Chain, cog, and chain-ring wear comes from contamination. Take your index finger and thumb rub it over about 2" of chain and rub your fingers together. If you feel grit, it's not clean. That grit acts as a rubbing compound and eats your drive train up.
If you use a product that drys and doesn't pick up road dirt it will improve your drive train life.
The products mentioned here are good.
I have resources that are beyond a normal person as I own a machine shop. What I do is always possible if you don't have my equipment.
Clean system. You can use cleaners mentioned. Make sure you can blow your chain off or wash it some way. I would never use an oven as it might take out or add temper causing the chain to stretch or snap. I would put it in the sun or use a blow dryer to remove water. Boeshields will remove water too from displacement.
I like to clean it often, maybe 200 to 300 miles for Boesheild and if you use Rock N Roll "Absolute Dry" a light cleaning every time you ride.
I have a few bikes. Commuter or gym bike I use Boeshields T-9, clean, blow off with air hose, add lube, hang dry and let it drip dry. Put on and it's good for about 300 miles.
My road bike or fast bike, I use Rock n Roll Absolute Dry. I apply after riding, blow with air hose, apply again and wipe off excess. Ready to go. It will last about 100 miles max.
Boeshields is better for rain or use LPS-3.
Bottom line you need to keep it clean. If I clean it I can get 5000 miles off a chain, if I don't clean it I will get about 1500. I ride only Dura Ace and it's not cheap to replace.
I with Kim (HILLSLUG"ER"). I use a citrus-based solvent to clean chains. I sometime use Finish Line brand 1-Step to clean cogs or crank rings. A lot of time I use Simple Green a brush to get rid of stubborn dirt in my cogs and crank rings. I rinse the Simple Green and dirt off with lots of cold water. I have a big air compressor so I blow everything dry.
My road bike does not need much attention and can use any chain lube, wet or dry. My mountain bikes live in dirt, crud and mud.
I have to clean my mountain bikes after every ride. I use Boeshield T-9 exclusively on my mountain bikes. T-9 is waterproof and does not attract dirt.
Edited by: SPEEDYDOG at: 11/9/2013 (15:01)
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I am away in travel mode at the moment ... but I saw this blog posting earlier. Ack. I am a geek and think a clean chain is a healthy chain ... err.... bike.
Anyway, I have never heard of (or thought of) baking your chain in the oven to dry it ... but it makes some sense. I myself take my chain off, put it in degreaser, and then dry it off and let it sit to dry. (The degreaser will not act like water and keep the new lubricant off the chainlinks.)
I do clean the rear cog and front chainrings while I am at it...and the rear derailer wheels too.
When I do put the chain on, I use an actual bicycle chain lube. They tend to come in smaller bottles, mostly I see them in 4 oz sizes. One of my favorites is the one made by Dumonde Tech. It retails for about $5 - $6. Another is White Lightening Clean Ride ... but there are several brands out there that work well.
In general, none of these are spray lubricants. The come with a little plastic straw ... and you put a drop on EACH link, then run your crank backwards to get the lube even and onto the gears. Then wipe the excess off with a cloth rag.
It might seem like a lot of work, but it is TOTALLY worth it.
If your chain looks kind of grimy and black and greasy (especially after a ride in the rain) ... then clean your chain and try an actual bicycle lube. (NOTE - WD-40 is NOT bike lube.)
What makes these bicycle lubes work so well is that they include a polymer blend that actually:
1) Makes your chain ride smoother over the gears 2) Gives you a quiter ride 3) Most are pretty environmentally safe 4) ...and this is the big one... these lubricants actually help to SHED grime and debris from your chain as you ride. Seriously...these chain lubes are good stuff.
Just remember to wipe the excess off, and make sure you don't get it on your rim or brake pads.
Uhmm....do I write too much all the time? I just have really gotten into bike stuffs...it is totally fascinating to me.
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Remember that all the little grit on the road will act as a cutting compound to eat your components up. There will be less chain wear if you do this often.
