How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

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Defy The Odds
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How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby Defy The Odds » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:25 pm

This question is probably best aimed at the mountain bikers/gravel riders/CX riders.

In the past on my road bike, I would wash the bike and degrease after every few rides because I was always a fair weather rider and never really needed to wash the bike after every ride.

Now that I have purchased my Toughroad and riding through gravel, dirt, grass etc, I took it home after my first proper ride and noticed dust and dirt all over the bike, and around the crank arm/bottom bracket area. Also noticed the jockey wheel quite dirty.

So my question is broken down into:

- How often do you wash your bike?

- Do you degrease and lube with each clean? Or how often do you do this?

- I use a hose with a light mist spray like I've always down to wash the bike down first and then use a PH balanced car wash product with NO WAX as it is a brushed aluminium/satin finish and then clean the bike accordingly

- With the drive train, I wash this with the soap solution and then hose off, and then just use a dirty sponge to clean the chain but not degrease and then dry it all off and lube


Is this the normal process or should I have degreased the drivetrain first ?

When your bottom bracket area is dirty is it safe to use water to clean?

When I was turning the cranks I noticed a grinding type noise, but after washing and cleaning it was gone.

Jus want to really get this process down pat as I'm really fussy with my maintenance. I believe a well looked after bike/car/whatever will last you quite a while.

Thanks in advance,

Jay

human909
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Re: How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby human909 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:07 pm

Defy The Odds wrote:Jus want to really get this process down pat as I'm really fussy with my maintenance. I believe a well looked after bike/car/whatever will last you quite a while.

I'm the opposite of fussy so take my comments as you will. IMO clean does not mean well looked after. IME the only mechanical areas on that suffer from a lack of cleanliness is brake surfaces and chain. Both of which are pretty self cleaning once they dry. But in continuous muddy conditions mud can make a fantastic grinding paste.

For what it is worth my bikes last me decades. The bikes I ride regularly are all from the 90s a commuter and a roadie. My mountain bike is a cheapy from the start of this decade.

- How often do you wash your bike?
When for some reason it is filthy. So maybe once a year. Even if it does get a whole bunch of mud spatter I find it mostly comes off by itself once it dries.

- Do you degrease and lube with each clean? Or how often do you do this?
Wipe down and regrease. Maybe once every second month.

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g-boaf
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Re: How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby g-boaf » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:22 pm

If I have a new chain going on and the cassette doesn't need changing, I'll clean the cassette thoroughly along with the front chain rings and leave the chain untouched until the whole lot starts to get noisy/unsmooth.

Once cleaned properly the bike is absolutely silent. Both of the road bikes I normally ride show up every speck of dust and dirt, they are like magnets. They tend to get filthy after any riding in rain or after rain (eg, puddles).

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Defy The Odds
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Re: How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby Defy The Odds » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:19 pm

So not to degrease when gunk builds up on the jockey wheel for example?

In this case I washed the bike, washed the drive train with cleaner (not a solvent, but a car care product which is PH neutral and contains NO salt) and then washed it clean with fresh water and dried.

I then lubed the chain again with a dry lube. I noticed dirt and dust particles on the chain itself I am just worried it will have a mechanical impact on the parts if not cleaned properly (ie degrease and re lube) but I don't want it to be overkill.

What about when the bottom bracket area gets dirty or dusty? Is it ok to wash this area down and rinse?

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Re: How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby human909 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:31 pm

Defy The Odds wrote:So not to degrease when gunk builds up on the jockey wheel for example?

In my experience the gunk that builds up on the jockey wheel is pretty much cosmetic. Any gunk that is in the way of moving parts quickly gets pushed out of the way. Not harm in cleaning it with a rag/toothbrush/metal scraper. However if you start using degreaser don't be surprise if you degrease the bearing inside. Years back I gave my jockey wheel a thorough "clean" and it started squeaky like crazy.

In my younger days I put plenty of oil on my chain. The result was dirtier cassettes, jockey wheels and chain. Now I oil my chain sparingly and wipe off the excess. (You want oil on the inside of the chain not the outside.) It means a drive train that doesn't pick up dirt.

Defy The Odds wrote:I then lubed the chain again with a dry lube. I noticed dirt and dust particles on the chain itself I am just worried it will have a mechanical impact on the parts if not cleaned properly (ie degrease and re lube) but I don't want it to be overkill.

Any dirt and dust in the moving parts will add to the wear. But in general this stuff quickly get pushed out and you get back to metal on metal contact. Besides the worst damage will be occurring INSIDE your chain, to clean this properly you need to remove if from you bike, degrease, agitate and rinse thoroughly... Doing this regularly will very likely increase chain life. But how much is a chain?

(I've done this a few times but I now realise that my time is worth more than a new chain every year or so.

Defy The Odds wrote:What about when the bottom bracket area gets dirty or dusty? Is it ok to wash this area down and rinse?

Wash it done. Just avoid degreasers and high pressure water.

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Defy The Odds
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Re: How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby Defy The Odds » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:35 pm

Awesome, thanks human !

Makes sense.

I might just clean the jockey wheel with a hard bristle brush just to clear the gunk. The dirt, dust and grit on the chain though, I think I might wash it wish a solution (not degreaser) using a chain cleaning tool or a sponge. I'm not so much worried about the wear, as I am about grinding noises which would drive me nuts !

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Re: How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby human909 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:52 pm

Defy The Odds wrote:Awesome, thanks human !

Makes sense.

