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breaking chain question and winter maintenance

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breaking chain question and winter maintenance

Old 01-09-08, 02:10 PM
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blonduathlongrl
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breaking chain question and winter maintenance

Im new to winter riding and maintening my bike.
I live by the coast and sand and salt gets all over it.
I clean it with water after every ride, please add anything else i should be doing!

My chain just recently broke, it is only 3 months old and I had just finished lubing it, I try and lube every 200 miles..
am I the one who caused the chain to break by missing something I should be doing?

any tips would be appreciated!
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Old 01-09-08, 02:30 PM
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In coastal conditions just remember that old saying that cleanliness is next to Godliness. Add lubrication to that too! Keep everything clean and everything that moves well lubricated.

As far as the chain breaking I doubt that it was anything you could have done to it. My guess is it was a badly connected link either from the factory or by the person that installed the chain. As part of cleaning and lubing the chain I watch the links in as they go through the RD and over the cassette to see that all the links are equally flexible and all the links and pins look the same. (The pins extend out from the side plates the same distance on each link.)
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Old 01-09-08, 02:34 PM
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You'll get a lot of different opinions on chain maintenance, and all of them are valid. I never clean formally -- I just lube, wipe, ride, wipe, ride, ride, ride...

The break could have been anything.

Generally, all you should do with a chain is install, keep it lubed and wiped (clean according to religion), and measure it every few weeks to make sure it's not stretched too far.

To measure, I pinch a tape to it near the rings such that the 1" mark is on the edge of a link. Then I pull the tape to the back and see where the 13" mark ends up. If the chain link edge is more than 1/16" past the 13" mark, time to replace it.
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Old 01-09-08, 02:35 PM
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OK, thanks ...will do!
the LBS also told me that they thought it was a defective chain ( thank goodness this happended next to my house) I almost fell right off my bike!

so only using water to clean my bike is good enough, I'm assuming?
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Old 01-09-08, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
You'll get a lot of different opinions on chain maintenance, and all of them are valid. I never clean formally -- I just lube, wipe, ride, wipe, ride, ride, ride...

The break could have been anything.

Generally, all you should do with a chain is install, keep it lubed and wiped (clean according to religion), and measure it every few weeks to make sure it's not stretched too far.

To measure, I pinch a tape to it near the rings such that the 1" mark is on the edge of a link. Then I pull the tape to the back and see where the 13" mark ends up. If the chain link edge is more than 1/16" past the 13" mark, time to replace it.
OK, I just learned how to measure it recently, now.. they just put on a new chain 2 days ago and they didnt lube it, so I guess I better do this now
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Old 01-09-08, 02:47 PM
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The factory lube is actually really good (again, depending on religion). I leave mine on there by itself a couple weeks.
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Old 01-09-08, 02:47 PM
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Wow. That covers a lot of topics. Way to much too address at one time.

I think I remember you sold the old bike? You should have an older bike with full fenders and a good front mudflap. Even then you will need to do a lot of cleaning. I would not take the new Fuji out if they salt the roads up there.

Don't ever hose your bike off. Wipe it off as much as possible. I found a really really soft brush works great for a first step. Then wipe all the little things with a clean damp cloth. Cleaning the chain or keeping it clean is even more important that how often you lube it. A clean bike with a well cleaned and lubed drive train can go way over 10,000 miles on a chain. A mountain bike in a lot of mud can ruin a chain in a few rides. You're somewhere in the middle. It's really hard to know. No one on the internet can really know. But, if you clean it after every dirty ride as I do it will last for ages.
There still is no reason I can see for the chain to break. Unless you get the chain wet and put it away wet and it rustred and a link got stiff.

Lubing the chain every 200 miles is good if the bike does not get covered with dirt and salt. If it does, clean after every ride.

Don't put your bike away wet. I don't put my good bikes away wet or dirty. I have a bike with 8,500 miles on the chain and it's fine. One at 6,500 and one at about 5,000. Most people probably don't clean their bikes as much as I do. You might not like doing it this way. But it is one way to make things work a very long time.

Don't take the chain off all the time. It's a waste. Wipe them clean carefully and lube them. Then wipe the lube off the next day before riding. My chains never come off, they outlast almost everyone. You don't want to soak the chain in solvent and get all the lube out of the inside of the rollers, that is actually wrong. That's very important. Use a rag that is just damp with a little wd-40, spin the pedals and wipe the chain off until clean. Just a damp rag, you don't want wd-40 going into anything, just a little on the rag. You may need to wipe the chainrings off once in a while too. Then do the same thing with a clean rag to get the wd-40 off. Then lube the chain and let the bike sit overnight. Wipe it off the next day before a ride. Having a really wet chain will make dirt stick to the chain. Don't go for a ride with a really soaked wet lubed chain.

There's a lot of other things to address too. I would not use the best wheels on a dirty road.

Can you post a picture of the broken chain?
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Old 01-09-08, 02:56 PM
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^^^ after reading all you type, Im really emabaressed... I wont even tell you how i was cleaning it
this could of been my fault...
I cant post the chain, the LBS kept it, I asked them what i was doing wrong and told them about the water and how it stays in the garage ect, they didnt mention anything he said it was fine.. well maybe I left one detail out on how the water was applied

thank goodness I posted this.

thank you soooo much, will follow all the directions

*edit* I have to ride the fuji, I dont have any other bike.

