The Ultimate Mid-Drive Chain Care Thread

Lectric Bill

Member
Region
USA
City
San Francisco, CA
Update on using the Silca lube in between either cleaning/soaking or cleaning/hot waxing:

For interim application of Super Secret Chain Lube (SSCL), I've just never been satisfied with the "massage with fingertips" method they show on the website because:

  1. Applying a drop per link, most of the lube just beads up and rolls off the chain metal and onto the floor.
  2. Rubbing it with my fingers feels totally inadequate to achieve any kind of thorough penetration of the chain innards.

So, on a whim, I tried the following method:

  1. Using an alcohol-dampened old terry towel rag, thoroughly wipe down the chain on the bike.
  2. Remove the foam wiper sponge from a Pedro's Chain Pig II.
  3. Put 1 oz. of SSCL into the Chain Pig.
  4. Close the Chain Pig and slowly run the chain through until it is thoroughly coated.
  5. Remove the Chain Pig and empty the SSCL into a container for proper disposal. (I'm tempted to re-use it since I see very little dirt).
  6. Clean the Chain Pig by agitating with an ounce of isopropyl alcohol. (Approved by Pedro's technical staff as safe for the plastics).
  7. Wash the Chain Pig with hot detergent water and let dry.
To my pleasant surprise, the Super Secret Chain Lube adhered well and evenly to the chain, with absolutely no drips on the bike or floor. Whole process took about 10 minutes.

Since using SSCL, my chain doesn't get dirty, and, since I clean my chains now off the bike to prepare them adequately to lube with the Super Secret Chain Lube Hot Melt Wax,
I no longer have a cleaning use for my Chain Pig, so I'm delighted to repurpose it as a dandy applicator.
 

MeDotOrg

Member
If this question has been answered before, I apologize. I've wondered if it would be better to rotate 2 chains. When it's time to clean your chain, pop the master link and thread the second chain. Chain #1 gets a thorough off-bike clean and when chain #2 is dirty, the process is reversed. Does anyone think such a rotation system would increase the life of the chains?
 

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
If this question has been answered before, I apologize. I've wondered if it would be better to rotate 2 chains. When it's time to clean your chain, pop the master link and thread the second chain. Chain #1 gets a thorough off-bike clean and when chain #2 is dirty, the process is reversed. Does anyone think such a rotation system would increase the life of the chains?
if you use a lube that gets the chain messy. since I use rock and roll nope the chain never gets that dirty.
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
if you use a lube that gets the chain messy. since I use rock and roll nope the chain never gets that dirty.
Yes I use Squirt which is a wax based lube and like foofer says the chain never gets that messy anymore. I clean the chain with a dry brush and that is all that is needed. Before with some of the other brands it was like the dirt was being glued right in there. As far as your idea of rotating chains goes it would work but do you really want the extra hassle? Before you start that regime give Squirt a try.
 

Lectric Bill

Member
Region
USA
City
San Francisco, CA
If this question has been answered before, I apologize. I've wondered if it would be better to rotate 2 chains. When it's time to clean your chain, pop the master link and thread the second chain. Chain #1 gets a thorough off-bike clean and when chain #2 is dirty, the process is reversed. Does anyone think such a rotation system would increase the life of the chains?
I don't think it would necessarily extend the life of each chain, but of course their collective life will be longer.

I use this method because the cleaning regime to get wax lubes to really penetrate and stick requires a number of steps and I'd just rather put that energy into several chains at once and be done with it. I currently have four chains that I clean all together and dip in hot wax. I use a Wippermann Connex master link that requires no tools. As a chain starts to make a little bit of noise, off it comes and I pop on a fresh one. EZ and I love that the chains stay clean.
 

bob armani

Well-Known Member
I don't think it would necessarily extend the life of each chain, but of course their collective life will be longer.

