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Proper drivetrain maintenance

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Proper drivetrain maintenance

Old 06-27-08, 05:38 PM
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Proper drivetrain maintenance


I recently purchased my first road (or at least sport-touring) bike--a Bianchi Eros. It has quickly become an unhealthy obsession. When I bought it, I swore to myself that I would do everything in my power to properly maintain it. I live in the Greater Boston (Metrowest) area of Massachusetts where the roads are covered in sand and potholes in the summer and salt, sand, and potholes in the winter, so I have my work cut out for me.

I became concerned when I noticed a sound like grinding sand coming from my drivetrain. It is actually quite faint. I can't hear it when I ride, only when I'm backpedaling while lubing the chain. I was unable to pinpoint the source of the sound--it seems to come from both the BB/chainring area and the rear hub/cartridge area. My most current theory is that I'm simply hearning the sound of the metal chain scraping on the metal cogs.

I picked up "Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance" to see what I could learn. His recommendation for chain maintenance is 1) to steer clear of wax based lubricants and 2) lube the chain after every ride, wipe it down, and wipe it down again after a number of hours. He suggests this system as a method of keeping the chain both lubed AND clean (as the new lube essentially washes out old sludge and debris).

Last week, I invested in a chain cleaner and ran my chain through it a few times until it looked like new. I "flossed" the cogs with a rag and even cleaned the cogs and chainrings using cotton swabs and ProLink (the lube I use on my chain). Finally I lubed each chainlink, wiped the chain down, and lubed and wiped it down once more (because I'm neurotic).

Yesterday, I rode in the morning and everything seemed great, but, when I rode again in the afternoon, I noticed that my chain was periodically slacking and resting on the chainstay when I was coasting. When I returned home, the drivetrain seemed to stick when I tried backpedaling. In other words, the chain would slacken and drop rather than turn the cartridge. I lubed the chain again yesterday evening, and the problem seemed to disappear.

So all this leaves me with three questions:
1) What type of treatment (if any) do the cogs and chainrings require--for starters, do they need to be lubed independently of the chain and, if so, how is that best done?

2)Is it "normal" for the drivetrain to make that faint grinding sand sound, and, if not, what can I do to get rid of it? and

3)Was my freewheel not working properly (chain slackening and dropping) because I didn't lube the chain properly, or is there another problem that I need to consider.

Thanks for reading!
Geewhiz is offline  
Old 06-27-08, 06:32 PM
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you may ahve a dirty casette. look in the book about cleaning that and might eliminate the grinding the slack and make it run smother if the gears are new they will wear in kinda noisey at first as well.
emj2390 is offline  
Old 06-27-08, 11:32 PM
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Hopefully you weren't too cleaning happy!! By using q-tips and too much lube you could have inadvertantely
pushed some gunk into the space between the gears and the hub and introduced grit into the pawls.
Lay the bike in the sun with the chain side up to expand the metal and heat the lube up (especially in the
winter or even a hair dryer) and lube up that space while spinning the cassette it should start to clear up,
I would use maybe 10 drops or equivalent and see how it sounds if it get's worse immediately turn it upside
down and let the lube run out the same side you put it into, spin it while letting it drip and then turn it back
over add more lube and repeat until the grinding is mostly gone. Pretty much you can do worse by actually
over cleaning/over lubing things, Don't forget the universal solvet old Dihydrogen monoxide it will clean just
about anything and sometimes it is better then all the doodads and hard core chemicals.
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