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Cleaning new chain?

Old 04-25-17, 09:16 AM
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Cleaning new chain?

The new KMC chain has a noticeable coating of "something" kind of sticky which I removed by dousing in mineral spirits. The Shimano chain for my other bike looked like oil, but I'm thinking just for rust prevention, so I did the same thing.

Do you recommend stripping the new chain and re-oiling?

[EDIT] disregard question about spacer

Last edited by DrRobert; 04-25-17 at 09:24 AM.
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Old 04-25-17, 09:18 AM
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No. It's the best lube a chain can have, stripping it away you're actually hurting the chain.

Don't clean it until its gets dirty, typically after the first ride in the rain, or several hundred miles of riding.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/chains.html


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Old 04-25-17, 09:20 AM
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This question comes up frequently and you'll get answers all over the place. I saved this article a few years ago because I found it interesting.

https://www.bikerumor.com/2011/06/28...-with-shimano/
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Old 04-25-17, 09:20 AM
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^ ^ What he said about the chain.

For the spacer, take it to a shop. They'll most likely have one in a parts bin that will work, and it'll be very cheap or even free if they like you. That's easier than guessing the size, ordering something online, and then finding out that it doesn't fit.
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Old 04-25-17, 09:25 AM
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Gotcha but don't you wash out the factory lube the first time you clean it?

Which brings me to another question: my nephew is a MTB rider and he convinced me to take chain off and use mineral spirits to clean it. I have been doing this followed by a through wash in dish detergent. It definitely does a better job then the chain cleaner setups.

I got almost about 2500K out of the chain.

Opinions?
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Old 04-25-17, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
No. It's the best lube a chain can have, stripping it away you're actually hurting the chain.

Don't clean it until its gets dirty, typically after the first ride in the rain, or several hundred miles of riding.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/chains.html
I'll spray Clean Streak on a clean rag, and wipe off the greasy film(but leave the rest behind).
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Old 04-25-17, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
i'll spray clean streak on a clean rag, and wipe off the greasy film(but leave the rest behind).
+1
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Old 04-25-17, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by DrRobert View Post
Gotcha but don't you wash out the factory lube the first time you clean it?


Yes, but by that point you should have gotten several hundred miles of use out of it.
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Old 04-25-17, 09:55 AM
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Why use water after the mineral spirits. Just hang it up for a few hours to dry.
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Old 04-25-17, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by DrRobert View Post

Which brings me to another question: my nephew is a MTB rider and he convinced me to take chain off and use mineral spirits to clean it. I have been doing this followed by a through wash in dish detergent. It definitely does a better job then the chain cleaner setups.

I got almost about 2500K out of the chain.

Opinions?
IMHO, It's unecessary and potentially counterproductive. It will make the chain look nice.

You need lubrication down inside the chain. Soaking in mineral spirits you're driving the lubrication out, and it may not entirely be replaced relubing it.

Simple application of Prolink, wiping off the excess with a rag does a fine job.

Also, 2500K out of an 8 speed chain is not particularly high.
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Old 04-25-17, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by DrRobert View Post
Gotcha but don't you wash out the factory lube the first time you clean it?

Which brings me to another question: my nephew is a MTB rider and he convinced me to take chain off and use mineral spirits to clean it. I have been doing this followed by a through wash in dish detergent. It definitely does a better job then the chain cleaner setups.

I got almost about 2500K out of the chain.

Opinions?
2500km or 2500000 miles/kms or 2500 miles?
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Old 04-25-17, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
IMHO, It's unecessary and potentially counterproductive. It will make the chain look nice.

You need lubrication down inside the chain. Soaking in mineral spirits you're driving the lubrication out, and it may not entirely be replaced relubing it.

Simple application of Prolink, wiping off the excess with a rag does a fine job.

Also, 2500K out of an 8 speed chain is not particularly high.
An oil lube will fill all the spaces by capillary action. No worries.
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Old 04-25-17, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by DrRobert View Post
Gotcha but don't you wash out the factory lube the first time you clean it?

Which brings me to another question: my nephew is a MTB rider and he convinced me to take chain off and use mineral spirits to clean it. I have been doing this followed by a through wash in dish detergent. It definitely does a better job then the chain cleaner setups.

I got almost about 2500K out of the chain.

Opinions?
I have a chain with about 5k miles, and was never cleaned running with no problems, although I'm planning on getting a chain cleaner.
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Old 04-26-17, 03:18 PM
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Factory lube is put there with the primary purpose of preventing corrosion on the chain not necessarily with being the best running lube. That's why it's so gummy feeling.

In the last few years there has been a lot of innovation in lubes in terms of adding PTFE and with some nanotechnology additives. If you read the Friction Facts briefs (you have to buy them), you can see that there are serious differences in lubricants.

