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Tight bike chain (Won't bend)

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Tight bike chain (Won't bend)

Old 02-19-14, 05:57 PM
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j814wong
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Tight bike chain (Won't bend)

Using a chaintool, I took apart my bike chain into about 8 segments then soaked each of them in watered down degreaser for a bit then using a towel and q-tips to clean it out. However, when I put the chains back together (wihtout regard to the order and palcement of each segment, the chain would be tight at that segment and would not bend at the joint.

Does the order of the chain links matter?
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Old 02-19-14, 06:00 PM
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Well, first things first I wouldn't break a chain into 8 parts, nor would I soak them in a water based solution unless you are sure you can evaporate all the water or displace all of it. I would really advise just getting a new chain at this point. Especially if you are breaking a thin multi speed chain with mushroomed rivets which are not always safe to just rejoin without using special pins or links.

If it is a cheap single speed chain, just buy a new one. If it is an expensive multi speed chain it probably isn't safe to ride.

No, the order of the links doesn't matter, what you have are tight links which often happens when joining chains. You either loosen the links by using the loosening plate of your chain breaker tool, or by trying to bend the chain back and forth laterally until the links loosen.
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Old 02-19-14, 06:03 PM
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** I suppose next there must be instruction on how to use a chain tool ..
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Old 02-19-14, 06:18 PM
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How many speeds are on the rear gear cluster? Are talking 8-speed or higher? If so, discard the chain.

You have created 8 stiff links, which can be worked loose by repeated lateral bending, as suggested above. Find on--line instructions for how to free a stiff link after having used a chain breaker.

You can do this.

Did you need tiny pieces due to a small cleaning container?
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Old 02-19-14, 06:33 PM
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I still don't think it is worth saving the chain. Plain pin single speed chains and 5/6 speed chains are dirt cheap and expensive chains aren't safe to break and join like this. If you have a small container, zig-zag or coil the chain, don't break it into little pieces.
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Old 02-19-14, 06:37 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I might as well replace the chain anyway as it had a lot of visible wear.

It's a cheapo Sunrace chain so might as well replace it.
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Old 02-19-14, 06:39 PM
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NB: if lots of current derailleur chains are shortened ,

they have a failure potential at each place that pin was pressed out.

Just take a bit off only the end to get the right length then join with a Quick Link .

The riveting of the pin end, forces the hole in the side plate to stretch..

and it's steel, not rubber , so it doesnt shrink back..

Last edited by fietsbob; 02-19-14 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 02-19-14, 06:40 PM
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What causes wear is lack of lubrication and dirt and grit inside the roller, where you can't reach with a q-tip. Trying to brush off dirt is just trying to prevent it frame working its way deeper into the chain. Once under the rollers and between the plates there's no real practical way to get the dirt out unless you're a fan of the ShelBroCo chain cleaning method.
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Old 02-19-14, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
How many speeds are on the rear gear cluster? Are talking 8-speed or higher? If so, discard the chain.

You have created 8 stiff links, which can be worked loose by repeated lateral bending, as suggested above. Find on--line instructions for how to free a stiff link after having used a chain breaker.

You can do this.

Did you need tiny pieces due to a small cleaning container?
Yes, it is an 8 speed chain which is due for replacement.

It was easier handling smaller sections of a chain. I also read in various palces that some people suggested putting a chain into an old bottle with watered down solvent or degreaser (I use Simple Green) then shaking it a bit.

I probably ought to invest in a proper chain cleaning tool. Shaking chains together can't be a good idea in retrospect.
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Old 02-19-14, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by j814wong View Post
Yes, it is an 8 speed chain which is due for replacement.

It was easier handling smaller sections of a chain. I also read in various palces that some people suggested putting a chain into an old bottle with watered down solvent or degreaser (I use Simple Green) then shaking it a bit.

I probably ought to invest in a proper chain cleaning tool. Shaking chains together can't be a good idea in retrospect.
I'll save you some trouble right here, simple green is a no no for chains.
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Old 02-19-14, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
NB: if lots of current derailleur chains are shortened ,

they have a failure potential at each place that pin was pressed out.

