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Weekend Warrior
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Maybe this is the wrong thread, but I just got a new chain after my old one wore out after just one year and I was wondering if I'm maybe doing something wrong. I use the White Lightning (blue formula) and usually soak my chain generously with it. After I get back from a ride it seems pretty clean and after I spray it off I relube it again. This is an every dirt ride ritual. Now that I got a new chain there seems to be already an oil based lube on there.

Should I strip it or just leave it?

How often do you guys use lube to relube the chain?

Do you wash it down after every dirt ride?

I use wax based lube because i ride only in dusty conditions, but in Florida especially during the morning the humidity can get very high. Should I stick to Wax based lube or go back to oil based. I just had a lot of gunk build up and it got nasty pretty quick.

What is the best solution for this?
 

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I've been using wax-based lubricants exclusively with no problems whatsoever. Your chainrings or cassette might be worn which could contribute to chain wear. I would degrease and clean the new chain before you lube and ride.

I use White lightening lube on my chain about once a week. I ride 4-5 times a week in mostly dry conditions. I let the lube dry for 15-30 minutes before I ride.
 

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this is what i do, dont know if its particularly right or wrong, but about every month i take the chain off, put it in a jam jar of white spirit, shake it about for a while and then wash it well in water and washing up liquid to get it completely clean. i then leave it to dry thoroughly and emerse in chainsaw oil. wipe of excess and refit.

if you wash and relube every month for general riding and maybe even every time the chain gets very dirty, cant see how you can go wrong.

but you have to take it off to really clean it properly
 

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Old man on a bike
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my old one wore out after just one year

A year for some is a very long time but it depends on how much you ride, too. Sounds like you're taking good care of it and that you've made a good lube choice for your conditions. You don't mention how you determined the chain was worn out, I'm curious as to what method you use. Are you also watching cog and chainring wear?
 

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Praise Bob
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490 Posts
Avoid wax lubes

I ride a lot in Florida and have bad luck with the wax lubes. Our wet conditions coupled with all the sugar sand will tear your drivetrain up. About once a month I use the park chainwash tool with a little water and detergent to clean the chain. That tool is awesome. You can leave the chain on the bike. I blow the chain dry with aircompressor and then relube. I use TriFlow synthetic lube. I apply by rotating the cranks through 2 rotations. Wipe off all the excess. You will be amazed by how smooth performing it will be. The triflow isnt sticky so it wont pick up sand and it repels water.
 

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Weekend Warrior
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the responses. This makes me a little bit easier to what I have encountered.

1) I read the Basic cleaning instructions on mtbr.com and found that if I measure 12 links it should add up to 6 inches for a new chain, +1/8 and it's worn well, and +1/4 and the rest of the drivetrain may need replacement. Mine was +1/8 and the cassette looked like new to me.

2) I cleaned it (the old one) with WD40 and then rinsed it with detergent and water. Afterwards I blew it out with compressed air and a lot of crap kept coming out. So rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat until it was squeaky clean. Then I re-lubed it with White Lightning wax and let it dry for 30 minutes. Afterwards I wiped all excess of and was ready to install it until i thought "Let me measure the chain" that's when I found out I could have saved all the effort.

I have read an article on the Internet (I'll try to find it) that someone cleaned a new chain and then dunked it and boiled it in paraffin wax. I was curious in trying that. He says that the wax penetrates every nook and cranny that he didn't have to clean the chain for 3 months and then only added wax lube and didn't really have to clean it. I might try that towards the end of life of this chain but i was curious if anyone else heard about anything like that.

I was just generally surprised that my chain lasted only about 1 year and I only dropped around 700-800 miles 80% offroad on it. I got a SRAM 830 cassette with a 8 speed chain and an Octalink Shimano in the front on a 2008 Specialized Rockhopper.

Again, thanks for all your responses and input...
 

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Reviewer/Tester
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Boiling it..

When I used to race motorcycles, we used to clean and then drop the chain into a pot of hot graphite-based Duckhams grease on the stove top, soak it for a minute or two, then pull it out and drain the excess off.

When it cooled down the grease was impregnated right into the links and plates.

A wipe with a rag, and fit it onto the bike. This worked very well.

As far as bicycle chain lubes go, ProGold Pro Lube is very good. The old Rock 'n Roll Extreme chain lube is good too. Another good one is Boeshield.

Whichever lube you decide to use depends on your usual riding conditions. You can tailor / choose the lube to work best in dry, wet, muddy, sandy etc..conditions.

The best way to apply lube is to completely remove the chain, clean it thoroughly in some cleaning agent, [I use thinners] then let it dry.

Next, dunk it in the lube, completely submerge it and slop it around a bit ... [I use an old plastic ice cream container] then hang it up to drain into the container for ten minutes.

Wipe off the excess, fit it to your bike and run it backwards for a couple of revolutions.

[Put the lube you used back into the bottle for next time.]

Leave the clean lubed chain overnight, preferably.

Before you ride, run the lubed chain through a clean rag on the bike for a few revolutions until completely dry.

Go ride. :thumbsup:

R.
 

