The Ultimate Mid-Drive Chain Care Thread

Sanders

Member
Years ago (back in the day) an experienced mechanic would add a bit of ATF to oil that we used on escalator drive chains. Main factor of this is that it penetrated the links quicker than the chain oil alone. One of the attributes of the chain oil is how it stuck to chain while in constant motion, minimum fling off and such. That meant not much got into parts of chain it should go into. Good news-bad news, but what isn't. Early in morning at a department store before it opens you'd do this last. Apply with a pump sprayer, let it run, close it up. If you could get the oil to penetrate just a bit better it was an advantage. I'm guessing the newer synthetics may have addressed this issue. Also, a bike chain is right there in your hand, easily cleaned completely, re-oiled in detail. Maybe your having a cold beer sitting in your garage, listening to music or the game. A bit different than having some high-amp over-achieving punk standing over you wondering when you're getting "his" stairs back in service.
Just my $.02
 

Harleyman64

New Member
KMC E9 is the best chain I have used so far.
I broke 2 cheap chains within less than 30 miles.
also a wide narrow Raceface 42t chainring along with a modified upper chain guide and lower chain slap guide made it Bulletproof.
knock wood.lol
 

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Sierratim

Well-Known Member
KMC E9 is the best chain I have used so far.
I broke 2 cheap chains within less than 30 miles.
also a wide narrow Raceface 42t chainring along with a modified upper chain guide and lower chain slap guide made it Bulletproof.
knock wood.lol
Wide/narrow chain rings are the way to go for single chain ring setups! You may not even need your chain guides anymore, just sayin'...😎
 

bob armani

Well-Known Member
I spray WD40 on a rag and wipe down the freshly cleaned chain to remove residue. WD40 = Water Displacement formula 40. Then a good quality chain lube, let it sit for a bit, then wipe down again.
That's a nice tip indeed. WD-40 after the water bath sounds like a winner. Thanks for sharing!
 

BarryS

Active Member
I went to My LBS today to order an extra Battery : While there I saw a guy washing up a Como. It was a demo someone was buying > It was all soaped up .

So I asked the mechanic "I thought you weren't supposed to wash E-bikes > He smiled and said I'd be a millionaire if I had a $1.00 for every time I've been asked that : He told me at least with Specialized The Vado and Como have the same Water protection seal rating as the Levo's do . He called it an IP Code or something like that >

He said as long as I don't just wholesale Spray the Bike off in every direction . Or directly spray water on switches : I have nothing to worry about > Told me to wipe down as much as I can, but clean the chain like any other chain. He said get a dummy hub from Park Tool so I can remove the back wheel and clean it up like I would a chain on a generic bike : Then wash the wheel off the bike .

He said he personally owned a Levo . Which there's no way to not wash the thing : Just use common sense : After all (I'm Quoting) If you do enough Riding You're going to encounter puddles and rain you just can't avoid. I understand peoples concerns . But most of what they are concerned about comes from Forum Advise and Statements that are wrong . Articles I have read Speak generically . I'm sure there are Some E-Bikes that can't handle any moisture well .END QUOTE)

So at least for Specialized Owners washing your chain and wheels is just like any other bike : Just be practical >

By the time I left the Guy washing the Como was hitting it with an Air Compressor : He'd washed the whole Bike save the handlebars he just wiped clean. The Bike Washer Said they wash the demo bikes regularly . He said when you wash off the battery Rinse things off from above :

Speaking to My Own experience : Changing out My Front Sprocket to a Larger one Was so simple on the Vado > I suppose if you really wanted to do a Deep clean . You could take your chainring and chain off > Then wipe down sensitive to water areas : That probably wouldn't take as much time as using a dry spray to clean the chain after you clean up your mess you made:

Disclaimer : Specialized Owners Only Don't know about other bikes
 

Latitude

Well-Known Member
I went to My LBS today to order an extra Battery : While there I saw a guy washing up a Como. It was a demo someone was buying > It was all soaped up .

So I asked the mechanic "I thought you weren't supposed to wash E-bikes > He smiled and said I'd be a millionaire if I had a $1.00 for every time I've been asked that : He told me at least with Specialized The Vado and Como have the same Water protection seal rating as the Levo's do . He called it an IP Code or something like that >

He said as long as I don't just wholesale Spray the Bike off in every direction . Or directly spray water on switches : I have nothing to worry about > Told me to wipe down as much as I can, but clean the chain like any other chain. He said get a dummy hub from Park Tool so I can remove the back wheel and clean it up like I would a chain on a generic bike : Then wash the wheel off the bike .

