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Replaced chain at 1500 miles, where I'd go wrong?

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Replaced chain at 1500 miles, where I'd go wrong?

Old 07-26-16, 01:08 AM
  #1  
night mission
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Replaced chain at 1500 miles, where I'd go wrong?

Old guy with a new(ish) bike. I've put about 1400-1500 miles on the bike over the last year and it had, maybe 200 miles on when I bought it. 105 Shimano with a compact crank. I'm not an athlete, I haven't pushed the drivetrain that hard and only really push hard during my local climbs. My LBS replaced the chain after I complained of crank noise and obvious feedback though the pedals. Smooth as glass now. I have washed the bike and lubed the chain, but admit I did see rust on the rollers and may have allowed the (wet) chain to be put away after I washed the bike. Could this be the reason the chain life has been so short? Could poor chain maintenance via washing have caused a chain to stretch or fail in this manner? I want to do better in the future if I'm abusing my drivetrain by neglect.
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Old 07-26-16, 03:44 AM
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back in feb this year I also replace a 3yr old chain
this week I replaced it again. which is the reason I bought because it was suppose to be stretchless.
nothing wrong with my drive train to cause it.
I had just over 2000 miles on the new chain.
i'll stay with a regular chain'
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Old 07-26-16, 04:04 AM
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They probably tuned the bike, tightened up the bottom bracket and everything else to get rid of the noise which could have been numerous things, then sold you and charged install labor for a new chain you didn't need.
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Old 07-26-16, 06:05 AM
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Your chain was rusty? If you're going to wash your chain with water, you need to spend extra time displacing the water from the chain. Just wash the chain with WD-40 and then lube. Skip the soapy water.
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Old 07-26-16, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
They probably tuned the bike, tightened up the bottom bracket and everything else to get rid of the noise which could have been numerous things, then sold you and charged install labor for a new chain you didn't need.
If the chain was visibly rusty, they're not going to try and bring it back to life.
So he needed a new one.

Originally Posted by deapee View Post
Your chain was rusty? If you're going to wash your chain with water, you need to spend extra time displacing the water from the chain. Just wash the chain with WD-40 and then lube. Skip the soapy water.
And WD-40 is a crappy lube, so don't just spray it with that. Spray WD-40, wipe it down. Wait for the rest to evaporate (an hr or so) then apply chain lube.
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Old 07-26-16, 06:28 AM
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Yes, use WD-40 only as a solvent, not as a lubricant. Brake cleaner does the same for less money.....
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Old 07-26-16, 06:34 AM
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You were told that the bike had 200 miles on it when you got it. There is no possible way to verify that mileage, it could have been quite a bit more. Even if the bike had a computer showing that mileage, you wouldn't know if it was installed when the bike was new or that the computer was on thebike for every ride that was taken after the computer was bought
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Old 07-26-16, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by AlexCyclistRoch View Post
Yes, use WD-40 only as a solvent, not as a lubricant. Brake cleaner does the same for less money.....
That and Water-Displacing hence the name WD .
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Old 07-26-16, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by andr0id View Post
And WD-40 is a crappy lube, so don't just spray it with that. Spray WD-40, wipe it down. Wait for the rest to evaporate (an hr or so) then apply chain lube.
Originally Posted by AlexCyclistRoch View Post
Yes, use WD-40 only as a solvent, not as a lubricant. Brake cleaner does the same for less money.....
Originally Posted by hagak View Post
That and Water-Displacing hence the name WD .
Where to start?

First with the whether or not WD-40 is a crappy lubricant or a lubricant at all. As it comes out of the spray can, WD-40 is about 75% Stoddard solvent. But it is also 25% "petroleum based oil". That "oil" is likely mineral oil which isn't all that different from just about any oil based bicycle lubricant. 3-in-One oil was originally a bicycle chain lubricant and the oil in it is similar to the mineral oil in WD-40. It will do the job and it's about as clean as any other oil based lubricant...which is to say, not very.

WD-40 is a crappy solvent because it has 25% lubricant in it. A "solvent" should dissolve the material you want to dissolve and not leave anything behind. Whatever you spray the WD-40 on is going to be covered in oil. That's not usually good.

As for using brake cleaning, I would argue that it's not necessarily cheaper than WD-40 and it's not necessarily safer either. The solvent in WD-40 is basically mineral spirits, aka naphtha or paint thinner. Brake cleaners are mostly perchloroethylene which is a chlorinated hydrocarbon. Tetrachloroethylene (another name for it or often called TCE) is toxic and a possible human carcinogen. It will penetrate the skin and dissolve the fat under the skin leading to skin irritation and absorption of the material by the body. As a chemist, I wouldn't handle the stuff without gloves and without ventilation. I certainly wouldn't go spraying it around willy nilly.

A much better alternative is mineral spirits which is the solvent used in the WD-40 without the oil. It's clean, mostly harmless, and has a high flash point. I still use gloves when handling it and I use it outside but it's not nearly as bad as TCE.

