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Rust on Tour

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Old 03-20-08, 04:59 PM
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quester
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Rust on Tour

I found a nice patina of rust covering about a third of the links of my chain this morning, after getting rain in the last half hour of my ride yesterday.

How serious is this one incident?

How serious would repeated incidents on a long tour be?

Do you guys seriously dry off your chains etc. on long tours? What do you use?

Any preventive measures, i.e. are teflon-based coatings (White Lightning) better than oil? After googling, I see this might be part of the problem. White Lightning is evidently far worse at rust protection.
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Old 03-20-08, 05:49 PM
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You shouldn't get rust on a chain with a mere 30 minutes of exposure to rain. Plenty of folks, including yours truly, have cycled for hours in rain without a spot of rust.

I assume your chain is probably rather old, and was covered with grime / grease. Replace it.
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Old 03-20-08, 05:53 PM
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Don't sweat it. It is likely that the rust is on the sideplates of the chain and is of no consequence whatsoever. My touring bike has a bit of surface corrosion on the chain right now. I've even recovered chains from dump bikes that have been somewhat more affected by corrosion (admittedly 1/8th width).

If' you have ridden in the rain, the most that is going to happen is that the lube (irrespective of whether it's WL -- despite its claims) will have washed off. Your chain will get a bit noisier as you pedal -- a sort of meshing whoosh-whoosh. In that case, I'd just whack a drop of lube over each roller and keep going on your tour.

Worry when your chain starts to slip on the cogs -- probably 10,000km from now.

Like I said, don't sweat it.
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Old 03-20-08, 05:55 PM
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That's normal in my experience. Only solution I know is to clean and relube at regular, frequent intervals.

Without rain, lube normally will last a couple hundred miles. However, the chain will be picking up dirt the whole time, which accumulates and forms a nice grinding media which erodes contact surfaces of all those expensive alumunum drivetrain components.

Biking in a hard rain for only 10 miles seems to pretty much remove all the lubricant (and corrosion inhibition) properties of normal oil and wax bike lubes.

I am unaware of any magical bike chain lubes. I personally use a diy formula of 1 part automotive motor oil to 9 parts mineral spirits, dispensed from an old WL bottle. It works pretty good and is inexpensive, acts as chain cleaner and lube in one step. I used wax for a year, and got tried of scraping the wax/dirt paste out of the cassette spaces.

It's a PITA, but regular chain maintenance is just as important as keeping tires properly inflated. More so actually, if you consider the replacement cost of chains, chainrings, cassettes and deraillers vs tires. And the way dollar is moving these parts will only get more expensive.
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Old 03-20-08, 05:57 PM
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If you have over 3k on the chain, it may be time for a new one anyway.
A bit of rust on the side plates is nothing to worry about.
How much measured wear with a ruler is though.
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Old 03-20-08, 06:06 PM
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I have a feeling that having just put on an expensive new rear Phil hub, quester isn't going to be so slack as to put back on a heavily used old chain and cogset.
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Old 03-20-08, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
You shouldn't get rust on a chain with a mere 30 minutes of exposure to rain. Plenty of folks, including yours truly, have cycled for hours in rain without a spot of rust.

I assume your chain is probably rather old, and was covered with grime / grease. Replace it.
No, it's only about six months old (~1000 miles). Granted, it was probably 90 minutes of rain all told, but only the last half hour was serious. And I have been in rain w/ this bike before, just not as long.
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Old 03-21-08, 12:26 AM
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Why not get a Chain Wear Indicator, very useful if you ride alot. When it reaches about 75% wear just replace the chain.
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Old 03-21-08, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by xilios View Post
Why not get a Chain Wear Indicator, very useful if you ride alot. When it reaches about 75% wear just replace the chain.
Why, when everyone has a tape measure that does the job equally well, if not better?

I know, that less than 1000km after fitting a 9sp chain, someone with one of those magical chain measuring devices of which you speak checked my chain and said it was cactus. I kept riding with it for another 5,000km, at least, and it still had, according to my trusty steel rule, a bit more to go when I replaced it.
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Old 03-21-08, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by quester View Post
No, it's only about six months old (~1000 miles). Granted, it was probably 90 minutes of rain all told, but only the last half hour was serious. And I have been in rain w/ this bike before, just not as long.
Dude, I would bike for eight hours in the rain and didn't even think of cleaning my chain off
Granted, I did get some rusting, but as others mentioned only on the sides of the chain
I used white lightning for a while, then I threw it in the trash as that's all it's good for
Lately I've been using Pedro's Roadrage, and I would lube my chain every two days, then wipe off the excess
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Old 03-21-08, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by ricohman View Post
If you have over 3k on the chain, it may be time for a new one anyway.
A bit of rust on the side plates is nothing to worry about.
How much measured wear with a ruler is though.
At 3k maybe, but they last a lot longer than that for me. Mine currently has a 4244 mile tour on it and a couple thousand local miles and it is still well within spec. I expect that to be several thousand miles down the road and a while from now since I have been mostly riding my road bike lately. I will change it when it measure 12-1/16th" for 12 complete links.