Just take a bit off only the end to get the right length then join with a Quick Link .

The riveting of the pin end, forces the hole in the side plate to stretch..

and it's steel, not rubber , so it doesnt shrink back..
Or one of those special brand new joining pins, and don't break and join in the same place twice since some chains call with those. Quick links are a lot easier though.

Last edited by Crescent Cycle; 02-19-14 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 02-19-14, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by j814wong View Post
Yes, it is an 8 speed chain which is due for replacement.

It was easier handling smaller sections of a chain. I also read in various palces that some people suggested putting a chain into an old bottle with watered down solvent or degreaser (I use Simple Green) then shaking it a bit.

I probably ought to invest in a proper chain cleaning tool. Shaking chains together can't be a good idea in retrospect.
Once water gets into a chain, you either have to try forcing it out with lots of WD-40, or you have to bake it past boiling point. Water trapped inside the rollers won't dry and evaporate by itself, and it will cause the insides of the chain to rust accelerating wear. There's really no reason you need to fully degrease a chain, if you really feel like doing that, WD-40 has a high solvent content and will flush out much of the old grease, and not introduce any water, and will leave a light coating of oil that will help protect water from entering until you actually lube the chain.

I'm not 100% sure with all 8 speed chains, but many have riveted pins which are mushroomed on the outside of the plates. Breaking these pins will destroy the riveted head, and it is not safe to simply push them back in. The integrity of the chain relies on the mushroomed heads, and pushing the pin back through won't do that. The pin may hold for a while, but it can work its way loose causing the chain to break unexpectedly. Hardly worth trying to save a few bucks.
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Old 02-19-14, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by RaleighSport View Post
I'll save you some trouble right here, simple green is a no no for chains.
Why is it bad for chains? On Bikeforums, i've read of many other people who've used it with good result.
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Old 02-19-14, 07:02 PM
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Because you don't want to use water based degreaser to clean chains. The lubricant inside the chain between the plates and in the rollers will help keep normal water out, although it still isn't a good idea to douse your chain in water, but a water based degreaser formula will allow water to displace the grease in the innards of the chain. There is also no need to fully degrease a chain, with the exception of some methods for waxing a chain. You should be baking your chain after degreasing if you insist on a full degrease.

Lots of people do abusive things to their bikes. Don't take the simple green advice anymore.

It is also a good idea to replace worn chains. Worn chains accelerate wear on the freewheel/cassette and the chainrings, and most of the time it is cheaper to periodically replace chains than trying to use a chain for as long as possible and wearing out the chainrings and the cassette faster.

Last edited by Crescent Cycle; 02-19-14 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 02-19-14, 07:14 PM
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Should I not use simple green on my bike at all then in any place?

What do you suggest that I use to clean greasy and oily cassettes and cranksets? I've only wetted a rag with Simple Green to wipe them. With the cassette, I took it off the freehub and wheel before cleaning it since it's easier to work with that way.
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Old 02-19-14, 07:21 PM
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Cassettes don't have any moving parts, but the freehub should not be exposed to simple green because it does have moving parts. The crank itself doesn't either, as long as you don't try to wash out the bottom bracket. Cassettes and chainrings should be clean, dirt on them can be picked up by the chain.

If you get a little drop of simple green on the chain, it probebly won't be enough to remove the grease that is already in the chain, but soaking a chain with simple green, flushing a chain with simple green, and trying to degrease a chain with simple green is a terrible idea.

If you want to wash your cassette with simple green take it off the freehub or wipe it down with a damp towel that doesn't drip. Do your best to keep simple green clear of any lubricated moving parts and you will be fine. A droplet isn't going to ruin anything, but purposefully washing out grease on any moving part with simple green is a no go.

If you need to fully degrease any bearings and such with simple green, make sure you can take them apart and rebuild them. If you can't get to the internal individual parts, don't do it. You could clean cup and cone hub races, the balls, the cones and such with simple green, but that's because you can disassemble it and dry it, then reassemble with new grease. If you had a hub with cartridge bearings, you can't disassemble those and get to the inner parts, so don't use simple green.

