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Discussion Starter #1
How often would you recommend adding oil to the chain on my single speed which I ride daily about 6 miles?

And should I clean it before applying the chain oil and if so how should I clean it?

Thanks!
 

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does any one use wax lube? doesn't pick up dirt like oil.
 

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Eocyclist
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I prefer a teflon based lube. It is essentially dry and doesn't pick up dirt, even on gravel roads or crushed stone. I apply it once a month or whenever I ride in the wet. When I lube, one drop goes on each roller, then I run the chain while wiping it with a clean cloth until no more stuff comes off.

After every ride the chain gets wiped to where it is clean and dry to the touch. The chain has never been cleaned with a solvent, and after almost 7,000 miles, it still has more than half it's life left.
 

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Total noob (& forum admin)
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If that's Los Angeles,. go with a dry lube. Follow manufacturer's instructions. If that's Louisiana, a wet lube would probably server you better.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It is Los Angeles. Thanks for the recommendations. The LBS was offering a chain cleaner to use before applying the chain oil. It sounds like people have mixed opinions on whether this is necessary. Is my take on this correct?
 

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Total noob (& forum admin)
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At six miles/day, temps in the 70s, no rain, if you never lube your chain, but don't leave your bike in the rain, the chain should last 17 years.
 

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I live in Florida and ride in the rain constantly. I do 30 miles almost daily. What would you guys reccomend for that?
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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I live in Florida and ride in the rain constantly. I do 30 miles almost daily. What would you guys reccomend for that?
Rain strips the oil from your chain and makes it easier for it to pick up debris from the road. That means much more frequent cleaning and lubing requirements. A wax-based lube might be just the thing for your conditions.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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It is Los Angeles. Thanks for the recommendations. The LBS was offering a chain cleaner to use before applying the chain oil. It sounds like people have mixed opinions on whether this is necessary. Is my take on this correct?
People definitely have differing views on the usefulness of chain cleaners. I ride a lot of dirt and hard-surface trails, so my chain gets nasty fast. I use a big-box store chain cleaner with straight-up Simple Green and rinse it in a strong solution of water and SG. Pass the whole chain through the cleaner 2-3x, empty the cleaner, rinse, repeat. The rinse gets the oil and nastiness off the cleaner's brushes so they can keep picking up more on the repeats. I go through a few cycles of scrub/rinse/repeat until the chain is nice and clean. Rinse the SG off with a bit of low pressure H2O, dry it, and apply oil.

Others will tell you this method is stupid because the cleaner only drives contaminants deeper into the chain, eventually causing premature failure. Some see water as bad for bike cleaning in any context. I obviously disagree ;) Who is right? Depends.

After a solid chain cleaning, I find my bike to be much quieter, the ride and shifting far smoother than what I get from just wiping and re-oiling the chain. When I wipe a chain that needs proper cleaning, the top, bottom and sides come out nice enough, but the crud is just moved into the spaces between the rollers. It's not removed, just temporarily pushed aside.

From between the chain's rolers the gunk will quickly transfer to the teeth of your cogs/sprockets and from there be redistributed back to the rest of the chain. You can see this happen while cycling. I find it frustrating.

My cleaner's brushes and the SG combine to actually remove the majority of the gunk. Don't forget to rinse often, and with a degreaser, not just H2O. The cleaner's brushes will only pick up so much crud before they start redistributing it instead of actually cleaning. This is also why you have to clean your front sprocket and rear cogs at the same time as the chain. If not, the crud on them just transfers right back to the chain.

So far as I am concerned, my $20 big-box store chain cleaner combined with SG is clearly superior to other methods I've tried. Using it, I can remove far more crud than I can without it. In my book, that's a win for the chain cleaner. Others find their own cleaning methods just as superior to the rest as I find mine. The right way is ultimately the one which works for you. Only you can determine that. Best of luck to you in finding it!
 

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I got the chain cleaner also - haven't used it yet - for the bikes I use on the limestone - the roadies have never seen rain, mud, or dust really - how many miles newleaf should I consider before using the chain cleaner ? I only have a couple hundred miles on the bikes so far

PS - I like the Simply Green idea - the kit comes with a citrus based cleaner which will last about on cleaning I think for the two bikes - I am sure SG is cheaper by far
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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I got the chain cleaner also - haven't used it yet - for the bikes I use on the limestone - the roadies have never seen rain, mud, or dust really - how many miles newleaf should I consider before using the chain cleaner ? I only have a couple hundred miles on the bikes so far

PS - I like the Simply Green idea - the kit comes with a citrus based cleaner which will last about on cleaning I think for the two bikes - I am sure SG is cheaper by far
Thanks for your interest! Simple Green, in my experience, is way cheaper than comparable degreaser/cleaners marketed for bikes. You also, in my experience, MUST have a way to flush the cleaner's brushes frequently. SG with some water in a bucket takes care of that quite nicely. Remember, though: NEVER mix unknown chemicals as you might make poison, even poison gas. It's unlikely but possible. If you use SG to rinse your cleaner's brushes, use it in the cleaner, too. If you can't flush/rinse the brushes regularly, you're not going to accomplish much.

When it comes to frequency, the best I can suggest is watching the chain's physical looks and, especially, functionality. When my chain needs oil/cleaning, my shifts get slower, more noisy and rougher. Then I start noticing nasty little chunks of gunk on the chain. The density of the chunks provides my indication that the chain needs to be cleaned rather than simply wiped/re-lubed. It can happen in under 50mi in poor (muddy or dry) conditions on hard-surface trails, but usually takes a couple hundred miles or better. I wipe and oil my chain more often than just cleaning it.

I haven't cycled on limestone and so can't say for sure how it compares to the hard-surface dirt I'm used to. I would expect something like every 100-400mi, but that's a guess based on my dirt-going experience. Limestone may be better/worse. My best advice is to monitor shift quality and noise. When your chain needs cleaning/oil/both, you'll hear the difference, and feel it when you shift. You can put off cleaning longer than you can re-oiling, but every revolution of the dirty chain tears it up a bit more.

Your roadies will likely need less chain love than the limestone bikes, but don't forget about 'em! A cruddy chain that needs lube will sap the energy from your legs to no good purpose, forcing you to work harder to go slower. No fun at all!
 
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