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OK, I used to ride road MANY years ago and got back in to biking on MTB's last year. I just got a road bike (brand new '07 Fuji Team) and had a chain question.

On my MTB I used to press a link out in the chain and soak and clean it in mineral spirits, then use white lightning lube. This helped get all the dirt and grit out of the chain when it got really dirty.

With the road bike I have noticed that the chain is sticky and very gritty already. I want to get this cleaned and lubed before I put too many more miles on it. This chain (KMC DX-10) has a goofy looking master link that is slotted and I'm trying to figure out how to get that off. I assume I squeeze the 2 roller parts together, right? Is this link reusable? Also, will mineral spirits hurt this chain, and should I use White Lightning or Tri-Flow?

Thanks,
Erich
 

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Avoid chain cleaning

Erich in Az said:
With the road bike I have noticed that the chain is sticky and very gritty already. I want to get this cleaned and lubed before I put too many more miles on it. This chain (KMC DX-10) has a goofy looking master link that is slotted and I'm trying to figure out how to get that off. I assume I squeeze the 2 roller parts together, right? Is this link reusable? Also, will mineral spirits hurt this chain, and should I use White Lightning or Tri-Flow?
There is no reason to remove your chain for cleaning. Use the following technique for successful ProLink or homebrew lube (1 part motor oil to 3-4 parts odorless mineral spirits) application and use:

1 - wipe the chain, cogs, pulleys, and chainrings clean with a rag.
2 - drip on lube while pedaling (forward is better) so that the chain just starts to drip lube. Aim the lube between the side plates and between the bushings and the side plates.
3 - run through all the gears several times, front and back.
4 - wipe the chain, cogs, pulleys, and chainrings clean with a rag.
5 - repeat steps 2-4 if the chain was really dirty

Do this AFTER a ride, as you want to allow time for the solvent to evaporate before you head out on the road. If you do this every 300 miles or so (or when you get caught in the rain), you will not get any significant gunky buildup, and you won't have to clean the chain or the cassette. This leaves lube on the inside parts, and wipes it off the outside parts, minimizing dirt pickup.

No lube is "perfect." A brite shiny chain that is clean to the touch but is well lubed and gives long mileage is still not possible. IMO, ProLink is the best compromise. Unless your riding environment is quite dusty, White Lightning is a poor road chain lube. Triflow is a great lube, but it attracts dirt like crazy, and so defeats the purpose.
 

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eRacer
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ProLube works great if you clean the chain first.
I dribble Pedro's Pro-J Degreaser on the chain while turning the crank and lightly scrub with a small hand brush.
Then I spin the chain thru a hand held microfiber cloth until no black comes off.
Then I dribble ProLink while turning the crank. After 5-10 sec of spinning, I grab the chain with a hand held microfiber cloth and continue to spin and move to a clean section of cloth until no black stains the cloth.
Now you can ride a clean, dry, quiet, lubricated chain and merely run the chain thru your microfiber cloth after each ride.
This will last about 100 miles before you need to add lube.
When the chain cloth appears quite black after a ride, I reapply the degreaser and re-lube.
If you stay on top of your chain after each ride, it only takes a few minutes.
 

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eRacer
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The 'black stuff' that tattoos your calf is bad.
It is dust, dirt, and grit that wears out your drive-train early.
I wipe my chain with a microfiber cloth after each ride until it wipes clean; no black deposits.
If you do this quickly after each ride it becomes automatic and doesn't take but a second.
Only when the rag looks really dirty or the chain sounds funny, or its been >100 miles do I re-degrease and re-lube, with a post-lube wipe down until clean.
I think chains, sorta like teeth, are easily neglected, but regular 'brushing/wiping' takes only a few minutes to produce a nice smile/ride.
 

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Dumonde Tech is high quality lube. They recommend cleaning with soap and water to remove the dirt and grime but not the lube. They claim this will give longer chain life because their lube builds up a protective coating.

Since I have quit using the degreaser and actually following the directions, my chains are lasting more than twice as long before needing replacement due to wear. YMMV but actually following the directions has worked for me.

I am going to take the above advice to heart and start wiping down my chain after every ride. I am tired of getting black on me and my chain and components will be probably be happier and last longer.
 

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eRacer
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If you are looking for economy my Home Brew works great.
I use a combination of Mineral Oil and Mineral Spirits.
3-Parts Mineral Oil and 1-Part Mineral Spirits.
The key is Wipe-Lube-Wipe.
Wipe the chain until you get no black on your rag.
Dribble the Home Brew liberaly on the chain Links and spin for 10-15 seconds to get it to penetrate into the links.
Wipe-Down until there is no black staining of your rag.
Wipe-Down after each ride.
Re-Lube around 100-150 miles and Wipe-Down clean.
Cost is minimal and it works great.
 
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