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HardyWeinberg 07-06-06 02:36 PM

new chain grease
 
My new chain has been on for a couple weeks now, maybe 150 miles of commuting/about-town use. The grease it came with is very sticky, should I assume that the chain is adequately lubed until either a) I have reason (like lots of wet riding) to assume that the grease has come off or b) the chain actually starts squeaking? Or should I just start pouring oil on and wiping off any roadgrit that sticks to it sooner than later?

powers2b 07-06-06 02:42 PM

Keep the drivetrain clean and lubed.
How often you lube (wipe-oil-wipe) is infinitely more important than what you use.

fmw 07-06-06 02:45 PM

The preservative on new chains should be removed and replaced with lubricant.

San Rensho 07-06-06 02:52 PM

What I do. After every ride, I take a paper towel, wrap it around the chain, and back pedal, fold the towel and repeat until the towel is too small to hold around the chain. Elapsed time, 30 seconds. About every 5-10 times I ride, I very sparingly oil the chain before a ride.

Thats all you need, I rarely if ever take the chain off and soak it in solvent. I do measure the chain for stretch regularly and replace well before the wear limit.

jack650 07-06-06 03:12 PM


Originally Posted by San Rensho
I do measure the chain for stretch regularly and replace well before the wear limit.

Hi, how do you "measure" the chain for stretch?

Also, I wonder if I'm doing an overkill: about once every 2 months or so, I've been running the chain through the degreaser and regreasing it each time. Is this too much? Thanks.

operator 07-06-06 03:22 PM


Originally Posted by fmw
The preservative on new chains should be removed and replaced with lubricant.

Stop perpetuating myth.

operator 07-06-06 03:23 PM


Originally Posted by jack650
Hi, how do you "measure" the chain for stretch?

Also, I wonder if I'm doing an overkill: about once every 2 months or so, I've been running the chain through the degreaser and regreasing it each time. Is this too much? Thanks.

Depending on how much you ride, i'd say that might not be enough.

jwa 07-06-06 06:07 PM


Originally Posted by jack650
Hi, how do you "measure" the chain for stretch?

Also, I wonder if I'm doing an overkill: about once every 2 months or so, I've been running the chain through the degreaser and regreasing it each time. Is this too much? Thanks.


See: http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html

This question is discussed regularly on this forum, so a search of the archives will give you lots more opinions than you need.

Al f R 07-07-06 01:08 AM


Originally Posted by fmw
The preservative on new chains should be removed and replaced with lubricant.

Who says...........please give your source for this information. Thanks

San Rensho 07-07-06 07:18 AM


Originally Posted by jack650
Hi, how do you "measure" the chain for stretch?

Also, I wonder if I'm doing an overkill: about once every 2 months or so, I've been running the chain through the degreaser and regreasing it each time. Is this too much? Thanks.

Theres a tool you can buy to measure chain stretch, and as JWA said, SB has a method where you measure 12(?) links center to center and if its more than 1/16 in. stretched, time to replace. I use a cheap steel vernier caliper to measure a certain number of links.

As far as cleaning and lubing, you will get a hundred different opinions on the board on what to do, from meticulously cleaning the chain in a medical quality ultrasound cleaner every time you ride and then carefully applying a mixture of aircraft grade lubricant and dessicated sperm whale oil to each roller, individually, to baking the chain with beeswax.

If you note a hint of sarcasm its because I've read entirely too many posts on the subject. Please don't think that I'm criticising you for asking the question, its a very good question because other than tires, the chain is the biggest wear item on a bike, and proper maintenance early replacement will save the expensive chainrings and freewheel/cassette.

For what its worth, based on my experience, my method works as good as any other I've tried and I do it mostly out of laziness. Some have said to NEVER use solvent on a chain because it removes the lubricant deep in the pins leading to premature wear.

