles.

    Good luck

  3. #3
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    I use Pro-link Gold. Their instructions are to just wipe down and re-lube, but that's nuts. Wiping cleans the outside, that's not the wear I'm worried about. Lubed sand and grit ain't good for anything.
    I try to clean (and re-lube) my chain after a wet ride, or just starts looking too gunky. Either way, at least once a month.
    I use an on-the-bike chain cleaner from Performance, use Simple Green as the cleaner.
    I use the measure-twelve-links method to determine chain wear. Try to replace when it's "stretched" 1/16".

  4. #4
    AKA: Rusty Bitts pamaguahiker's Avatar
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    1+ to the measure-twelve-links method. It's a good measure! I used this faithfully with my racing bikes.

  5. #5
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    When I'm going to be riding in wet conditions I use Finish Line Wet lube. It's pretty thick and doesn't wash away. On my commuter that usually keeps it quiet for a few weeks. I don't wipe it down until it starts to get noisy or feel sluggish. With this routine I get about 2500 miles out of a chain.

    I also use Finish Line Wet for CX racing, but those races are usually pretty muddy and so I end up washing it and relubing after every race. I don't track mileage meticulously in those conditions, but I'd guess those chains don't see 500 miles.

    I use a chain checker tool and replace it when it gets to the 0.1% indicator.

  6. #6
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    The 12 link method works, is cheap and is easy. If you need to measure really quickly (like, perhaps, you fix bikes for a living) then the options are pretty well either "Shimano chain checker" or "ignore the minor errors in other brands". I use a ParkTools checker under the second of those options.

    http://pardo.net/bike/pic/fail-004/000.html

  7. #7
    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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    I use Chain-L and apply warmed. Depending on the race I will wipe off and see if there is need to re-apply. If a really muddy or gunky race I will run the chain through a scrubber and re-apply. For my SS cross bike, I keep it dry so it will never attract anything. I've thought about dipping it in melted paraffin but have never gotten around to it.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Some, applied regularly, not that Fussy , LBS has a bottle of Triflow, I use theirs occasionally..

    wiping off the outside of the chain once it penetrates under the rollers.

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