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Winter Chain Maintenance

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Winter Chain Maintenance

Old 12-22-04, 08:29 AM
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elbows
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Winter Chain Maintenance

How can I stop winter weather from rusting my chain?

On my Monday commute I rode through snow/slush both ways. When I got home my bike had slush caked all over it, so I knocked off as much as I could, then gave the bike a rinse with warm water.

I didn't ride yesterday (5F in the morning), but this morning I discovered that my whole chain and a couple of the cogs were covered in rust. I cleaned and lubed the chain (with triflow) just last week.

Is there anything I can do to save my chain from the slush? Or do I just have to re-lube every time I ride in nasty weather?
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Old 12-22-04, 08:41 AM
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Wipe down and lube the chain after every wet ride. Wipe off excess lube before starting then next ride. Also, check your chain for stretching. I find I need a new chain about every 2K miles (about every 6 months). That doesn't give a lot of time for rust.
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Old 12-22-04, 09:07 AM
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Fenders can do a lot, especially if there is a front mudflap. Chains can get pretty rusty and still be efficient, so I wouldn't worry too much.

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Old 12-22-04, 09:13 AM
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I rotate a set of chains each week in the winter time. That way I have a chance to propery clean the chains. The rust does come off.
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Old 12-22-04, 09:36 AM
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A bike shop owner I knew in snow country used to dip chains in liquid parrafin instead of oil based lube for the winter season. If it's really cold, keeping your bike outside on a deck or unheated garage helps too instead of going thru a freeze-melt every ride.
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Old 12-22-04, 09:42 AM
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I use a heavier lube in the winter, and make sure to clean/lube more frequently then during summer. I also wipe down the bike more regularly to get the road-salt off my steel frame. My bike is a lot cleaner since I got fenders, but I still go with the more intese cleaning/lubing schedule.
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Old 12-22-04, 11:17 AM
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Thanks for the replies.
I already have fenders, but the slush still got everywhere. In fact, it got caked between the fender and the tire, too.
I don't like to lube my chain wi/o a thorough cleaning first -- I've heard that lubing a dirty chain just drive the dirt deep inside it and causes your chain to wear more quickly. I don't have the time or energy to do this after every wet/snowy ride.

I will look into a heavier or wax-based lube. When my current chain wears out (which will be soon, I think), I may try to get a pair of SRAM chains so I can easily rotate them.
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Old 12-22-04, 11:41 AM
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You need to apply wax-based lube (wax-in-solvent) in the warm. I found that it protected the chain from rust and lasted a week or 2 between applications.
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Old 12-22-04, 12:27 PM
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if your riding through rserious rain/snow/slush i'd just say f-ck it, resolve to buy a new cahin in better weather, and just wipe down and lube that sucker after every ride.

in nasty conditions i lube after almost every ride (but i rarely clean it ever, even in nice wather i just lube less frequently, so....)
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Old 12-22-04, 12:55 PM
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I've found that heavy lubes, like Finish Line Cross Country, or Pedro's Syn Lube, will stick on the chain much better than dry lubes. I ride and park my commuter out in the rain and snow all the time, and the heavy lube stays put for weeks--no rust, although the chain starts to get a little dry after that much time (I should probably re-apply more often). On my "nice" bike, I use a dry lube (Finish Line Dry), and after just one rain ride, the chain sometimes has rust spots. The drawback to the heavier lube, of course, is that it attracts a lot more dirt.
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Old 12-22-04, 01:50 PM
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Front fender and mudflap are #1.
Regularly check and lube.
I don't worry about it too much, since I go through a chain every 2K anyway. I really only worry about the chain because of the wear it might be doing on my sprockets. Chains are disposable. As long as it doesn't squeak and isn't wrecking my sprockets, I'm good.
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Old 12-22-04, 04:22 PM
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For crappy weather i use Pedros synlube. Its a crap magnet yes but it does keep the chain lubed well.
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Old 12-22-04, 06:41 PM
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Riding in weather destroys your drivetrain (the reason I commute with Sora parts) Just wipe the chain off and lube it motor oil. It's really cheap! One quart lasts all winter. Get a new chain in the spring and only buy the cheapest chain, on sale if possible. Plan on going though 2-4 chains a year and one cassette. We're not talking much money here!
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Old 12-24-04, 12:47 AM
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Is the rust really a problem? Fairly mild weather here, but all the rust I've gotten is just "surface rust" and comes off while riding the next day... problem I have with wax lubes is it collects so much gunk.
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Old 12-24-04, 01:04 AM
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The biggest weekly chain maintenance hassle I have is going through each link and stuffing a tiny twisted-up bit of paper towel in there like a pipe-cleaner to get out the grit that's hiding inside the links. I call it "flossing" my chain. I might try to find something like a big absorbent pipe-cleaner to do this cleaning in the future.
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Old 12-24-04, 03:47 AM
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I drown my chain in white lighting every few weeks.

How can you tell when you need a new chain?
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Old 12-24-04, 04:09 AM
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Originally Posted by whydrive
How can you tell when you need a new chain?
You can either buy a device to check it yourself (I know Performance has 2 types), or you can take it to the LBS. If they have half a brain, they'll check it for free because they know you'll buy the replacement chain there.
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Old 12-24-04, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by whydrive
I drown my chain in white lighting every few weeks.

How can you tell when you need a new chain?
Check the bottom of: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/chains.html
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Old 12-24-04, 08:48 AM
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Also, there are these tools:

http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...egory_ID=4204#

http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=4204
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