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Julian

Does my chain need cleaning?

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Julian

New owner here, I've only had the bike a few days. The bike is 4 months old but it does have 5000 km already. I do not know if/when the chain was last cleaned and lubed. I also don't want to mess with it if I don't have to 😅

The chain does not look dirty and the rollers are not shiny. It's light gray on the outside and feels sticky to the touch. 

20210723_174517.jpg

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Triple Jim

The color, lack of grime, and stickiness makes me think it has been properly lubed with a wax based chain  lube. 

I've tried Maxima Chain Wax but found it remained sticky enough to collect road dirt.  Then I went to DuPont Chain Saver, which dries non-sticky, and I've been using that for a few years now.  It's available in spray and liquid versions.  The spray is nice, but I like using the liquid and a brush because of the lower cost and lack of overspray.

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mossrider

When it comes to the chain, when in doubt do it. It'll last much longer and you'll be more familiar with the machine and notice things before they become mission critical.

The easiest thing to do is get a can of chain cleaner, a can of chain wax and a grunge brush. (Maxima or whatever brand you like) Cleaner on, brush, blow or wipe clean/dry. Then a light coat of wax. Do it every 500 miles or so after your ride while the chain is warm. Takes 5 minutes, your stuff will last much longer, you'll be much safer and happier.

Cheers,

Dave

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shinyribs
Posted (edited)

I try to scrub the chain on my street bikes no more than 3 tanks of fuel. Every other tank makes me happy. No point lubing a dirty chain.  I'd consider your chain filthy IMO. Not being rude, just being honest. 

 

I just recently replaced my stock chain at 24,000 miles. It wasn't loose or "stretched" at all, the orings just got old and started coming off. Sprockets still look new. I'm a big fan of Belray's Super Clean chain lube.

 

 

Edited by shinyribs

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klx678

These are my thoughts and practices, different riders have different practices and opinions.

Having used a similar O-ring chain on my KLX650 never actually cleaning it and lubing it not quite as often as I should, I run around 15,000 miles probably around 1/4 on dirt/gravel when I notice some links starting to tighten and sprocket starting to hook.  So I do a new chain and sprockets on my tire change, which averages around 4000 miles when the tread is shallow enough on the back to lack the traction I want on the dirt/gravel.

I only have a few adjustments early on when the chain and sprockets are seating in.  From there the wear is mostly negligible, meaning only about 4 adjustments over the 15,000 miles.  I also run a shade loose so I'm not pulling the chain too tight as the suspension compresses.

I figure that chain isn't all that bad.  The O-ring has the main wear point, the pins, enclosed in with lube.  Any cleaning must be careful enough not to penetrate the O-ring seal and thin the lube, so I don't get overly concerned with the stuff I get on paved roads.  Also never pressure washed the chain - ever.

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Triple Jim
1 hour ago, klx678 said:

I figure that chain isn't all that bad.

Yeah, I thought it looked pretty good.  I assumed the slightly crusty white stuff on it was wax based chain lube.  If it's fine white sand or something like that, I might agree that it should be cleaned.

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Julian
Posted (edited)

Thank you for your feedback. It seems that it might need a cleaning and it's better to play it safe. I will get the supplies. 

The bike has 5000 km now and it had its first mandatory service at 1000 when they should have cleaned the chain. My guess would be that it hasn't been touched since. Before I got the bike it sat in the shop for 3 weeks for repairs and pending paperwork and those cunts charged 3000 for the repair but did not bother to clean the chain or the gunk on the back wheel which I find appaling. 

Edited by Julian

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M. Hausknecht

OP, your chain looks beautiful. I'd leave it alone. Also, consider the points made here:

 

 

 

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Triple Jim

In that video, I don't think enough drying time was allowed in all cases.  For example I've used Maxima chain wax in the past, and when it's dry it's way to thick to fling off.

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Loch
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Triple Jim said:

In that video, I don't think enough drying time was allowed in all cases.  For example I've used Maxima chain wax in the past, and when it's dry it's way to thick to fling off.

Does it melt when it warms up again?

Edited by Loch

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Triple Jim
26 minutes ago, Loch said:

Does it melt when it warms up again?

I don't know, maybe.  I quit using it several years ago when I found that it stayed sticky and made grinding compound with road dirt.  But in that video he just spun it with a drill and didn't mention anything about heating it first.  If it came off that way it wasn't fully dry.

I'll see if I can remember to check my chain after a ride sometime soon, to see if the DuPont Chainsaver is solid or liquid.  I doubt if the chain gets hot enough from public road riding to melt it, but we'll see.  I use straight candle wax on my mountain bike chain by heating the chain with a propane torch and holding a candle on it while I rotate it.  It needs to get pretty hot to melt that wax.   Like burns-your-finger hot.

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shinyribs
Posted (edited)

Yeah, his results on a few if those products don't line up with my own experiences. I agree especially agree with Triple Jim on the Maxima chain wax. I used it to protect surfaces I don't want scratched when I'm sand blasting parts. I need mineral spirits to wash it off later. Absolutely no way that stuff flings.

I didn't grab to sound rude when I said I thought you chain was filthy. For me, it is. I live on a gravel road. That buildup, like you can see on the tips of the sprocket teeth, will hold grit and grind it in to everything. Get some and rub it between your fingertips. It probably won't feel real gritty. Now rub it between two fingernails. 

