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Chain maintenance

Old 06-08-19, 07:36 PM
  #1  
boggy
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Chain maintenance

Just have a question about regular chain maintenance, and wondering if I am doing it right, or too much - any input would be appreciated.

I commute to work 20 miles one way daily, so I ride around 200 miles per weak on the city streets. It's not as tough as it sounds, since I use electrical assist bike, but it's still pretty hard wear on the drivetrain.

I clean the chain once a week with Finish Line grunge brush and bike chain degreaser, and after drying chain clean with towels I apply 3-in-one oil to each pin in the chain, removing excess oil with clean towels. 3-in-one oil is [much] cheaper than purpose bike oil, and it does have bicycle icon and "long lasting" verbiage on the can - which makes me believe it's an okay oil to use.

The chain is super smooth and makes no noise whatsoever first couple of days after that, and by the end of the week I can hear something that resembles normal drivetrain noises, but I never heard squeaking in between chain cleaning.

Is this all normal, or I am doing it way too often? Does using non-purpose oil making it all worse, would it be cheaper to use some sort of professional oil but less often?
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Old 06-08-19, 07:38 PM
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Why not make your life clean and easy and use wax, or some wax-based lubricant like Squirt?
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Old 06-08-19, 08:07 PM
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I use White Lightning dry chain lube and like it a LOT. Since it is dry, it doesn't pick up all the road dirt and actually stays clean.
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Old 06-08-19, 08:09 PM
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I'm a proponent of wax for lots of reasons, the main one being it doesn't wash off in the rain and mud and the second being ease of application. Cleaning is easy if you use a warm solution to make the wax melt. Oil is better than nothing unless you ask my dad. He believes oil just attracts dirt which is worse than metal on metal. Go figure. We've been having that discussion for more than 50 years and it never gets old. But then neither does he, or so he would have you believe.
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Old 06-08-19, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Bigbus View Post
I'm a proponent of wax for lots of reasons, the main one being it doesn't wash off in the rain and mud and the second being ease of application. Cleaning is easy if you use a warm solution to make the wax melt. Oil is better than nothing unless you ask my dad. He believes oil just attracts dirt which is worse than metal on metal. Go figure. We've been having that discussion for more than 50 years and it never gets old. But then neither does he, or so he would have you believe.
Your dad is right.
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Old 06-09-19, 09:12 PM
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Do you need to prep the chain any special way before applying White Lightning? I've heard good things about it (I currently use Pro Link) and am thinking of switching and giving White Lightening a try. Thanks.
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Old 06-10-19, 10:57 AM
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200 miles per weak on the city streets.
buy an extra chain, swap them on saturday, dunk/soak *them clean in solvent ,
and be ready to do it again next saturday..
*or wax pot.

Probably go through a cassette and a pair of chains at least every 6 months , I'd guess..
Given that's 5200 miles ..

YMMV...

Maybe one of those plastic tank chain-cleaners, every few days..

wipe off the outside, oil there does not matter, under the rollers is what wears..







.....

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-10-19 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 06-10-19, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by boggy View Post
Just have a question about regular chain maintenance, and wondering if I am doing it right, or too much - any input would be appreciated.

I commute to work 20 miles one way daily, so I ride around 200 miles per weak on the city streets. It's not as tough as it sounds, since I use electrical assist bike, but it's still pretty hard wear on the drivetrain.

I clean the chain once a week with Finish Line grunge brush and bike chain degreaser, and after drying chain clean with towels I apply 3-in-one oil to each pin in the chain, removing excess oil with clean towels. 3-in-one oil is [much] cheaper than purpose bike oil, and it does have bicycle icon and "long lasting" verbiage on the can - which makes me believe it's an okay oil to use.

The chain is super smooth and makes no noise whatsoever first couple of days after that, and by the end of the week I can hear something that resembles normal drivetrain noises, but I never heard squeaking in between chain cleaning.

Is this all normal, or I am doing it way too often? Does using non-purpose oil making it all worse, would it be cheaper to use some sort of professional oil but less often?
The answer to all these questions is whether your chain lasts long enough to make it worth it.
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Old 06-10-19, 05:38 PM
  #9  
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That seems like a lot of work. About once a week I dribble lube (I like Pro-Link Gold personally) on the chain as I turn the pedals backwards. Then I take an old tshirt and grab the chain as I continue to turn the pedals backwards. Then I go for a ride.
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Old 06-10-19, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
Do you need to prep the chain any special way before applying White Lightning? I've heard good things about it (I currently use Pro Link) and am thinking of switching and giving White Lightening a try. Thanks.
All I did was clean it using the Park Tool chain cleaner and some Mr. Clean degreaser. After it dried I just applied the White Lightning as per the instructions. It's clean and noise-free.
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Old 06-10-19, 10:10 PM
  #11  
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@Jon T Thanks.