I use this method because the cleaning regime to get wax lubes to really penetrate and stick requires a number of steps and I'd just rather put that energy into several chains at once and be done with it. I currently have four chains that I clean all together and dip in hot wax. I use a Wippermann Connex master link that requires no tools. As a chain starts to make a little bit of noise, off it comes and I pop on a fresh one. EZ and I love that the chains stay clean.
Now that is a great system you have implemented. I wish I could get that ambitious with chain swap/cleaning/lubing. I just became lazy with only cleaning and lube, then ride. Admire your discipline in this space. I do seasonal riding due to inclimate weather patterns in my region.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Anyone tried Brake Cleaner for a car, to clean their bicycle chain? You'd need to take the chain off the bike because brake cleaner destroys paint. It is $5 a can, aerosol, and comes with a spray tube. It will leave the chain squeaky clean and ready for your favorite lube.
Yes. I often use brake cleaner in combination and have a quick rinse on hand. I first use laundry soap with a bit of shampoo in a spray bottle with water to get the grit and chunks off. Then a blast of brake cleaner with an immediate rinse and wipe. For washing bikes I have a dedicated yard sprayer filled with water. Because the rinse sprayer is so low in pressure it cleans off grime without getting in bearings. Cardboard makes a good shield. Brake cleaner will turn dork rings yellow between cassettes and spokes.
I like Muck Off Dry Lube on my chains. And extreme conditions high pressure and temperature oil at the pivot points on exposed derailleurs. The Military uses this stuff on a type of reciprocating device that I will not mention.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
Yes. I often use brake cleaner in combination and have a quick rinse on hand. I first use laundry soap with a bit of shampoo in a spray bottle with water to get the grit and chunks off. Then a blast of brake cleaner with an immediate rinse and wipe. For washing bikes I have a dedicated yard sprayer filled with water. Because the rinse sprayer is so low in pressure it cleans off grime without getting in bearings. Cardboard makes a good shield. Brake cleaner will turn dork rings yellow between cassettes and spokes.
I like Muck Off Dry Lube on my chains. And extreme conditions high pressure and temperature oil at the pivot points on exposed derailleurs. The Military uses this stuff on a type of reciprocating device that I will not mention.
I also use Muck-off dry lube... M2, M16, and 1911.
Be careful using brake cleaner near plastics, rubber, and any painted surface. 😉
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
These are my go to chains. The half-link chain is great if the chainstays are not too long, otherwise I link two. It is wide and strong to take the torque. A 2021 Specialized came in today for conversion that is a 1x10. The eBike ready 10-speed chain will go on that bike. And the display will be internally routed up the downtube from the mid-drive to avoid messy wires. It will not have any zip ties on the build.
 

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RandallS

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Calgary
I've been woefully poor on chain and drivetrain maintenance, so today I took my time and did as good a job as I could.
It's winter here, and hovering around 0C, so I decided to do some work inside and some work outside in my unheated garage.

An extra complication is I am running Schwalbe Ice Spiker tires for the winter, so just wheeling the bike indoors is not going to happen.

First up - bike up onto repair stand, which in my case is a cheap truck bumper Sportrack 4 bike carrier. It's bolted down to some very heavy storage cabinet/work surface.
Yeah - just a bit of clutter, but that's what garages are for.

Front wheel is off, as I was going to do brake pads too. This pic is actually after I'd finished most of the cleaning, as I forgot this particular "before" picture.

20210223_145051.jpg


As I mentioned, I worked inside as well - I cleaned the cassette downstairs in my utility room. I placed the rear tire in a plastic bin that fit in my sink - once again this is a studded tire.
Thumbnail pics left to right;
  • tire in bin
  • tools
  • makeshift splatter guard shielding rotor. faucet and wall
  • degreaser applied
  • splatter guard after the job was done.

20210223_133850.jpg 20210223_133902.jpg 20210223_134204.jpg 20210223_134252.jpg 20210223_134851.jpg

I degreased twice as it was pretty bad!

