Preferred method of drivetrain maintenance?

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ChrisP100
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Joined: 24 Sep 2020, 9:00am

Preferred method of drivetrain maintenance?

Postby ChrisP100 » 30 Nov 2020, 12:52pm

I commute up to 120km per week in all weather,/road conditions so my drivetrain takes a fair bit of punishment.

Daily/weekly.
Rinse with water if necessary and wipe dry with a cloth. Additional oil as required.

Weekend wash
Hot water bike wash (Muc-Off nano tech), and wipe clean the derailleurs jockey wheels, cranks and cassette. quick blast of GT85 for the front/rear mech and cables, and re-oil the chain if required

Every other weekend bike wash (if required)
Apply degreasing solution with a paintbrush then rotate the crank whist holding 2 nail brushes together against the chain, rinsing with hot water as I'm going. Re oil, let soak in and then wipe off any excess.

Every 4 to 6 weeks (dependent on conditions)
Chain off and into a plastic container of degreasing solution (eco friendly biodegradable), lid on, shake and leave to soak whilst I fully degrease the rear cassette and front chainrings. Once done, I drop the chain into a sink of hot water to rinse. Drain the sink, then slowly pour on a kettle full of boiling water (amazing how much crap this shifts), and hang to dry before refitting and re oiling.

When re-oiling I add a single drop of oil to the inside of each roller and let gravity work its magic. I'll back pedal a couple of times, then forwards running the chain up and down the cassette. I then leave it an hour or so (or overnight) before wiping off any excess.

It's a fair bit of work, but it's preferable having a roadside failure at 7am in the pouring rain. It certainly keeps my gear shifting smooth.

Grandad
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Joined: 22 Nov 2007, 12:22am
Location: Kent

Re: Preferred method of drivetrain maintenance?

Postby Grandad » 30 Nov 2020, 3:24pm

I used a fixed wheel for a lot of my winter commuting, far less hassle,

kwackers
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Location: Warrington

Re: Preferred method of drivetrain maintenance?

Postby kwackers » 30 Nov 2020, 5:07pm

I personally found not a lot of difference between weekly full cleans and simply spraying oil daily on the chain and ignoring the clean.
Changing the chain regularly helped with the longevity of the chainwheel and sprockets.

Saved a *lot* of time and it turned out I value my time far more than a few quid for a chain (assuming it really did make a difference).

(That was a 40 mile a day commute)

Stevek76
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Joined: 28 Jul 2015, 11:23am

Re: Preferred method of drivetrain maintenance?

Postby Stevek76 » 30 Nov 2020, 6:25pm

Wax bath the chain and application of wax lube thereafter whenever chain sounds a bit dry.

The mtb gets a water sponge down after a ride if it's muddy, but mostly as I don't want mud in my house. The pub/commute bike gets a wash when I'm at a pub and it's raining... :lol: proper full length mudguards keeps much of the road off the drivetrain. I might be enthusiastic enough to degrease the cassette and chainrings and scrape whatever that stuff that collects on the jockey wheels is when it comes to new chain time.

arnsider
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011, 12:44am

Re: Preferred method of drivetrain maintenance?

Postby arnsider » 1 Dec 2020, 7:29am

My career took me everywhere so I didn't have a regular commute. If I was fortunate to be on one City site for any length of time, I used to power wash my mech, avoiding the cassette, then dry and re lube.
The daily commute begs the question why have a deraileur? They are really superfluous these days with multigearing available from hub gears like Rohloff and Nexus. A friend of mine rode across Bristol daily on a Hallfords Carrera with Nexus gears and a hub brake and hardly ever needed a chain or regular dirty work!!

pwa
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Re: Preferred method of drivetrain maintenance?

Postby pwa » 1 Dec 2020, 7:48am

For any attempt at a proper clean I take the chain off. With a 9 speed chain the quick link takes less than a minute to split using fingers, then I can access the sprockets, chain rings and mechs much better and the chain itself is easier to deal with.

Pebble
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Re: Preferred method of drivetrain maintenance?