So there you have it, clear as mud.

n4zou 07-07-06 10:17 AM

I also am of the opinion that you never soak the chain in solvent to remove lubricant from the internal parts of the chain. Unless you have soaked the chain in muddy water there should be nothing but lubricant in the chain, which is a good thing. If you have been soaking the chain in muddy water which you would do if your riding an ATB in muddy conditions using solvents alone will never get that grime out of the chain anyway and its best to discard the chain so as to prevent damage to your cogs and chain rings due to excessive ware and subsequent chain stretch. Having worked in industry where chains were used in heavy machinery I will tell you what we used for chain lubricant. Bar and Chain oil made for use in chain saws. We used a pump oilier to spread the oil across the chain links. That oil is made with additives to allow the oil to penetrate the links and it's sticky so it stays on the chain even at high speeds, like on a chain saw! When you apply it and spin the pedals backwards you will see the oil "string" between the chain and sprockets. It tends to get messy when doing this but it's worth the added effort to use this oil. I have never been able to ware out a bicycle chain when using Bar and Chain oil as a lubricant and properly cleaning it at regular intervals. As for cleaning, a big furry pipe cleaner bent once and pushed through each link gets all the grime out of the links easily.

flair1111 07-08-06 10:38 PM

Ive used a chainsaw for years and never thought of using this as bike chain oil. I will now! Thats some good clean lube..Thanks for sharing.

seely 07-08-06 10:48 PM

The grease that comes on a chain is Cosmoline, same thing in the door panels of VW's and other Euro imports, and the same thing they pack guns in for shipping overseas. Its a horrible substance, extremely sticky, and used to prevent rusting in transatlantic shipments. I always, always at the very least wipe the chain down with my lube of choice to "break up" the Cosmoline a bit, or sometimes I will go so far as to degrease the chain entirely and relube it with my lube of choice. I can't tell you how when I have taken the time to properly degrease and relube the chain how clean it stays. The difference is very noticeable. I had a Stumpjumper I raced/rode about 2,100 trail miles a year that I degreased the factory chain on, and it looked cleaner at any given point than the chain on my current road bike which I just slapped on and wiped down.

peripatetic 07-09-06 12:42 AM


Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg
My new chain has been on for a couple weeks now, maybe 150 miles of commuting/about-town use. The grease it came with is very sticky, should I assume that the chain is adequately lubed until either a) I have reason (like lots of wet riding) to assume that the grease has come off or b) the chain actually starts squeaking? Or should I just start pouring oil on and wiping off any roadgrit that sticks to it sooner than later?

To answer your original questions in a succinct manner,

Cosmoline is a source of contention with people. It's sticky but it works. With lube, stickiness is both good and bad: it sticks to the chain and the pins, but it also gets a lot of stuff stuck to it. You can just wipe it down every few rides with a rag, and you should see your chain stay fairly clean.

a) if you're doing lots of wet riding, keep the chain wiped clean when you come in from the water, and
b) when your chain squeeks, that's when it's time to add lube. Squeeky chain=lube time. No need to do more than that.

Conclusion Basically, you've got over the biggest hurdle: you're paying attention to the chain. As long as you keep your eye on it regularly, keep it clean and lubed, it should enjoy a good life under your care. You only need stand out on a busy bike path or street someday and listen for the telltale squeeks. I can't decide if I hear squeeky chains more than I hear groaning brakes, both intolerable sounds to sensitive ears.

jbrians 07-09-06 12:43 PM

the packing grease (cosmoline I guess if everyone else in the thread is correct) is a good lube. It sticks to the chain like no body's business...everything else sticks to it too. Follow the recommendation of ...Cindy....and wipe the worst of it off with a lube soaked rag so not much grunge sticks to the chian on the OUTSIDE. Where you NEED the lube is inside the chain and the manufacturers have looked after with a new chain. Alas...sooner or later you will have to do a good solvent clean and start again.
We used to soak our dirt bike chains in hot gear oil (to thin it out) and then wipe off the excess. Same principle. Those chains were a ton of money so we looked after them.

OLDYELLR 07-09-06 01:10 PM


Originally Posted by flair1111
Ive used a chainsaw for years and never thought of using this as bike chain oil.

Yes, I used to use it when I rode motocross. That required a lot more chain maintenance than bicycles because of all the mud and dirt. After washing the bike I'd replace the chain with my spare and wash it in gasoline and stick it in a tray of chaisaw oil. I also discovered a fantastic chain oil sold in Harley Davidson stores. Do't know if it's still available, but it would creep and spread along the chain surfaces and into all the gaps without running off or "throwing". To check for wear, I'd hold up the chain sideways and if it hung in a semicircle, it was done. Never tried this with a bicycle chain because when I rode a lot, Sedis chains cost $8 and I'd replace them frequently.

d_D 07-09-06 02:44 PM


Originally Posted by seely
The grease that comes on a chain is Cosmoline, same thing in the door panels of VW's and other Euro imports, and the same thing they pack guns in for shipping overseas.