He said he personally owned a Levo . Which there's no way to not wash the thing : Just use common sense : After all (I'm Quoting) If you do enough Riding You're going to encounter puddles and rain you just can't avoid. I understand peoples concerns . But most of what they are concerned about comes from Forum Advise and Statements that are wrong . Articles I have read Speak generically . I'm sure there are Some E-Bikes that can't handle any moisture well .END QUOTE)

So at least for Specialized Owners washing your chain and wheels is just like any other bike : Just be practical >

By the time I left the Guy washing the Como was hitting it with an Air Compressor : He'd washed the whole Bike save the handlebars he just wiped clean. The Bike Washer Said they wash the demo bikes regularly . He said when you wash off the battery Rinse things off from above :

Speaking to My Own experience : Changing out My Front Sprocket to a Larger one Was so simple on the Vado > I suppose if you really wanted to do a Deep clean . You could take your chainring and chain off > Then wipe down sensitive to water areas : That probably wouldn't take as much time as using a dry spray to clean the chain after you clean up your mess you made:

Disclaimer : Specialized Owners Only Don't know about other bikes
The dummy hub from Park is a great little item. Really helps get the gears out in the open where you can access them better. I have had good success with degreaser products from Park and Bontrager, and my bike seems to be pretty resistant to cleaning problems... just keep any spray away from the brake pads (Speaking from experience, the issue was temporary).
 
At the risk of starting yet another chain lube thread war, I'd like to report on my first week of using this stuff:

https://silca.cc/products/silca-super-secret-chain-lube

Disclaimer: I've got nothing to do with this company and paid for their product (dearly) out of my own pocket.

I started with a new Shimano chain and spent an amazing amount of time getting ALL the preservative grease out of the chain, since Silca says their lube needs a VERY clean chain.
So, two shake-in-jar washes with a water-based degreaser, followed by hot water and dish soap left the side plates still feeling greasy to my fingers. Then an agitated gasoline-in-jar treatment and blow dry with compressed air. A final rinse in 91% isopropyl alcohol left the solvent slightly dirty. Really?? Another alcohol wash came clean and NOTHING appeared on a clean white rag. I was taken aback by all my years of thinking I had actually cleaned my chains merely because they looked clean afterward. Not so much, I found out.

I also cleaned up the cassette, the derailleur/jockey wheels, and the front chain ring.

I soaked and agitated the super-clean chain in a jar of the Silca lubricant, let it drip back into the jar, and hung it up to dry for 24 hours per their instructions. I ended up with a chain that is clean and completely dry to the touch, runs silently, shifts superbly, and STAYS clean after 50 miles of street riding. I just wipe off the chain with an old bath towel after each ride. I'm done with oil. I plan on doing the cleaning and soaking when I can hear the chain. I don't know how far that is yet.

Basically you have a waxed chain without messing around with a stove. Their "super secret" added ingredient is nano-scale tungsten disulfide which, they claim, has less than 1/3 the dynamic coefficient of friction of PTFE and 1/4 that of Molybdenum Disulfide (MoS2). They also say it can make a chain last several times longer than using other lubricants that attract dirt and end up with a grinding paste, no matter how often you clean and lubricate.

I'm thinking this may be the best approach for the problem of the shorter life span of drive chains on mid-drive e-bikes. It might even be cost effective, even with the steep cost of the lubricant. I went with the tub of the lube for soaking, plus the 4 oz. bottle for touchups.

Lastly, here's a review of the lube:

https://road.cc/content/review/silca-super-secret-chain-lube-277641
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
At the risk of starting yet another chain lube thread war, I'd like to report on my first week of using this stuff:

https://silca.cc/products/silca-super-secret-chain-lube

Disclaimer: I've got nothing to do with this company and paid for their product (dearly) out of my own pocket.

I started with a new Shimano chain and spent an amazing amount of time getting ALL the preservative grease out of the chain, since Silca says their lube needs a VERY clean chain.
So, two shake-in-jar washes with a water-based degreaser, followed by hot water and dish soap left the side plates still feeling greasy to my fingers. Then an agitated gasoline-in-jar treatment and blow dry with compressed air. A final rinse in 91% isopropyl alcohol left the solvent slightly dirty. Really?? Another alcohol wash came clean and NOTHING appeared on a clean white rag. I was taken aback by all my years of thinking I had actually cleaned my chains merely because they looked clean afterward. Not so much, I found out.

I also cleaned up the cassette, the derailleur/jockey wheels, and the front chain ring.

I soaked and agitated the super-clean chain in a jar of the Silca lubricant, let it drip back into the jar, and hung it up to dry for 24 hours per their instructions. I ended up with a chain that is clean and completely dry to the touch, runs silently, shifts superbly, and STAYS clean after 50 miles of street riding. I just wipe off the chain with an old bath towel after each ride. I'm done with oil. I plan on doing the cleaning and soaking when I can hear the chain. I don't know how far that is yet.