Once I cleaned up the utility room sink and set the wheel aside to dry, it was out to the garage and attack the jockey wheels and chain.
Using the same degreaser I cleaned up the jockey wheels with an implement called a shave hook and then degreased the chain and crank before putting the back wheel back on.

Then out came the Park Tool CM5.3 Cyclone chain cleaner - it took 3 passes to get the rest of the stuff off the chain.
I think I'll invest in a dummy hub for next time, as I was reticent to put the "not quite clean yet" chain back on the just cleaned cassette.

Cleaned everything up and gave it a good dry before re-lubing the chain with WPL "Wet" formula .

20210223_145005.jpg 20210223_145011.jpg 20210223_150000.jpg 20210223_152159.jpg 20210223_152206.jpg

Once done all that, I did the front brake pads (rears were done in the fall), and put everything away.

It was a lot of fiddling about due to temperatures and the studded tires.
In the summer It probably would have taken 25% of the time, but I had nothing else on today anyways, so it didn't matter.
 

reed scott

Well-Known Member
I've been woefully poor on chain and drivetrain maintenance, so today I took my time and did as good a job as I could.
It's winter here, and hovering around 0C, so I decided to do some work inside and some work outside in my unheated garage.

An extra complication is I am running Schwalbe Ice Spiker tires for the winter, so just wheeling the bike indoors is not going to happen.

First up - bike up onto repair stand, which in my case is a cheap truck bumper Sportrack 4 bike carrier. It's bolted down to some very heavy storage cabinet/work surface.
Yeah - just a bit of clutter, but that's what garages are for.

Front wheel is off, as I was going to do brake pads too. This pic is actually after I'd finished most of the cleaning, as I forgot this particular "before" picture.

View attachment 79892

As I mentioned, I worked inside as well - I cleaned the cassette downstairs in my utility room. I placed the rear tire in a plastic bin that fit in my sink - once again this is a studded tire.
Thumbnail pics left to right;
  • tire in bin
  • tools
  • makeshift splatter guard shielding rotor. faucet and wall
  • degreaser applied
  • splatter guard after the job was done.

View attachment 79893 View attachment 79894 View attachment 79895 View attachment 79896 View attachment 79897

I degreased twice as it was pretty bad!

Once I cleaned up the utility room sink and set the wheel aside to dry, it was out to the garage and attack the jockey wheels and chain.
Using the same degreaser I cleaned up the jockey wheels with an implement called a shave hook and then degreased the chain and crank before putting the back wheel back on.

Then out came the Park Tool CM5.3 Cyclone chain cleaner - it took 3 passes to get the rest of the stuff off the chain.
I think I'll invest in a dummy hub for next time, as I was reticent to put the "not quite clean yet" chain back on the just cleaned cassette.

Cleaned everything up and gave it a good dry before re-lubing the chain with WPL "Wet" formula .

View attachment 79898 View attachment 79899 View attachment 79901 View attachment 79902 View attachment 79903

Once done all that, I did the front brake pads (rears were done in the fall), and put everything away.

It was a lot of fiddling about due to temperatures and the studded tires.
In the summer It probably would have taken 25% of the time, but I had nothing else on today anyways, so it didn't matter.
Great idea on the rotor guard. Thanks 👍 👍
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
I've been woefully poor on chain and drivetrain maintenance, so today I took my time and did as good a job as I could.
It's winter here, and hovering around 0C, so I decided to do some work inside and some work outside in my unheated garage.

An extra complication is I am running Schwalbe Ice Spiker tires for the winter, so just wheeling the bike indoors is not going to happen.

First up - bike up onto repair stand, which in my case is a cheap truck bumper Sportrack 4 bike carrier. It's bolted down to some very heavy storage cabinet/work surface.
Yeah - just a bit of clutter, but that's what garages are for.

Front wheel is off, as I was going to do brake pads too. This pic is actually after I'd finished most of the cleaning, as I forgot this particular "before" picture.

