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chain cleaning questions(24 posts)

chain cleaning questionsBikeViking at home
Oct 20, 2002 8:43 AM
My bike has '02 Ultegra 9 speed and I was wondering how many times can the chain be "broken" (not in the same place) and have a rivet replaced before it becomes potentially unsafe? It seems to be the best way to really clean it (removing it), but I don't want to copromise its structural integrity either.

On a related question, are those SRAM chains REALLY that much easier to remove?

Perhaps I just need to buy one of those...

Thanks in advance
re: chain cleaning questionsweiwentg
Oct 20, 2002 10:51 AM
I do not know how many times you can safely break and rejoin a Shimano chain, since I use SRAM chains. to answer your second question, in my personal experience, the first few times you remove the chain will be quite difficult. if you're never used a SRAM link before, prepare to curse. after that, it gets a lot easier. if you intend to remove the chain a lot, consider getting a SRAM or Wipperman link (I thought the Wipperman link was harder to use; broke mine due to user error).
I have broken a Shimano chain twice, probably due to the fact that the chain was rejoined with the darn rivet sticking out. on one occasion, this caused my derailleur hangar to get bent, but that's another story. so, if you stick to Shimano chains, make sure the rivets get joined properly.
re: chain cleaning questionsdivve
Oct 20, 2002 11:31 AM
The most efficient way is to use a chain cleaning device such as the one by Park Tool and a cleaning solvent.
SRAM is REALLY that much easier. No tools or new link needed. nmwilsonc
Oct 20, 2002 2:05 PM
re: chain cleaning questionsmerckx56
Oct 20, 2002 2:08 PM
I'll break a chain once and if it has to come off after that, I replace it. Put the new pin in on the complete opposite side of the chain.
As for cleaning, a bucket of HOT, SOAPY water and a toilet brush will get the vast majority if shite off. I do that first, then coat the chain with foaming Simple Green and let it sit for a minute. Then scrub it again with the soapy water. Relube everything!
It's how I learned at the OTC and how the pro mechs do it in Europe!
No real need for cleaningKerry
Oct 20, 2002 3:16 PM
Assuming we're talking road riding, use the following technique for successful ProLink application and use:
1 - wipe the chain, cogs, pulleys, and chainrings clean with a rag.
2 - sluice on ProLink while pedaling (forward is better) so that the chain starts to drip lube. Aim the lube between the side plates and between the bushings and the side plates.
3 - run through all the gears several times, front and back.
4 - wipe the chain, cogs, pulleys, and chainrings clean with a rag.
5 - repeat 2-4 if the chain was really dirty

If you do this every 300 miles or so, you will not get any significant gunky buildup, and you won't have to clean the chain.
bingo!!! read this ............. nmJohnG
Oct 21, 2002 6:50 AM
No real need for cleaningBikeViking
Oct 21, 2002 9:31 AM
This seems too good to be true. Is ProLink really that easy?

If so, I can't see why anyone would not be using it?
It is that easy.JL
Oct 21, 2002 9:37 AM
As with anything, some like it/some don't. I'm with Kerry on this one. Very easy to do and the chain stays nice and clean.


I tried Prolinkpmf1
Oct 21, 2002 10:07 AM
and was not real impressed with it. I didn't see a big difference between it and any other oil such as Boeshield. I found that it attracted dirt quicker than the dry lube I prefer (Finish Line). Why people rave about this stuff has always been a mystery to me.

For a while I used a homebrew concoction of 3 parts mineral spirits to 1 part motor oil. That worked reasonably well, but also attracted dirt. It certianly is cheap to make ($4 will make a lifetime supply). If you want to follow the sluice and wipe method of chain maintenence, homebrew might be an option. You certianly won't feel guilty spraying 6 oz of it on your chain.

I'm vain. I like my bike to look nice. For me, the only option is scrubbing the drive train down with citrus cleaner and a toothbrush, letting it dry, and then applying lube sparingly to the barrels of the chain. The sluice and wipe method accomplishes the same thing, just doesn't look as neat. The goal is to keep your drive train reasonably clean and lubricated. In either approach, no need to remove the chain.
I tried ProlinkB2
Oct 21, 2002 10:48 AM
I too have tried Prolink and found it to perform satisfactorily. However I prefer Boeshield T-9 or Finish Line Dry Lube due to a bit quieter drivetrain.

No need to remove the chain. I use pretty much the same procedure as Kerry mentioned with excellent results. With the final application, I apply the lube sparingly to each bearing and wipe off any excess from the outer plates.

Improve your techniqueKerry
Oct 21, 2002 4:16 PM
Unless you are one of these "sparkle plenty" people, the odds are that you just need to wipe more after the application. If you want your chain to be truly spotless, then you don't have much lubrication going on - dry lubes simply get displaced from the load bearing surfaces and don't hold up well, especially in the rain.

My experience with Boeshield was that it left residue (solids) on the chain, was harder to wipe clean, and didn't lube any better than ProLink. When you shift repeatedly through the gears, the gunk gets loosened up and can be wiped off the chain, cogs, rings, and pulleys. Plus, you don't use anywhere near 6 oz. of lube per application. I find that a bottle (4 oz) of ProLink lasts about 25 applications (9K miles).
You and your ProLink have always amazed me.pmf1
Oct 22, 2002 4:03 AM
How you get 9000 miles out of a single bottle of lube is just astounding. That's one application every 360 miles. I guess it keeps building up on your chain since you never really clean it.

