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  1. #1
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    Chain cleaning during the winter

    How often? I just went for my first winter ride last weekend, and as a result bought my first chain degreaser and lube. After the ride I brushed and blew all the slush out of the drivetrain. I plan to go for a couple more rides this weekend, since temperatures are climbing back towards 30. My drivetrain is sure to get messy again this weekend, so I'm wondering how often I need to clean everything with the degreaser and lube.

    FYI, my riding is all in town right now as my trail is not ridable with the amount of snow and ruts from snowmobiles. It's a small town of 900 people - I know we use sand, but I don't think we use much if any salt. The roads are usually pretty well plowed, but last weekend there was still a lot of slush especially on the side streets, and there will be more of the same this weekend.

    Thanks,

    John

  2. #2
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    I ride nearly 30 km a day and probably clean and oil my chain every 3 days depending on the road conditions.

    When it is really cold and dry as it has been, the chain does not require the same level of service it does when things are warmer and there is a lot of slush, salt, and sand flying around.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Intheloonybin's Avatar
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    When it has been sloppy, I have to spray my chain after every ride (commuting). We use salt here, but it is really just the fact that it gets wet that screws it up.

    I have been using WD40 during the winter instead of the good lube I have. It's cheaper, and works great.

    I plan on doing an overhaul in the spring when the snow is done for sure, and will clean or replace the chain.

  4. #4
    Laid back bent rider unixpro's Avatar
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    I do 28 miles a day, 5 days a week. I clean on Sundays. I clean the chain, dry it off with a paper towel, and put on some new Pedro's Ice Wax. I also check the tires and refill the AirZounds if necessary.

  5. #5
    ALL PARTY ryansexton's Avatar
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    I clean my chain e very single day. Roads are way too salty to leave anything at risk. I've seen rust build up on my chain after two days of leaving it without cleaning it.

    I usually wipe down my entire bike, the pour buckets of water on it, dry it off, let the chain dry for a few hours (do a regular water rinse first) and then use all purpose oil. I just apply it on my chain ring, hub, bearings, and a few random spots on the disc and chain. Then I spin the wheel a few hundred times. This does the job for keepign rust off.

    Anyone have any other, easier or more efficient ways?

  6. #6
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Wd 40 is a poor lube for chains as it is 90% solvent... a 3 to 1 mix of mineral spirits and motor oil is an excellent low cost chain lube for all conditions. Motor oil on it;s own works great but the mineral spirits carry that oil to the inner points of the chain and provide better lubrication.

    For cleaning I have a gallon bottle full of organic cleaner / degreaser... I just drop the chain in there and shake it up for 3-4 minutes, rinse it, then reinstall and oil the chain.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Intheloonybin's Avatar
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    I know wd40 is a not-so-favorable lube for chains (not being defensive), but it's cheap. And when having to spray the chain twice a day, it is nice to use cheap stuff.

    Plus there are two cans at work that I can use.

    It has worked quite well so far. As mentioned above, once the snow is gone, I will clean and switch back to the better lube. And maybe replace the poor tortured chain .

    I would rather use the good oil I have, but I think it was $8. for a fairly small bottle. I'll look for a different, cheaper lube the next time I go to my lbs.

    Isn't the motor oil messy?

  8. #8
    ALL PARTY ryansexton's Avatar
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    Just use KY jelly.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Intheloonybin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryansexton View Post
    Just use KY jelly.
    There's a joke in there somewhere! (ok, more than one...)

    But seriously, does it work?

  10. #10
    okay maybe not. mmerner's Avatar
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    never, if the chain looks dry or rusty, I'll lube it up. That is all for me. 'course I ride a single speed.
    question everything.

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    glad to read this, i've been doing it weekly. it just sounds and rides better when the chain gets a good treatment of some lube!!

  12. #12
    DNPAIMFB pinkrobe's Avatar
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    I've been lubing once every couple of weeks with normal chain lube [Finish Line XC Wet - $4.95, small bottle should last at least 1 year spread across 6 bikes]. There's a bit of rust on the side plates, but it just wipes off. Using a better-quality chain helps prevent rust. Try one of the nice nickel-plated SRAM chains.
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  13. #13
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    Thick PhilWood-type stuff on a Dura-Ace chain about once a week

    No rust, shifts fine.