I bet if you service your chain it'll sound totally different. 4000km is a long time to wait to service a chain. You'll hear that sound difference and you'll know in the future, regardless of distance, when the chain is singing to you that it wants a bath.

Edited by shinyribs
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mossrider

I don't watch those videos much. First off it's a rust prohibiter not a lubricant. Second if it's thick enough to pile up or be felt or seen it's way too much. One rotation of the chain is enough while coating. When it's done after the ride it's dry the next ride and it's too thin to collect debris. The lubricant is in/on the pins and rollers held in by the x-rings. The wax prevents rust and crap from getting into where it shouldn't get into, nothing more. Maxima (or whatever) should be dry to the touch next ride. Anything more on a modern chain is a waste. The reason wax is wax is so it doesn't fling off and it gets hard so it doesn't collect crud. Think of it like chain skin.

This opinion and a buck still gets you coffee in some places.  

Edit: Now you got me started, 

If you don't properly clean your chain, and most don't, and just guber on another way too thick layer of 'lube' thinking you're a hero, you're locking in one layer of bilge sludge and adding another layer of crusty smeg to hasten the demise of your $200 super set of gold o-ring coolness. You're ruining your own stuff. Clean it, wax it, enjoy it. 

Where'd I set my beer?

 

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Julian

I think the Fortnine videos should get credit for bringing a semi-scientific approach to what is otherwise mostly opinion. The product availability in Switzerland is limited to only 3-4 brands of chain cleaner:

- Muc-off, seems very popular, available from many sources

- Procycle

- Motul

- S100 - german brand 

For chain lube you have all the above plus some other oil companies like Castrol and Valvoline. Muc-off has a LOT of varieties (dry lube, wet lube, all weather lube???) and they also sell a pack with chain cleaner, lube and motorcycle spray for around 40.

What should I get?

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klx678
22 hours ago, Julian said:

Thank you for your feedback. It seems that it might need a cleaning and it's better to play it safe. I will get the supplies. 

The bike has 5000 km now and it had its first mandatory service at 1000 when they should have cleaned the chain. My guess would be that it hasn't been touched since. Before I got the bike it sat in the shop for 3 weeks for repairs and pending paperwork and those cunts charged 3000 for the repair but did not bother to clean the chain or the gunk on the back wheel which I find appaling. 

They probably looked at it and came to the same conclusion as a number of us.  It didn't need cleaned.  I know I wouldn't bother.  Especially when they come with that off white lithium lube on them new and yours looks pretty clean.  Did you ever lube it?  

One other note, if they were doing repairs and charged for repairs regardless of cost if they'd spent another half hour cleaning a chain they would charge you for that half hour.  Much like all of us, they don't work for free.  

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Julian
On 7/25/2021 at 12:06 AM, Triple Jim said:

I'll see if I can remember to check my chain after a ride sometime soon, to see if the DuPont Chainsaver is solid or liquid.  I doubt if the chain gets hot enough from public road riding to melt it, but we'll see. 

I touched my chain after riding one hour and it's barely warm. If you leave the bike in the sun on a hot day it will be a lot hotter to the touch than from riding. 

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Loch
20 hours ago, Julian said:

I touched my chain after riding one hour and it's barely warm. If you leave the bike in the sun on a hot day it will be a lot hotter to the touch than from riding. 

That's interesting. I suppose if a chain gets hot from riding, that means there's friction where there shouldn't be and the chain is already dead or will die very soon. Didn't think of it from that standpoint 

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klx678

The old pre-O-ring chains run on the early 70s Honda CB750s and Z1 Kawasaki 900s would get seriously hot when run hard.  They ate chains.  The O-ring chain was a game changer for the early super bikes.

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Julian
Posted (edited)

I cleaned the chain today and it was a lot dirtier than I imagined. I used about half of a 400ml can of Muc-off and the 3 sided brush and black soot kept coming out. I wiped the chain completely clean and dry and then coated it well with 80W90 gear oil using a brush. I let it sit for a few minutes while I cleaned the back rim, then wiped it clean with paper towels followed by a cotton rag. There was more black soot coming out with the excess oil. 

You can see the end result in the picture. The chain is dry and doesn't leave any oil marks on the sprocket, but feels a bit greasy to the touch and you can see oil glimmering in the space between the joints, which is where you want it anyway. The longest operation was wiping the chain dry, both after the cleaning and after the oiling. It took about 1.5h in total. 

 

20210731_164534.jpg

Edited by Julian
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Julian

On a side note I sprayed a little chain cleaner (Muc-off bio) on a paper towel and used it to clean some stains on the back rim. While it was very effective, there was a little redness on the paper towel after (the rims are fluo red). Is that normal? This bio Muc-off is supposed to be one of the most gentle cleaners. 

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Triple Jim
Posted (edited)

What's in Muc-Off?  From your description, it probably dissolves that paint at least a little.  Either that or there was some fine grit on the rim and when you rubbed it you ground off a little red.

Edited by Triple Jim

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Julian

I don't think it lists the ingredients, only that it's water soluble and biodegradable. It's this one 

Web_MOG0398_2-x-Bio_Chain_Cleaner_for__u

Muc-Off high-performance Bio Chain Cleaner has been...

 

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Triple Jim

The MSDS says it has some sort of alcohol(s) in it. 

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shinyribs

I use alcohol to wipe my wheels down when using adhesive wheel weights. The purple paint on my FZ wheels is the only time I've seen alcohol remove the paint. It's not ruined or even noticable, but it does come off on the rag. 

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