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I use 12 inches over 12 link pairs as the benchmark, and over 1/16" is the throwaway point.
1/8" is the point where the cassette and rings will be shot as well.

paraffin wax is an old school treatment that doesn't work as well as a properly applied modern lube. ( its only benefit i can see these days is that it fills cavities in the chains interior reducing the volume of crap that can accumulate.)

the best lube I have found so far for the MTB comes from the moto shop.
Its sold as SX chainwax here in NZ and is a dry setting aerosol formula that cleans the chain in a similar mode of action to the rock'n'roll and such like lubes. It performs so well, that in the last 12hour solo I rode in, after treating the chain the night before the race, it needed no further lubrication for the event, which was held on trails with 'talc like' dust.
 

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I've tried virtually every chain lube and method, but here's what I settled on; it's the easiest method, and foolproof.
1. Buy ProLink chain lube
2. Buy one of those cheap Performance/ Nashbar, etc chain cleaner thingies where the chain passes thru the gears and brushes.
3. Fill it with the ProLink and clamp it onto your chain.
4. Backpedal the bike for a minute or so.
5. Remove the chain cleaner thingie
6. Backpedal a few more times
7. Take a skanky rag and backpedal while wiping off the excessive ProLink.
8. Let dry thoroughly
9. Go ride and enjoy
10. Do this every 3 rides or so.

The ProLink both cleans and lubes your chain, dries dry, and attracts no dirt whatsoever. Shifting is butter smooth and the chain is very quiet. The other nice thing about this method is that you never have to remove the chain except to replace it. This eliminates any possibility of damaging it through un-careful reinsertion of pins, master links etc.
And, after I use the cleaner thingie, I pour it through a funnel with a rag stuffed in it into a spare glass jar. After several days or so, all the dirt and spooge settle to the bottom. Then I carefully pour it into a larger jar and reuse it when all the new stuff is gone.
If you look around, you can get the ProLink in a large plastic jug, enough to last a whole season.
Lenny
 

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Old man on a bike
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12,395 Posts
1) I read the Basic cleaning instructions on mtbr.com and found that if I measure 12 links it should add up to 6 inches for a new chain, +1/8 and it's worn well, and +1/4 and the rest of the drivetrain may need replacement. Mine was +1/8 and the cassette looked like new to me.

Don't know your source on that, but the usual way is to measure over 12 inches of chain, replacing the chain at 1/16" stretch and 1/8" likely not only chain but your cogs/chainrings might be toast.

I have read an article on the Internet (I'll try to find it) that someone cleaned a new chain and then dunked it and boiled it in paraffin wax. I was curious in trying that. He says that the wax penetrates every nook and cranny that he didn't have to clean the chain for 3 months and then only added wax lube and didn't really have to clean it. I might try that towards the end of life of this chain but i was curious if anyone else heard about anything like that.


You could do that or just buy a paraffin suspended in solvent type of lube like Boeshield T-9, much easier than messing around with melted paraffin and almost as effective.
 

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Drunk Poster
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364 Posts
I like to use White Lightning "Clean Ride" it has a blue label so I think it's the same as you. As for your new chain and using White Lightning. You are going to need to completely remove the factory greese first.


This is going to sound like an echo to Rainman's post. I use a triple bucket w/ brush, and rag method. First grab some gloves. Then get a small bucket (1/2 gallon is what I use) and put the new chain in there. Make sure you lie it down so it is completely flat where the chain does not over lap on itself. Pour in enough mineral spirits (or coat with Pedro's Pro-J) to completely submerge the chain. Since this is a brand new chain just soak for 5 mins (Dirty chains I like to let sit for 15) then grab the chain and flip it over. After another 5 mins grab a brush and scrub the chain. I like to pull the chain out slowly and get each link. Then wipe the chain with a CLEAN (I used brand new disposable shop rags, or old worn cotton T-Shirts) cloth. Next put it in the second bucket and soak again in mineral spirits but this time for only a minute. Then gently take the container and swirl it around. After that I put the chain on top of a clean dry towel and allow the mineral spirits to evaporate. After the spirits have evaporated put the chain in the third bucket. Use enough lube to completely submerge the chain. Let it soak for 30 secs, then swirl the chain around again, and flip. Take the chain and set it on a CLEAN lint free rag. Pour the left over lube back in the bottle (it should be free of contaminates). Use a CLEAN RAG to wipe of the excess lube. Fit the chain on the bike, pedal the bike and wipe off the excess, back pedal and wipe too.

When using Wax based lubes (or any other lubes actually) I find myself having to clean about every 30 dirt miles or so.

I use different chain lubricants for different seasons (just like you are supposed to with automobiles). I live in Northern California so I follow this.

Summer/ Early Fall: Wax - Its real dry, hot and dusty and wax is best for keeping gunk off my drivetrain.
Late Fall/Winter/Early Spring: Wet - Well it's wet and damp. Wet keeps water out of my drivetrain which keeps corossion at bay thus prolonging the life of my equipment.
Late Spring Early Summer: Dry - Because wet lubes pick up too much dirt and dust, but its not dusty enough to warrant a wax lube which wears out quickly and can build up fast.
 

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I also agree that you should be changing your chain at 12 1/16th measurement. Currently my favorite chain lube is Amsoil Heavy Duty Metal Protector. It's an aerosol that sprays on, penetrates the links, then dries to a waxy finish that doesn't attract dirt. It also lasts a long time. Maxima makes a similar product called Chain Wax. I use one of the chain cleaning machines with mineral spirits when it gets dirty. My chains last a long time with this method, I don't use a computer so I can't give a mileage figure.

Smokey
 
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