Should I clean a new chain before fitting.

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
User avatar
Vetus Ossa
Posts: 1000
Joined: 22 Oct 2012, 7:32pm
Location: London, Paris, New York but mostly Plymouth.

Should I clean a new chain before fitting.

Postby Vetus Ossa » 23 Nov 2018, 8:40am

I’m pretty sure this has been ask many times before but search brings up not a lot for me.

I am about to fit a new SRAM chain and wonder if I it’s a god idea to clean off the sticky coating first and lube it properly with my lubricant of choice, purple extreme.

Any thoughts on that one please?

User avatar
jezer
Posts: 1535
Joined: 29 Sep 2007, 5:16pm
Location: North Wiltshire

Re: Should I clean a new chain before fitting.

Postby jezer » 23 Nov 2018, 8:43am

I’ve certainly never done that. New chains come well packed with grease and should not need further lubrication for a while.
Power to the pedals

alexnharvey
Posts: 515
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:39am

Re: Should I clean a new chain before fitting.

Postby alexnharvey » 23 Nov 2018, 9:29am

You pay your money and make your choice. The issues of sticky lubes vs non-sticky lube are well-covered in the previous threads here.

On the plus side the chain has been immersed in hot grease, ensuring full penetration. On the downside it's sticky and picks up dirt. The question is, does that dirt get to the pins? Probably not for a while as the grease prevents it from being carried in by water. OTOH maybe that process won't take very long if you ride in the wet on salted roads. If you lubricate the dirty chain it can of course be carried in by the fresh lubricant.

If you like purple extreme then strip the chain, dry it and give it a good soak in PE.

My own view (based on the older threads here) is that it's probably more important that you prevent entry and remove any build-up of grit from the interior of the chain than anything else. To that end I'm a solvent-flusher and a hot-waxer of chains, but my only bike that sees heavy winter use is my commuter, a singlespeed with 1/8 bushed chain, rather than a multispeed derailleur system.
Last edited by alexnharvey on 23 Nov 2018, 9:51am, edited 2 times in total.

pwa
Posts: 8987
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Should I clean a new chain before fitting.

Postby pwa » 23 Nov 2018, 9:37am

I imagine the important thing is, if you thoroughly wash a chain in solvent make sure the solvent is all gone before applying the lube, including in those hidden places. So allow it to evaporate in a warm place. Then make sure the lube gets right into those inaccessible areas so that no surface is unprotected. That is probably better done with a warm chain in this cold weather.

Personally, I prefer oil to dry lube anyway so I leave the grease on and just add a single drop of oil to each roller and go on from there. Wipe and oil for a while until everything gets so grubby that it annoys me, then I strip the lube and dirt off at the same time as cleaning the rest of the drive train. probably weeks after first installing the new chain.
Last edited by pwa on 23 Nov 2018, 9:48am, edited 1 time in total.

Brucey
Posts: 32690
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Should I clean a new chain before fitting.

Postby Brucey » 23 Nov 2018, 9:46am

the new chain is as well lubricated now as it ever will be. If you want to reduce dirt pickup (which is only on the outside of the chain, it takes a while to work into the bushings), wipe the outside of the chain with a clean rag which is slightly dampened with a solvent. It'll be OK for a few hundred miles (varying with the conditions) before you need to do anything with it.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

User avatar
foxyrider
Posts: 4377
Joined: 29 Aug 2011, 10:25am
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Re: Should I clean a new chain before fitting.

Postby foxyrider » 23 Nov 2018, 9:47am

I certainly wouldn't be decreasing a new chain but I also don't want crud sticking to the grease. My method therefore is to spend some time with just rag removing the excess grease from the outer side of the chain. This regime works pretty well, extra lube is applied infrequently as required and I get okay chain life.

In the past i've used wax coatings and all sorts of fancy lubes but it's made no difference. Overall I prefer an apparently dry chain, cleaner to work with, minimal collection of crud - and it looks nicer too!
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

User avatar
NATURAL ANKLING
Posts: 9733
Joined: 24 Oct 2012, 10:43pm
Location: English Riviera

Re: Should I clean a new chain before fitting.