I agree that a little rust on the side plates is of no concern and will be gone as soon as a little lube is applied and wiped off unless it has been neglected for a long time.
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Old 03-21-08, 11:03 AM
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I have found that Boeshield T-9 makes a very good lube for wet or dirty conditions. It's available in spray or a drip bottle. It's also an incredibly good cleaner; clean your chain in a regular way with an enviro cleaner in one of those chain cleaners with the wheels, dry and then lube with T-9 and see how much more gunk comes out.

Boeshield T-9 is often used to spray inside the steel frames of expensive road bikes to prevent rust. It was originally developed by Boeing to protect aircraft components. I had most of a can left over after spraying lots in the frame of my Lemond, so I tried it on the chain for wet, spring conditions and it's better than any wet lube I've used. Lube while you're getting ready for a ride, let it sit for 5 - 10 minutes, wipe off the excess. It's dry to touch, nothing sticks to it and the chain never rusts.

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Old 03-21-08, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by bccycleguy View Post
I have found that Boeshield T-9 makes a very good lube for wet or dirty conditions. It's available in spray or a drip bottle. It's also an incredibly good cleaner; clean your chain in a regular way with an enviro cleaner in one of those chain cleaners with the wheels, dry and then lube with T-9 and see how much more gunk comes out.

Boeshield T-9 is often used to spray inside the steel frames of expensive road bikes to prevent rust. It was originally developed by Boeing to protect aircraft components. I had most of a can left over after spraying lots in the frame of my Lemond, so I tried it on the chain for wet, spring conditions and it's better than any wet lube I've used. Lube while you're getting ready for a ride, let it sit for 5 - 10 minutes, wipe off the excess. It's dry to touch, nothing sticks to it and the chain never rusts.
We have used this exclusively ever since we tried it. We were in Breckenridge and sick of White Lightning. The shop there degreased our drive train and recommended T-9. It keeps the chain lubed, clean, shiny, and without the buildup we got with White Lightning. It is quick and easy to apply and lasted pretty well. A 4 ounce squeeze bottle wasn't empty yet when we got to Virginia and we were lubing three bikes. Between the three bikes that was almost 7000 miles of riding and there was still a good bit left.
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Old 03-21-08, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
Why, when everyone has a tape measure that does the job equally well, if not better?

I know, that less than 1000km after fitting a 9sp chain, someone with one of those magical chain measuring devices of which you speak checked my chain and said it was cactus. I kept riding with it for another 5,000km, at least, and it still had, according to my trusty steel rule, a bit more to go when I replaced it.
Sorry but i disagree, this "magical" tool is made to make life easyer when measuring the chain, (the tolerance is the same as your tape measure) you can check the instuctions by downloading the pdf file or looking at the informative video in the link I posted.
According to http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html over 1/16 in. (just over 1.5mm) stretch the chain should be replaced so not to wear out the sprocket too much.
Also you cannot compare kms vs chain wear, if you clean and lube your chain everyday it will last a lot longer, also the kind of riding you do day to day, flat vs hills, dirt vs asphalt, loaded vs unloaded and the weather conditions.
Oh and don't forget the quality of the chain and sproket, which I should mention I have the cheapest out so the need to be very accurate with the measurement, when they start to go they go quick

edit: I should have mentioned if it reaches 1% the chain needs replacing.

Last edited by xilios; 03-21-08 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 03-21-08, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
Why, when everyone has a tape measure that does the job equally well, if not better?
Because we're idiots, and I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Using the tape measure means remembering a bunch of details that are useless the 99.999999% of the time between chain measurements. I just can't seem to remember that stuff, so before I had the chain wear indicator, I never bothered to measure my chain wear. Now that I have a chain wear indicator I measure it whenever I have the bike on the stand.

On the other hand, when I wasn't measuring my chain wear I would just use a chain and freewheel combo until it started giving me trouble. Then I'd just replace them both. I would go 2-4 years on a set. The jury is still out on how much better my life will be measuring my chain wear, but there's a certain amount of pleasure in doing it.

Speedo

Edit: And to the OP, I wouldn't worry about seeing some rust on your chain. Re-lube it and keep riding.

Last edited by Speedo; 03-21-08 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 03-21-08, 02:05 PM
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Here's an easy, cheap, accurate method to measure chain stretch on chains with removable link.

1. Remove chain from bike and clean thoroughly, so that dirt doesn't affect measurement, and chain is greaseless so that it can be handled easily.

2. Hang chain from a nail, etc, so its hangs straight down for more than 2 feet, preferably at eye level. Chain will stretch out to full, true length better hanging under its own weight.