FWIW, just week before last. I replaced the chain on my bike with DA chain. I ran it to see how good the lubricant from the factory was. That lube started making noise after about 100 miles. I then replaced it with the new Mac-off lube I wanted to test. After 200 miles it's still quiet and, amazingly enough, it's still clean. So there is clearly some difference in lubrication and it's pretty clear which is the best lube and it most definitely is not the lube that comes on the chain.

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Old 04-26-17, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by San Pedro View Post
I have a chain with about 5k miles, and was never cleaned running with no problems, although I'm planning on getting a chain cleaner.
Usually there are no problems for a very long time as long as you just keep running both the chain and cassette. But your cassette is toast and won't work with a new chain. You will have to change that too.
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Old 04-26-17, 07:39 PM
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I may have missed the environment application part and my answer would be different.
I think the factory lube is pretty good and what the manufacture thinks is best for general purpose.

The latest Dura-Ace chains are Teflon coated, and deal with cross chaining very well. IMO worth it.

You can start lubing you chain with the right selection of Rock n Road lubes (there are other brands, this one I know). If you lube often, that also cleans. We (3 riders) live in a drier dustier area, so we want nothing like grease and use the light red every ride. A DA chain is not that heavily greased but I take a clean rage to it out of the bag and start lubing before each ride after a week. If I lived in a wet area I'd likely leave the goop on.

Last edited by Doge; 04-26-17 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 04-26-17, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by DrRobert View Post
Which brings me to another question: my nephew is a MTB rider and he convinced me to take chain off and use mineral spirits to clean it. I have been doing this followed by a through wash in dish detergent. It definitely does a better job then the chain cleaner setups.

I got almost about 2500K out of the chain.

Opinions?
I don't waste time cleaning chains apart from wiping off the excess lubricant (now ProLink Gold, although I rode White Lightning for years until a squeaky link developed spontaneously on a long ride). I just add lube when they no longer run silently which can take about 800-1000 miles starting with the factory lube, but less than 200 on wet weeks.

I get 4500 miles / 7200 km out of Campagnolo chains (now C10) at which point I replace them due to degraded shifting from excessive side clearance although they haven't elongated by 1/32" over 11 inches.

I used to get 4 chains out of cassettes, although my current one is still running well at 22,000 miles (35,400 km).
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Old 04-26-17, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Usually there are no problems for a very long time as long as you just keep running both the chain and cassette. But your cassette is toast and won't work with a new chain. You will have to change that too.
I don't measure a full 1/32" of elongation over 11-12 inches after 4500-5000 miles. I recall replacing cassettes every 4 chains, although I have 22,000 miles on my current chain replacing every 4500 miles due to degraded shifting from side wear.
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Old 04-26-17, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Usually there are no problems for a very long time as long as you just keep running both the chain and cassette. But your cassette is toast and won't work with a new chain. You will have to change that too.
Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
I don't waste time cleaning chains apart from wiping off the excess lubricant (now ProLink Gold, although I rode White Lightning for years until a squeaky link developed spontaneously on a long ride). I just add lube when they no longer run silently which can take about 800-1000 miles starting with the factory lube, but less than 200 on wet weeks.

I get 4500 miles / 7200 km out of Campagnolo chains (now C10) at which point I replace them due to degraded shifting from excessive side clearance although they haven't elongated by 1/32" over 11 inches.

I used to get 4 chains out of cassettes, although my current one is still running well at 22,000 miles (35,400 km).
Well, it seems thoughts on this vary. I will say I'm pretty sure my cassette is not "toast". I would think about changing the chain soon on the mentioned bike, but now it's hardly seeing any action, so I wont bother with it anytime soon.
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Old 04-27-17, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
Factory lube is put there with the primary purpose of preventing corrosion on the chain not necessarily with being the best running lube. That's why it's so gummy feeling.


The technical folks at Shimano disagree.
https://www.bikerumor.com/2011/06/28...-with-shimano/


"The grease that comes on a Shimano chain is applied at the factory to the individual pieces before the chain is assembled. The grease does a better job of reducing friction than aftermarket chain lubes and it lasts longer. "

As does Sheldon Leonard:

"New chains come pre-lubricated with a grease-type lubricant which has been installed at the factory. This is an excellent lubricant, and has been made to permeate all of the internal interstices in the chain. The chain and this lubricant need to be warmed during application.
This factory lube is superior to any lube that you can apply after the fact -- well, unless...see below.
Some people make the bad mistake of deliberately removing this superior lubricant. Don't do this!"


Sheldon's advice, coinciding with the factory reccommendation is good enough for me.




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Old 04-27-17, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by San Pedro View Post
Well, it seems thoughts on this vary. I will say I'm pretty sure my cassette is not "toast". I would think about changing the chain soon on the mentioned bike, but now it's hardly seeing any action, so I wont bother with it anytime soon.
You won't know if it's toast until you try a new chain.
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Old 04-27-17, 07:56 AM
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I used to strip it off, but now I leave it. Once the time comes, I use a 50/50 mix of degreaser + boiling water in a sealed container and shake vigorously. Rinse and give another shake with alcohol (or brake kleen) to get rid of the water, and then finally wax it with this stuff.