Basically you have a waxed chain without messing around with a stove. Their "super secret" added ingredient is nano-scale tungsten disulfide which, they claim, has less than 1/3 the dynamic coefficient of friction of PTFE and 1/4 that of Molybdenum Disulfide (MoS2). They also say it can make a chain last several times longer than using other lubricants that attract dirt and end up with a grinding paste, no matter how often you clean and lubricate.

I'm thinking this may be the best approach for the problem of the shorter life span of drive chains on mid-drive e-bikes. It might even be cost effective, even with the steep cost of the lubricant. I went with the tub of the lube for soaking, plus the 4 oz. bottle for touchups.

Lastly, here's a review of the lube:

https://road.cc/content/review/silca-super-secret-chain-lube-277641
$$$
 

Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
I agree, not only is that lube expensive but re-application is frequent. Needs to be done every 75 km or so? Sheesh, bringing lube along for the ride is not something I want to do. I often go for rides longer than 75 km's. What a pain. Can't see I'm ever going to use that product.
 
My thoughts too. From the review: 1100 miles from the $25 (4 oz) bottle.
"Is that a good deal? Depends how much you love your drivetrain. Chains are cheap, cassettes and chainrings not so much."
From what I've read on this forum, ebikes can eat chains, so I'm giving this a try.
 
I agree, not only is that lube expensive but re-application is frequent. Needs to be done every 75 km or so? Sheesh, bringing lube along for the ride is not something I want to do. I often go for rides longer than 75 km's. What a pain. Can't see I'm ever going to use that product.
His experience was in English weather. I'll report back when I get more data.
And then, 1) I love a clean drivetrain, 2) I abhor grinding paste in my chain, and 3) I actually like fiddling with my bike (former machinist).
But of course, I honor YMMV!
 
OK, I'm now officially off the deep end, just by wading through this review:

https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/...etail-review-Silca-super-secret-drip-v1.1.pdf

TLDR: "So we have quite the highlight to shout about re this test, in that at the end of the first 3000km of testing, Silca Super Secret was sitting at a cumulative wear of just 7.5% of the 0.5% wear allowance. The average wear for all lubricants tested to this point is 64%."

As to the $$$ objection, the reviewer concludes that the total cost of drivetrain components and Silca SS lube comes to US$172 for 10,000 km.

"Again versus another commonly used and well regarded lubricant such as Rock N Gold which is only US$11 a bottle, due to its much higher usage rate and component wear rate, RNR gold comes in nearly double the cost to run overall per 10,000km."
 
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Sierratim

Well-Known Member
OK, I'm now officially off the deep end, just by wading through this review:

https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/...etail-review-Silca-super-secret-drip-v1.1.pdf

TLDR: "So we have quite the highlight to shout about re this test, in that at the end of the first 3000km of testing, Silca Super Secret was sitting at a cumulative wear of just 7.5% of the 0.5% wear allowance. The average wear for all lubricants tested to this point is 64%."
I do like the test methodologies at zerofrictioncycling!
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
OK, I'm now officially off the deep end, just by wading through this review:
https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/...etail-review-Silca-super-secret-drip-v1.1.pdf
TLDR: "So we have quite the highlight to shout about re this test, in that at the end of the first 3000km of testing, Silca Super Secret was sitting at a cumulative wear of just 7.5% of the 0.5% wear allowance. The average wear for all lubricants tested to this point is 64%."
As to the $$$ objection, the reviewer concludes that the total cost of drivetrain components and Silca SS lube comes to US$172 for 10,000 km.
"Again versus another commonly used and well regarded lubricant such as Rock N Gold which is only US$11 a bottle, due to its much higher usage rate and component wear rate, RNR gold comes in nearly double the cost to run overall per 10,000km."
Thanks for sharing the white paper... you are in deep now! ;)

I may have to reconsider my use of Muc Off based on the lifetime cost.

1604736487825.png
 
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Prairie Dog

Well-Known Member
His experience was in English weather. I'll report back when I get more data.
And then, 1) I love a clean drivetrain, 2) I abhor grinding paste in my chain, and 3) I actually like fiddling with my bike (former machinist).
But of course, I honor YMMV!
A spotless chain is key for me with regards to drivetrain maintenance and had great success using an ultrasonic cleaner. This latest review highlights some interesting results. My LBS remarked that many of their customers use Wend Wax which they also sell in the shop. With that said, I have taken preliminary steps with regards to hot waxing the chains on all of our bikes using conventional paraffin.