I've tried a ton of lubes and always ended up going back to Finish Line. Frankly, I was unimpressed by ProLink, the so-called wonder lube. But then again, I am one of those "sparkle plenty" types who even carefully removes the decals from his Ksyriums (or whatever other of the numerous sets of boutique wheels I own) so they look just right on his carefully polished bike.
What can I say?Kerry
Oct 22, 2002 4:12 PM
I do apply it about every 350 miles, and this is typical experience for the people I ride with, and for a lot of ProLink users. There are a bunch of long term users on and the standard number is 300-400 miles between applications unless you get caught in the rain or ride in a dusty location. It seems to me the problem most people have with ProLink is that they don't wipe things clean after they apply it. By the time I'm done wiping, all the chain contact places are clean, and the chain is depositing very little black stuff on the rag. I also do the wipe/lube/wipe AFTER a ride so the solvent dries overnight before I ride it. It is not building up on the chain because with each application, you completely dilute whatever was on the chain with the solvent. If you wipe it to the same point each time, you have roughly the same amount on the chain after each application - I wouldn't call that "building up." I'm going to go with function over form, so I will tolerate a little bit of "darkness" on my chain for something that lubes so well and makes the chain last so long.
Yes, but . . .Galibier
Oct 23, 2002 1:55 PM
25 applications from a four-ounce bottle? That's approximately 1/8 ounce per application. I don't see how that tiny amount of fluid spread over an entire bike chain would have any cleaning or much lubricating effect. One bottle of ProLink last me no more than 3-4 applications. Actually, I've recently switched over to the "homebrew" of one quart motor oil mixed in a gallon of mineral spirits. If you haven't tried it, you should.
Yes, but . . .pmf1
Oct 24, 2002 4:13 AM
Kerry has useful advice, but I sometimes wonder if he suffers from what people in the survey research field call "recall bias". He gets amazing wear from his chains, tires, wheels and single bottles of ProLink. I wonder if he doesn't vastly over-estimate his mileage.

Then again, I'm sure I just don't wipe well enough, drip it in the right places, etc. I'll stick with (and recommend) what I do as I'm sure he will as well.

Don't get him started on the evils of boutique wheels.
variation on the Kerry techniquetarwheel
Oct 22, 2002 8:38 AM
I agree with Kerry that Prolink keeps the chain reasonably clean. It contains solvents that literally dissolve gunk off the chain, such as old White Lightning crud. However, if you really want your chain to sparkle, use some Simple Green in an on-the-bike chain cleaner like Parks. If you lube your chain with Prolink, it really cleans up nice with Simple Green -- looks like new after a scrubbing with the Parks cleaner. Then reapply Prolink after the chain dries. You also need to clean your cassette and chain rings if you really want to keep your chain clean. A good way to clean your cassette (without removing it) is to spray liberally with Simple Green, wrap a putty knife with a shop towel or rag, and hold it between the cogs while turning the pedals.
re: chain cleaning questionspmf1
Oct 21, 2002 4:47 AM
You don't need to remove your chain to clean it. The only time I break a chain is to change it. The more times you break a chain, the more chances increase that a link won't seat right and it'll break. Besides, its a pain in the butt.

Clean your chain with a toothbrush and some citrus cleaner (I use the $7/gallon Zepp sold at Home Depot). It takes 10 minutes tops and will be as clean as the day you put it on if you carefully do it.
No need - WD40Eager Beagle
Oct 21, 2002 7:50 AM
I just give mine an occasional lube with WD40 between real lubes - keeps them like new, and running as good as the day they were new.
WD40 is not a lubricant, it's a solvent. It dissolves oils. nmTFerguson
Oct 21, 2002 5:06 PM
Had an LBS wrench recommend itMcAndrus
Oct 21, 2002 6:00 PM
I had an LBS mechanic recommend WD40 once. He said it worked as well as any other lube. I didn't believe him then and I don't now but he saw more chains in a day than I see in a long time.

I've used ProLink and thought it justed dirtied up the chain: made it very hard to keep clean and I tried to apply it liberally like Kerry recommends. Usually I use Finish Line. It doesn't run as quietly as ProLink but it stays clean longer.

And, by the way, I agree that you don't need to remove the chain to clean it.
Exactly - that's the whole pointEager Beagle
Oct 22, 2002 12:20 AM
put it on once in a while, it cleans off all the old cr@p on the chain, then carry on with your usual lube till the next time.
Powerlink on Ultegra chain = really GREAT.PeterRider
Oct 22, 2002 8:06 PM
re: chain cleaning questionsMikeDee
Nov 8, 2002 7:43 AM
I use Craig SuperLink II's on my Shimano chains so the chains are ez to remove. The only way to adequately clean a chain is to remove it from the bike and clean and scrub it. I use concentrated Simple Green with a little water in an old peanut butter jar and shake, pour out and repeat. Sometimes I lay the chain out in the driveway and spray with Simple Green and scrub with a brush. I may try mineral spirits because in an overnight soak, because it takes a number of repeated steps of the above to get all the gunk off. I also use Pro Link lube because it lasts a long time (as opposed to Boeshield and wax based lubricants), lubes well, and keeps the chain relatively clean.