Cleaning a new chain

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squeaker
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Re: Cleaning a new chain

Post by squeaker »

Stradageek wrote: 22 Sep 2021, 8:12am Am I alone?

I never clean a new chain, or an old one for that matter.
No, not alone. I usually wipe the excess grease off a new chain with a rag, then lubricate from time to time following another wipe with the rag. The shopping bike's chain just gets a spray of WD40 if it's been out in heavy rain.
"42"
busb
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Location: Berks, UK

Re: Cleaning a new chain

Post by busb »

Stradageek wrote: 22 Sep 2021, 8:29am I feel that a bicycle chain, or just a chain manufacturer somewhere should know the answer. I was an electronic component reliability engineer and we had to know how long our chips would last!
We live in a world where the "truth" is at best, malleable. "Opinions masquerading as facts" springs to mind. The "truth" seems to get set when enough people believe something to be the case. I'm sure many of us can remember TV toothpaste adverts where an extremely long toothbrush head had a good inch of paste squeezed onto it. This was a subtle way of distorting reality to increase sales. I would tend to believe KMC over P&G! Politics is an example of the difficulty of differentiating fact from fiction - who's truth?.

I don't personally clean a new chain but just wait for signs of it needing lubrication (increased noise or rust!). I do sometimes remove a chain & clean it in petrol, wash thoroughly, dry, re-lube then refit with a new Missing Link if required. Some thoroughly clean a chain then dip it in hot lubricating wax, presumably shaking then wiping off the excess. I do use a chain bath so as to not remove the chain most of the time. I've also left chain replacement too long so had to also replace the cassette. If the whole drive chain is worn, I just run it into the ground then replace the lot - fine for a commuting bike journey running parallel with train stations!

We now have the choice of applying either wet of dry lube. I do know that when I used some "dry", the weather turned wet & it washed out with signs of rust within a couple of days & the "wet" version lasted a couple of hundred miles. I do have a sneaking suspicion that using both can be filed under the heading of "marginal gains" over one designed for all conditions!
scottg
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Re: Cleaning a new chain

Post by scottg »

the snail wrote: 20 Sep 2021, 1:58pm[snip]You should be able to choose a maintainable regime that suits you and your level of OCD :D
I think we can all agree, if the below is your method, help is available, please see your nearest mental health professional.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/chainclean.html
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Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-AG
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TimeTraveller
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Re: Cleaning a new chain

Post by TimeTraveller »

New chain out of the box soaked in petrol then washed in hot soap water then soaked in isopropanol. left to dry then given a nice hot bath of molten wax (parrafin wax) with a good dash of PTFE powder (added to wax at first melt) some times I top up the clean wax mix with a touch of parafin oil..

use till needed the cleaned and waxed again ( boiling water rinse first) cassette gets a good clean while thats off the bike.

seems to work ok for me ..
Rough Stuff rider since 1979
xerxes
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Joined: 10 May 2013, 7:22pm

Re: Cleaning a new chain

Post by xerxes »

Stradageek wrote: 22 Sep 2021, 8:12am Am I alone?

I never clean a new chain, or an old one for that matter.
I never clean a new chain - I find that the grease it comes in can last for several hundred miles, dependent on weather conditions.
jb
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Re: Cleaning a new chain

Post by jb »

I think the lube out the box is as good as anything for a good few miles.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the additives in wet lube compromise it's lubrication properties, IE the molecules wot hold the metal bits apart are somewhat diluted.
In order to put meat on this suspicion I'm thinking of going over to normal gear oil for a while. However giving any chain oil a fair trial is almost an impossible task unless BP pay you a million pounds to do nothing else but test chains.
Cheers
J Bro
freeflow
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Re: Cleaning a new chain

Post by freeflow »

I'll just reiterate again. I switched to gears in a can and KMC e1 EPC coated chains in Aug 2020 (not an e-bike). Since day 1 I've used hot wax with PTFE and tungsten disulphide additives. I rotate two chains. The chains are relubed every 200-400 km. The chains have now covered 7500km between them. I still can't get the prongs of my Park Tools CC2 chain checker between the links.

When I used 10 speed gears, I rotated five chains using purple extreme and a laborious chain cleaning system. I got about 1200km per chain.
saudidave
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Re: Cleaning a new chain

Post by saudidave »

I have a Nexus 8 Hub gear & a KMC chain on my ebike

I cleaned it after a about 200 miles and continue to clean it at the same interval. I use one of those proprietary chain baths where you clamp them around your chain, fill up to a level with degreaser and the cogs inside operate brushes that scrub the chain on all 4 sides when you spin the chainwheel backwards. I then wipe it off with kitchen roll, spray it with Fenwicks bike cleaner, power wash it, keeping the jet away from the hub gear and Bosch motor then dry it again. I then drizzle lubricant to the inside and outside of the rollers whilst spinning the chain backwards.

The chain comes up like new every time and the whole transmission pedals much smoother and more quietly. I've used finish line dry lube for years but over the last 6 weeks or so I've been using some Decathlon chain lube that my daughter gave me when she sold her bike and I think it's better. It lasts much longer, doesn't wash off in the rain as easily and is still quite a clean product. The reviews of it are 1st class

I've been in the habit of replacing the chain every 1000 miles or so but my current chain has done 1200 miles with no discernible wear and an Evans chain wear tool showing no sign of dropping in whatsoever
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Mick F
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Re: Cleaning a new chain

Post by Mick F »

Chainwear tools aren't worth it. They tell lies.