View attachment 79892

As I mentioned, I worked inside as well - I cleaned the cassette downstairs in my utility room. I placed the rear tire in a plastic bin that fit in my sink - once again this is a studded tire.
Thumbnail pics left to right;
  • tire in bin
  • tools
  • makeshift splatter guard shielding rotor. faucet and wall
  • degreaser applied
  • splatter guard after the job was done.

View attachment 79893 View attachment 79894 View attachment 79895 View attachment 79896 View attachment 79897

I degreased twice as it was pretty bad!

Once I cleaned up the utility room sink and set the wheel aside to dry, it was out to the garage and attack the jockey wheels and chain.
Using the same degreaser I cleaned up the jockey wheels with an implement called a shave hook and then degreased the chain and crank before putting the back wheel back on.

Then out came the Park Tool CM5.3 Cyclone chain cleaner - it took 3 passes to get the rest of the stuff off the chain.
I think I'll invest in a dummy hub for next time, as I was reticent to put the "not quite clean yet" chain back on the just cleaned cassette.

Cleaned everything up and gave it a good dry before re-lubing the chain with WPL "Wet" formula .

View attachment 79898 View attachment 79899 View attachment 79901 View attachment 79902 View attachment 79903

Once done all that, I did the front brake pads (rears were done in the fall), and put everything away.

It was a lot of fiddling about due to temperatures and the studded tires.
In the summer It probably would have taken 25% of the time, but I had nothing else on today anyways, so it didn't matter.
Well done! I am also going to borrow the splatter guard idea. ;)
 

bob armani

Well-Known Member
I've been woefully poor on chain and drivetrain maintenance, so today I took my time and did as good a job as I could.
It's winter here, and hovering around 0C, so I decided to do some work inside and some work outside in my unheated garage.

An extra complication is I am running Schwalbe Ice Spiker tires for the winter, so just wheeling the bike indoors is not going to happen.

First up - bike up onto repair stand, which in my case is a cheap truck bumper Sportrack 4 bike carrier. It's bolted down to some very heavy storage cabinet/work surface.
Yeah - just a bit of clutter, but that's what garages are for.

Front wheel is off, as I was going to do brake pads too. This pic is actually after I'd finished most of the cleaning, as I forgot this particular "before" picture.

View attachment 79892

As I mentioned, I worked inside as well - I cleaned the cassette downstairs in my utility room. I placed the rear tire in a plastic bin that fit in my sink - once again this is a studded tire.
Thumbnail pics left to right;
  • tire in bin
  • tools
  • makeshift splatter guard shielding rotor. faucet and wall
  • degreaser applied
  • splatter guard after the job was done.

View attachment 79893 View attachment 79894 View attachment 79895 View attachment 79896 View attachment 79897

I degreased twice as it was pretty bad!

Once I cleaned up the utility room sink and set the wheel aside to dry, it was out to the garage and attack the jockey wheels and chain.
Using the same degreaser I cleaned up the jockey wheels with an implement called a shave hook and then degreased the chain and crank before putting the back wheel back on.

Then out came the Park Tool CM5.3 Cyclone chain cleaner - it took 3 passes to get the rest of the stuff off the chain.
I think I'll invest in a dummy hub for next time, as I was reticent to put the "not quite clean yet" chain back on the just cleaned cassette.

Cleaned everything up and gave it a good dry before re-lubing the chain with WPL "Wet" formula .

View attachment 79898 View attachment 79899 View attachment 79901 View attachment 79902 View attachment 79903

Once done all that, I did the front brake pads (rears were done in the fall), and put everything away.

It was a lot of fiddling about due to temperatures and the studded tires.
In the summer It probably would have taken 25% of the time, but I had nothing else on today anyways, so it didn't matter.
BTW- SportRack makes great products. I have been using my 2 bike rack for many years now. When I purchased my Emtb with 2.8 wide tires, I had to expand the tire cradles a bit to make them fit the width of the tire. It worked fine with a snug fit. No need to have to buy replacements. It is attached to a 1 1/4 inch receiver.
 

