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How to clean chain on tour? Wet or dry lube?

Old 10-25-22, 10:44 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
...
... I don't use those little chain measuring tools. They can give bad readings sometimes calling for a new chain when it isn't really worn. From Sheldon Brown on that:
The Pedros one that Zinn cited and the Park one that is mentioned in the You Tube video that I listed in post 41 above are good ones, they do not have the problem that Sheldon Brown website mentioned.

I use the Pedros one. From my previous post:

Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
...
I have never carried a chain checker on a bike tour, but if you wanted to know when it is time to change a chain, a good chain checker is needed. I think only the Pedros and the comparable Park chain checkers are worth using, the other common ones over-estimate the elongation. Zinn has a good write up on chain checkers.
https://www.velonews.com/gear/measur...ar-accurately/

That type of chain checker needs to be used correctly, Park explains that:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOaFF_4CqJg

In that Youtube video, at 1 minute, where they say pressure is maintained, that is a key to using that checker correctly. I have the Pedros checker but the Park one functions the same way. After I bought the Pedros one, I chucked my other cheap checkers that always gave bad estimates.
Sheldon Brown website cited Shimano chain checkers, I have never seen one in a store and have not used one so I am hesitant to cite that here, I generally only recommend stuff I have used.
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Old 10-25-22, 11:05 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I don't understand why the difference, but I know that there seems to be a huge range. We in our group of three all had the same chains at the end of the Trans America and they lasted long past that. Mine went 10k miles and was then replaced. The rings and cassette were still fine. I find that cassettes last me much longer than many folks typically report. I like to say it is the result of my silky smooth spin, byt I know that is BS.

FWIW I replace when 12 complete links measure 12-1/16" to 12-1/8" beyond that and rings and cassettes are getting damaged and likely will need replacement. I don't use those little chain measuring tools. They can give bad readings sometimes calling for a new chain when it isn't really worn. From Sheldon Brown on that:
I let a chain go too long; that mistake cost me $250 IIRC. By the time the chain was skipping, I needed a new crank in addition to the chain and cassette. Five chains replaced at 2,000 miles, plus a new cassette, would have saved me $100.

I still use the cheap measuring tool. When it shows wear, then I get down on my hands and knees so I can see the metal tape measure or ruler. IME there's usually a couple hundred miles left on the chain before it hits 12 1/16", and replacement time. Call me old and lazy.
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Old 10-25-22, 02:51 PM
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I've never owned one of the little chain checking tools of any brand and don't carry anything for checking. I have had a shop check with a little tool and tell me I needed a chain in the middle of a tour. It measured barely over 12". I was pretty sure it was still fine, but let them swap it out rather than worry about it. I figured that once the number starts to get over normal it goes pretty quickly and I didn't want to have to watch it closely.

I figure that if I were to carry a tool it would be a piece of metal the appropriate length. It could be a piece of thin rod or bar carefully trimmed to the right length. No need for calibration marks. Just a go or no go reading.

The linear measurement is hard to do wrong.
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Old 10-26-22, 04:33 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
...
The linear measurement is hard to do wrong.
I would need really strong reading glasses. Over a 12 inch length, 12 1/8 would be 1 percent, 12 3/32 would be 0.75 percent.

I used to do this with a 36 inch steel ruler but it was a hassle to take the chain off for a measurement. Then I bought one of the better chain checkers.
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Old 10-26-22, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I would need really strong reading glasses. Over a 12 inch length, 12 1/8 would be 1 percent, 12 3/32 would be 0.75 percent.

I used to do this with a 36 inch steel ruler but it was a hassle to take the chain off for a measurement. Then I bought one of the better chain checkers.
Yeah, when it is off the bike measuring a longer section is great, but these days I pretty much never take the chain off the bike other than to replace it.

I suspect you are trying to read with more precision to an actual value than I am. For me a quick look shows a reading of 12" or noticeably more than 12". That is close enough to know whether i need a closer look to get an accurate reading if desired/required. The thing is that typically I have found that once they start to go they go pretty quickly so once they show noticeable wear I keep close track or just replace it.

A good indicator that doesn't require reading small calibrations on the ruler is to use half a pin as the maximum allowed "stretch". So a 12" rule or a 12" piece of metal with no calibrations works okay for me.

Also with a thin 12" rule like a Starrett machinists rule you can tell by feel on the pins if it is exactly 12", slightly over, or well over.
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Old 10-26-22, 06:21 AM
  #56  
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I measure the entire chain. I have a nail on the garage door frame where I hang a new chain and then I put the used chain up against it.

114 links is 57 inches.

1/4 inch is pretty easy to measure without my glasses. That is my spec.