Take your chain off and measure it with a ruler - the longer the better.
Buy a new chain and lay them side by side, and then see the wear and the "stretch".
You'll need a new chain eventually, so it's not wasted money.
Mick F. Cornwall
rjb
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Re: Cleaning a new chain

Post by rjb »

Mick F wrote: 22 Sep 2021, 7:19pm Chainwear tools aren't worth it. They tell lies.

Take your chain off and measure it with a ruler - the longer the better.
Buy a new chain and lay them side by side, and then see the wear and the "stretch".
You'll need a new chain eventually, so it's not wasted money.
+1
Most chain wear tools don't take the slack in the rollers into account so sometimes a new chain can show 50% wear before it's seen any sprockets.
I hang my chains from a headless nail on the garage wall. And compare old with new to assess wear. :wink:
At the last count:- Peugeot 531 pro, Dawes Discovery Tandem, Dawes Kingpin, Raleigh 20, Falcon K2 MTB dropped bar tourer, Longstaff trike conversion on a Falcon corsa. :D
ossie
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Re: Cleaning a new chain

Post by ossie »

Stradageek wrote: 22 Sep 2021, 8:12am Am I alone?

I never clean a new chain, or an old one for that matter. A minimalist spray with GT85 every 2-3 rides and that's it.
I never clean a new chain, the gunk it comes with lasts me a good 500 plus miles. It will then get cleaned on an add hoc basis with baby wipes and a bit of screwfix degreaser plus I do have a parktool chain cleaner that gets rolled out every 12 months or so for a deep clean. As others have said to check wear I hang it on a nail on the garage wall and compare against an old one. Or just wait until it starts playing up.

That said the price of new chains and cassettes have gone through the roof so I might pay them slightly more attention.
saudidave
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Re: Cleaning a new chain

Post by saudidave »

If I was going to the trouble of turning a 27kg ebike upside down because it’s too heavy for the bike stand and taking the chain off, I think i’d dispense with the trouble of measuring it and comparing it with a new one, I’d just put the new one on and have done with it!
I’ve better things to do with my time.
For now I’ll continue to use a chain measuring tool with the chain under tension. If the chain gauge doesn’t drop in when the chain is new and it still doesn’t drop in 1000 miles later and remains at the same angle when you try it, then it’s unlikely that the chain has worn dramatically.
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Audax67
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Re: Cleaning a new chain

Post by Audax67 »

Every 600k my chain gets soaked in degreaser or white spirit for a couple of hours, then I pour a kettle of boiling water over it, dry it off with a cloth then a gentle heat gun and dunk it in a slow cooker full of a mix of paraffin wax and 1.6µ PTFE powder for a few hours, stirring occasionally & seasoning to taste. No reason not to leave it overnight, on the "keep warm" setting, but it does rather stink out the workshop. When I take it out I hang it up, wipe the excess off the outside, let it cool then run it to & fro over an old cog I have mounted on the wall to free the links.

Sure it's a bit of a pother but it's not that often and everything stays clean. T'other day it came off on a narsty bump, and it was a doddle just to grab and refit it. Didn't need to wash my hands afterwards. Nice to always have a shiny cassette, too, not to mention bar tape. It also seems to wear less - at 4600 km it's still well under 0.5% stretch, which is not bad for an 11-spd chain.
Have we got time for another cuppa?
ChrisP100
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Re: Cleaning a new chain

Post by ChrisP100 »

gxaustin wrote: 19 Sep 2021, 11:56pm
rotavator wrote: 19 Sep 2021, 7:23pm For a proper clean, I take the chain off the bike and leave it to soak in a tub of white spirit while I get on with cleaning the rest of the bike. Then take it out, wipe it with paper towel, replace it and oil it. You could use other solvents like paraffin but I would not recommend petrol!
I do the same but skip the oil and then put it in molten wax for 20-30mins. Wax keeps the chain much cleaner.
I believe you can buy wax preparations that can be applied cold too.
Seems a lot of folk swear by this stuff, although it gets mixed reviews.

https://www.squirtcyclingproducts.com/p ... chainlube/

Recently I've been using this and found it brilliant even in the wet. I normally have to wipe down, clean and reapply ever 1 1/2 to 2 weeks but it gives me trouble free riding in between applications.

https://road.cc/content/review/119409-m ... n-wax-ptfe
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andrew_s
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Re: Cleaning a new chain

Post by andrew_s »

There was a series of posts on cyclechat (iirc) in which someone tested the difference in chain wear between leaving the manufacturers lube on, and cleaning it off when the chain was new, with the result being that leaving it on was significantly better.

The poster had been in the habit of cleaning the manufacturers lube off, rode fixed, and had records going back several chains of the mileages at which he'd had to adjust the chain tension.
Leaving the manufacturers lube on increased the mileage to first tension adjustment by something like 80%, and mileage to chain replacement by 30-40%.

The above is from memory. It is left as an exercise for the reader to find the posts concerned.
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