There are many chain manufactures, please state which ones you are talking about. Sram use a lubricant on their chains and are quite vocal about the fact. I belive shimano also use a lubricant.

CHenry 07-09-06 02:55 PM

It is not necessary to remove the packing lubricant at all. Apply your lube of choice right on the chain as-is. Do it frequently.

shoerhino 07-09-06 04:47 PM


Originally Posted by d_D
There are many chain manufactures, please state which ones you are talking about. Sram use a lubricant on their chains and are quite vocal about the fact. I belive shimano also use a lubricant.

SRAM calls the greasy material that is shipped on a chain "GLEITMO", which they call the finest chain lubricant in the industry. No reason to remove it, as it is probably the best lube that the chain will ever have on it.

Wogster 07-09-06 05:39 PM


Originally Posted by jack650
Hi, how do you "measure" the chain for stretch?

Also, I wonder if I'm doing an overkill: about once every 2 months or so, I've been running the chain through the degreaser and regreasing it each time. Is this too much? Thanks.

Chain stretch, take a measuring tape, measure off from the centre of one link 12" you should be in the centre of a link, if the centre of the link is more then 1/16th past the 12" mark, then replace the chain, if it's more then 1/8th inch, you have probably pooched the cassette as well:(

As for cleaning and relubing a chain, it depends on riding conditions, if you ride a lot on dusty or wet ground, then you probably need to do it fairly often. Look at the chain, if there is a lot of crap on it, then it's time to clean and relube. What I often do, on a Sunday afternoon, is give the whole bike a good wash, going over the chain with a good bio-degradable degreaser, and giving it a wash too. After cleaning the chain, but before relubing, is the time to measure it. While your at it, check the brake pads, if they are getting close to worn through, then replace those as well:rolleyes: .

A clean chain, makes the bike easier to ride, good idea when you relube, wipe off any excess lube. It's probably not worth removing a chain for cleaning more then once a year, then you need to consider, is it worth the bother, to hear some people talk, you would think that a chain was more expensive then a full Campy groupo. The chain on my bike, costs around $15 to replace (same make and model), so it doesn't make much sense to spend a lot of time goofing with trying to extend the life of a chain.:D

HardyWeinberg 07-10-06 10:53 AM


Originally Posted by shoerhino
SRAM calls the greasy material that is shipped on a chain "GLEITMO", which they call the finest chain lubricant in the industry. No reason to remove it, as it is probably the best lube that the chain will ever have on it.

Well, that's good to hear. Thanks!

geo8rge 07-10-06 11:04 AM

You may consider chain wax which stains less but is less enduring than oil.

A stainless steel chain might work better or make no difference in the amount of lubricating you do.

Brian Ratliff 07-10-06 11:54 AM

I use a lubricant called ProLink, which is a dry lube mixed with solvent to allow it to penetrate into the rollers. I don't make a concerted effort to strip to original chain grease, but I do give a new chain a good dousing in ProLink, which has the effect of at least partially stripping the original stuff. After that, I relube when the drivetrain starts getting too noisy, or when it starts squeaking. It's better than wax, because it protects the chain in a rain storm, but does not attract dirt like the sticky stuff or wet lubes.

I don't degrease my chains as a separate step to clean them. I simply use the ProLink stuff with the chain on the bike, rolling the chain through a rag to get ride of debris; the solvent contained in this lube tends to naturally clean the chain as it gets relubricated. I check the chain periodically with a "go-no go" gauge (from Park Tools, cost about $6 and cheap insurance to avoid replacing a $30 cogset along with the chain), and when the chain has measurable stretch, I replace it. This usually happens every year or so, depending on how much I ride and the quality of the chain (better quality chains get noticeably better life; C9 Campy Record chain is what I recommend; it costs only about $30 and lasts 2 or 3 times as long as the cheap chains). This replacement schedule gets good life out of the cogset.


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