Author Topic: Chain Maintenance on Tour  (Read 8138 times)

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Offline PeteJack

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2012, 10:14:28 am »
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On tour of 5000 miles, that would be five new chains.

Correct.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2012, 10:32:12 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.
I tend to think that most cleaning methods actually shorten chain life.  Use of solvents or detergents just allows grit to penetrate deeper in the chain.  They also kill the lubricant there.  I do not completely avoid cleaning but do try very hard to minimize it as much as possible.  Ideally I will apply lube and wipe it off as the only maintenance.  I like Boeshield T-9, but don't think it is magic or anything.  I have had to make an exception to my no cleaning rule now and then if the chain gets especially gunked up, but even then try to use the least invasive cleaning method that will succeed in cleaning the outside of the chain.  On tour I have bought a small can of WD-40 to do a quick spray off before relubing, but as I said I try to avoid it.

Changing a chain every 1,000 miles seems extremely excessive to me.  I measure 12 complete links and change the chain when they measure 12-1/16".  That for me has usually meant changing a chain every 10,000 miles or so.  Less mileage than that is common, but 1,000 seems like extremely little mileage.  I have found that as long as you swap out the chain before 12 links measure much over 12-1/16" the rings and cogs last a very long time.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2012, 09:23:48 pm »
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Changing a chain every 1,000 miles seems extremely excessive to me

It seemed so to me at first. A mechanic of my acquaintance who has been a wrench for a TdF team advocates changing chains every 500 (!) miles and using the cheapest chains you can find. He maintains that by the time you can measure wear the damage has been done. My experience sort of concurs with that. I tried to keep on top of things with a Park Tool gauge, changing the chain at the lowest stretch reading, usually around 2500 miles, but I still needed new cogs every three chains or so. So I'm going to give frequent changes a try. Besides it's an excuse to call in at the local bike shop, BS a bit and ask about local conditions. It always goes down well if you spend a few bucks; bike shops get no shortage of people who want advice, wheels truing and God knows what else for nothing.

i agree with you about chain cleaning. Nobody has convinced me you are not just as likely to wash grit etc in as to wash it out. And you wash out the oil that's already in the rollers.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2012, 07:47:33 am »
He maintains that by the time you can measure wear the damage has been done. My experience sort of concurs with that.

Whatever works for you, but on one of my older bikes I am still running cogs and rings that probably have 100,000 miles on them.  So I don't consider cog wear to be a huge issue when changing chains when they measure 12-1/16".

Offline DaveB

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2012, 08:46:40 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
You might want to look into the economics of this approach.  A new chain at $25 or more each 1000 miles to protect a possibly $75 cassette so it last say twice or even three times as long has got to be a waste of money.  I can see sacrificing chains ar frequent intervals to extend the life of a $250+  Titanium Campy Record or Shimano Dura Ace cassette but for more reasonably priced cassettes, that's false economy.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2012, 11:37:38 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
You might want to look into the economics of this approach.  A new chain at $25 or more each 1000 miles to protect a possibly $75 cassette so it last say twice or even three times as long has got to be a waste of money.  I can see sacrificing chains ar frequent intervals to extend the life of a $250+  Titanium Campy Record or Shimano Dura Ace cassette but for more reasonably priced cassettes, that's false economy.
Another thing that occurs to me is that to do that you might even have to carry a replacement chain or use mail drops since bike shops are sometimes 1,000 miles apart and may not be where you need them unless you go out of your way to find one.  The notion of using 4 or 5 chains to do the Trans America just doesn't seem reasonable.  I didn't even consider replacing chains at all when I did the TA although I might replace it once if I started out with one that already had quite a few miles on it.  I did that on the ST.

Offline rcrampton

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2012, 10:55:08 pm »
I am still running cogs and rings that probably have 100,000 miles on them.

Wow, I think I'll shut up and ride :)


Offline PeteJack

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2012, 12:09:44 am »
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Wow, I think I'll shut up and ride :)

Sounds like a plan

Offline PeteJack

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2012, 08:59:35 pm »
I've just done the math and 1/16" is 0.52% of 12" the Park Tool thingy goes in at 0.75% half as much stretch again roughly. So staehpj1's method is more conservative and presumably less likely to cause damaged cogs than my using the gauge. I'd better start measuring. I do hate cleaning chains even in my garage let alone on tour.

Offline misterflask

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2012, 05:44:00 am »
Just finished TA using White Lightning.  Replaced chain at ~2500mi w/ .75% stretch.  On steep eastern grades over 8% it was difficult to eliminate squeaks.  Most effective application was warm chain, warm lube, and thorough drying, which had a certain nuisance value to achieve.  Lubing and jumping back on the bike usually made things worse.
I remain committed to wax lubes for their tidiness especially for my commuters.  Plan to give Boeshield a try.

Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2012, 08:03:35 am »
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Plan to give Boeshield a try.

Boeshield lasts a good long time -- especially if it doesn't get wet. Don't over-lube. When you lube, spin off the excess. Also, lube the night before so it can dry.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2012, 09:26:02 am »
Boeshield lasts a good long time -- especially if it doesn't get wet. Don't over-lube. When you lube, spin off the excess. Also, lube the night before so it can dry.

And make sure you wipe the chain off the next morning.  I didn't follow that part of the instructions, and I had a monumental build-up of nasty, gritty, greasy wax when I got home.

FWIW, I've gone back to oil for my normal use.  Lasts longer, can be ridden right after lubing the chain, though it has to be wiped off, but that's no big deal when I have a good supply of rags.

Offline twalls

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2012, 04:14:02 pm »
You might try Chain L.  No connection to me.  Pretty sticky stuff, everything has to be wiped well, and even then the OUTSIDE of the chain will attract a fair amount of crud.  But, based on the 'smooth-running, no-squeak' performance I've had, the INSIDE-- the pins-- are staying lubed. And that's where the wear happens.

( Here in the NW appearance means nothing--everyone knows that)

Offline DaveB

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2012, 09:35:45 am »
It seemed so to me at first. A mechanic of my acquaintance who has been a wrench for a TdF team advocates changing chains every 500 (!) miles and using the cheapest chains you can find.
This is a technique hardly anyone else can use.  First TdF teams get their components from their sponsors at no cost so economics don't enter into the consideration.  Second, they get chain in 100M rolls, not one at a time in a package so even the sponsor is actually paying only a small fraction of retail.  Finally, they are servicing the strongest pro riders in the world and any mechanical failure isn't just a minor inconvenience, it can be a financial disaster if it happens in a major race.   

Ask your friend how often they changed tires and see if you want to follow that recommendation too? :)

Offline sspeed

Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« Reply #29 on: November 09, 2012, 04:24:39 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 understand this is opening up a can of worms.  Have you noticed any changes to your freewheel?  Being a water displacer and degreaser I'd worry about it getting in to the hub innards and breaking it down over time?  We used to run WD40 on motorcycle chains as kids, granted we rode the heck out of them and didn't care much about maintenance, but we had several bound links over the course of time.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 04:34:34 pm by sspeed »