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Old 06-13-2011, 05:05 PM
happyvalley happyvalley is offline
Motorized Bicycle Elite Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: upper Pioneer Valley
Posts: 787
Default Re: Chain lube/maintenance

Originally Posted by 2door View Post
I like to remove my chain every couple of hundred miles and clean it by submerging in a solvent then re-lubricating. It's amazing how much dirt and grit washes out of a chain.
This is excellent advice if you want a chain to last, any chain either motor driven or pedal. It's a bit of messy work, more so the first time if the chain has been neglected. We hear of chain "stretch" but that's really a misnomer, chains don't stretch. Chain wear at the plates and pins is what causes them to gain length, and this is mostly caused by the abrasive grit they are subject to. Thorough cleaning by immersion in solvent is the best antidote. If the chain is not cleaned, just continuing to add more oil or chain lube does nothing to remove the abrasive grit and the chain continues to wear.

Unfortunately, lubing an open chain with a petroleum base acts like a magnet to dirt so your clean chain gets right back to where it was pretty quickly and the thicker or more sticky the lube the more dirt it holds. Chainsaw bar lube works well on a chainsaw because it is being cast off constantly in the cut and replenished with clean lube.

The dry lubes don't gather dirt as much but they can be pricey. Also, I guess I'm old fashioned and doubt whether they really lube the the wearing parts and inner bushing well. This may be overkill for many hobbyist riders but I've had excellent results taking a tip from long distance touring cyclists. I make my own: 3 parts mineral spirits to 1 part cheap 30 wt. motor oil applied in a drip bottle to the clean chain. For a few dollars you can make a near lifetime supply. The mineral spirits thin the lube to a consistency that allows it to enter the inner parts of the chain and then evaporates leaving just a film of oil where it's needed. I still clean them but with this treatment need to far less often and they are nowhere near as grimed up when I do.

Last edited by happyvalley; 06-14-2011 at 01:31 PM.
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