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Barrettscv 10-12-13 07:25 AM

Chain clean & lube: What works for you?
My rides are about 50% pavement and 50% gravel.

My practical chain maintenance routine is not enough to keep my chain clean. So I ask, What works for you?

What lube do you use?
What intervals?
What do you use to clean a chain used for gravel paths and roads?
How long will you keep the same chain in use?

I'm now wiping down my drivetrain every ride, or about every 50 miles. I don't use solvents or cleaners. I'm lubing the chain about every 150 miles with a wet lube. I'm buying a new chain about every 2500 miles, long before it is worn-out.

pamaguahiker 10-13-13 09:07 AM

That's a lot of questions in a short paragraph. I will tackle first, then be critiqued and learn some about the process also when people do respond.

I use white lightning, but my process of cleaning and applying is different. When I finish a ride, if it was wet and muddy. I use a wet spray, while spinning it backwards, I applying wet spray. let it stand a few minutes, then cycle is backwards again with rage held firmly to clean. I do this for a few minutes and inspect. if it is still VERY wet with lube cleaner, then I run it backwards again. Then I apply the white lightning while spinning around to get all the chain covered. I probably oversimplified the process but it works for me. After you do it a time or two. The whole process can be done within 10 minutes easily. I also knock off any chunky debris from cogs and rings.

How long does a chain last? depends on how muddy, how often it is muddy, is it cleaned after muddy, are cogs clean...those may be some questions stated.

For me, I have a bike that I have 10k at least on chain, cogs, and rings. It is my beater winter, bad weather bike and being in Pa, where there appear to be 2 season some years, winter and almost winter, or horribly humid and rainy at other times. (Where else do you put the heater and AC on in the same day, Pa), I just keep cleaning as suggested above on those rainy or dirty mud days. I don't plan on changing until I have a catastrophic failure of chain and I am well aware that I will be replacing all. But as I said. It's a beater and the items I replace it with will most likely be not top notched and mostly used. When I used to race and use high end parts. They needed replaced more often, about 5k miles maybe, and there is a old tip. When the cassette cogs started skipping, flip the chain and you can usually squeak out another 500-1000 miles. I have had only one opportunity to test this theory and advice and it did indeed get me another 600 miles.

Good luck

roadbuzz 10-13-13 04:25 PM

I use Pro-link Gold. Their instructions are to just wipe down and re-lube, but that's nuts. Wiping cleans the outside, that's not the wear I'm worried about. Lubed sand and grit ain't good for anything.
I try to clean (and re-lube) my chain after a wet ride, or just starts looking too gunky. Either way, at least once a month.
I use an on-the-bike chain cleaner from Performance, use Simple Green as the cleaner.
I use the measure-twelve-links method to determine chain wear. Try to replace when it's "stretched" 1/16".

pamaguahiker 10-13-13 06:29 PM

1+ to the measure-twelve-links method. It's a good measure! I used this faithfully with my racing bikes.

Andy_K 10-13-13 11:57 PM

When I'm going to be riding in wet conditions I use Finish Line Wet lube. It's pretty thick and doesn't wash away. On my commuter that usually keeps it quiet for a few weeks. I don't wipe it down until it starts to get noisy or feel sluggish. With this routine I get about 2500 miles out of a chain.

I also use Finish Line Wet for CX racing, but those races are usually pretty muddy and so I end up washing it and relubing after every race. I don't track mileage meticulously in those conditions, but I'd guess those chains don't see 500 miles.

I use a chain checker tool and replace it when it gets to the 0.1% indicator.

jolly_ross 10-14-13 05:42 AM

The 12 link method works, is cheap and is easy. If you need to measure really quickly (like, perhaps, you fix bikes for a living) then the options are pretty well either "Shimano chain checker" or "ignore the minor errors in other brands". I use a ParkTools checker under the second of those options.

Cynikal 10-14-13 09:43 AM

I use Chain-L and apply warmed. Depending on the race I will wipe off and see if there is need to re-apply. If a really muddy or gunky race I will run the chain through a scrubber and re-apply. For my SS cross bike, I keep it dry so it will never attract anything. I've thought about dipping it in melted paraffin but have never gotten around to it.

fietsbob 10-14-13 11:12 AM

Some, applied regularly, not that Fussy , LBS has a bottle of Triflow, I use theirs occasionally..

wiping off the outside of the chain once it penetrates under the rollers.

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