3. Each link is 1/2"; in 12" there are 24 links, in 24" there are 48 links. The bike industry standard upper limit for chain stretch is 1% stretch. This equates to ~0.25" in 24". So, you can measure chain length by simply holding a steel measuring tape up to a pin, then look down at the 2 foot mark, then read off the fraction of inch past this point to the next pin. Probably the first time you do this, you should actually count out the links in 2 feet just to make sure (and convince yourself) you have 48 links in 2 feet.

You can do this with any length of chain. It's just that in 2 feet of chain it's easier to discern the small 1/16"-1/2" of stretch than in 1 foot. Three or four feet of chain would work even better, but then its hard to hold the tape steady to reference point and read the other end, without making chain swing, etc.

My experience has been that chains stretch 1/16" in 2 feet (0.25%) almost immediately after new. I attribute this to normal manufacturing tolerance of the chain components.

I retire my chains when they exceed 0.75% stretch, which is +3/16" stretch in 2 feet.

If you continue to use the chain, it will continue to "stretch" (actually erosion of pins/rollers/plates make it get longer). As the chain stretches, it being steel, will wear its longer dimension between links into the softer metal of the chainrings and cogs. Then when you eventually replace the chain, the drivetrain has worn to match a link distance of more than 1/2" - but the new chain will be 1/2". The result is the chain will jump when you pedal hard to accelerate or climb. So, running chain longer to save money is bad idea - you'll end up possibly having to replace the rings and cassette in addition to chain. The middle chain ring and middle cogs (4-5-6-7 out of 9 speeds) typically wear out faster because they are used the most.
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Old 03-21-08, 02:22 PM
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A metal ruler works fine for me for measuring chain wear.

I don't bother measuring when on tour. Perhaps if I decide to ride something longer than the TA I may need to rethink that.
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Old 03-21-08, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by bccycleguy View Post
It's also an incredibly good cleaner; clean your chain in a regular way with an enviro cleaner in one of those chain cleaners with the wheels, dry and then lube with T-9 and see how much more gunk comes out.
Which is an incredibly good demonstration as to why those chain cleaners are a complete waste of money.
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Old 03-21-08, 11:50 PM
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My rule:

Chain skips - lube it

Still skips - replace it

No rulers, no gages, no wasted $'s

Every bit of aluminum on your bike is rusted - FACT. Are you running to the store to replace it ?
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Old 03-22-08, 02:47 AM
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+1, sorta. I like that new bike feel so I replace all parts that I think may be worn after the tour is over. Bearings, sprockets etc... I don't do much mileage one or two 1000 mile tours a year, but that is all the bike is on the road, mostly.

I just recently upgraded to stainless chains, nothing to report yet. I also carry a bottle of Phils in a littlle bottle carrier. I have had the chain skip after several days in the rain. If the chain is lubricated with chain oil, it shoudln't normally rust.
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Old 03-22-08, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by xiaodidi View Post
My rule:

Chain skips - lube it

Still skips - replace it

No rulers, no gages, no wasted $'s
Except for the $'s wasted on replacing sprockets that have worn because you haven't replaced the chain when necessary.
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Old 03-22-08, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by xiaodidi View Post
Every bit of aluminum on your bike is rusted - FACT. Are you running to the store to replace it ?
Not really a great analogy, given that aluminum oxidation is hardly a bad thing, given that the thin layer on the surface prevents further damage. This is clearly not the case with rust.
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Old 03-22-08, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by xiaodidi View Post
My rule:

Chain skips - lube it

Still skips - replace it

No rulers, no gages, no wasted $'s

Every bit of aluminum on your bike is rusted - FACT. Are you running to the store to replace it ?
Anodising is a somewhat different chemical reaction to rusting/oxidisation, wherein the molecules are all lined up vertically, I think, and provide a hard layer that is resistant to oxidation. Most items bought as new on a bicycle are anodised to prevent oxidation.

If a chain skips, it is time to replace *it* and likely the rear gearset as well as the chainrings. Lubing a skipping chain has absolutely no influence over the change in pitch that wear has caused... and that causes chain skip (given all other adjustments are correct).

It's also worth pointing out that a chain and gears that wear evenly together, across all gears (that is, you don't heavily favour a particular ratio) will enable most riders to go longer without having to replace a chain. Yes, at the end of, say 12,000 or even up to 15,000km, you may need to replace everything, but that's still a lot of riding for most people -- probably a couple years worth. And yes, it probably helps to use 6, 7 or 8 speed systems that have a slightly beefier chain.

My personal experience is an 8sp Sora set-up on a brand new Merida road bike I had earlier this decade that did around 11,000km and still had plenty left to go. The chain and cogs were cleaned fairly regularly. It was a double up front.

The accepted change in pitch (erroneously called stretch by people who don't know any different) over *12 inches* is between 1/16th and 1/8th of an inch. Use the 1/16th figure if your cogs and rings are still in good shape, but generally replace the lot if you go to 1/8th.

Of course, theory often is somewhat different from practice, as I have demonstrated above.

Last edited by Rowan; 03-22-08 at 03:52 PM.
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