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 23 Nov 2018, 9:58am

Hi,
What the last two Said.
Priority Is Still 500K In 24..Just Dreaming...Stay Focused Guys And Keep Sharp...
You'll Find Me At The Top Of a Hill...............Somewhere...After Dark..

User avatar
squeaker
Posts: 3472
Joined: 12 Jan 2007, 11:43pm
Location: Bramber, West Sussex

Re: Should I clean a new chain before fitting.

Postby squeaker » 23 Nov 2018, 10:23am

No - see previous 3 posts...
"42"

pwa
Posts: 8987
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Should I clean a new chain before fitting.

Postby pwa » 23 Nov 2018, 10:27am

I suppose it is only necessary to clean the grease off if the lube being used were one of those wax concoctions that need a clean metal surface to adhere to. Which isn't the case here.

User avatar
Vetus Ossa
Posts: 1000
Joined: 22 Oct 2012, 7:32pm
Location: London, Paris, New York but mostly Plymouth.

Re: Should I clean a new chain before fitting.

Postby Vetus Ossa » 23 Nov 2018, 11:31am

Thank you all for your input.
Though I have never degreased a chain myself before fitting, I just wondered if it made any sense to do so.

Anyway, the chain is now fitted and I have cleaned the kitchen floor before the wife returns so all good. Just need a slot now to go and ride it.

freeflow
Posts: 1162
Joined: 29 Aug 2011, 1:54pm

Re: Should I clean a new chain before fitting.

Postby freeflow » 23 Nov 2018, 7:59pm

The makers of Purple extreme recommend a full degrease before using it. For this reason I always degrease new chains and take the time to do two or three applications of purple extreme before first use of the chain.

User avatar
Vetus Ossa
Posts: 1000
Joined: 22 Oct 2012, 7:32pm
Location: London, Paris, New York but mostly Plymouth.

Re: Should I clean a new chain before fitting.

Postby Vetus Ossa » 24 Nov 2018, 7:43am

freeflow wrote:The makers of Purple extreme recommend a full degrease before using it. For this reason I always degrease new chains and take the time to do two or three applications of purple extreme before first use of the chain.


Doh! I knew there was a reason I asked the question.

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 44231
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: Should I clean a new chain before fitting.

Postby Mick F » 30 Nov 2018, 11:31am

I have ALWAYS removed all traces of the stuff than new chains are coated with.
Totally clean and then re-lube with a proper chain lubricant.

They say that chains are lubed properly when new, but I doubt it despite what people say. If I manufactured chains, I would coat them in a preservative to prolong the shelf-life, not a lubricant. No doubt the preservative would have lubricative qualities, but it wouldn't be an out-and-out chain lube.
Mick F. Cornwall

Brucey
Posts: 32690
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Should I clean a new chain before fitting.

Postby Brucey » 30 Nov 2018, 12:08pm

Sedis/Sachs/SRAM chains (and many others) have always been impregnated with a grease that is designed to be an effective lubricant. However some chains (campagnolo being a case in point) appear not to be similarly treated, having little more than a thin coat of a preserving oil on them.

Needless to say you shouldn't treat those chains the same way.

Not all chain lubricants mix with one another or indeed work as well as one another. SRAM's recommendation is that you don't degrease their chains because that almost always degrades the performance of the chain. I think that once the grease in the chain bushings is contaminated, you are better off with something else inside the chain for sure, hence I'd suggest cleaning the chain after a few hundred miles and then using the lubricant of your choice on it.

You can of course clean a new (grease impregnated) chain and use the lube of your choice on it from new, but IMHO the chances of you improving the chain vs the factory lube are about nil.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 12041
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Should I clean a new chain before fitting.

Postby mjr » 30 Nov 2018, 12:22pm

Brucey wrote:Not all chain lubricants mix with one another or indeed work as well as one another.

That's to put it mildly. I have seen a batch of Shimano chains that came coated in something which I suspect reacted with one of the common lubricants (TF2 liquid, I suspect) to produce what appeared to be stiff links but after the third or so instance within about 5 miles, closer inspection revealed that something had set into a very very hard waxy substance.

I tend to wipe and oil chains after fitting them (I don't degrease or deep-clean chains because I don't do the hot grease baths or similar, or use the fussier wax lubricants) but do so a while before riding, then check it still moves freely before riding.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.