0.4% of 24 links is 1 mm. Beyond my ability.
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Old 10-26-22, 08:32 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
I measure the entire chain. I have a nail on the garage door frame where I hang a new chain and then I put the used chain up against it.

114 links is 57 inches.

1/4 inch is pretty easy to measure without my glasses. That is my spec.

0.4% of 24 links is 1 mm. Beyond my ability.
That is a quick and easy measure if you take the chain off the bike. I pretty much never do until I am ready to replace it. The only care or cleaning it gets us wiping off, application or lube and wiping again. FWIW I am convinced that my chains last longer than when I gave them more care. Call me crazy, but I believe that cleaning with solvents or detergents is killing them with kindness. My theory is that it just lets more abrasive grit get deeper into the chain.
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Old 10-26-22, 08:42 AM
  #58  
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5 seconds to remove a chain with quick link and 30 seconds to re-install.

Much easier to clean the chain rings and jockey pulleys with the chain off.

I recall a Zinn article in Velonews where he was shocked that his similar chain maintenance method was costing him 5 watts squirting white something or another lube with the laxy wipedown
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Old 10-26-22, 08:54 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Steve0000 View Post
You might want to check some of the information in that post. There is a lot wrong with it. The oil used in WD-40 is there in higher concentration than Triflow, which the article suggests in place of WD-40, and it is similar in composition. WD-40 has its issue…mostly having to do with the aerosol nature of delivery…but so does Triflow or any oil based chain lubricant for that matter.
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Old 10-26-22, 09:04 AM
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I used extra virgin olive oil once. Ran out of lube on a small island and it rained like hell.
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Old 10-26-22, 09:39 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
I used extra virgin olive oil once. Ran out of lube on a small island and it rained like hell.
but boy did he make a great salad dressing with the rest of it.
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Old 10-27-22, 03:55 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
5 seconds to remove a chain with quick link and 30 seconds to re-install.
...
It usually takes me a minute or two, ... or three to find that special quick link removal pliers that I only use a couple times a year plus half a minute to wipe the grime off the quick link halves, and the re-install usually takes a couple minutes to thread the chain through the jockey wheels and cassette while fighting the spring tension, then another half minute to thread it through the front derailleur while still fighting the spring tension.

If you are really that fast, you could probably replace five bike mechanics in most bike shops.

I will stick with the Pedros chain checker that gives me that precise 0.5 or 0.75 percent pass or fail determination.
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Old 10-27-22, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
It usually takes me a minute or two, ... or three to find that special quick link removal pliers that I only use a couple times a year plus half a minute to wipe the grime off the quick link halves, and the re-install usually takes a couple minutes to thread the chain through the jockey wheels and cassette while fighting the spring tension, then another half minute to thread it through the front derailleur while still fighting the spring tension.

If you are really that fast, you could probably replace five bike mechanics in most bike shops.

I will stick with the Pedros chain checker that gives me that precise 0.5 or 0.75 percent pass or fail determination.
Don't blame me for your disorder. I'll have my wife time me. I doubt removing the chain takes me more than 5 seconds.

I do not have a front derailleur, put the chain on the BB shell as it is being fed it thru the pulleys, it is a one step with a waxed chain, turn it sidewards and then rotate as being fed. Grap the tool and Snap. Put the chain onto the ring. Done. Let's call it a minute. Chains don't get clean unless taken off the bike. On tour, I try my best and then just replace them.
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Old 10-27-22, 09:08 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Chains don't get clean unless taken off the bike.
In that case mine never do get clean, but I don't consider that a bad thing since I seem to get way better than average chain life as well as life of other drive train components. Better than when I did take chains off and clean them. I am convinced that the only cleaning required is application of lube and a good wiping down I consider solvents and detergents to potentially have a negative impact by allowing abrasive grit to penetrate deeper innto the chain. So I try to minimize their use. Maybe I am all wet on that, but I get very good results so I plan to keep doing what I am doing. It takes me a while to take a chain off and put it back because I do it so seldom (my chains seem to last forever and I only take them off to replace them) that I have zero practice and never bothered to buy any special tool for the quick links.
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Old 10-27-22, 09:19 AM
  #65  
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ones persons clean enough is another persons filthy.
I'm clearly in the camp of using rags regularly keeps my chains and drivetrain pretty clean and like stae, my stuff tends to last and last, so for me it works. I'm also in the camp thinking that a real chain off-bike degreasing is going to need a really good application of lube to get into the important inner bits, but hey, whatever works for you.
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Old 10-27-22, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
In that case mine never do get clean, but I don't consider that a bad thing since I seem to get way better than average chain life as well as life of other drive train components. Better than when I did take chains off and clean them. I am convinced that the only cleaning required is application of lube and a good wiping down I consider solvents and detergents to potentially have a negative impact by allowing abrasive grit to penetrate deeper innto the chain. So I try to minimize their use. Maybe I am all wet on that, but I get very good results so I plan to keep doing what I am doing. It takes me a while to take a chain off and put it back because I do it so seldom (my chains seem to last forever and I only take them off to replace them) that I have zero practice and never bothered to buy any special tool for the quick links.
Your premise is flawed. The act of putting on lubricant drives grit into the chain. Most lubricants are largely solvent and even the ones that have a higher percentage of oil in them are still going to penetrate into the chain and carry anything on the outside of the chain into the inside of the chain. The grit that is needed to do damage is very small. Don’t worry about the boulders you can see on the outside, it’s the invisible dust that causes the damage. But just having oil…which is mobile…also pumps grit into the chain. The act of pedaling and then letting the bike sit will make the oil flow around the chain and will carry that grit with it.