RandallS

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Calgary
BTW- SportRack makes great products. I have been using my 2 bike rack for many years now. When I purchased my Emtb with 2.8 wide tires, I had to expand the tire cradles a bit to make them fit the width of the tire. It worked fine with a snug fit. No need to have to buy replacements. It is attached to a 1 1/4 inch receiver.
In this case I meant cheap in that it cost me very little - as in $30 CDN off of FB Marketplace. I've used their stuff for many years and have always found it to be great value.
 
Last edited:

elliot friedman

Active Member
Anyone try this? This guy has quite a few videos including some test results and I think I've been convinced wax is the way to go.


Yes for a few years now. Dirt free chains after many rides. Just wipe them down if you need to but only minor dirt will adhere to them.
Not a major process and you can do at least two in the same time it takes for one.
 

Lectric Bill

Member
Region
USA
City
San Francisco, CA
Yes for a few years now. Dirt free chains after many rides. Just wipe them down if you need to but only minor dirt will adhere to them.
Not a major process and you can do at least two in the same time it takes for one.
Yes, I've been waxing chains now for several months and will never go back to liquid lubricants, whether "wet" or "dry".

Advantages:
  • Produces CLEAN chains that don't pick up dirt and form a grinding paste (and get black gunk everywhere).
  • Chains that last many times longer, as well as the whole drive chain.
  • Overall, less messy and even less time consuming, IF you clean and hot dip multiple chains at one time.
  • If you make your wax formula yourself (see below), it's overall less expensive.

I use 4 chains and a Wippermann Connex Link.
Each chain lasts me about 150 miles until it gets a bit noisy. Takes less than 2 minutes to swap dirty for clean.
If using the boiling water method for subsequent chain cleaning (see link below at 17:53), the re-waxing process shouldn't take a lot of time.

By the way, I very much appreciate Oz Cycle's videos and you might like his latest:

Ultimate Chain Wax DIY

In conclusion, yes waxing is a bit more fussy to do, but the lack of mess on the bike is very satisfying, making the process enjoyable for me.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Let me go off-topic a little bit because I feel I must express my frustration. I should not be allowed to touch any bike on the mechanical side. "A peasant should get some turd instead of a watch" - it is how we describe such people as me in Poland :D

I thought I installed a 12-speed KMC chain properly. Almost. I didn't notice I placed the Missing Link in the wrong orientation... "The peasant" broke his new chain after a half-mile ride! Repairing the chain with a spare Quick-Link. And what if I hadn't the spare master link at hand?!

I feel miserable.

1615624989819.png

I hope it is properly done now (the upper part of the chain visible here).
 

RandallS

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Calgary
Let me go off-topic a little bit because I feel I must express my frustration. I should not be allowed to touch any bike on the mechanical side. "A peasant should get some turd instead of a watch" - it is how we describe such people as me in Poland :D

I thought I installed a 12-speed KMC chain properly. Almost. I didn't notice I placed the Missing Link in the wrong orientation... "The peasant" broke his new chain after a half-mile ride! Repairing the chain with a spare Quick-Link. And what if I hadn't the spare master link at hand?!

I feel miserable.

View attachment 81491
I hope it is properly done now (the upper part of the chain visible here).
Some lessons learned, are lessons learned forever...
I hope to never squeeze a brake lever while the wheel is out, ever again - we'll see.

Chin up - open wide - insert beer...
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
IDK if it will make you feel any better, but in the USA we have an expression..."the handyman's curse" ... that I have experienced with remodeling houses.

Something needs repaired, I would figure it out and attempt to fix it, screw it up badly, figure it out again, and fix it correctly. Then once I finally knew how to do it the correct way, I would never need to make a repair like that again.Rinse and repeat on a half a dozen houses.

At least know you will be replacing chains again, so you will use the knowledge ( painfully) gained.