I use and Ultrasonic cleaner and compressed air. You would not believe all the little particles that are in the bottom of the plastic tub I put in the Ultrasonic Cleaner. I will put lube on the chain and let it drip. The lube will displace any water. I have different lubes and methods for different kind of riding. Sometimes I clean it before or after every ride and at times I'll let it go about 200 miles max. Replace chain at 4000 to 5000 miles if I keep it clean and at about 1000 miles if I don't.
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And now I know the Hubs is not the only one who refers to the chain ring as "sprockets." I cannot hear the word "sprockets' without thinking of Dieter, but the Hubs does not find it funny when I call him "Dieter."
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I just got this email from Team CF (cystic fibrosis). I do my own drivetrain overhauls, but I've never done this method. I usually use citrus-based degreaser, and never occured to me to dry my chain in a slow oven. Any thoughts?
Here's this person's chain-cleaning method:
September 9, 2013
Keeping It Clean By: Gerry Pflug
Having a clean drivetrain is one of the most important parts of keeping a bicycle running smooth and having a clean chain will also help prevent costly repairs. The most critical part of the drivetrain to keep clean is the chain. There is much more to keeping a chain clean than just spraying it with lube. The use of lube is necessary, but it will cause road and trail dirt to eventually accumulate on a chain and the other parts of a drivetrain. Keeping a chain as clean as possible is the most important factor in keeping the rest of the drivetrain clean and extending the overall life of a drivetrain. I’d like to go over what I do to keep my chain looking shiny and new.
I clean my chain every time it is showing dirt, has been ridden in the rain, or immediately before doing a race. Also, it should be noted that I prefer using chains with a quick link over chains with a replaceable pin. I find quick links make repairs in the field and routine maintenance much easier. Here is my chain cleaning routine in an easy to follow guide:
1. Use an old rag to wipe all the old lube and dirt from the chain while it is still on the bike. I do this by holding the rag in my hand and turning the cranks both forwards and backwards while my bike is being held in a bike stand.
2. After the majority of the dirt and old lube is removed, I take the chain completely off my bike.
3. I then take the chain over to my laundry sink and cover it with strong liquid dish washing soap. I do this by squirting the soap in my hand and sliding the chain over my hand and soap. Don’t skimp on soap usage. I use enough to completely cover each link.
4. After running my hand up and down the chain a number of times and getting the soap to lather up nicely, I place the soaped-up chain in a small plastic bowl and agitate it by shaking the bowl back and forth quickly. Chain debris will immediately be seen in the bubbles when this is done.
5. I agitate the chain in this method for a couple of minutes and then use hot water to rinse the chain while it is still in the plastic bowl. I repeat the rinsing process until the debris and soap are completely washed away and the water in my bowl is clear.
6. I then manually dry the chain with a rag to remove the water and any remaining dirt stuck on the chain.
7. Next, I do my top secret drying process to have the smoothest and best lubed chain around… I place the chain on a piece of aluminum foil and bake it in an oven at 200 degrees for five minutes to evaporate all the water trapped internally within the chain links. Heating the chain to removal the trapped water allows the lube to completely penetrate the chain link.
8. While the chain is heating and then cooling, I clean my front sprockets and rear cassette of excess lube and dirt. This way my clean chain will not pick-up any of this old dirt from the drivetrain.
9. After the chain cools enough to be touched, I reinstall it on my bike and immediately lube it up. I place some lube on each link and then spread the lube around by rotating the cranks while my fingers are on the chain. I do about 20 revolutions of the crank in both directions to adequately spread my lube.
10. Once the lube is evenly spread on the chain, I use a clean rag to wipe off excess lube on the chain and other drivetrain parts. Doing this step helps the chain and drivetrain avoid collecting dirt too quickly.
This whole process, including baking the chain in an oven, takes maybe 15-20 minutes to do. It definitely takes longer than just spraying some lube on a dirty chain, but I’m sure you’ll notice your chain and drivetrain will wear less, last longer and feel smoother.
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