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Minimizing chain corrosion in winter

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Minimizing chain corrosion in winter

Old 08-06-20, 10:26 PM
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KatieC
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Minimizing chain corrosion in winter

I got back into bike commuting this year after several years of not riding for transportation purposes. I used to be really hardcore about commuting in all weather and loved the variety of it. However, one thing I did not enjoy was how hard it was in components, especially chains and cassettes. Iowa winters with their salt and sand are not kind to the drivetrain of bikes.

Short of buying a bike with belt drive and a sealed gearbox, what are some ways I can keep the damage to my drivetrain to a minimum?
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Old 08-07-20, 09:39 AM
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Become a snowbird and move to Tucson or Albuquerque for the winter?

OK, that might be more expensive than annual chain and cassette replacement.

If you've got a basement with a drain, you could spray the drivetrain with water every day after your homeward commute. I'd use a wet lube so it wouldn't wash off every time. Or a bug sprayer with warm water, in a designated spot in the yard, followed by bouncing the bike to shake residual water off the chain.

You might also touch base with the Winter Cycling forum on this site.
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Old 08-07-20, 11:04 AM
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Lube it?
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Old 08-07-20, 12:20 PM
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Quite a few people swear by Boeshield for decent lubricating, but superior protection. I haven't used it on my bicycle chains, but I do use it on my weapons (swords, axes, and knives) collection and it does a fantastic job even in pretty humid environments.

I have a sealed drive system on my velomobile (winter commuter) so I don't worry about that so much anymore.
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Old 08-07-20, 12:29 PM
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Connex/Wipperman makes stainless steel inner plate chains for 10 and 11 speed. Combined with a "weather resistant" lube, should hold up decently well.
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Old 08-07-20, 12:36 PM
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Don't be Sparing on the Chain oil.. re oil frequently..
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Old 08-07-20, 12:38 PM
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I use petroleum based chain lube year round. Never a problem in winter or rain other than an occasional leg tattoo. I use various KMC SL series coated chains. A chain only lasts me about a year anyway so even if there was corrosion it would not be the limiting factor.
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Old 08-07-20, 05:20 PM
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A key reason that people outside of the U.S. use enclosed chains. The entire drivetrain stays fairly clean, free from muck and so is highly reliable.

More; City Bikes | LocalMile

We ride our bikes all year in all kinds of weather (we now live in MN, USA so get a lot of rain and snow). I just had to pull my rear wheel apart after 10 years to replace the tube and the chain was in great shape after a decade of riding and no maintenance. I wiped it down and re-oiled it. I should probably clean it more often but no need really.



A dutch Workcycles with fully enclosed drivetrain.
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Old 08-07-20, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by KatieC View Post
I got back into bike commuting this year after several years of not riding.......buying a bike with belt drive and a sealed gearbox
*bingo*
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Old 08-07-20, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Archwhorides View Post
*bingo*
Limit yourself to those options all just to prevent buying a new chain a little more often?
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Old 08-07-20, 11:51 PM
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I ride everyday all year, including through all sorts of crap in winter on the frozen roads of eastern Iowa, and i have been using the latest generation KMC Eco ProTeq chain on my rain/winter bike the last couple of years. It is significantly better through the winter than the previous rustbuster chains from KMC years ago, and i can get through the entire winter season without any rust on the drivetrain (whereas the older version would be a rusty mess by the end of the winter season, having to fight stiff links and crappy shifting)
In fact, i prepped the winter bike with new cables/housing and chain last fall, and after riding all winter, the chain had no rust or stiff links, and still measured as new in the spring. I simply cleaned and lubed the drivetrain about every 100-150 miles, and added lube any time the drivetrain got significantly wet enough to wash off the lube (i use finish line dry lube all year long). I also try to be proactive and will quickly blow off excess water and slush with an air compressor after returning to the garage at the end of the day. For $30 or so, these newer anti-rust chains are a good investment

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Old 08-08-20, 06:09 AM
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Don't worry about rust on the chain ...A chain is the most disposable item on a bike and should be replaced after each winter season, it's pointless to buy super expensive chains or try to prevent rust. The best thing to do is to lube your chain frequently.
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Old 08-08-20, 01:39 PM
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These never get oiled often, and get run dry..
Belt Drives seem to be better if you never clean & Oil your chain

Hiding a belt drive in this would be perfect.
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Old 08-08-20, 03:07 PM
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Well, I think it isn't so much corrosion as abrasion, when you ride in winter the chain picks up all sort of crap, and so the answer is more frequent cleaning an oiling, but since chain is so cheap,I always just measure the wear in the spring (early April) and change out the chain when it's too worn.. On a recumbent I was getting 8,000 miles per chain when I ride year round and 12,000 miles if I hold out for fair weather. So, enclosed chain will keep out the problem, but is it worth it on your bike?
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Old 08-08-20, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by u235 View Post
Limit yourself to those options all just to prevent buying a new chain a little more often?
Most important for me is eliminating all chain maintenance in winter, ergo belt drive. Internal hubs aren't perfect in extremely cold weather, but they are still the most maintenance-free option
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Old 08-09-20, 06:47 AM
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I live in upstate NY and we use a lot of salt here. I've resigned to riding a winter bike when the weather turns. Its a steel bike so I spray the frame with frame saver lube the heck out of everything. Honestly aside from the drive train every metal component will be trashed; bolts, cables, salt will destroy it all. I think the best bang for your buck is a winter bike that is ok to ruin.
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Old 08-09-20, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
These never get oiled often, and get run dry..
Belt Drives seem to be better if you never clean & Oil your chain