Last edited by blonduathlongrl; 01-09-08 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 01-09-08, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by blonduathlongrl View Post
^^^ after reading all you type, Im really emabaressed... I wont even tell you how i was cleaning it
this could of been my fault...
I cant post the chain, the LBS kept it, I asked them what i was doing wrong and told them about the water and how it stays in the garage ect, they didnt mention anything he said it was fine.. well maybe I left one detail out on how the water was applied

thank goodness I posted this.

thank you soooo much, will follow all the directions
Most of (if not all) of us who now do it correctly did it wrong at one time. You just didn't see it.
You need to start somewhere. You need to look for information somewhere, why not here?

I can't cook at all. I could never run a restauraunt kitchen. I know you can beat me in a duathalon.
I spent my life cleaning chains.

I soaked a motorcycle chain in Castrol 20-w50 in my mom's new teflon frying pan for a day or two. Guess what happens when you then heat up the pan on the oven?
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Old 01-09-08, 03:30 PM
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do you use a soft brush sometimes to get in small cracks and small parts to get the sand off? cause doing it with a wet rag is hard to get to the small spots.. is that OK to do?

I was putting my bike away wet...

it's Ok though, I just started winter riding this year, except for the chain, there is no other places where it looks like I have damaged anything, no signs of rust...

looks like I asked right on time, or maybe the chain breaking was a good thing, it made me wonder if i was doing this the right way.

thanks for being understanding and supportive!
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Old 01-09-08, 03:45 PM
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I have a bike I ride on weekends 9 months out of the year near the salt water (Cheaspeake Bay which isn't as salty as the Atlantic) and store it in a shed when I'm not on it, also very close to the water. Except for an occassional water bath and putting lube on the chain periodically (I rarely clean the chain and use dry lube), that's all I do. After four years, the shifting got a little slow and I took it to my LBS. They recommended Gore cables, which aren't cheap, but the mechanic felt they will last for years.

So my advice is an occasional washing and chain lube and you'll be fine.
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Old 01-09-08, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by blonduathlongrl View Post
do you use a soft brush sometimes to get in small cracks and small parts to get the sand off? cause doing it with a wet rag is hard to get to the small spots.. is that OK to do?

I was putting my bike away wet...

it's Ok though, I just started winter riding this year, except for the chain, there is no other places where it looks like I have damaged anything, no signs of rust...

looks like I asked right on time, or maybe the chain breaking was a good thing, it made me wonder if i was doing this the right way.

thanks for being understanding and supportive!
Yes the brush is easier than a rag to get into small cracks. You can do it with a rag too, but a very soft brush is easier, and easy to keep clean compared to a rag, so you don't scratch the paint. Cleaning spokes and rims with a rag is a lot of work, it's much better with a soft brush. A very small soft brush about the size of a toothbrush, but softer, for little spots and one about the size of a brush for a hand held dustpan is nice. A tooth brush will be OK on metal parts not painted. A stiff toothbrush will scratch paint a little bit. When the brush is very dirty wipe it back and forth on a rag or just about anything that gets the dirt off the brush (a chain link fence works for me). Wash it if needed. You may need to go back and wipe the bike with a clean damp cloth after knocking off the big stuff with the brush. Then carefully wipe the bike dry, make sure there is no dirt embedded in the wiping rags, it will scratch the bike. A tiny tiny bit of wd-40 on a clean soft rag will help get grease and chain lube off the paint too. Just don't get wd-40 dripping into or onto anything, it can totally wash the grease out of bearings. Get an old towel and cut it into 2 or 3 inch wide strips and you can wrap around things and go back and forth like polishing a shoe. The thin strips will get you more use out of one rag. You can even get them between the cogs with out taking the wheel off and pull them back and forth to clean in between. Takes a little practice.
A car supply store might have a perfect soft brush. They use them on cars too.

I have an air compressor with an air spray nozzle. When I bring a bike in from the rain or it's wet I can blow the water off, that works great. You don't need it, but if you access to one it is fantastic, you can get every little drop of moisture off your bike with less work.

It's a great thing you asked now instead of not asking and just riding. Your bike will love you for it. It will look better and things will last longer.

Get an extra soft hand brush for dirty shoes, boots, and dirty little dogs, before they come in the house.

edit: Don't get wd-40 on the braking suface on the wheels. If you do just clean the braking surface off (not the paint, not the tire) with alcohol, before you let the brakes hit the wheels.

Last edited by 2manybikes; 01-09-08 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 01-09-08, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by blonduathlongrl View Post
Im new to winter riding and maintening my bike.
I live by the coast and sand and salt gets all over it.
I clean it with water after every ride, please add anything else i should be doing!

My chain just recently broke, it is only 3 months old and I had just finished lubing it, I try and lube every 200 miles..
am I the one who caused the chain to break by missing something I should be doing?

any tips would be appreciated!
I couldn't take my eyes off the 2 morons on the track...They probably aren't friends any more.

How did the chain break? If one of the pins let loose it may not have been inserted in the plate correctly. You might get a removeable link of some kind and this will allow you to remove the chain and give it a good cleaning periodically. Here in Colorado we pick up a lot of mud and grit. I spray off my bike after every ride then dry it. I will use WD-40 to displace the water then, add a little lube to the links.

After you wash your bike bounce it a couple of times then spray with WD.


Good luck
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Old 01-10-08, 09:37 AM
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1) Manufacturing defect.
2) Worn gears are stressing the links. Watch the derailer as the gears spin, do you see it jumping? As the chain runs over the gears, does it seem to jump up at any point (shine a bright light on the bike as you spin the gears.)
3) consider a stainless steel chain.
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