The solvents in the chain lube actually serve the purpose to wash out the old oil along with any grit that has accumulated. Oil based lubricants are usually used sparingly so the benefit of the solvent is rather small.

Wiping the chain to keep it “clean” isn’t all that beneficial either. The act of wiping drives the grit into the chain because, again, it’s not the big bits of dirt you need to worry about. It’s the little stuff that gets in there and does the damage.

Grit is going to get you no matter what you do with oil based lubricants because of the nature of the lubricant. The oil serves to make a slurry out of the smallest particles of grit and then carries them into the chain where the grit can do its damage.

Wax based lubricants, on the other hand, serve as a block to the grit on the outside of the chain. Since the lubricant isn’t mobile, it doesn’t pump the grit into the chain. It also isn’t sticky so there is no mechanism for the grit and dirt to stay on the chain. Solvent wax lubricants are usually meant to flooded onto the chain…most of them instruct the user to have it physically dripping off the chain…partly to clean the chains and partly to ensure that enough wax remains in the chain after application to do the job. But…

Wax isn’t better at protecting the chain from wear than oil. However, oil isn’t better either. In oil based lubricants, you have flow so the pins on the chain doesn’t experience lubricant starvation as the pedaling pressure pushes the lubricant away from the pin. The oil flows back. But because of the grit that the oil carries, the pins get ground from that very grit. and the chain wears. With wax, you don’t have the grit doing damage but the pins experience lubricant starvation since the wax doesn’t flow. The metal on metal contact wears and the chain wears. Oddly enough, the wear is about the same for both lubricants You can’t win and you can’t break even.

The only reason I use wax lubricants is the cleanliness. Even if the application interval was shorter…it isn’t in my experience…I’d use it for that factor alone. I get to handle plenty of filthy chains at my volunteer job. I’d rather not handle them at home or on the road.
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Old 10-27-22, 10:51 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Your premise is flawed. The act of putting on lubricant drives grit into the chain. Most lubricants are largely solvent and even the ones that have a higher percentage of oil in them are still going to penetrate into the chain and carry anything on the outside of the chain into the inside of the chain. The grit that is needed to do damage is very small. Don’t worry about the boulders you can see on the outside, it’s the invisible dust that causes the damage. But just having oil…which is mobile…also pumps grit into the chain. The act of pedaling and then letting the bike sit will make the oil flow around the chain and will carry that grit with it.

The solvents in the chain lube actually serve the purpose to wash out the old oil along with any grit that has accumulated. Oil based lubricants are usually used sparingly so the benefit of the solvent is rather small.

Wiping the chain to keep it “clean” isn’t all that beneficial either. The act of wiping drives the grit into the chain because, again, it’s not the big bits of dirt you need to worry about. It’s the little stuff that gets in there and does the damage.

Grit is going to get you no matter what you do with oil based lubricants because of the nature of the lubricant. The oil serves to make a slurry out of the smallest particles of grit and then carries them into the chain where the grit can do its damage.

Wax based lubricants, on the other hand, serve as a block to the grit on the outside of the chain. Since the lubricant isn’t mobile, it doesn’t pump the grit into the chain. It also isn’t sticky so there is no mechanism for the grit and dirt to stay on the chain. Solvent wax lubricants are usually meant to flooded onto the chain…most of them instruct the user to have it physically dripping off the chain…partly to clean the chains and partly to ensure that enough wax remains in the chain after application to do the job. But…

Wax isn’t better at protecting the chain from wear than oil. However, oil isn’t better either. In oil based lubricants, you have flow so the pins on the chain doesn’t experience lubricant starvation as the pedaling pressure pushes the lubricant away from the pin. The oil flows back. But because of the grit that the oil carries, the pins get ground from that very grit. and the chain wears. With wax, you don’t have the grit doing damage but the pins experience lubricant starvation since the wax doesn’t flow. The metal on metal contact wears and the chain wears. Oddly enough, the wear is about the same for both lubricants You can’t win and you can’t break even.