Hiding a belt drive in this would be perfect.
No need to enclose the belt unless you are riding in work slacks. Nonetheless, the Gazelle is a beauty!
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Old 08-09-20, 10:45 AM
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I don't know if Iowa uses salt on its roads. I'm guessing yes but probably not as much as Boston (quite a lot, at least 40 years ago) and Ann Arbor (located atop salt beds - dig it up., load the truck and spread it - at roughly one salt nugget/snowflake)

I didn't own a car living in either of those locations. I had two bikes; the good summer bike and a year/round beater set up with fix gear and fenders (I started riding the beater fix gear because i was racing and the club veterans said to to improve my pedaling. They were right but I also found that coming winter that fix gear vs freewheel is like standard transmission vs automatic - 40 years ago before the new drive trains. Fix gear gave me so much more control on snow and ice.

Fix gear also - simplifies the drive train so much that chain issues in winter really aren't. I spent winters where I could not wash the bike easily (apartments, outdoor faucets shut down for the winter, etc.) Salt attacked my chain. Links would freeze up. But - on a fix gear? Just slide the wheel forward and put slack back in the chain. Those frozen links don't straighten and look funky, but everything still works! Now I drew the line at 3 frozen links. Then it was lube time. At the end of March, new chain, probably cog and perhaps a chainring. Ready to go another year.

Now, the rest of the bike took more work. I rode cheap sewup rims and cyclocross tires through the winter. By March, the wheels would be square form hitting so many deep potholes. Spoke nipples wold be frozen because of the salt. I"d cut the spokes out and rebuild the wheels with new spokes and rims for the next year. (40 years ago the choices of tires and wheels was very different from today.) And as posters above have said - framesaver and good paint on steel frames, marine grease on all threads, marine grease for many of the bearings. (I hadn't learned of marine grease in those days so it was lots of Phil Wood that got cleaned out and replaced in the spring.)

KatieC, if you do consider a fix gear, get it now and start riding it. Fix gears require a new set of reflexes. (Like banning the natural urge to coast!) Before you get to the winter slipperies, you'd better have that down. Get that down and you will see that those new reflexes will now correct the rear tire's tracking when slip starts. By the winter's end, you'll just take this new skill for granted. Also how much simpler it is to keep a bike working all winter. (Going into the spring with better pedaling style and fitness doesn't hurt either!)

Ben
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Old 08-09-20, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Archwhorides View Post
Internal hubs aren't perfect in extremely cold weather, but they are still the most maintenance-free option
Actually the most reliable and maintenance-free option is a fixed gear drivetrain, the second most reliable option is a singlespeed.
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Old 08-09-20, 05:55 PM
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Last summer I built up what was going to be a dedicated winter bike. I started out with single speed coaster brake. I needed a very low gear to get moving if I got bogged down in deep snow, ruts, slush, etc. Halfway into the season, I strung up an old Sturmey Archer 3 speed coaster hub that was in my bin. It was a massive improvement. One nice thing about IGH is that they are much more tolerant of the condition of the chain. I put a pre-rusted chain on that bike, oiled the hell out of it, and it wasn't any more rusted by the end of the season.

I do like the idea of an enclosed chain case. I'll keep my eye out for one that fits on my bike. For now I have just a chain guard, which is at least a step in the right direction. It actually helps a lot because a lot of the salt slush hits the chain from above as the wheel comes around and sprays **** everywhere.
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Old 08-09-20, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Archwhorides View Post
No need to enclose the belt unless you are riding in work slacks. Nonetheless, the Gazelle is a beauty!

Its showing off that you have a belt drive, and spent that big bucks..

mostly ... and weighs less

But a chain sight unseen is Ignored virtually never oiled

Nothing is perfect.. Grit is embedded in your belt exposed as it is..




...
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Old 08-10-20, 03:25 PM
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As previously stated, forget trying to prolong winter chains. Lube it throughout the season, then get a new one. Single gear drivetrains help.
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Old 08-10-20, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Its showing off that you have a belt drive, and spent that big bucks..

Nothing is perfect.. Grit is embedded in your belt exposed as it is..

...
All winter cycling = True Grit.
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Old 08-11-20, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Archwhorides View Post
All winter cycling = True Grit.
I do sometimes feel like I'm cheating in my velomobile, but I'm ok with that.

I really wouldn't ride for months in the winter if I had to survive on 2 wheels. Being fully enclosed is a big bonus. I want to get an open trike for offroading, and I might try that, but I doubt I'll have it by this winter.
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Old 08-12-20, 04:27 PM
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79pmooney - Yes to salt and sand on Iowa roads and highways during the Winter months. Hard enough to get around town as is, can't imagine maneuvering my vehicle without them on the roads.

KatieC - Was wondering what to do during the Winter months myself and this will probably be my first year bike commuting in Iowa. To avoid wear and tear on the bike components, I think it's worth the money to get a belt drive bike for year-round riding if it's in your budget. Been leaning towards the Priority Onyx Continuum for this purpose with studded tires.
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