Finally, as a "water displacement" fluid, WD-40 isn't...no matter what the label says. The oil and solvent used in WD-40 are both hydrophobic and less dense than water. The carbon dioxide used to blow the liquid out of the can does most of the "water displacement" but any of water left is just going to sit underneath the solvent and mineral oil. Think salad dressing.

If you really feel the need to wash your chains with water...it's a silly practice but people do it all the time...follow the water wash with denatured alcohol or acetone. Don't try to dry the water with air or heat as this just promotes rust.

Or, you can skip the water wash altogether and use mineral spirits for a single step chain cleaning.
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Old 07-26-16, 07:52 AM
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washing chains with water and lubing them with WD-40 is a really crappy maintenance plan.
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Old 07-26-16, 07:56 AM
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If the chain was rusty on the outside, likely the insides were not in good condition either, hence the noise, and that lack of internal lubrication leads to rapid wear. I do the same as cyccommute, I changed my last change at 4,000 miles just because, it actually still measured OK and was not particularly noisy.
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Old 07-26-16, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by jimincalif View Post
If the chain was rusty on the outside, likely the insides were not in good condition either, hence the noise, and that lack of internal lubrication leads to rapid wear.
The wear isn't due to lack of lubrication. Rust or, more properly, iron oxide is harder than the steel that it forms on. It's also rather brittle so it breaks off the steel and serves as a grinding paste inside the chain. Adding lubrication just serves as a carrier for the harder material.

Everyone knows that washing the chain with water promotes rust formation...although they continue to do it Drying it in air will give the oxygen in the water more time to do its work but drying it by heating it speeds up the oxidative process. Not removing the water prior to lubrication just encapsulates the water next to the steel and promotes more oxidation.

If you absolutely, positively have to use water, it is best to remove it as quickly as possible with a water soluble solvent...which is not WD-40...or with an air gun.

Using mineral spirits to clean the chain allows you to skip all the silly steps that many people go through when cleaning a chain. It's simple and straight forward. Rinse and allow to dry.

And, as I've said in many threads, if you choose the proper lubricant, you only have to do it once.
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Old 07-26-16, 08:34 AM
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Well as you can see everyone's different. I stick by what I said...clean with WD-40 and lube with chain lube after.


Last edited by deapee; 07-26-16 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 07-26-16, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by deapee View Post
Well as you can see everyone's different. I stick by what I said...clean with WD-40 and lube with chain lube after.
Yours is the more expensive option, however. A 12 oz can of WD-40 costs $5 at Lowes. A 32 oz can of mineral spirits costs $8.50. On a per oz basis, the WD-40 costs $0.42/oz while the mineral spirits costs $0.26/oz. That's not the complete story, however.

I know from personal experience, that 8 oz (a cup) of mineral spirits can be used to clean a chain 4 to 6 times, conservatively. WD-40 can only be used to clean the chain once. Assuming a through cleaning with the WD-40, the amount used is 2 to 4 oz.

On a per use basis, the mineral spirits costs $0.50 to $0.30 per cleaning. WD-40 costs $0.80 to $1.68 per cleaning. It's not going to break the bank, but there is WD-40 is more expensive. If you clean the chain as regularly as some people do, the cost of WD-40 can add up very quickly indeed.
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Old 07-26-16, 12:49 PM
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Mineral spirits is the ultimate chain cleaner. Nothing else comes close.
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Old 07-26-16, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Yours is the more expensive option, however. A 12 oz can of WD-40 costs $5 at Lowes. A 32 oz can of mineral spirits costs $8.50. On a per oz basis, the WD-40 costs $0.42/oz while the mineral spirits costs $0.26/oz. That's not the complete story, however.

I know from personal experience, that 8 oz (a cup) of mineral spirits can be used to clean a chain 4 to 6 times, conservatively. WD-40 can only be used to clean the chain once. Assuming a through cleaning with the WD-40, the amount used is 2 to 4 oz.

On a per use basis, the mineral spirits costs $0.50 to $0.30 per cleaning. WD-40 costs $0.80 to $1.68 per cleaning. It's not going to break the bank, but there is WD-40 is more expensive. If you clean the chain as regularly as some people do, the cost of WD-40 can add up very quickly indeed.
@cyccommute -
I've used aerosol throttle body cleaner to clean my chains. 80-90% heptane + acetone with C02 propellent. I used it outdoors with gloves but not a mask. Mineral spirits are cheaper, so I'll switch, but is TBC any worse healthwise? The MSDS sounds scary, but it seems like most are.
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Old 07-26-16, 01:35 PM
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All this talk about various chemical methods of cleaning a chain frightens me. Mine is simple. Before I go out for a ride I use a terrycloth towel to wipe my chain down. If I had lubricated my chain before my previous ride, that would be it. If I hadn't, I would apply my lubricant,wait a minute and wipe it down again. All this takes very little time. I maintain my chain using very small chunks of time. Taking time to remove a chain or to use solvents to clean one is foreign to me,but that is what I do. I do not believe that stripping a chain of all lubricants is a good way to make it last longer
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Old 07-26-16, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by SloButWide View Post
@cyccommute -
I've used aerosol throttle body cleaner to clean my chains. 80-90% heptane + acetone with C02 propellent. I used it outdoors with gloves but not a mask. Mineral spirits are cheaper, so I'll switch, but is TBC any worse healthwise? The MSDS sounds scary, but it seems like most are.
Mineral spirits is a mixture of hydrocarbons which range from carbon chains of 7 carbons (heptane) to 12 hydrocarbons. Odorless mineral spirits has been stripped of the aromatic hydrocarbons which are benzene/toluene/xylene or BTX. Removal of the BTX, especially the benzene, significantly lowers the hazards of using it. Your current protective equipment and location should be sufficient as the material is similar to what you are using now.

Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
All this talk about various chemical methods of cleaning a chain frightens me. Mine is simple. Before I go out for a ride I use a terrycloth towel to wipe my chain down. If I had lubricated my chain before my previous ride, that would be it. If I hadn't, I would apply my lubricant,wait a minute and wipe it down again. All this takes very little time. I maintain my chain using very small chunks of time. Taking time to remove a chain or to use solvents to clean one is foreign to me,but that is what I do. I do not believe that stripping a chain of all lubricants is a good way to make it last longer
Whether you know it or not, you are using a chemical method. Almost all chain lubricants I've seen contain some kind of solvent to penetrate into the chain and flush out the old lubricant along with grit and stuff the chain lubricant picks up. If you are familiar with Tri-flow, it uses amyl acetate which gives it that banana smell. Home brew lubricants are usually mixed 3 parts mineral spirits with 1 part oil so that the mineral spirits flush the old lubricant out and leave behind fresh(ish) lubricant.

I strip my chains of the factory lubricant before installation and use a lubricant that doesn't attract dirt. But I also never have to clean the chain again. I don't have to constantly wipe the excess off and I don't end up with a chain that requires a hazmat suit to handle. I just lubricant the chain when needed which is mostly after rain rides.

Although the manufacturer says to reapply every 50 to 100 miles, I find that I don't have to apply it nearly that often...I get 400 to 600 miles between application. My chains also last from 3000 to 4000 miles which is in the same range as others who religiously clean their chains report.
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Old 07-26-16, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post

Whether you know it or not, you are using a chemical method. Almost all chain lubricants I've seen contain some kind of solvent to penetrate into the chain and flush out the old lubricant along with grit and stuff the chain lubricant picks up. If you are familiar with Tri-flow, it uses amyl acetate which gives it that banana smell. Home brew lubricants are usually mixed 3 parts mineral spirits with 1 part oil so that the mineral spirits flush the old lubricant out and leave behind fresh(ish) lubricant.
I know very well that I am using solvents, but I also know that I am using very little, as little as I can, the amount that I use is about as small an amount as I can figure out. If your method uses less, teach me I am well aware that anything I apply to my chain could be designated as a solvent. I simply try to limit the use of solvents that evaporate quickly

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Old 07-26-16, 02:45 PM
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For the record, and I know I've already posted in the thread, I don't clean my chain with anything other than a rag and that dry chain lube. The rotation of the chain links and rollers hitting the gears gets the stuff up and out of the way...and then it's easy to wipe off. Even on a mountain bike, same deal. But that's just how I do it. Now I would use the Wd-40 if the situation called for it.
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Old 07-26-16, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by AlexCyclistRoch View Post
Yes, use WD-40 only as a solvent, not as a lubricant. Brake cleaner does the same for less money.....
WD 40 is a LUBE..

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Old 07-26-16, 03:49 PM
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WD-40 is a fantastic lubricant... for use when cutting/milling aluminum. I have a bottle used for nothing other than that purpose.

With regard to chains, I wear through chains roughly every 3,000 miles, so I go through 4 chains a year. I don't even bother to clean them anymore. Wipe the chain down every few days, relube when squeaks occur, throw it away when stretched. No chain lube or cleaning regimen has shown to improve chain life in any way, so I'm simply not going to waste the time on it. I've not even noticed a performance difference between lubes, other than different application intervals. The Muc-Off Hydrophobic I'm using now lasts ~500 miles between applications, so I'm sticking with that for the time being.
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Old 07-26-16, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
WD-40 is a fantastic lubricant... for use when cutting/milling aluminum. I have a bottle used for nothing other than that purpose.

With regard to chains, I wear through chains roughly every 3,000 miles, so I go through 4 chains a year. I don't even bother to clean them anymore. Wipe the chain down every few days, relube when squeaks occur, throw it away when stretched. No chain lube or cleaning regimen has shown to improve chain life in any way, so I'm simply not going to waste the time on it. I've not even noticed a performance difference between lubes, other than different application intervals. The Muc-Off Hydrophobic I'm using now lasts ~500 miles between applications, so I'm sticking with that for the time being.
I do the same now. But it took years of OCD, OCP, ADHD to reach this stage of chain zen.
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Old 07-26-16, 05:22 PM
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Soylent Green for cleaning. Any good chain lube to lube.
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Old 07-26-16, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ltxi View Post
Soylent Green for cleaning. Any good chain lube to lube.
Seems a bit extreme, but I like your style.
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