Postby Pebble » 1 Dec 2020, 9:19am

I'ma chain off person too, lay it in the sink in hot soapy water (washing powder) then give both sides a good scrub, rinse thoroughly, then sit it on a radiator overnight. fit next morning and when it's still warm and the a drop of oil on each roller.

In the winter with wet salty roads I am sometimes doing this after every long ride. The quick links seem to manage just fine, even when they get a little slack (after dozens of off/on's) I have never known one come apart when riding.

pwa
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Re: Preferred method of drivetrain maintenance?

Postby pwa » 1 Dec 2020, 9:49am

Pebble wrote:I'ma chain off person too, lay it in the sink in hot soapy water (washing powder) then give both sides a good scrub, rinse thoroughly, then sit it on a radiator overnight. fit next morning and when it's still warm and the a drop of oil on each roller.

In the winter with wet salty roads I am sometimes doing this after every long ride. The quick links seem to manage just fine, even when they get a little slack (after dozens of off/on's) I have never known one come apart when riding.


For me it is always a matter of dropping the chain and the quick link halves into a plastic tub of white spirit, giving it a jiggle then leaving it on a shelf while I go back to clean up the rest of the drivetrain. A dab of white spirit on kitchen roll helps with that too. Later on, back to the chain to draw it repeatedly through the kitchen roll, back and forth until I think it is good enough, then hang up to dry before lubing. The bath of white spirit gets used several times over and acquires a black sediment at the bottom.

roubaixtuesday
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Re: Preferred method of drivetrain maintenance?

Postby roubaixtuesday » 1 Dec 2020, 10:22am

I normally commute 100 miles a week through winter, though not this time due to the dread pestilence.

My maintenance routine:

Oil chain whenever soaked, or when it looks like it's needed.

Wash at Christmas. If I can be bothered.

Replace chain at ~1500 mile intervals. Cassette if it slips on new chain.

Replace chain and cassette at vernal equinox, and large chain ring if it slips (don't use the small one commuting). Full clean and change other bits like jockey wheels or rims if needed.

More than this is a waste of time IMO for a bike that gets dirty twice daily. It doesn't stay clean so why bother?

I can't remember suffering a roadside breakdown commuting in 20 years beyond punctures, maybe a gear cable snapping.

tatanab
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Re: Preferred method of drivetrain maintenance?

Postby tatanab » 1 Dec 2020, 11:21am

roubaixtuesday wrote:Oil chain whenever soaked, or when it looks like it's needed.

Wash at Christmas. If I can be bothered.
I am with you. A decade since I last commuted, but in my time I would oil when I thought about it (or it shouted at me) and wipe off the accumulated gunge every now and again, usually when gear changes got a bit sloppy (if indexed). The whole bike would be stripped, cleaned and maintained in the spring.

I really find it odd to read how routinely people dry off or clean their machines just because they got a bit dirty or wet. i.e for a commuter that means every day.

These days (not commuting but still riding most days) I might clean the chain (off the machine) maybe twice a year, and once a year the chainrings and sprockets are removed for cleaning too.

Brucey
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Re: Preferred method of drivetrain maintenance?

Postby Brucey » 1 Dec 2020, 11:55am

IMHO the main benefit of cleaning a bike in the winter months is that it removes road salt, which can be incredibly damaging. However on a typical commuting machine if you have good mudguards and a 'plenty of oil on the chain' regime, the oil gets to cover everything else nearby and this can stifle the worst effects of corrosion.

Chains which are coated in a mixture of oil and dirt often (if you are lucky) last about half as long as those which are kept scrupulously clean and well lubricated. But chains are cheap and your time may be both 'expensive' and begrudged.

Recently it became clear that on my chum's 'supercommuter' machine, if a decent chain was used, the limiting factor would be that it would get so dirty that it would need cleaning if you were to carry on with it, and that this could happen before the chain was badly worn. By contrast if cheaper chains are used, they are worn out at about the same time as they get so dirty it interferes with their operation. Even a cheap freewheel will only wear badly if the chain is also worn. So no chain/sprocket cleaning required if you use cheap chains then; those parts can go straight in the bin instead....