  14. #14
    Banned. mazpr's Avatar
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    I jump in to say about WD-40, the same deal not to be defensive, it does work wonders. Once the chain is clean and dry spraying some WD helps keep it clean and lubed. I have had my chain for 3,000 miles now using the same WD lube, so far no problems.

    The chain cleaner tool is amazing, it does it job well by removing all the grease and dirt from the chain. A few cleaning cycles works very well and the results are almost as good as removing the chain.

    Note: A good lube treatment is transmission oil, place it on a spray bottle and if you want to dilute it just add a little bit of diesel fuel. I have my customized 70% transmission oil, 20% diesel and 10% fresh engine oil mixed on a spray bottle. It does not affect the paint, drivetrain components or wheels, although be careful not to spray on the brakes.

  15. #15
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    I don't clean my chain in the winter or any other time. Use lube lightly and WD40 the chain if it gets wet.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryansexton View Post
    I clean my chain e very single day. Roads are way too salty to leave anything at risk. I've seen rust build up on my chain after two days of leaving it without cleaning it.

    I usually wipe down my entire bike, the pour buckets of water on it, dry it off, let the chain dry for a few hours (do a regular water rinse first) and then use all purpose oil. I just apply it on my chain ring, hub, bearings, and a few random spots on the disc and chain. Then I spin the wheel a few hundred times. This does the job for keepign rust off.

    Anyone have any other, easier or more efficient ways?
    If you have 1 minute to spare every time you ride, my method will keep your drivetrain perfectly clean.

    After every ride, grab the chain with a rag in one hand and spin the cranks backward. You will see that after a very few revolutions, the chain will turn from black to its original color.

    Now put about 1 teaspoon or less of oil on the chain. The easiest way is with an oil can or plastic bottle that has a spout. Put the spout of the can/bottle against the inside lower rung of the chain and as you squeeze, turn the cranks backwards to distribute the oil. The spout has to make contact with the chain, real close doesn't work.

    The next time you ride your bike, repeat the cleaning step above to remove the excess oil.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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  17. #17
    Needing more power Scotty riddei's Avatar
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    I find this to be a very realistic approach to chain maintenance: http://nordicgroup.us/chain/

    Cleaning with diesel, and lubing with bar and chain oil a couple of times a month. I have a dedicated chain gang for the diesel, and one for the bar and chain oil.

  18. #18
    Senior Member scoatw's Avatar
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    I put a few drops of Finish Line Wet Lubricant when my chain looks dry. At least once or every other week I break out out the chain cleaning tool and give it a good scrub. Once a month I'll do this. drop the chain into a plastic Coke bottle with a couple of ounces of un-diluted citrus degreaser (or Simple Green), cap it, and shake thoroughly. Fish the chain out with a spoke or coat hanger, rinse in water, and you are all set! (Ref: Sheldon Brown). Chain Maintenance is essential, particularly in these cold months. A Park Chain Checker wouldn't be bad to have in your tool-box either.

  19. #19
    Senior Member RomSpaceKnight's Avatar
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    I stop at car wash and use the foaming brush on my drive train once a week. Then In use spray *** with out pulling trigger to rinse off. I use motorcycle chain lube spray to lube chain. To clean chain I use WD40. I use motor oil on linkages and pivots.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmerner View Post
    never, if the chain looks dry or rusty, I'll lube it up. That is all for me. 'course I ride a single speed.

    Same here. I ride a beater which was formally my polo bike but now my winter ride. The chain is about 8 months old and I've been riding it in slush and snow for 3 months now. It will probably break on me soon but C'EST LA VIE!
    bikes

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by besserheimerpha View Post
    How often? I just went for my first winter ride last weekend, and as a result bought my first chain degreaser and lube. After the ride I brushed and blew all the slush out of the drivetrain. I plan to go for a couple more rides this weekend, since temperatures are climbing back towards 30. My drivetrain is sure to get messy again this weekend, so I'm wondering how often I need to clean everything with the degreaser and lube.

    FYI, my riding is all in town right now as my trail is not ridable with the amount of snow and ruts from snowmobiles. It's a small town of 900 people - I know we use sand, but I don't think we use much if any salt. The roads are usually pretty well plowed, but last weekend there was still a lot of slush especially on the side streets, and there will be more of the same this weekend.

    Thanks,

    John
    My rule is: Clean it when it makes irritating noises. This is usually between 150 and 300 miles for me.

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