@caloso Are you cleaning your chain at all before re-applying the Pro Link? Or are you just applying the lube over the existing (dirty?) chain? I notice my chain turning black and I clean my chain before re-applying the Pro Link. This takes a lot of work though, so I'm curious about your method. Thank you.
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Old 06-10-19, 10:28 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
@Jon T Thanks.

@caloso Are you cleaning your chain at all before re-applying the Pro Link? Or are you just applying the lube over the existing (dirty?) chain? I notice my chain turning black and I clean my chain before re-applying the Pro Link. This takes a lot of work though, so I'm curious about your method. Thank you.
Just lube and wipe.
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Old 06-11-19, 07:02 AM
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More work than I like to do, but there is certainly no harm in it, and the results are probably as good as you ate going to get in terms of drivetrain wear.
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Old 06-11-19, 07:17 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by boggy View Post
Finish Line grunge brush and bike chain degreaser

The contaminated degreaser needs to be treated.

I hope you are collecting it and taking it somewhere like the county dump for recycling.


-Tim-
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Old 06-11-19, 11:02 AM
  #15  
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Here's a data point for you:

I don't know the last time that I serviced my chain. I certainly don't keep records of stuff like that. I run it until it starts to make noise. Then I wipe it as clean as I can with a spray of WD40 on a rag. When it dries, I put the smallest bit of lube I can on each link, wait for it to set in and try to wipe it all off until I get bored with the process. I used to do that process pretty much weekly. Since my benign neglect days, I really haven't seen any difference.

The same goes with tire pressures but I know when I last topped up my tires. It was May 1st before we left for the spring recumbent rally in Xenia.

Like I say, it's just a data point. It's all that I do, and our trikes continue to function well.
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Old 06-11-19, 11:11 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by boggy View Post
Is this all normal, or I am doing it way too often? Does using non-purpose oil making it all worse, would it be cheaper to use some sort of professional oil but less often?
Way, way too OC-like for my taste, but apparently seems close to normal for some of the enthusiasts of BF. No harm in it though, if you enjoy spending your time on that kind of activity..

I get satisfactory chain wear and smoothness with an occasional (once month/200 miles or so) spraying from a can of silicone spray
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Old 06-11-19, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by boggy View Post
Just have a question about regular chain maintenance, and wondering if I am doing it right, or too much - any input would be appreciated.

I commute to work 20 miles one way daily, so I ride around 200 miles per weak on the city streets. It's not as tough as it sounds, since I use electrical assist bike, but it's still pretty hard wear on the drivetrain.

I clean the chain once a week with Finish Line grunge brush and bike chain degreaser, and after drying chain clean with towels I apply 3-in-one oil to each pin in the chain, removing excess oil with clean towels. 3-in-one oil is [much] cheaper than purpose bike oil, and it does have bicycle icon and "long lasting" verbiage on the can - which makes me believe it's an okay oil to use.

The chain is super smooth and makes no noise whatsoever first couple of days after that, and by the end of the week I can hear something that resembles normal drivetrain noises, but I never heard squeaking in between chain cleaning.

Is this all normal, or I am doing it way too often? Does using non-purpose oil making it all worse, would it be cheaper to use some sort of professional oil but less often?

I'm doing about 150/week so we're doing about the same mileage and here's what I do...

Once a week I wipe down the dirty chain with a rag until I'm satisfied I got as much as I could.
Add Finish Line Dry lube, link-by-link and work it in by spinning the cranks backwards.
About once a month or month and a half I clean the chain using a Park Tool chain scrubber filled with mineral spirits. Wipe it as dry as I can and start over again with the Finish Line Dry.

I wish I could use White Lightning wax lube. If you're ok with the black dandruff the chain sheds with White Lightning then IMO that's the way to go. It's easy to apply and with a simple wipe down you can get the crud off but with the way it works, most of the crud falls off on its own (that's the dandruff). I bring my commuter into my office on the second floor of a hospital and it's the black flaky dandruff that kills the deal for me. There's no arguing the fact that wax based lubes give the cleanest running chains. I don't think wax based lubes last as long as oil based, but with the ease of use I would be happy to simply apply a bit more often.


-Kedosto
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Old 06-13-19, 06:33 AM
  #18  
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A few years ago I switched from a molten wax dip to Chain-L. I liked the cleanness of the wax but it lasted like 3 days before the chain got noisy, especially if I had a wet ride. Chain-L lasts at least 1,000 miles before I need to relube. It is a thick, sticky oil that contains no solvent. After I apply a drop per link and allow it to migrate into the chain, I wipe the outside clean, repeating the wiping every day every few days until I relube. The chain stays fairly clean. I used remove a chain and clean it with solvents; however I found that with Chain-L it is not functionally necessary to do this. Just wipe often, re-lube, when you start hearing a bit of noise, and replace the chain when it's worn. Easy peasy, and no messing with solvents.

Good luck whatever you do or use.
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Old 06-13-19, 11:39 AM
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Clean the chain??? What a novel idea!
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