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stevek76
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Re: Preferred method of drivetrain maintenance?

Postby Stevek76 » 1 Dec 2020, 12:27pm

arnsider wrote:The daily commute begs the question why have a deraileur? They are really superfluous these days with multigearing available from hub gears like Rohloff and Nexus. A friend of mine rode across Bristol daily on a Hallfords Carrera with Nexus gears and a hub brake and hardly ever needed a chain or regular dirty work!!


Cost for range mostly. Cost seems to have been dropping a bit over the years but not enough yet. I'd want 400% in bristol, not 300%, so that's an alfine 11 and the hub alone for those is min £280. As for the rohloff, that would get the range of my present 3x9 setup which would be great, however it would also cost more than the entire bike is worth!

A chain meanwhile is <£10 and as noted earlier, I don't bother with the dirty work. :D

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foxyrider
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Re: Preferred method of drivetrain maintenance?

Postby foxyrider » 1 Dec 2020, 6:26pm

not commuting these days but the bike does @ 350km every week, it takes some really nasty weather to keep me and the bike indoors :?

The cleaning regime is simple, if there is an accumulation of muck (these west country roads are filthy!) it gets hosed off when i get back - including my bootees, despite having full guards they go from black to brown! If it looks like anything is getting gunged up, i might well degrease as well but otherwise everything gets lubed before the next outing. The winter/commute/hack bike runs cheap parts, if they wear out, i fall off or they go manky its not a huge expense to sort out - the nice bikes get looked after much, much better :lol:

When i was commuting, sometimes 150-200km / week the bikes often got less attention - oil on the chain and clean maybe if the blue moon fell on a Friday! (of course, that was on much cleaner northern roads :D )
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!

Billy007
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Joined: 15 Apr 2020, 8:56am

Re: Preferred method of drivetrain maintenance?

Postby Billy007 » 1 Dec 2020, 8:19pm

Stevek76 wrote:
arnsider wrote:The daily commute begs the question why have a deraileur? They are really superfluous these days with multigearing available from hub gears like Rohloff and Nexus. A friend of mine rode across Bristol daily on a Hallfords Carrera with Nexus gears and a hub brake and hardly ever needed a chain or regular dirty work!!


Cost for range mostly. Cost seems to have been dropping a bit over the years but not enough yet. I'd want 400% in bristol, not 300%, so that's an alfine 11 and the hub alone for those is min £280. As for the rohloff, that would get the range of my present 3x9 setup which would be great, however it would also cost more than the entire bike is worth!

A chain meanwhile is <£10 and as noted earlier, I don't bother with the dirty work. :D


Well in 5 years I have been riding with Rohloff hub I needed just one chain replacement so far. First chain lasted 18k miles and 2nd still got life in it. Sprocket and chain ring are still like new. So I reckon I have saved a small fortune in money and time not to have to maintain a derailleur system any more. Initial cost of Rohloff is high but it soon pays for itself before you even consider the benefits of riding with it over a derailleur transmission. Generally clean and relube my Rohloff bikes once a year. I used to hate having to regularly clean and lube derailleur transmissions. Such a primitive design. When it is miserable wet winter weather they are a nightmare to keep running smoothly and they throw lube off the chain in one ride of bad weather cover everything with grime and muck. They're just about ok in summer if it is dry.

If you really want genuinely low/no maintenance and ride your bike in all seasons and weathers, then get a bike with IHG and belt drive bike.

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Mick F
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Re: Preferred method of drivetrain maintenance?

Postby Mick F » 2 Dec 2020, 10:04am

I don't commute any more, but when I did - all weathers 34miles a day - I would wash the bike down with a brush and a bucket of hot soapy water and rinse with the hosepipe.
I was lucky insomuch as having somewhere warm and dry to take the bike into when clean.

Later, or maybe the following morning, I'd lube the chain and transmission. Take off the cogs from the freewheel (two chain-whips) and and clean them and the chain thoroughly as often as necessary, sometimes weekly.

Given the option nowadays with cassettes, I'd have two cassettes and two chains.
One set on, and one set in the wash.
Mick F. Cornwall