Last edited by Crescent Cycle; 02-19-14 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 02-19-14, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Crescent Cycle View Post
Cassettes don't have any moving parts, but the freehub should not be exposed to simple green because it does have moving parts. The crank itself doesn't either, as long as you don't try to wash out the bottom bracket. Cassettes and chainrings should be clean, dirt on them can be picked up by the chain.

If you get a little drop of simple green on the chain, it probebly won't be enough to remove the grease that is already in the chain, but soaking a chain with simple green, flushing a chain with simple green, and trying to degrease a chain with simple green is a terrible idea.

If you want to wash your cassette with simple green take it off the freehub or wipe it down with a damp towel that doesn't drip. Do your best to keep simple green clear of any lubricated moving parts and you will be fine. A droplet isn't going to ruin anything, but purposefully washing out grease on any moving part with simple green is a no go.
Thanks for the advice. But asides from the post ride wipe, is there a good way to give the chain a proper cleaning besides a simple wipe down?

I don't always wipe down the chain, cassettes, or chainrings so after a few rides, a black gunk accumulates which prompts my use of Simple Green. In the future, I'll wipe it down after every ride but inevitably, a chain can still get dirty especially in between the gaps where it grips onto the cassette and chainrings. How to I get rid of the accumulation of that grease in between?
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Old 02-19-14, 07:31 PM
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The best solution is to keep the cassette and chainrings clean, wipe down the chain, and use a lubricant that doesn't gunk or grab dirt much.

As far as gunk between the links that's debatable. It is good to remove it, but it is bad to push it into the rollers. It is hard to do one without doing the other.
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Old 02-19-14, 07:44 PM
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Thanks again.

About the rear derailleur, it came with some green colored lube spread onto the spring (I think it's called a knuckle spring). Over time, it has attracted a bunch of dirt and other gunk into it. Is it a good idea to use a q-tip to wipe out that dirty grease and reapply new one (White Lightning Crystal Grease) or should I leave it be? Mind you, the grease was originally a translucent light green but now has gotten darker with dirt and leave fragments in it.
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Old 02-20-14, 01:33 PM
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the surface that the spring rubs against if it actually has movement, is where the lubrication makes sense .

other than that , it may be a corrosion resistance, liberally so to say, applied. other stuff would work .
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Old 02-20-14, 06:22 PM
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The goo applied to the spring was only in globs in certain sections and not the entire spring. If it were corrosion resistance, I think it would have been applied to the entire spring and not just in globs in a single area.
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Old 02-20-14, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Crescent Cycle View Post
...unless you're a fan of the ShelBroCo chain cleaning method.
the op has gotten closer to the shelbroco method
than any other non parody bike mechanic
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Old 02-20-14, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by j814wong View Post
Why is it bad for chains? On Bikeforums, i've read of many other people who've used it with good result.
You can clean a chain with Simple Green, but you NEVER soak a chain in it. It is corrosive, and any that remains trapped in the rollers will cause rusting. That's why the FAA banned the use of Simple Green for washing aircraft.
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Old 02-20-14, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Kotts View Post
You can clean a chain with Simple Green, but you NEVER soak a chain in it. It is corrosive, and any that remains trapped in the rollers will cause rusting. That's why the FAA banned the use of Simple Green for washing aircraft.
Regarding the rusting and corrosive part, your comment also apply to not soaking any bike part including chainrings and cassettes in Simple Green?

Is there a better chemical that I can use to wash the bike and soak some things with non-moving parts (cassettes and chainrings) to loosen the gunk and grease? Pure water isn't great at washing off grease.
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Old 02-20-14, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by j814wong View Post
Using a chaintool, I took apart my bike chain into about 8 segments then soaked each of them in watered down degreaser for a bit then using a towel and q-tips to clean it out. However, when I put the chains back together (wihtout regard to the order and palcement of each segment, the chain would be tight at that segment and would not bend at the joint.

Does the order of the chain links matter?
That happens to me allot. Best thing to do is stick a screw-driver inside the chain-link and pry out a little bit. Fixes it everytime.
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