For me, the clean + rewax method seems to work better than just adding lube. I like having that dead-silent, post-wax feeling after I service my chain. I don't get it by just adding lube.
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Old 04-27-17, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
The technical folks at Shimano disagree.
https://www.bikerumor.com/2011/06/28...-with-shimano/


"The grease that comes on a Shimano chain is applied at the factory to the individual pieces before the chain is assembled. The grease does a better job of reducing friction than aftermarket chain lubes and it lasts longer. "

As does Sheldon Leonard:

"New chains come pre-lubricated with a grease-type lubricant which has been installed at the factory. This is an excellent lubricant, and has been made to permeate all of the internal interstices in the chain. The chain and this lubricant need to be warmed during application.
This factory lube is superior to any lube that you can apply after the fact -- well, unless...see below.
Some people make the bad mistake of deliberately removing this superior lubricant. Don't do this!"


Sheldon's advice, coinciding with the factory reccommendation is good enough for me.




Well, Friction Facts, an independent testing lab when these reports were done, in their 2012 report on chain efficiency says:

Removing the factory lube and re-lubing with light oil increased the overall efficiency of all 25 samples by an average of 1.55 watts @250W, when compared to the average efficiency from Part 1 of this test.

The Shimano CN-7901 (Dura Ace) is the most efficient chain after re-lubing. The Dura Ace consumed an average of 6.39 watts @ 250W (97.51% efficiency). The results showed the Wipperman Connex 10S1 to be the least efficient chain after re-lubing, consuming an average of 7.04 watts @ 250W (97.26% efficiency). A difference of 0.65 watts (0.25% efficiency difference) is seen between most efficient and least efficient models after the re-lube.
and

While the Shimano Dura Ace ultimately achieved the highest efficiency results in both parts of this test, it is important to note that the process of re-lubing had a profound effect on the efficiencies of the chain models which tested at lower efficiencies from the previous Factory Lube test. For example, by re-lubing the SRAM PC-1091R, the losses of this chain decreased by 3.28 watts.
Shimano is clearly wrong based on test results and 3.28W is a significant gain by re-lubing. You'll also note that all chains sampled from a variety of manufacturers benefited by removing the factory lube and re-lubing. Also note that Shimano does not provide any test results to back up their claim.

You can reference the Friction Facts reports here but you'll have to pay for them like I did. The specific report I am quoting is found here.

While I have great respect for the late Sheldon Brown (I presume you typo-ed Leonard for Brown. Sheldon Leonard was a filmmaker), his evaluation (which I believe is from 1996) of chain lubes is quite old and there have been many significant innovations in that time in lubrication in general and specifically in bike chain lubricants.

J.
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Old 04-27-17, 11:00 AM
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^ IIRC, the owners of that service are in the business of selling specially prepared chains, ceramic bearings, pulley's and such.

So they have a vested interested in their findings.

The average of 1.55 watts at 250 watts is a .0062 difference, below the error rate of most power meters.

I'd take the reviews of snake oil from snake oil salesmen with a grain of salt.
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Old 04-27-17, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
^ IIRC, the owners of that service are in the business of selling specially prepared chains, ceramic bearings, pulley's and such.

So they have a vested interested in their findings.

The average of 1.55 watts at 250 watts is a .0062 difference, below the error rate of most power meters.

I'd take the reviews of snake oil from snake oil salesmen with a grain of salt.
Good try, points for effort.

This report was written in 2012 and was more than four years before the company was acquired (acquired in Nov 2016). During that time they were an independent lab with no product affiliations. They were in the business of doing contract independent testing for publications and manufacturers for testing. As far as snake oil goes, that is far more independent than a chain manufacturer selling their own chains would be (i.e. Shimano). As well, there is simply no - as in zero - data supplied by Shimano which makes their statement simply an unsupported claim. That is the definition of "snake oil." Especially from a manufacturer who can get $50 for a length of simple chain. That grease is starting to look pretty much the chain equivalent of snake oil.

As for the tolerance on the measurement, pls purchase the article to view their testing methods. They built a test jig using industrial measurement equipment using a bicycle drivetrain.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I replaced my worn DA chain with a brand new one. I wanted to compare the longevity and noise of the factory grease against some better lubes (in this case a sample of Muc-off's new lube). The factory lube got noisy after about 100 miles (about average for most lubes in my riding conditions). The Muc-off stuff has been going twice as long, was quieter and smoother right out of the gate, and does have a noticeable difference in pedaling - not much, but definitely noticeable. Muc-off was the latest lube I've tested but seems roughly equivalent to several other high PTFE content lubes I've tried. Sure, that's qualitative but it's pretty clear that the lower chain noise and the longevity of the Mic-off lube significantly exceeds Shimano's factory lube performance.

So, I'd have to say that the claims Shimano makes for their lube/grease don't hold up in practice and look like they are in agreement with the testing results.

J.
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