The only reason I use wax lubricants is the cleanliness. Even if the application interval was shorter…it isn’t in my experience…I’d use it for that factor alone. I get to handle plenty of filthy chains at my volunteer job. I’d rather not handle them at home or on the road.
I get all your take on things, but for most of my riding, simple rag wipes on drivetrain keep things from getting gunky, and once in a while I do a really good job of cleaning the chain--but again, for nearly all of my riding, its on paved surfaces so the reality is not as dire as you make it out to be, well not for me anyway.

but I totally get the not wanting to deal with filthy chains, me too, so keep things clean and apply lube carefully to each link only at the connecting bits, and wipe off excess after rides.
I will probably try some white lightning sometime, but I suspect its like some of the other super thin stuff Ive used in past, Prolink I think, super clean, which I really liked, but I really did find I had to apply it much more often than other lubes--but fast and clean.

as you say, it seems no matter what we tend to get the same mileage out of chains, so for me, I balance some wet riding and general habits I have. Besides, I have way more important stuff to worry about in life than this, so just use the various lubes that I have.
I must have at least 4 types kicking around, so white lightning will be the next tryout perhaps.
No idea what it costs up here in the Great White North.
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Old 10-27-22, 11:37 AM
  #68  
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People don't add oil to their cars very often now, but 25 years ago I was at a busy gas station and found enough discarded one quart oil containers to nicely lube my chain. Most drivers are too impatient to let all the oil drain out. Squirting water out of a plastic bidon works poorly to clean, if you can do it multiple times it gets "okay", then lube right away; you will be better off than total neglect.
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Old 10-27-22, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Your premise is flawed.
That is fine. I'll continue with my flawed premise. I'll just keep ruining my 10k mile chains and drive train components that last for numerous chains.
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Old 10-27-22, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I must have at least 4 types kicking around, so white lightning will be the next tryout perhaps.
No idea what it costs up here in the Great White North.
White Lightning was a disaster for us on the first portion of the TA. I suspect it was because we followed the directions which at the time said to apply liberally and let sit overnight. We did so somewhat frequently and you can't imagine the waxy build up! We switched to T9 and applied sparingly, wiping off after spinning the pedals for a minute or so. It worked great and the chain stayed clean and shiny. I suspect that maybe white lightning might have been fine if applied similarly. I am not sure, but I think the recommended application is something more like that now.
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Old 10-27-22, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Don't blame me for your disorder.
....
Do you talk to everyone that way?
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Old 10-27-22, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
White Lightning was a disaster for us on the first portion of the TA. I suspect it was because we followed the directions which at the time said to apply liberally and let sit overnight. We did so somewhat frequently and you can't imagine the waxy build up! We switched to T9 and applied sparingly, wiping off after spinning the pedals for a minute or so. It worked great and the chain stayed clean and shiny. I suspect that maybe white lightning might have been fine if applied similarly. I am not sure, but I think the recommended application is something more like that now.
White Lightning was also a disaster for me. The build up was one thing. The other thing was that it simply wasn't a good lubricant. I would put apply it and by the next day the chain would be squeaking again. Nobody wants to lube their chain every day on a tour.
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Old 10-27-22, 03:06 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Yan View Post
White Lightning was also a disaster for me. The build up was one thing. The other thing was that it simply wasn't a good lubricant. I would put apply it and by the next day the chain would be squeaking again. Nobody wants to lube their chain every day on a tour.
With the heavy application and leaving it on overnight there was no squeaking with the lubing frequency we used. I forget how often, but nothing like every day. Maybe 5-7 days? The build up was like nothing I had seen before or have seen since.

I guess maybe with sparing application your problem shows up. our experience with it was bad enough that I'll never try it again to find out.
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Old 10-27-22, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
With the heavy application and leaving it on overnight there was no squeaking with the lubing frequency we used. I forget how often, but nothing like every day. Maybe 5-7 days? The build up was like nothing I had seen before or have seen since.

I guess maybe with sparing application your problem shows up. our experience with it was bad enough that I'll never try it again to find out.
Probably more useful to use distance instead of days. When I tried White Lightning I had to re-lube every 150km. With a normal wet lube I do it every 500km. The usual recommendation is every 250 - 300km, but I don't do it that often on tour. I usually aim for 130km per day so 250km would be every two days, which is too much work. I always re-lube after a rain.

Last edited by Yan; 10-27-22 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 11-04-22, 12:11 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
If you are putting on lubricant everyday or cleaning the chain constantly, you are doing something wrong. Life is just too short to be spending much more than fleeting thoughts about your chain.
Good grief! Wipe, lube, wipe takes less time than brushing your teeth! Heaven’s forbid, I even top up my tires every morning… oh, and brush my hair 😆
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