Glad you think so! Like I said I'm not fussy. There are others who take a much more meticulous approach to cleaning. But most of that is aesthetics not mechanical maintenance. While my bike is unique, nice and pretty I don't take great pride in making sure it is always shiny.

Defy The Odds wrote:I'm not so much worried about the wear, as I am about grinding noises which would drive me nuts !

Yeah grinding drives me nuts too. Like I said earlier in my experience the best thing to prevent these noises is you minimize the amount of oil on your chain by wiping off the excess. That way it won't attract dirt to begin with.

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Re: How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby you cannot be sirrus » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:33 pm

How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain? Most Saturdays because Sunday is race day and my OCD says the bike should be clean and lubed and good to go. I even clean it if it's clean, a waste of time but it makes me feel good. :)

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Defy The Odds
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Re: How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby Defy The Odds » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:39 pm

you cannot be sirrus wrote:How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain? Most Saturdays because Sunday is race day and my OCD says the bike should be clean and lubed and good to go. I even clean it if it's clean, a waste of time but it makes me feel good. :)


You sound like me. My bikes and my cars are usually well kept. I like my toys nice and shiny :D

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Re: How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby Nate » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:11 pm

what have you got to stop the crud getting in there to begin with?

I did a quick 2 vids here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sehm4CS0mNQ&t=930s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX-JZkDV6Ic&t=828s

Result - Auto trans fluid is the best lube i've found in my conditions & got at least 30% more life from cassette & chain.
previously i'd get 3,000km & have enough chain stretch to throw it out
now i get 4,000km & side plates are worn causing shifting issues, but not much chain stretch

i'd clean weekly in your situation, maybe a squirt bottle of degreaser then grease.
Experiment & find out what removes the crud from your chain quickly & effectively.

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Re: How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby Duck! » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:28 pm

Never degrease your chain; it strips the lube out from inside the links where it does its real work, and it's harder to get fresh lube back in.

Pick a chain lube appropriate to the riding conditions, dry lube for dry weather, wet lube for wet weather. Apply the lube, run through the gears to work it into the links as well as possible, then wipe the exterior of the chain clean. Most lubes will be able to clean an averagely grubby chain pretty well.

Dry lubes should be applied at least a day before riding, as they need time for the solvent to evaporate and leave the actual lube in place. These are good in dry conditions, because they attract minimal dust & grit. The (usually wax) grinds into a powder as the chain moves, which is reasonably resilient while conditions remain dry, but once you hit wet weather it will flush out pretty rapidly.

Wet lubes are the opposite; they remain liquid, which means in dry weather they will attract dirt, even with minimal surface film. However, this surface film forms a water-repelling barrier, which has the added advantage of the water flushing off most of the grit.

To get any buildup of gunge off the jockey wheels, just hold the tip od a small flat screwdriver against the pulley & backpedal to pick it off.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby human909 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:35 pm

Duck! wrote:To get any buildup of gunge off the jockey wheels, just hold the tip od a small flat screwdriver against the pulley & backpedal to pick it off.

That is exactly what I do! :mrgreen:

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Re: How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:38 pm

Duck! wrote: To get any buildup of gunge off the jockey wheels, just hold the tip od a small flat screwdriver against the pulley & backpedal to pick it off.


Snap..same, except I use a toothbrush.
Mmm, SunTour

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Re: How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby gdb » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:47 pm

I used to run two chains for the roady and the mtb (when i had one). I'd just rotate them every couple months and clean the chain when it was off the bike and keep it wrapped up. I used to race the mtb weekly plus do dirt rides on the weekend so the mtb used to go through components pretty quick. Nowdays my commuting is done on a bike with alfine 8sp and belt drive, far less maintenance! The roady doesnt get used as much and honestly, it probably had the chain cleaned/lubed once in 2 years

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Re: How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby Cyclophiliac » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:57 pm

For the jockey/pulley wheels, I just use the same cloth I use to clean the chain, holding the cloth against either side of the jockey wheel in turn. The dirt never builds up much, because I clean the jockey wheels every time I clean the chain, which is every few weeks in summer and every week in winter (in general).

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Re: How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby caneye » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:48 pm

i use metho instead of degreaser - i.e. soak an old rag with metho and run the chain through it. it will pick up most of the grease and crud and dries quickly too without leaving water residue behind. it is also inexpensive.
i degrease and relube once the chain starts to get noisy, typically between 500-700kms.

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Re: How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby Neddysmith » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:07 am

depending on weather and how much i ride, but i would be guessing around every 10-12hr worth of riding time i would give the chain a quick wipe with a rag, maybe give the cassette and jockey wheels a quick wipe to get any build up off and then reapply the chain lube go through the gears to move ti around and its good to go, worked for me fine and components seem to be lasting a fair while.

I honestly think some people overthink and over complicate things sometimes.

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Re: How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby Mububban » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:50 pm

Duck! wrote:Never degrease your chain; it strips the lube out from inside the links where it does its real work, and it's harder to get fresh lube back in.


How do you clean the chain if not degreasing? I haven't given my MTB a good clean yet but am thinking of the black grimy paste you get on road bike chains.
My local MTB trails are bone dry and dusty in summer.
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Re: How Often Do You Degrease/Lube Your Chain?

Postby Duck! » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:59 pm

Mububban wrote:
Duck! wrote:Never degrease your chain; it strips the lube out from inside the links where it does its real work, and it's harder to get fresh lube back in.


How do you clean the chain if not degreasing?

Go back & read the next paragraph of my previous post. If you lube appropriately, and most importantly, wipe the excess off, the chain never gets dirty enough to need to be degreased.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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