Author Topic: Chain Maintenance on Tour  (Read 7408 times)

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Offline RangerTom

Chain Maintenance on Tour
« on: September 29, 2012, 02:40:28 am »
Well, were headed off for the GAP and C&O Canal in about 10 days. During the past month, we've been riding our road tandem more often on dirt surfaces in preparation for the tour and I had forgotten how grimed up the drive chain can get - and how fast!

I wondered if any of you have any favorite tip to share on how you handle chain maintenance when it's needed frequently and you are out on tour.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Tom

Offline dkoloko

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2012, 11:50:02 am »
I use wax on tour and at home. I kept a log on recent tour on how often needed to re-wax. Don't have data at hand; think it was about every 500 miles. In what was called definitive article on chain lubricants, wax caused least drivetrain wear. Wax should be the least likely to pick up grit.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2012, 08:33:39 pm »
I use a wet lube like ProLink or Dumonde Tech. It cleans the chain as it lubes it, so I don't carry a specific cleaner. I have lubed as infrequently as every 10 days, but I think my chain lasts longer if I lube every 200-300 miles. I also lube after riding on a dusty surface (like the Erie Canalway) or after a heavy rain.

Online Pat Lamb

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2012, 09:19:31 pm »
No experience with mud (a la C&O), but I find a weekly wipe down help keeps the chain clean.  A couple of paper napkins work pretty well; no need to carry a rag, and you can toss them in the roadside restaurant's trash can when you're through.  Wipe after a wet ride, and re-lube when the chain looks dry or squeaks.

Offline HONDO

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2012, 09:19:18 am »
I just buy the stuff at Walmart. I believe I bought one for wet type riding and for for dry. I did the GAP/C&O towpath this year and it was a blast.. Ran into big rain but was at Husky Haven campground in Rockwood and they had an outside sprayer for your bike. Enjoy your ride and if you have time for some mindless entertainment I videotaped my trip and you can see how it went if it you want. Just find Hondo smith youtube. safe travels.

Offline RangerTom

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2012, 02:19:48 pm »
Thanks for the responses so far, guys.

I've been using a product called Boeshield T9, it's a solvent/paraffin wax combo. It comes in a fairly convenient applicator bottle which I think will be ok to haul on the tour, and it does a wee bit of crud flushing. I suspect the crushed limestone of the GAP and C&O dirt will still accumulate fairly rapidly on the drivetrain. We can try water rinsing to remove a bit as well (A garden hose or even water bottle squirts might help. I'd heard in the past to avoid using high pressure water on components to avoid forceing grit into parts - I suspect this was primarily advised for protecting bearings).
 
I guess the mess of dealing with cleaning is really what I'm was haveing trouble picturing. My past touring, 99.9% improved surfaces, hadn’t presented the need for more than lubricating after at least several hundred miles. My  home technique has been SimpleGreen, a bunch of newspaper to keep drippings off the ground and rims/tires, then a last water rinse before disposing  newspaper, then lubricating. I'm thinking the plan for this trip will be monitor and lubricate, pick up bottle of SimpleGreen as needed, read newspaper, and have a five bike cleanup when the appropriate time/place is  reached.

dkokolo  - do you do old,old school melted wax application? Wax stick? Other?

Hondo - also wondered if you had a specific product too recommend.  And thanks for pointing out your Youtube , I'll check it out

Thanks again for the help so far  -  would still like to hear additional suggestions that are out there  :D  Tom


Offline HONDO

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2012, 09:01:30 pm »
Tom,outside of washing my bike off once on the GAP/Towpath I didnt really worry about getting the bike clean until I got home. After I got home I then took the chain off and cleaned all the grit,dirt, grease off of it, the cogs, derailler,etc. I just use this stuff from walmart in the sporting goods section called White lightening EASY LUBE. they have one for dry dusty riding and one for wet. It seems to work pretty well. Also incase you havent found it yet, theres a really good site called BIKECANDO.COM on the net. This is really well put together for all you need to know about the trail. Have fun!

Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2012, 06:59:06 am »
Havings used both and having ridden the C & O - Boeshield is the best for road riding IMO. White Lightening is better at not collecting grime, flaking off to keep the chain clean. I sure hope you have full fenders. It's amazing the difference between my bike and others in the group that didn't have fenders. 

Offline dkoloko

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2012, 09:52:37 am »
dkokolo  - do you do old,old school melted wax application? Wax stick? Other?

Melted wax in a pot (can, actually, on tour). Tried White Lightening type wax lubricant; disappointed.

Mention was made of cleaning chain. My "cleaning" consists of wiping chain before dumping into pot. As mentioned, wax picks up very little grit; what is still on chain before dumping into pot falls to bottom of pot, and can be cleaned out later.

Offline briwasson

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2012, 11:53:07 am »
As far as chains go, the gravel of the GAP is worse than the mud of the C&O, in my opinion (I've ridden both end-end on my single bike). The mud washes off more easily and doesn't grit-up the chain to the extent that the GAP's gravel does.

For 10 days, I wouldn't worry too much about relubing, but would rather just wipe the chains clean at the end of each day. If you have access to a hose at the end of the day I would also occasionally rinse them off.

Last year we also rode about 100 miles of the GAP on our triplet. Talk about trying to keep chains clean! On the triplet we have four chains, including the child stoker kit. We had a bit of rain on the GAP ride and the chains got gritty pretty quickly. Rinsing them off with a hose helped a lot.

Offline newfydog

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2012, 02:22:46 pm »
We mountainbike on dusty trails and just slather on triflow daily.  Chains love the gunk to accumulate. The thicker the gunk the better they run.  I only get a noisey fast wearing chain when I try some whimpy clean wax based lube.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2012, 11:20:40 pm »
A few hours of interesting searching and reading will take you to Lonnie Morse's blog about WD40 and using no lubrication at all. It's a fascinating concept and I'm a bit more than one thousand miles into it myslef. My chain has been dry and clean. The whole transmission sparkles because there is nothing on it to attract or hold dirt.

Looking up Lonnie's blog will lead you to videos of lab tests and to engineering papers on chain lubes. Everything you think you know about this topic is wrong.



I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline AdventureRide

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2012, 05:38:17 pm »
     We did the GAP/C&O a couple of years ago on our tandem.  Had a wonderful time.  Two very different surfaces - crushed limestone for the GAP and hardpack dirt for the C&O.  We had a couple of days of rain, which made parts of the C&O very sloppy.
     I wouldn't recommend a hot wax chain treatment, as that just doesn't last in wet conditions and would be difficult to reapply on tour.  We used ProLink and did just fine.  Any 'wet' type lube would be the way to go.  As someone else said, just a daily wipe down would be highly advisable (and carry a small bottle of whatever lube you select for reapplication as necessary).
     Though not part of your question, I'd also recommend a tire with tread and some side cleats (a'la cyclocross style) for the C&O to combat the likely sloppy conditions you will encounter.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2012, 12:02:55 am »
i know this is heresy and the CT (Chain Taliban) will be after me for saying this but I don't clean chains and look on them as a consumables. I put a new one  on after no more than 1000 miles: every few hundred I oil with Dumond lubricant and it's a five minute or less job changing a chain with a Quicklink. This way you don't get the chain stretch that buggers in your cluster (been there, done that). For those of you with tandems or 'bents I suppose this approach would get expensive

Offline dkoloko

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2012, 09:55:44 am »
" I don't clean chains and look on them as a consumables. I put a new one  on after no more than 1000 miles: every few hundred I oil with Dumond lubricant and it's a five minute or less job changing a chain with a Quicklink. This way you don't get the chain stretch"

On tour of 5000 miles, that would be five new chains. Traveling that distance I bought one new chain, starting with a used chain. Perhaps your method would mitigate chain stretch; whether your method and choice of lubricant would mitigate grit more than wax I use is a question. In what Berto called a definitive study on chain lubricants wax caused least drivetrain wear.