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Chain maintenance

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Chain maintenance

A technical question. I'm interested to hear how other people look after and maintain their chains when they're on a long tour.  I carry chain oil and a rag but I don't really have space for loads of stuff. Water and then oil? Soapy water? Or nothing at all??

Happy cycling.  Peter

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WS Member WS Member's picture
Chain maintenance on tour

Hi Christine/Pete,

What you have should suffice for even a long tour. I would recommend a dry/semi dry lube (you do have to apply more often) and then a quick wipe down with a rag. Wet lubes last longer, but will leave a mess on your right shoe/leg. It also attracts dirt particles in dusty dry areas but they are better in very wet conditions.

You shouldn't have to wash a brand new, fairly new chain with anything particularly a degreasing solvent because it will remove the factory lubricant in the links. On a loaded tour with hill climbs, my chain lasted about 3,800 km before it needed to be replaced because of stretching (Both chain & cassette- if you only change the chain, the new chain may skip and wear prematurely) If I had gotten a new chain sooner, I may have been able to use the old cassette. Carrying those new chain cleaners is a waste of space. Better off buying a new chain (16USD plus labor). Keep in mind that your mileage may vary depending on variables.

A dry chain gives as much resistance as riding on nearly flat tires. If nothing is at hand when you need to lube a dry chain, almost anything (even cooking oil) will work just fine.

Pedal well, ride safe!

WS Member WS Member's picture
Chain Maintenance

I take a 4,000 mile tour each year.  The chain is new on the first day.  Each week I spray it, wipe it, and forget about it.  A new chain is $20 for goodness sakes.  I have it checked every 1,000 miles.  It will usually last the entire ride, and then it is discarded.  I say, don't over-think it.  It will save you lots of worry, effort and time.  

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Lubricate it when needed,

Lubricate it when needed, wipe off excess oil and any dirt using a rag picked up along roadside (there always seem to be some). Change every 4000km. I do not change the cassette unless it is showing signs of wear. As previous posters have said, the cost is minimal so I don't worry about too much maintenance on such a cheap item.

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Chain maintenance

As the other advices, a little lub bottle, a small rag will do the job, but in my last ride I learnt how useful is a tooth brush to complete the set. (Thanx Michael caillet for the tip).  All you have to do is set the tooth brush in touch with the chain  and turn pedals backwards until it shines, then lub, then dry it with the rag turning the pedals backwards again. Ideal while the lunch brake is taken...further cleaning ; with a thin metal stick (broken metal saw  i.e.), stick it between the cassette rings, turn the pedals backwards again and some sticky dirt might come out.

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Chain maintenance

Thanks for those replies.  I've now switched to dry lube and I'm much happier with that .

WS Member WS Member's picture
Chain maintenance

Thanks for those replies.  I've now switched to dry lube and I'm much happier with that .